P is for Phonological Awareness in Toddlers

Working with age group birth to 3 years old is my most favourite. It is such an amazing thing – observing a child growing, developing, and learning first step, first words, first emotions. 

Today I’d like to talk about Phonological Awareness in Toddlers. But before I start, let me share with you what it means:

Phonological awareness is the ability to divide spoken language into units, such as words and syllables. Before diving into individual sounds within words (phonemic awareness), we teach children to pay attention to more obvious sounds. We start with environmental noises, then move into sentences, whole words, and then syllables...

Source: Sightwords.com

As a bilingual Montessori instructor I work mostly with children whose first language is not English. And while  phonological awareness in toddlers happens naturally at home where they are in their mother tongue’s environment, in the classroom I have to emphasize it in order to promote proper pronunciation of sounds, words, sentences; assist with general development of the articulation (which can be quite different from the one of  English language); and guide them to making them speak English as comfortably as possible. 

I would like to share some tips and tricks with you that help me in the classroom. You can use them for any language, whether it is a primary one, or a minority one.

1. Read to children. Yes, you already know that! Reading works wonders on language development. But reading with emphasis on sounds and words, enhancing your articulation will shows toddlers and babies how the mouth forms a sound or a word. 

2. Speak clearly in simple sentences. This is important. Young children don’t have a vast vocabulary to understand your sophisticated words. They respond much better to sentences that short and simple. For example, “Please, pick up the toy”, or “Let’s wash hands”. 

3. Avoid baby talk. Even if it is so tempting with that cute little munchkin who is just so adorable! No, really. Avoid it. Words of endearment are fine. But spoken in a creepy voice the sounds get really messed up and there is a lot of confusion! I like how Chinese people I am around do use extra soft vocal intonations when talking to babies but they persist very much when it comes to speaking the sounds properly. After all, phonetically Chinese is quite hard and even for native speakers the process of learning it never stops. 

4. Play games that involve sounds. It could be anything from how the animals talk to how the engines sound. It is fun, and it is helpful. 

5. Sing your heart out! I can never get enough of stressing how much singing the words helps with phonological awareness and pronunciation in general. Even if you are not so gifted with singing, chant the words and rhymes, and songs. We sing a lot of songs in my classes! 

I’d like to add that while I find phonetics a useful and very important part of any language system, I don’t think they should be emphasized and mindlessly taught to any child. So I hope what you read above you take it as a completary part of teaching/learning the language that can assist you in order to make your job cut out for you! 

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

It’s time again for another fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC!  All this month you can look forward to 31 more days of activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet.

I am so happy to be working with an amazing group of kid bloggers, who will be sharing their ideas with us in the coming days. So join us as we jump, skip, hop, and read our way through the alphabet this October!

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!

31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: J is for Jirafa (Giraffe) – Spanish Coloring Page

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion Craft

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter

N – October 15

All Done Monkey: N Is for Nature Crafts

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owl Bookmark Printable

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya

Q – October 18

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Q Is for Quito

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Robot

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for Truck

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Teach Me Mommy: Y Is for Yarn Letters

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Creative World of Varya: Montessori Inspired Printable

Prewriting – October 29

Witty Hoots

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Witty Hoots: Top 5 List

Printables – October 31

Royal Baloo and Logi-Bear Too

Five Things I learned Mothering Multilingual Children


When I was little, I knew I wanted to learn foreign languages. I dreamed of traveling to other cities and countries. I was and I still am fascinated with travels and cultures.

I have asked myself a question when I was younger whether I saw myself getting married to someone from another culture, country and leaving my “nest”. It was some kind of distant dream and I was inspired by beautiful stories about such marriages from books and movies.

I can’t say that the reality is not exciting
or boring. But being in a multicultural marriage and bringing up a multicultural family is work. Being a parent is work, whether it is in the same culture or not. There are challenges, but there are plenty of rewards. The main one being assured that your children are growing up embracing the world as their home. Embracing all people as equal, despite the nationality. Despite the race. Despite the social status.

