Today I have a very special guest – Rita Rosenback from Multilingual Parenting! Rita is a fellow blogger from Multicultural Kid Blogs Community I am also a part of. She is also a specialist in bilingual matters and I am very glad she agreed to share her wisdom with us!
Children (and adults for that matter) learn better when they are having fun – this applies to any subject and for language learning this is particularly true. As a parent you are trying to come up with ways to engage your kids to learn, and especially if you are the minority language parent, you are constantly looking for ways to increase the language exposure time and to make sure that your child acquires an as extensive and varied vocabulary as possible.
One excellent way of learning new words is to draw a picture story together with your kid. – Before you say anything along the lines of “I can’t draw!” or “I wouldn’t know what to draw!” let me tell you that everyone can draw and your child will be delighted with anything you come up with. If you are really struggling with the start, cut our some pictures from a magazine or comic and build on those to make a combined storyboard and drawing. Also, don’t worry, your child’s imagination will lead the way in choosing what to add to your masterpiece!
Ask your child to choose a character who will be at the centre of your story, then place this animal, person, plant, car of whatever was chosen in the middle of the paper. Start expanding on your story by asking questions about your character. If you have a certain vocabulary topic in mind, steer the story towards it by making the questions lead the way. Let’s say you want to introduce different vegetables and fruits, make your character grow, eat, buy or sell them in your story. Or maybe your character could be a fruit looking for new friends! To make the words even more memorable you could have some of the fruits and vegetables ready as a snack for the day.
When speaking about the character use a lot of adjectives describing what it looks like: tiny, happy, surprised, yellow, round, soft and so on. Also make the verbs, the words for the action, more interesting by replacing the common ones with new ones: for example leap, bounce, skip, canter for jump; or stroll, step, march, stride for walk or go. If your child is a bit older you can use a dictionary to look up synonyms together.
After you have done this a few times you will have many lovely picture stories which you could put together as your very own picture book. Wishing you many creative moments with your little ones!
The illustration is from Rita’s book “Bringing up a Bilingual Child” with the subtitle “Navigating the Seven Cs of Multilingual Parenting: Communication, Confidence, Commitment, Consistency, Creativity, Culture and Celebration.” (picture © Rita Rosenback 2014)
Rita Rosenback is the author of “Bringing up a Bilingual Child” and she blogs at www.multilingualparenting.com where you can find tips and advice on raising your children to speak the family languages. She also visits schools and community groups to give speeches and lead workshops for parents and teachers on the topic of bilingual children. Rita was born in the Swedish-speaking part of Finland and now lives in Derby, England. She is the mother of two adult daughters who speak Swedish, Punjabi, Finnish and English.
You can connect to Rita and follow her over these social networks –
Twitter – LinkedIn – Facebook – Pinterest – Google+
For the next couple of weeks I am taking a step away from Creative Tuesdays and instead posting for Cooking series. In fact, since the next 2 posts are directly related to creativity and creative thinking, I decided just to go ahead and post them on Tuesdays anyway.
So, today I will share how we made homemade pizzas in my ESL class. We used my grandma’s recipe for the yeast dough which I prepared in advance since there wasn’t that much time to sit and wait around for the dough to rise!
Let me say something first: children ALL love getting their hands “dirty” with food items. They may not necessarily even eat what they make but making things, well, food of course, with their own hands is a world of experience to young children, as well as older ones. Though it is always easier to engage younger ones in food making process as they are still exploring and are curious about how things work. Making pizza is a very very simple activity you can offer you children which is full of sensory, smell, taste and visual experiences. Also, it helps with language development, creativity, fine motor skills development – you name it! And of course, then pride and satisfaction of making this small pizza and the happy faces and sparkly eyes – I would make pizzas in every class if I could just to see those faces!
How to set up this activity:
1. Work space should be cleared and clean and covered with a waterproof sheet. Some might want to use disposable sheets, I use a regular one which I can wash and reuse easily.
2. Prepare pizza toppings in advance if you are making pizzas with more than 2-3 children: you won’t have time to cut everything up and younger kids will get bored watching you cut stuff! Here are the toppings I prepared for my students: sausages, corn from a can, sliced and cooked mushrooms, chopped up tomatoes and green peppers, grated cheese, portions of tomato paste, some olive oil to brush the pizza base with.
3. MAKE SURE THE CHILDREN WASH THEIR HANDS THOROUGHLY. Yep, I am really really mentioning this!
4. Demonstration: first of all, go slow. Show children how to flatten the pieces of dough for pizza base. Give them time to experiment. Ask them if they want your assistance – most of them probably will. But if they are anything like my toddler and 5 year old, they might just say “no” no matter how hard it is for them or how weird their pizza base looks like! Help them brush the dough with oil and then with tomato paste.
