Language Learning

5 Ways to Get Your Bilingual Kids Talking

I always treasure the opportunities to bond with my son and get him to talk to me. For me, the walk to school in the morning (and sometimes pick up) is a great time to get my son to talk. I try to make it fun and use games as much as I can. Here are five fun games you can use to get your bilingual kids talking (and help them practice their vocabulary!)

 

ways to get your bilingual kids talking

 

1. Play “Veo, veo.”     

The Spanish version of “I Spy.” I have played one of two ways: The first way simply consists of saying “Veo veo con mi ojito veo…” and then you describe something that you see. The child can guess until s/he guesses.

  1. In the second version, two people ask each other questions:

Veo, veo   (I see,I see)
  -¿Qué ves? (What do you see?)
Una cosa (A thing?)
  –¿Qué cosa? / (What thing?)
Maravillosa…/ (Marvelous)
  – ¿De qué color? (What color is it?) (or a similar question)
Verde/ Green (the color of the object)

2. Play necessity/want

I just came up with this with my 6 year old son. We were walking and I was talking to him about the difference between what we need and what we want. So I said, “I’m going to say something and you tell me if it is a need (una necesidad) or a want (un deseo).” He thought of it as a game and after I had gone through the obvious things (like a house, water, food, shoes) I threw in some things that were clearly NOT necessities (like toys).

This game is also a good way to talk about how many children in the world are not as privileged and do not have many of the things we consider needs — like access to clean water for example, or that things we think of as necessities, like toilets, some people do not have in their homes.

My son threw ME a curve ball when he asked to get a turn…he said “What about God? Is that a need or a want?”

3. Yes or No?

This one may be harder for younger kids who may get frustrated when they lose. The idea is simple, you ask questions and the answers cannot have the words yes or no. It’s a good way to get kids to think about other ways to express themselves and build vocabulary!

4. Favorite/least favorite moment of the day

This is a good one to do during dinner time, and a good way to get kids to share what more about their day… shout out to our friends from Mundo Lanugo who shared this game with us when they came to visit us in NYC!

I’ve also heard this game called “high point and low point” but I think that emphasizes the negative in LOW so I’d rather not call it this way.

5. Designate a day of the week as specific to that language.

At home we try to do #FrenchFridays… watching a movie in French for example, or eating something French, or playing a game in French. You can also do SpanishSaturdays, host a playdate in Spanish on that day or attend a class in the target language.

 

Tell me mamás & papás, how do you  get your bilingual kids talking?

 

*This post is part of MomsRising’s #BilingualRisers campaign. Check out their resources in English and Spanish.
Diana Limongi
welcome! I'm a Latina working mom from Astoria, NY, mom to a trilingual four-year old. I blog about motherhood, Latino issues, women's issues, work/life balance, food, parenting and raising my multilingual and multicultural son!

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