We are also fortunate enough to experience the world through an expat experience. I personally think it is even more challenging being a third culture kid (TCK) who speaks several languages. But again – there are great rewards and benefits in that.

My oldest speaks 3 languages. My second speaks 1, understands 2 more. And our youngest, who still doesn’t speak one, seems to have a good understanding of 3 languages as well.

Mothering multilingual children has some interesting sides and I wanted to share 7 things I learned so far in the process.

1. Choose a method for supporting your mother tongue that suits you the best: you can go OPOL (one parent – one language) and stick to it stricly; or you can switch languages – the results may or may not be the same. But the amount of exposure is great either way.

2. If your child is resisting speaking his/her mother tongue – don’t get upset. Keep up with it, encourage in gentle ways. You don’t really want your child to hate your language, do you? In reality, there WILL be time when the need will arise to learn and to speak it. And your child WILL show more interest.

3. We are raising global citizens. Exposing them to as many languages as possible will not confuse them: it will give them more chances to use different parts of their conscious and subconscious, develop them in the ways we never had a chance to develop.

4. Where there is a will – there is a way. We are so fortunate that we have tons of free and paid resources available for learning languages. And that multilingualism exists and is promoted all over the world. No matter how busy you are, there is always an opportunity to find these materials and use them.

5. Follow your gut feeling. And when you ask for advice on how to support a language at home – filter the answers according to what suits you and your family best. There will always be people giving you grieve about not being consistent with one language or another. Do not let them discourage you or worry too much. Everyone learns in their own pace.

Reading the above, you probably wonder why I am coming so strong with my statements and where I get these ideas. Quick look at my 3 children:

Miss T. Started off by speaking Russian to her but when we travelled to Russia I spoke English and I was told I was confusing her. She was 23 months when she chose English as her first language. At 3 she used to scream at me not to speak Russian to her. At 5 she was thrilled with the fact that her cousins speak Russian and insisted I teach her. She was already fluent in Mandarin by then. Now, at 7+ she is understands about 70% of what I say in Russian and responds in about 40% of times. She is still eager to learn. And we are working on it

Miss A. Spoke Russian to her and switch to English occasionally till she was 2. She didn’t speak much till she was 3. Chose English. Knows Russian alphabet and numbers, can recognize them randomly. Understands 70% of what I say. Refuses to respond in Russian. I am not pushing. She is also learning Mandarin Chinese in school. Has excellent memory and remembers all songs she ever learned in 3 languages. I suspect she also understands 40% of what my mother-in-law says in Farsi.

Mini Man. At 20 months he understands and follows 3 languages simultaneously: Russian, English and Farsi. He doesn’t speak much. But words he says, he speaks them in 3 languages. He will definitely choose English as his first because it is the language in the family. But I hope he will respond more in Russian and Farsi soon!

So, this is what I learned Mothering multilingual children. How about your experience?

Please join us in celebrating International Mother Language Day on February 27th! Join our Facebook Group to see more posts dedicated to this celebration!

Language4Kidz {Material Review}


As you know, I am a language teacher, and I have majored (once upon a time) in Roman Philology and teaching English and French. To be honest, I have completely “abandoned” my French and concentrated my attention on English since it was more in demand when I first started teaching and it is still in demand now.

However, throughout my expat years in China, I have met many French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese speaking people and it always fascinated me how much I could understand, especially in writings, since I studied French and Latin at school and at the university.

Being a member of Multicultural Kid Blogs brings me all sorts of interesting opportunities and I have recently been given one to review language material from Language4Kidz.Com

All materials below were provided me free of charge by Language4Kidz.Com, however, all opinions are my own and have not been influenced by anyone.

I have reviewed the following materials in Spanish on my own since they were a little complicated for my children who have no basic knowledge of Spanish. I was pleasantly surprised I could read and understand about 60-70% of the instructions without translation, granted, I never studied Spanish (thank you, my university and school French teachers, for drilling my knowledge that has helped me be more comfortable with other Latin based language!).

