Each May as another school year comes to an end, parents ask us for ways to maintain their child’s language learning. We want to send our students off with tips to help them keep building on the skills they’ve learned at Spanish Schoolhouse! Here’s a treasure trove of suggestions. It takes a little effort on the parents’ part, but we know that the investment of time will pay off! We hope that you’ll find one or more to try and see what works best with your child.
Stories and Songs Entertain in Every Language
Summer days are great for relaxing with a good book. Stop by your local library or bookstore and you’ll likely find a variety of children’s books in Spanish. Many are bilingual or Spanish editions of books you already have in English, so they’re great refreshers if mom’s or dad’s Spanish isn’t up to par with their little ones’ skills!
Libraries also have Spanish music CDs, software, and DVDs to check out. While you’re driving there, scan the airwaves for Spanish language radio stations. You’ll hear lively beats and catchy tunes, and you may find yourself singing along even if you’re not a Spanish speaker. Play the tunes in your living room for fun dance parties with your kids!
Apps and Websites for Tech-Savvy Kids
We know today’s kids are tech-savvy! Check out our Resources page on the Spanish Schoolhouse website for a list of some of the many apps that put language learning at your kids’ fingertips. These have great content that is engaging and educational for a range of age groups.
Let’s Play School!
Science shows that teaching others is a highly effective method for learning and reinforcing knowledge. Kids love to “play school” and especially to be the teacher. Encourage your child to teach some Spanish to a sibling, friend, cousin, or to you! Together you can make labels for common items around the house, and build up your family’s vocabulary day to day.
TV with a Twist
Pop the popcorn and settle in for movie time – en español. Check to see if your family’s favorite movies have a Spanish language setting, and switch to that as often as possible. We know you may get some resistance when using Spanish media sources. Even the most enthusiastic SSH kiddos may complain, but don’t worry! The transition may be easier than you realize. Chances are, they know the storylines so well they won’t miss a beat when they’re watching and listening in Spanish. And if they really resist, blame it on us! Tell them their maestras said it’s homework for the summer!
Find International Experiences Around Town
Besides the at-home opportunities to keep the Spanish language alive, there are great resources around town for language and cultural experiences. Look for Spanish Story Time sessions at libraries and bookstores. You may also find bilingual playgroups or social groups on sites such as MeetUp.com.
Keep an eye out for local events with a Latin flair! You may find cooking demonstrations or classes at grocery stores or restaurants. Check out the event calendars at museums, art galleries, and cultural centers for Latin-themed festivals or workshops.
Restaurants as Classrooms!
Spanish and Latin dining experiences are easy to find in Texas. A Google search for restaurants will bring up cuisines like Mexican, Peruvian, Argentinian, Colombian, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, and Spanish. Take your children and encourage dialogue with restaurant staff. (They might be surprised to discover that others speak Spanish outside of SSH!) What waiter won’t be charmed by a preschooler ordering in Spanish? They might even sweet-talk their way to a free postre (dessert).
New Adventures at SSH and Beyond
Kids aged 3-8 get a language immersion adventure at SSH summer camps. Click here for details on themes and dates. And don’t forget about our After School Spanish classes for Kinder – 5th graders starting up in the fall!
If your family is really adventurous, why not consider international programs or foreign immersion programs for families?! The Council on Standards for International Educational Travel is an excellent resource. Organizations like Spanish Abroad arrange teen and family immersion programs in Spain and Latin America.
No matter what method you choose, we challenge you to keep the language learning alive at home this summer! If your family has any other ideas or resources to share, please mention them in the comments section below!