5. Make sure each child has his/her own plate with toppings he/she likes. And I would also make sure the toppings don’t touch each other on the plate as most of the children really wanted.
6. Give them time to set their toppings.
7. Allow them to watch how pizza is being baked if you have a chance (e.g. through the glass window of your oven). Children kept asking me every 2 minutes if pizzas were ready.
8. Important – have fun!
How do you like your pizza?
I am posting a bit later this time as my hands were literally busy with a new bundle of joy!
I am so excited for this Special Guest visiting my blog – my dear friend and one of my most favorite bloggers, Leanna of All Done Monkey! She visited my blog twice before with a fun Daffodil activity and a Fruit Pizza recipe! Please don’t follow by Leanna’s FB page, Pinterest, Twitter and G+ to keep up to date with her posts and activities!
Starting last fall we began teaching a character-building class for my son and several of his preschool aged friends. Here is one of our recent lessons, on love:
I wanted to give the kids some real “skills” in showing love and choosing to be loving.
We started by discussing what love is (caring about someone, really liking to be with them and do things with them). This was a bit abstract, so I asked them to name people they loved. (Parents and pets were the big winners! I was also so pleased that several shouted out the names of other kids in the class).
Then we discussed ways to show love. We talked about giving hugs and kisses, sharing toys, giving gifts, playing together, doing something nice for them, and telling them “I love you.” While we didn’t discuss the love languages directly, I did keep them in mind so I would be sure to include ways that all of the kids could relate to, rather than assuming they all like to give kisses or say “I love you.” I had drawn some cards illustrating some of these ways and asked them each to put a heart sticker on the card that reflected how they most liked to be shown love. (I thought the moms would be interested to see their answers!) Unsurprisingly, at this age the most popular response was getting gifts
Then we switched to thinking about showing love. I had asked each of the kids to bring a favorite stuffed animal or toy, which we used in some pretend play to practice showing love. Each kid partnered up with his/her mom to practice showing love to the stuffed animal in the ways we had discussed. Afterwards, I asked them to put a heart sticker on the card that showed the way they most liked to show love.
Next we talked about choosing to show love instead of anger when someone does something we don’t like. I gave them each an “angry” mask and a “loving” mask, and we used them to practice different ways to react in disappointing situations.
Such as, “Your mom says it’s time to go to bed, even though you’re having so much fun playing. What’s an angry way to react? Now, what’s a loving way to react?” The kids had a lot of fun with this part, especially acting out the “angry” reactions, which seemed to inspire a lot of Hulk imitations
Our quote for the day was “In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love” (Bahá’u’lláh), so we talked about what kind of garden we wanted to grow in our heart and how we could grow a beautiful garden by choosing loving reactions instead of angry ones.
Earlier I had taken an egg carton and cut a slit in the bottom of each cup. I flipped this over and asked the kids to “plant” their angry masks. Next we tried planting our loving masks and talked about how much prettier the garden was. But we had to be careful to keep trash (mean thoughts, etc) out of our garden. To illustrate these we crumpled up paper and tossed it into our garden, noticing how the trash made it so much harder to see the garden.
For our craft, they each made a bag of love for someone they cared about. (Most chose to make one for their fathers). They decorated the bags and filled them with little pictures of things they loved about the person or activities they loved doing with them.
I was so happy with how our love lesson turned out, and the kids really enjoyed it. I really hoped it drove home the point that we choose to love every day, often when we are in difficult situations and would rather respond with anger or disappointment. How are you teaching your kids about love?
O FRIEND! In the garden of thy heart plant naught but the rose of love, and from the nightingale of affection and desire loosen not thy hold. -Bahá’u’lláh
Leanna is a stay at home mother to a sweet, funny, rambunctious four year old boy and his adorable, smiley baby brother. She draws inspiration from the Writings of the Bahá’í Faith and tries to raise her Monkeys in a fun, spiritual, loving environment. She and her husband, who is from Costa Rica, are raising their boys to be bilingual and bicultural but more importantly to be “world citizens.” Her blog All Done Monkey is dedicated to sharing this journey with you!
Welcome to Creative Tuesdays!
Today I will talk about a very good creative activity that helps with eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills development: painting with Q-tips. I am sure you have heard or even done it before. It is simple, quick to arrange and very engaging. The only downside I found is that so many q-tips get wasted. So in order to modify you can just use a toothpick or a matchstick with pieces of cotton attached on top and the toothpick and the matchstick can be reused until they break!
How to arrange the activity:
1. Find some paints – any paints will do. We used finger paints which were a bit old and didn’t work well as finger paints anymore. You can also use home made paints, acrylic paints, water paints, tempura paints – anything you wish!