I liked how the lessons were structured: there were clear outlines of every part, very detailed instructions in Spanish, and, as I read later when I scrolled down, in English.

The activities and songs are interesting and they address children’s current level of Spanish.

Two songs that came with the materials – Buenos Dias! and Million de Amigos – are sung very clearly, with defined pronunciation of sounds. Actually, my 3 year old could follow them quite well!

There were 2 ebooks included – Brallaras and Que Te Gusta. Both books have excellent graphics, very inviting and, though, I didn’t understand everything, I could still read and sound the words.

The same goes for two other books in English – Can you see? and Pets all over. Those will be very useful in my ESL classes as they give a lot of room for creativity and practice of language skills.

All in all, I would like to complement Graciela, the founder of Language4Kidz, for creating such interesting curricula!

If you are looking for easy to use and well-structured materials to teach your children/students Spanish and English, I would absolutely recommend you to take a look at Language4Kidz materials!

You can follow their Facebook Page , Pinterest and YouTube Channel for updates and freebies!


ABC Mobile


Summer is almost over and in many countries children are starting going back to school. For us school starts on September 1st so we are spending the rest of the summer enjoying various activities.

I am happy to participate in 5 days series called Fun Ways to Play with ABC’s hosted by Something 2 Offer. In this series for the next 5 days we will introduce various ways to plays with ABC’s, each day for a different age group.

For the first day, I am introducing an ABC mobile I made for infants, in a category of Homemade Ideas. At the end of my post I will suggest easier ways of making this mobile.
Mobile toys are one of the first interactive toys babies may see. There are so many on the market: with or without music; wind up ones and battery operated ones; ones that move and once that don’t. You can also make your own mobiles and it is super easy.

For this ABC’s mobile I used the following materials:
Upcycle fabric (mine is leftovers from the fabric I used to make a dress for my daughter; you can use an old pillow case, sheet or dress)
Craft ribbon
Double sided tape
Isolation tape
Wire hanger
Sewing machine
Old teddy bear (or pillow) for stuffing


1. To make the base for the mobile:
– You can use an old hanger made from thinnest wire. Bend it into a circle, triangle or square.
– To secure and make it look better, tape over with an isolation tape. Mine is of a pretty red color! Set it aside.


2. To make the letters:
– Decide on the size and trace the letter on a piece of folded fabric so you have 2 sides which you need to stitch together.
– Stitch the sides by hand or using sewing machine, leaving space to put the stuffing through.
– Stuff it and stitch the opening. Repeat with the rest of the letters

Easier version: use felt or thick carton to cut out your letters. In the case with carton you can use sticky craft paper to decorate over.
– Using craft ribbon, cut out stripes. In my case to make it thicker, I used double sided tape and folded the ribbon into 3 and secured it. Then stitched by hand to the letters.


3. Assembling the mobile:
– Using double sided tape, stick a piece of it to the other end of the craft ribbon you just stitched to the letter.
– Fold the ribbon over the mobile, securing the edge with tape on it so it is tightly wrapped around the circle. Secure all the letters.
– Using a larger piece of craft ribbon, repeat the same process with double sided tape in order to make a “handle” which you will use to hang the mobile (see the very first picture at the beginning of the post for reference.)

I would suggest not to put more than 3-4 letters at a time. You can change them weekly and hang above the baby’s crib during his awake time. While talking to the baby you can also name the letters to him.

One great thing about the letters I made, once child is older they can be given to.him to play with – simply detach and cut off the ribbon.

Some ideas for stuffing: to make it much safer and completely allergy-free, use pieces of fabric for stuffing.
To ensure better sensory experience once the child is able to  hold the toy, you can add some beans inside with the stuffing.
Supervision is required, especially if you stuff beans inside.

