Sunday, October 16, 2016

O de oso {Learning the Spanish Alphabet}

Whenever fall rolls around, I always get in the mood to plan alphabet learning activities for my kiddos.  One year Cheerios (or maybe General Mills?) did this thing where the surprise toy in their boxes of cereal where actually books.  And better yet, they were bilingual books!  We love books around here, and I especially love any Spanish books I can get my hands on.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Motherload of Resources for Introducing Your Kids to Culture

It is my honor this month to host the Multicultural Kid Blogs blogging carnival.  This round-up post is full of great stuff for you.  I wish I could sit down with you as you read this post and squeal over your shoulder, "Oh click that one!" and "Oh that's a good one too, click through to that one!" and "Oh that one was one of my favorites!"  But truthfully I would have to say that about every single post listed here.  Truly I am indebted, in fact the internet is indebted, to these wonderful humans that are populating the world wide web with such fascinating information, tips, encouragement, musings, and education that ensures our children grow up with more empathy, understanding, love, and compassion for the world around them.

If you have kids, the phrase "raising global citizens," may or may not be on your radar.  And if it is, you may think, "I don't have time for that."  Let me beg you.  Just follow one link below that catches your attention and you will learn how easy it is to introduce your kids to new cultures, peoples, languages, traditions, and the world.

You may wonder, "Is that so important?"  To me that's like asking, "Should kids learn how to read?"  Haha, maybe I'm being dramatic.  But seriously.  Showing our kids the world teaches them not to be afraid of it.  There is a big wide world out there, waiting to be explored and adventures waiting to be had.  Doesn't that sound exciting?!  And you don't have to leave home to do so.  All the ideas listed below are super simple to do at home or in your own city.  Some don't require a single purchase or thing you don't already have.

Here are a few general posts to get you started . . .

A-Z of Raising Global Citizens

Varya from Creative World of Varya organized an entire month of bloggers writing about ways their families work to raise global citizens.

Around the World
All the articles written over at The Educator's Spin On It concerning raising world citizens are collected in this page called "Around the World."  It's enough to help you plan a few years of learning and activities!
We believe in the power of raising globally aware children and we make a point to allow our children to experience other cultures with food, art, crafts, music, geography, presentations, and more."                                                                                                                                                                      -The Educator's Spin on It

Combining Cultures: Raising Global Citizens

Olga from European Mama gives a list of 10 things her multicultural family does to combine cultures.  #6 is one I haven't tried before, but sounds fun!

14 Ways to Incorporate Birth Culture Into Your Children's Lives
The Kid World Citizen website in and of itself is a place dedicated to teaching parents and educators how to raise/educate kid world citizens.  Here is a great list, from the website's founder Becky, on how her family learns about each member's birth culture.  #3 I feel like is one that might intimidate the average parent (if you're not from that culture), but would have a big payoff in the end.

10 Things I Learnt Cooking Indonesian Food with An Indonesian Expat
I love all that Amanda shares over at Expat Life With a Double Buggy, and this post is no different.  She shares a challenge she gave herslef to learn to cook something new, and all she learned from the experience.

Around the World in 80 Purees
Have you heard of this book by Leena Saini?!  It's such a fabulous idea of using baby food purees as a chance to travel to different countries with your baby through flavors and spices.  If this would have been published when I had babies I sure would have snatched it up.  It would also make a great baby gift for the next baby shower you attend.

Smitten By Britain: Eating Our Way to Britishness
Amanda from Expat Life With a Double Buggy explains how we pass on culture to our kids sometimes without even knowing it!

Transitioning Babies to Solid Food - Costa Rican Style
This article is a great example of how we can look at simple customs in our daily life and learning from other cultures about how they might do it the same or differently.  It's fun to think about taking a multicultural approach to even things we do with our babies, and I love this purposeful way Christa approaches everything in her mothering.

Growing a World-Shaped Heart
Esther at Third Culture Mama always puts words together in a way that makes me feel so . . . emboldened.  Is that the word?  I love her take on how we must teach our kids about the world and our neighbors, and oh my goodness.  She has great suggestions in almost every sentence.   I want to tell them to you, but I think you should read it for yourself.  In her words.  Then come back and tell me how you liked it.

Ghana Independence Day
Johana, the lovely author at Mama Tortuga, is someone I've had the pleasure of getting to know through the Instagram community.  Here in this article she shares how she got to partake in some lovely Ghanian traditions through a friend of hers.  I can't encourage you all enough . . . if you know someone from a different country, invite them into your home and ask them to tell you about their home country, their cuisine, their traditions.  It will be such a blessing to you both.

The Gift of Diversity
In another article from Third Culture Mama, we can read how important it is to not just want our kids to be accepting of other cultures and people, but to actually show them that we do it too:
"We cannot just conceptually desire multicultural living without living it out, and yes, modeling it in our home… in the middle of America."            -Third Culture Mama

Rice & Rocks - A Book Celebrating Culture, Diversity & Traditions
A great book review from Jeddah Mom of "Rice & Rocks."  This book teaches kids the value of their own heritage and diversity.

Growing Children Who Are Confident Enough to Be Something Else
Here is a review of a book that teaches kids it's okay to be different.  This might be a good conversation starter for kids to understand how their friends in their classroom or in their communities might feel if they are looked at as different . . . or for kids to talk about their feelings if they sense they are different from the culture around them.

