Thursday, July 10, 2014
5 Ways to Expose Your Child to Foreign Language
As an adoptive parent, it's important to me to continue to expose Katie and Hannah to Mandarin. My hope is that they will have some familiarity with it when we go back to visit China. Whether you're an adoptive parent or not, in today's global society, knowing a second language gives your child an edge. Read on for ways you can help that happen.
Many of my examples will be for learning Chinese, specifically Mandarin, but the ideas apply to any language, and there are some resources that are for multiple languages. Also, some links are affiliate links.
Homeschoolers tend to turn to books, regardless of what we're trying to expose our kids to! Amazon has more bilingual books for kids in Mandarin now than they did when we were in the process of adopting Hannah.
Usborne also has an extensive selection of Spanish books for kids, and resources worth checking out in German, French, ASL, and Chinese, too.
The Pet Dragon is a fabulous one for kids learning Mandarin or Cantonese, since it gives kids a visual picture to go with Chinese characters, making it easier to remember them.
You can even get books that will speak to your child. Chinese Learning Touch and Talk Kit (LOYO pen)
Little Pim comes in Spanish, Chinese, French, Italian, English/ESL, German, Japanese, Russian, Arabic, and Hebrew, and is available in DVD form, or, many of the episodes are FREE on Amazon Prime.
Speaking of FREE, try YouTube! Sure, you have to wade through some weird stuff, but there are some great things there, too. How about Fun Fun Elmo Mandarin Lessons?
Anyone teaching their kids ASL should know about Signing Time and Baby Signing Time. When Jack was little, he was speech delayed, so we used Baby Signs with him. In fact, he appears briefly in the Baby Signs Potty DVD.
Kids learn through play, and making a language FUN makes it easier to learn, right? Here are some toys that can help:
Chinese Character Blocks
My Chinese Coach - Nintendo DS
Magnetic Poetry Kids' Chinese Kit
Little Pim Mandarin Chinese Flash Cards for Kids
Chinese Learning Touch and Talk Kit (LOYO pen)
Children's Foreign Language Program
For young kids, I recommend Dino Lingo's program. It comes in over 80 languages! We reviewed it here, if you'd like to hear our personal experience with it.
For older kids, I recommend Mango Languages. We reviewed that one, too, but Hannah was too young for it.
We actually purchased a couple of CDs while we were in China, but you can also find foreign language music on Amazon. I have a worship CD on my Amazon wish list that comes in not only Mandarin, but also Russian, Korean, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swedish and German.
Also, if you're in an area where you can get radio in the language of your choice, it can be helpful to have that going in the background as you're doing other things.
It may sound silly, but Pinterest is a great resource for foreign language materials and activities, too. I have a board just for Learning Chinese, so I can keep track of ideas as I come across them. I also have a board that Brianna and I both pin to when we come across resources for learning Spanish, which she's planning to take in school.
Are you exposing your kids to another language? I'd love to hear what you're doing.
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