Please visit our Landing Page for Homemade Ideas to read more posts from other participating blogs!


Special Guest Thursday: Game For Preschoolers {La Cité des Vents}

It is ironic how I fought to be put in French learning group at school, then went to a University insisting on majoring in French, just to end up finally speaking more English and being mostly an English teacher. I always feel a wave of warmth whenever I speak with French speakers or read something French.

Hence I am very pleased to introduce Eolia from La Cité des Vents, a fellow MKB blogger, with a simple but engaging game for preschoolers: differences and similarities.

P1000308 - CopieEolia is a french expat near Frankfurt (Germany) for 10 months now. She likes to explore her new living area, raise her two young children and share her thoughts and discoveries in her blog La Cité des Vents.
You can follow Eolia on her FB page, Twitter, Pinterest and G+.

The toys are having a picnic! Look closely at the two pictures and answer the questions.


1 / Find the SEVEN differences in these two pictures.

2 / Complete the following table with the elements you see on the both pictures:

Object Quantity: picture on the left Quantity: picture on the right



1/ not in the same place: garlic, blue duck, green paprika; switched: red and green cups, carrots; added orange bowl; without a red wooden cube.

2/ Picture on the left: red 5, yellow 6, green 9 (8 + ananas leaves), blue 8, orange 3, purple 1, white 3, pink 4, animals 11, crockery (11 + pan).

Picture on the right: red 4, yellow 6, green 9, blue 8, orange 4, purple 1, white 3, pink 4, animals 11, crockery (12 + pan).



La Cité des Vents

Special Guest Thursday: Learning New Words Through Drawing {Multilingual Parenting}

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 –

Cooking Series: Homemade Pizza

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?