2. Set up the work space: prepare few sheets of paper (during painting activities we go through at least 3-4!), set the paints and enough q-tips for each color your child will be using.
3. This is a half-supervised or independent activity. I would recommend it to children from 2+ years old and up (though my now 2 year old also enjoyed it since she was about 1.5 years old; but needed to be supervised 100%!) and the amount of supervision depends on the age. With younger children choose fewer colors and demonstrate them how to do it, plus keep an eye on them. With older children more colors create more fun and room for imagination!
4. At the end when you are done with q-tips, you can use some scotch tape and make a q-tip collage. Or simply stick the q-tips at the bottom of the paintings and display the paintings on the wall!
I hope you enjoy this activity with your children. It doesn’t require a parent to be super creative or crafty, it is simple to gather the materials and set up the work space as well as relatively easy to clean up!
I shared with you previously that we made home made paint and had tons of fun with it!
Today I’d like to revisit as this activity took place few more times at our house and it was always great fun!
It is especially useful as a non-supervised/half-supervised activity for older siblings (4 + in my experience but would of course worker better with older children) when you have a new baby!
Here are simple steps:
1. Mix the ingredients.
2. Pour them into paper cups and add needed color (could be food coloring or actual paints).
3. Grab a big piece of paper and paints and have fun!
The beauty of this paint recipe that it WILL come off easily so if you get it on the surfaces, all you need is wet wipes and/or damp cloth to wash the stains off. And they easily came off my daughter’s clothes as well after running them in a wash cycle.
As you might already know, today is the day our 3rd baby is born. As I am writing this post few days ahead and scheduling to post on THE DAY, I can’t share the details with you yet. But follow my Facebook Page as I might be able to sneak an update within a day or 2 (or 3!) depending on how I feel.
Meanwhile I hope by the time you read this I can already hold the baby in my arms and enjoy the feeling of becoming a mother yet again.
Thank you for your support! Whether you are a fellow blogger, or just a reader, welcome to stop by my Facebook page and either choose one of my older posts to share with your friends/fans or share your favorite blog post which is relevant to my content. I would appreciate if my page stayed a little “alive” while I am unable to blog!
I am very excited to have Kim from Life Over C’s visiting my blog today with her special activity and (!) a free printable!
Kim is a fellow Multicultural Kid Blogger!
Kim is a world traveling, homeschooling, mom of four beautiful girls. She and her family live in the tiny country of Georgia, where they have been missionaries for 8 years. She blogs at Life Over C’s, where you can read all about homeschooling, kid crafts, and whole lot of fun traveling experiences. You can follow Kim’s blog on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!
I’m so excited to be with you all today! I appreciate Varya opening up her wonderful blog to me.
Today I want to share with you a bilingual play dough activity that will introduce your child to a whole new world!
Very few people that I meet know that there is a country called Georgia, but that’s where I live right now. Georgia is a tiny country of about 4 million people located in the middle of, well, everything. We are just north of the Middle East, south of Russia, east of most of Europe, and west of Asia. Most map makers can’t even decide on which section to fit Georgia.
My family and I have lived here off and on for eight years now, but most days I feel like I can’t speak the language at all. It is a language all to its own. Nothing in common with most of the larger language structures.
And, it’s just downright complicated.
To give you a sample, I’ve created a printable play dough activity and included some identification cards that have some “simple” Georgian words on them. Now, of course, without lots of study you would not be able to read the Georgian language, so rather than write out the words, I’ve included scannable QR codes.
All you need to do is scan and listen. You can download a free QR code reader, such as NeoReader to scan the codes. Simply hold the QR code in the camera of your smart phone or iPad and the reader will do the rest.
My littlest one had fun listening to the words on the iPad. She also thought it was really cool that she could see the cards she had just been holding on the iPad screen. It’s a great way to utilize technology for learning.
While you’re at it, go ahead a print the included fruit cut-outs and have a blast creating a farmers market, fruit basket or salad with some play dough.
I made up some play dough to match the different colors of the fruit in the set. The kids had fun creating their own food. They also matched the different fruits to the correct color of play dough for a fun sorting activity. I printed three copies, so that we would have lots of fruit for playing.
To use the fruit simply print, laminate, cut out and have fun!
I’ve also included a set of printable cards for playing Memory. You can match the cartoon image of the fruit to a real-life picture.
A great tip for creating memory cards is to print on the white side of scrapbooking paper, so that the cards aren’t see-through.
These are great for building language skills. Both in English and in other languages. In addition to Memory, you can lay all the cards on a table and ask your child to find the different fruits, using whichever languages you prefer.
