How I play with my bilingual children in the car

Which language should I speak to my bilingual baby- (3)

During the month of June, I am going on Facebook Live every single day at 8:30PM EST and hosting live videos where I share actionable tips and strategies and little nuggets of information on the topic of raising bilingual children.

You can find a collection of the videos by clicking here!

To celebrate the videos, I am offering 30% off the Bilingual Avenue Members’ Club so if you have been on the fence about joining, this is the time! You can learn more about the club here.

The Question

On week 1 of the video series I focused on how to establish a solid foundation for language journey. 

Week 2 was all about overcoming common obstacles that bilingual families face.

Week 3 is all about how I do things in my own home.  If you want a peek into how I interact with my bilingual children, check these out.  I share my favorite resources and the strategies I use with my daughter and my son!

To wrap up the week of how I do things, I wanted to answer a question from one of the members from the Bilingual Avenue Club, Tamara. 

All annual members get a 30-minute consultation when they join the club so we can closely work through their questions or concerns for their family’s language journey.   

During our chat, Tamara was talking about different times of day where she is looking to add more exposure to Spanish for her son and the car ride was one of them.

She asked for more strategies or games that she could use to make those car rides fun and full of Spanish interactions.

Keeping up with the theme of how I do things, I wanted to share with Tamara and you the listener some of the things we do when we are in the car.

The answerMy son is nine months old so for him, I focus on signing in Spanish.  I sing all kinds of Spanish songs. Sometimes it’s the traditional nursery rhymes, sometimes I make up on my own.  He’s easy to please and does not judge y terrible voice!

The songs are nothing fancy but they do typically have lots of repetition. I then sing the same song when we are not in the car so he makes the connection and the songs become familiar to him!

For my daughter, since she is older there are several strategies I like to use.

While we lived in Germany, we had a chance to take a lot of road trips.  Many of them were multi hours so we had to get creative to keep her entertained while in the back seat.  Here are some examples?

  1. Can you find the (blank)?

I have to give my husband Todd the credit for this one!  He filled up a plastic jar with small objects and color beads.  Check out the picture below to get an idea of what our jar looked like!

IMG_1125

The idea is that our daughter can shake the jar and move it around.  We in the front seat will ask her, can you find the blank…shiny star, small blue car, smiley face, etc.  We obviously have an idea of what the objects so we know what to ask but we try to add adjectives as well to add more depth to the activity.

2) We are going to the store!

Another skill we try to work on a lot is memory!  It’s a foundation of language development that is often overlooked.  We are often so focused on work production that we forget other elements such as memory. 

A simple memory booster that we like to play is one that we call “We are going to the store to get …”  I usually start off and mention something that I am going to pick at the store.  Then I will turn it over to her.  She has to say what I picked up and then add one more thing to the list.  I keep this up until we have a few items on our list and then depending on how she is doing we start a new list.

3) Audio Books

We do lots of audio books in the car.  She loves them!  We get ours from the library which is great and affordable except they only have them in English.  When we want to pick up books in Spanish we go to Audible.  They have some great titles. 

If you want to check them out, you can head over to BilingualAvenueBooks.com and you can try it out for free for a month.  If you use that link then you are also helping the podcast at no cost to you!  You could also always make your own audio books.

4) Guess Who?

I love to play Guess Who? with kids.  There is just so much language that you can infuse when you are describing a person or a character.  When possible, I prefer to play the game itself so that there is a visual that go along with what your child is describing.

However, in the car, we just talk through it.  My daughter is not at the point where she can select the character and person and have us guess.  But she can do it the other way around. 

Either my husband Todd or I will describe a character to her and I try to have her guess. Depending on who it is she can guess fairly quick or it can take her a while.  She really enjoys this game but I find that we can only really get in about one character per car ride.

So what games do you like to play with your children in the car?  Would any of the ones I shared be something that your children may be interested in?

We have evolved our own games as our daughter has gotten older and I imagine we’ll continue to do so.  We are now finding ways to incorporate our little guy as well so right now when we are all together there is lots of singing happening in the car! 

Alright well I hope you found today’s episode helpful.  You can find a list of the activities I described and a picture of our “Can you find the blank” jar on the show notes page for this episode at bilingualavenue.com/episode126

And just one last reminder that during the month of June, I am offering 30% off the Bilingual Avenue Members’ Club to celebrate the daily live videos I am doing on Facebook. 

You can find out more about the June special at bilingualavenue.com/facebooklive

May you have fun travels on your language journey.  Hope to see you again on the Avenue!

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