100 Ways to Encourage Foreign Language Learning

Little Artists pictures2
100th day of school is a huge thing in some countries. It also a sign that at least half of the school year has passed.  To celebrate 100th day of school, 20 bloggers from Kid Blogger Network have joined together to bring you some exciting activities and information related to education.
While I do mention multilingualism on my blog and I post activities that I do with children in my ESL and other classes, I don’t post much on the theory or practical advice on how to encourage foreign language learning. Participating in 100th day of school is a great chance for me to summarize my thoughts and ideas and the ones of fellow bloggers and put together a good collection that anyone can easily access and use when they decide to add a foreign language in their household or assist their child with learning one at school.
In every language we have 4 aspects: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Then we have grammar and phonetics (pronunciation and spelling). Since all languages are different and so is the writing system (some use Cyrillic alphabet, some – Latin, some use special character that need to be memorized, some use character system where characters are linked into syllables and words and more). Nevertheless, the general idea of encouraging any language learning is the same. I have seen it with Russian, English, French, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Hindi, Tamil and few more languages whose structures I have actually studied either thoroughly or just for comparative reasons.
If you noticed, I stress all 4 parts of speech: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. All 4 should be in balance and since they are interconnected it is hard to write about one without writing about another.
Before you proceed to reading the recommendations below, I want to answer a question which I am often asked: When is the best time to start learning a foreign language? My answer: NOW. And with children – as early as possible. Despite some popular opinions on language confusion, children actually have much more structured approach to languages which we still don’t understand and introducing more than 1 language at an early age results even if not in fluency of the other languages (besides a mother tongue) but at least in grasping the concept of other languages and it makes it easier for children to learn and understand foreign languages down the road of the lives.
Below are in fact over 100 ideas on how to encourage foreign language learning organized into 50+ main points. My fellow bloggers are offering many great ideas so I didn’t want to sound too repetitive and just offered you their links for reference.  Enjoy!
1. First things first: whether you speak the language you would like to introduce or not,  all you need is your desire to start. And patience. It will be the world of discoveries for you and your child. Here are some interesting posts from my fellow bloggers over at Multicultural Kid Blogs Community:
Open Wide the WorldIntroducing Second Language to Your Toddler… Even if You Aren’t Bilingual
Kid World CitizenBilingualism in Adoptive Families
                                              Benefits of Being Multilingual
Wander Mama –          Fostering Language: A Family Affair
Bilingual  Kids RockHow to Raise a Bilingual Child
Miss Panda ChineseBilingual Parenting Tips
Spanish Playground21 Ideas to Add Spanish to Bedtime
In the Playroom –           Helping Your Child’s Speech and Language
Trilingual Mama –           Encouraging Baby Talk
Dad’s The Way I like ItBeing a Bilingual Parent
2. Start out slowly. Even 5 minutes a day are productive over a long period of time. I have students who come to study once a week, 1 hour at a time. They simply review at home whenever they can. And over a long period of time they do get understanding and feeling of the language.
3. A child is a child. There will be reluctance, short attention span, you will forget, skip and switch languages. Don’t give up – start again the next day!
4. We have what is called active memory and passive memory. Active memory contains vocabulary and knowledge which we use daily. Passive memory contains the rest. Give your child a credit and you’ll be amazed to notice that even though he/she used to run around during a cartoon session or your , as would seem at the time futile, attempts to introduce the flashcards, he/she will suddenly utter words that you didn’t even know he/she knew!
5. Don’t stress too much if you don’t see any progress. Have fun and remember – you are learning too!
6. Don’t be afraid of your own accent – we ALL have accents. Even the Native speakers who live in different countries where the language is native or even different parts of the same country.
7. Your own confidence is really the key. I am not talking about being determined to push the language at whatever cost – I am talking about you believing in your abilities. My mother, who barely speaks English, helps my nephew with his English homework. And my nephew’s English is much better than hers. She just believes in her ability and she takes time to understand and help him.
8. You can designate a room in the house where everyone only speaks a certain language. It is a good reminder, especially for older children, and helps them get more organized. It also helps children who are reluctant to speak foreign languages at home.
9. You can also choose days of the week when you only speak a foreign language. A friend of mine who is also raising trilingual children (he is Russian, his wife is Chinese and they speak English to each other) has successfully implemented “1 day – 1 language” principle. So, say, Monday they speak Russian, Tuesday – English, Wednesday – Chinese, Thursday – Russian again, Friday – English, Saturday – Chinese. And Sunday – they mix languages. Of course that was done within the comfort of their home. If they went out – they had to speak whatever language that was required at that point of time.