You can download the Bilingual QR Code Play Dough Set and Memory Game here.
I hope that you enjoy your little taste of Georgia!
Thank you so much, Kim! I have never been to Georgia but I have few friends who are originally from there or lived there. Plus, Russia and Georgia used to belong to one country once upon a time so we have some shared history!
I hope you all enjoy this printable set!
Welcome to Creative Tuesdays!
Here’s another very simple craft: Make a sun!
We made this craft when we were learning letter S and the word the Sun. It is so simple and the children had fun making it.
What you will need:
A piece of paper
A plate or a circle template
Colorful contact paper strips
Colors (crayons, markers, pencils)
The steps are simple:
Together with your child trace the plate/circle on the paper.
Now color it the circle and draw a face on it.
Stick the strips of contact paper around for the rays.
Your sun is ready!
You can also use this to review color yellow, orange, black and draw a rainbow and clouds around for more fun!
I am very happy to have Olga – the blogger behind The European Mama – visiting my Special Guest Thursday today!
Olga is a fellow Multicultural Kid Blogger and I love her style of writing, as well as her straight-forward ways of expressing her ideas and thoughts. Today Olga is sharing with me and you some tips and thoughts on Giving Birth Abroad!
Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Having a baby is no small undertaking. There are so many questions to ask yourself: Where to have the baby? Who will be present at birth? But above all, how will life with baby look like?
Now imagine that you are having this baby in a totally strange country. This situation raises many additional questions and can be problematic for many couples. As a mom who has had all of her three children abroad, I have learned a little about having children in a different culture. Here are some tips and advice for all of you who are expecting a baby abroad.
1) Cultural differences
Many cultures approach birth differently. In some countries, birth is considered a normal part of a woman’s life and doesn’t need extensive care of a doctor. In others, birth is dangerous and you need all the testing you can get to make sure you and you baby are OK. There are also many customs and traditions related to birth and the postpartum period. Pregnant women may be allowed some foods in certain countries and forbidden the same foods in others. This may be an additional reason for culture shock but also an opportunity to learn about other cultures.
2) Differences in quality of healthcare
While a lot of the customs and traditions surrounding births are cultural, some countries are definitely better to give birth in than others. This is not necessarily a West/the rest type of thing as many countries all over the world have fabulous healthcare systems and do their best to support moms and babies. On the other side, some expats find themselves in countries where the healthcare system is of bad quality, and labouring women are treated badly.
3) Your own expectations
I live in the Netherlands and have talked to many women about their experiences of giving birth here and what struck me is that they all had different expectations about what giving birth here will be like. In the Netherlands, women will have a midwife and will only be referred to a doctor when something goes wrong. Many women were very happy with this natural approach to birth while others were left worrying that the maternity system is of low quality and they felt that their access to pain relief was very limited. Depending on where you come from, your expectations may vary.
4) Money can be a problem
Unfortunately, your birth experience could depend on the amount of money you have available. In some countries you need to pay out-of pocket for the birth, in others you have insurance that covers everything. In yet others, you may have to give bribes in exchange for a better treatment (a separate room, an epidural, etc.) and in yet others, you may be treated better because you are a foreigner. I know it’s sad but in many countries this is the reality.
5) Your support network
If you are an expat mom, you may not have your family nearby. Likewise, your husband may not be welcome in the delivery room. Some countries offer a wonderful support network for expat women, consisting of doulas, birth educators, postpartum midwives and other birth professionals. If they are available, make use of them, they will make a huge difference in your birth experience. Think of your friends as well- they know what you’re going through, and will do their best to support you. And you can always consider asking your family to come.
6) Place of birth
While hospital birth is becoming the norm all over the world, some countries support out-of hospital births and women can have their babies at home, or at a birth centre (that can be either free-standing or attached to a hospital). Some friends of mine made the decision to go back to their own countries for the birth because they feel they will be better supported there- and may also receive better quality of care, and also because they’d have families to help out after birth.
There are so many decisions to be made when you have a baby abroad. Some women have more choices and possibilities than others, but there are some things all women can do. Try to gather as much information as possible to get an idea of how the system works in the country you are in. Be aware of your expectations and see if they can they be met- or maybe change your mind and go local! Consider the amount of money you’re willing to spend- and if it’s going to be reimbursed by your insurance. If you’re afraid that in the country you live, the healthcare system is not of good quality, consider going home for the birth if possible, or ask around to have the safest, best birth possible.
And when you’re giving birth abroad, you have the unique experience to learn how other cultures approach birth, what the challenges are. Learn from these experiences and use them to help other women who are pregnant after you.
Thank you for sharing, Olga!
As for the readers – have you given birth abroad before? What was your experience?