How to stay Bilingual on holiday!
This week we are back to sharing Our Bilingual Week with you, what we've been working on and our observations of our children's learning.
As you may have seen from Mammaprada Instagram we've just returned from a holiday in Cornwall. This is a really beautiful part of the UK and full of great outdoor activities if the weather holds!
So how do you keep your language learning on track while you're away. You may think it's easier when you're in a routine but going somewhere new can actually help bolster the learning for your children rather than throw them off course.
Here are some ways you can bring your minority language to life whilst on holiday:
When we go away we often eat slightly differently to when we're at home. Think of all the delicious local food you might try and unusual tastes you discover.
This is a great time to discuss with your children what they could try to eat and even if they don't want to have it you can teach them the words.
Polipo? Octopus anyone? My son loves this, my daughter doesn't but they both now know that this word in Italian is Polipo!
Even the most basic of holiday treats such as an ice cream can be a learning opportunity.
Which flavours would the children like? Describe them in the minority language.
Would like like a cone or a cup/tub? One scoop or two? A scoop in Italian is a palla. Meaning ball, the same as the ball you kick. You can point these things out as you discuss them and they will stay in your children's memory more easily.
We visited an Aquarium while we were away and it was the perfect moment to show them crabs, lobster, bass and other types of marine life.
Even when you're on the beach looking at the rockpools and shells. Show your children which ones have creatures inside. Little snails, barnacles. Everywhere you look you will start to see opportunities for new vocabulary.
Have the children been making sand castles? Using their fishing nets? What did they find in them?
Just use these natural moments where you are chatting to your children about what they are enjoying.
Ask them about everything in your minority language instead or start by just giving them the words of the creatures in the second language.
You will find them much more receptive as the focus is on their exciting discoveries rather than feeling put on the spot.
We love talking about this in the UK! Hopefully wherever you go you'll have lovely weather.
We found because we were right on a harbour and had a view out to the horizon that the weather and sun, clouds were much more visible than at home.
My children loved coming in our room in the morning and sitting in the window looking at the sun rising. Yes that was how early they got up!
However it was actually quite useful as they started to realise in a much more tangible way that the sun was getting higher in the sky and rises.
How bright it is, the colours and much more. We encouraged them to describe it to us and because they were excited about it they were passionate in doing so.
Words of the day
As you can see from the topics above we had lots of vocabulary to draw on last week. We didn't write out our words of the day whilst we were away but we discussed our day over dinner each night and what we had seen and experienced.
Ask questions in the minority language such as 'What was your favourite part of the day?'. You can tailor these questions to encourage them to repeat some of the things you've taught them. Such as "Oh you loved the Aquarium, which was your favourite fish?". "How many shells did you find?".
For us no matter what amazing site we've just taken the children to the best part of their day is when they have ice cream and go to a playground!
Join our Facebook Group!
You may have noticed this week I've been launching a new facebook group.
This is for parents of bilingual children/multilinguals or those of you who don't speak a second language but would like your children to.
I will be sharing my posts about bilingual children, plus research and stories from others.
There will also be a constant open dialogue if you need to ask questions, get advice on resources or just have a rant one day when things aren't working!
I hope you find it useful and comment with what you'd like to see as well. The group is for you all as part of the Mammaprada community and I want you to find it valuable.