10. Take an opportunity – travel with your child! It doesn’t have to be the physical travel. You can travel virtually too! In other words – study geography with your child. Especially of the countries where people speak the language you are encouraging.
Here are few resources you can use to introduce geography to encourage language learning:
The Educator’s Spin On ItPinterest Board on Bilingual Babies and World’s Geography.
Kid World CitizenSpending the Summer Abroad: Mexico.
Learn to Play At Home5 Top Tips to Prepare your Child for Overseas Travel
Dad’s the Way I Like ItBeing a Multilingual and Multimedia Parent
11. Use Internet to find pen pals and Skype with Kids Around the World like Kid World Citizen does!
12. Take the travel and geography further: move to another country. Total immersion is always the best way to go!
Read about Glittering Muffin‘s experience on their Move (almost) Across a Bilingual Country.
13. Don’t be afraid to use media (TV programs, cartoons, movies, radio) to help your child learn: they DO learn and pick up faster. Just remember moderation! I have vaguely covered this topic before in my post Top 10 Ways to Utilize Screen Time for Learning. 
14. My favorite part of learning any language is… craft. Yes, craft! Because you can do so much with craft: learn and review words, phrases, make cultural craft of the country where people speak the language and more!
Check out the following posts:
Kid World CitizenUsing Craft for Language Learning
Creative World of Varya – Creative Tuesday: Fun With Alphabet
15. Cook together. I am participating in a great project – Around The World in 12 Dishes and every month we travel to a different country to explore the culture through cooking a dish or two. It has also helped my picky eater to dare to try some new foods. Here is some more on the subject:
Miss Panda ChineseLet’s Make Chinese Dumplings!
Creative World of VaryaAround the World in 12 Dishes
16. Sing and dance! Music always helps the learning process. I use music in my home and in my classes to encourage language development and creativity.
Miss Panda Chinese has a number of videos on her YouTube channel where she uses music for learning.
17. Rhymes, poems, story books – read to and with your child. And you can always translate them to give your child a better understanding, just like I wrote about it my guest post for Multicultural Kid Blogs.
18. Sticking to the concept “1 parent – 1 language” has helped many families with nurturing a second/third/foreign language.
19. However, switching languages when your child is older is fine – the Piri-piri Lexicon wrote a great post on how it does work well for families. I quote: “It requires a very large amount of linguistic competence and is usually a good indicator of the said competence “.
20. Learn about history of the language and history of the countries. It helps children understand cultural aspects and relate to the people who speak this language.
21. Learn about and do something to commemorate/celebrate special occasions of the countries where the language is spoken. Here, I get back to cooking dishes, making craft, singing folk songs and even dressing up in national costumes.
22. We have been given technology for a reason: not to self-engage when we are out and ignore the rest of the world, but to help us with easing our lives. There are tons of applications you can download for your children to encourage language learning. Here are some suggestions for fellow bloggers:
Miss Panda ChineseTop 5 Chinese Learning Apps for Kids
23. Language games. Especially young children learn best through play. Memory game, find something…, I spy…
Here are some ideas on how to do it:
Multilingual ParentingThe Game of the Day – Word Play!
Multilingual ParentingFun Games with Words
Raising a Trilingual ChildMixing Art, Material Objects and Imagination.
24. Board games. Using your child’s favorite board games you can introduce new vocabulary and practice old. Figuring out the steps in a foreign language adds to the fun!
25.  Introducing phonetic system and phonetic awareness by listening, reading, writing and speaking them out.
You can see how it is done over at Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes in Frances’s post on Spanish Syllables: Learning to Read which we wrote for Spanish Playground.
Here’s another interesting approach to introduction of the phonetic system by Raising Trilingual Children in their post Teaching The Letter Sounds Before Teaching Letter Names.
26. Working on pronunciation. And by that I don’t mean the accent – I mean correct pronunciation of sounds and words. Here are some tips from Raising a Trilingual Child on how to correct your child’s pronunciation problems.
Here’s a good example on how to use your mother tongue to associate with the sounds in a foreign language – Sarah of A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy introduces the concept in her post on English Pronunciation: Letter H.
27. Pre-writing and writing. Learning shapes, tracing, scribbling, coloring letters and later practising their writing – all of this helps with language development as you can use verbs, adjectives, nouns and adverbs in the process for children to hear and understand (let’s trace! let’s color! color it green! show me your letter!).
28. Labels around the house – this is one of my most favorite parts of learning the language! Glittering Muffins offers these print outs for French and English playroom labels. Making some yourself or have your child help you make them will add to the fun! Spanish Playground suggest 40 Ways to Use Sticky Notes to Teach Kids Spanish – great tips that are suitable for other languages too.
29. Making memories in new language. The Educator’s Spin on it offers a great idea on making a Family Book and Paper Bag Color Book.
30. In Russian we have a saying, that literally translates as “Repetition – is the Mother of Learning”. In other words, repeat, repeat and repeat again as that is how children remember words!
31. Explore your surroundings. Whenever you go out – talk about things like The Educator’s Spin on It does and use environmental print to help them remember. With younger babies you can collect and make herbariums, seashells, rocks, bring them home and use to make collages with labels.
32. Shopping. It is another great way to encourage language development in general – take your time going shopping, let your child touch safe items and name them together. It works great for young babies too, especially if they are reluctant to sit in the cart or the pram.
33. Flashcards. Make them or buy them. They are great, especially for babies. A friend of mine instructed her nanny to sit down with her at that time infant and show her the cards and name them in Chinese. She did it in 2 other languages as well. I think it is brilliant. I use flashcards with my children as well.
34. Talk to your child. Even if he/she responds in another language – continue speaking the language you want to introduce.
35. Encourage your child to answer in the same language. Ask simple questions that require simple answers.
36. If you are teaching your own mother tongue to your children – make sure to show them your pride of your heritage.
Here are 2 articles that mention this concept:
Laguno – Tackling Preschool Worries When Raising Bilingual and Bicultural Children.
Bilingual Kids Rock – How to Foster Children’s Pride in Their Minority Culture and Language
37. Improvise with your children’s food and snack like Raising a Trilingual Child!
38. Catch the grammar early. It is ok to correct your child. However, it shouldn’t be done in the following manner: “No! We don’t say like that! We say like this!” Instead, rephrase what your child said. E.g. My older daughter still mixes regular and irregular verbs in past tense (which is ok, she is only 5!). So she would say something like: “We goed there yesterday” to which I say: “That’s right! We went there yesterday!” Here’s an insightful post from Raising a Trilingual  ChildShould I Correct My Child’s Speaking?
39. Involve your child’ all 5 senses into the language learning, just as Trilingual Mama suggests in her post about Reinforcing Language Through Manual Activities.
40. Even as Native speakers we sometimes don’t use grammar correctly. Getting some insights on proper grammar and educating ourselves helps us introduce the language at its best.
41. Motivate the children. I like some suggestions from A Hotchpotch Hijabi in Italy where she talks about Motivating Children in Class. These tips could be applied to your own household.
42. Reward your child. Any system you use in general will work. Stickers, stamps, words of encouragement – whatever works for you!
43. Memorize some simple quotations, proverbs and sayings.
44. Use tongue-twisters – they help with pronunciation and they are simply fun!
45. Organize movie nights for the whole family related to the language you learn.
46. Involve friends and family. If you know anyone who speaks even a bit of the language you are encouraging in your family – let your children practice with them.
47. There is always tutoring. This can be expensive, but if you can afford it – it sometimes helps a child learn better with an actual teacher than at home. And at home you can review!
48. Homework. Yes. Homework. It can be anything – from coloring a picture, to writing few lines of words.
49.  Organize theme parties for your child’s friends by using cultural aspects, food and craft from the countries of the languages you learn.
50. Visit museums and exhibitions if possible to discover more about cultures and countries.
51. Take your older children to language summer camps. They would love it!
52. Give your child an opportunity to apply for a scholarship in another country!
53. Host an exchange student.
54. Let your child to be an exchange student – it is a fun experience.
55. If you are a family who is willing to adopt a child – try international adoption. I highly recommend in this case reading more over at Kid World Citizen as they have successful experience and share it on their blog.
56. Encourage your child to write a journal in the foreign language – writing and expressing thoughts is what helped me improve my English tremendously when I was much younger.
If you notice that I haven’t covered an idea or a way to encourage foreign language learning – share with me! I’ll be happy to add it and credit you!
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Creative Tuesday: Flashback – TP Roll Candy

TP roll candy

We had so much fun last year making this TP Roll and Tissue Paper Candy with toddlers, that I modified this activity to make with older children. I can repeat it over and over again – this can make a great gift as well as a decoration. You just need to put the actual candy, packed nuts, packed chocolates (like, mini-chocolate bars) or even mini-packs of dried fruit, as well as small toys, pack away and give to your family and friends!

The principle of making this TP Roll Candy is the same as in the link I provided above, we just took a piece of plain paper and colored it and we used decorative ribbons instead of threads to tie the ends.

TP roll candy 2


Miss A who is almost 19 months old loved participating in the coloring part along with the older children! She had a blast!

TP roll candy 1


This activity helps develop creativity, sense of color, fine motor skills, pincer grasp and assists language development (as well as foreign language due to color naming and naming of the verbs of action and movement).