12 Chinese New Year & Culture Books

5 Picture Books by Asian American Authors

Two Chinese Books For Kids That Keep Traditional Stories Alive

Global Girl Dolls & Books

Children's Books Featuring Chile

Books About India

Books About Russia

Books About England

Books From Sweden

Books About France

Books About Japan

Use these examples to inspire you to participate in the celebrations and holidays of other countries.  Whether it's a festival in your own town, celebrating with a foreign exchange student, or a party you create at home . . .

Ghana Independence Day

Hispanic Heritage Month Fiesta for Kids

Kwanzaa Winter Holiday Celebration

Chinese New Year: Kids Culture Party

Cultural Playdate: Celebrating Chinese New Year

Cultural Playdate: Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

Cultural Playdate: "Three Kings Day" Celebration & Craft

Special Ornaments: Christmas in Different Lands

Celebraciones de fin de año en Chile (End of the Year Celebrations in Chile)

Our Christmas in Spain: Traditions, Recipes & New Ideas

Nurturing Bilingualism & Multiculturalism Through Friends
"We have found that cultivating friendships with other multilingual, multicultural families is one of the best ways to nurture language and culture."   -Trilingual Mama
Amanda shares what she learns from cooking with a friend.

Ghana Independence Day
Johana shows us how her friend from Ghana shared her home culture and traditions.

Children's Music from Chile

Anything from Daria Music is great!

Becky from Kid World Citizen suggests Putumayo as a great place to find multicultural music.

Playing With Traditional Musical Instrument (Indonesia)

Introducing American Girl Doll's Melody Ellison + G I V E A W A Y!
I love American Girl Dolls because they are toys and educational as well.

Plushkies Awaken Curiosity in Kids About World Cultures
Have you heard of these?  So cool!

Arabic Wooden Sorting Game
Love this idea of using a game to learn language!

5 Must-Watch TV Series for Kids
These were all new to me . . .

Connecting with Cultures: Traditional Games from Pakistan
Sometimes it's the simplest things that are the best.  A game you can play with rocks or sticks or string.

Children's Toys: Diversity Matters

Chinese Themed Gifts for Kids

Teach Kids About Chinese Culture Through World Village Playset

5 Fun Toys to Teach Kids About the World

Over 20 Toys and Games from Around the World

Fun & Easty Three-in-a-Row Game (from Kenya)

100+ Kids Projects for Celebrating Chinese Culture
Check out the cool folded paper bracelet craft!

Dragon Craft for Chinese New Year
This one has an absolutely marvelous work of art/handicraft at the end.

Chilean School Traditions: Terra Cotta Air-Dry Clay and Wood Crafts Sticks

Tibetan Prayer Flags: An Inspiring Craft for Kids
It really is inspiring!  I just love when an activity or craft is inspired by the passion of a parent wanting to share something valuable to herself with her children.

Crafts About India

Exploring Culture as Part of Your Curriculum
Mommy Maestra outlines here an easy 10-day unit study plan that you could follow for any country/culture.  I also appreciate how she points out how there can be differences and variety even within a culture.

Igniting Love for Other Languages
One line that caught my attention here: Johana looks for ways to "enchant" her children's hearts to learn a new language.  That's exactly what we want to do, isn't it?  Enchant our children's hearts.

Sharing Our Hispanic Heritage: Ideas for the Classroom
This is a great example from Frances of how we can help our kids share what they learn or know about other cultures with their classmates at school.

Raising Young World Citizens: Meet Allison Branscombe, Author of All About China
You can check out the author interview here and listen to what she has to say encouraging adoptive parents in their role to introduce children to their birth cultures.

Seven Ways to Introduce a Second Language to Your Toddler
Language is a great start to getting to know a new culture.

Celebrating Asian-Pacific Heritage Month with Children
Did you know May was Asian-Pacific Heritage Month?  Neither did I!  "Miss Panda" over at Miss Panda Chinese has a great list of things you can do to explore these cultures, like a chopstick challenge and learning calligraphy.

Joy Sun Bear
Join this subscription service (it's FREE!) and travel with a friendly bear to places all over the world.  Letters are sent to your kids via your email and the adventure begins!  Great way to travel the world without needing any budget!

14 Ways to Incorporate Birth Culture Into Your Children's Lives

Traditions and the Bilingual Family

Smitten By Britain: Eating Our Way to Britishness

Chapas: How to Play! (Spain)

Learning How to Make Pan de Yuca
An example of how food can connect our kids to culture.

Raising Young World Citizens: Meet Allison Branscombe, Author of All About China
It's important to consider what traditions we are passing down to our kids . . . whether from our own culture or theirs!

5 Tips to Teach Your Heritage to Your Children

How to Keep Your Heritage Alive

Thursday, August 18, 2016

How Not to Fail Spanish Class This Year

I've seen this happen a few times.  There's that stellar student who's just brilliant.  He doesn't have to study, but gets awesome grades in Algebra, Biology, Physics, Gym, Debate, you name it.  And then Spanish class happens to him.  He steps foot in the classroom on the first day and everything seems foreign to him.  (Imagine that!  Things feeling foreign in a foreign language class. Who knew?)

What is the teacher saying?  You mean we really have to sing songs in here?  No way, I'm in high school.  I don't need to sing baby songs.  That teacher is having way too much fun.  Does she really like Spanish that much?

He sits there and just watches and observes like he does in his other classes.  He doesn't take notes.  He doesn't worry about memorizing vocab.  Then the first test comes along and when the teacher hands back the grades there is a big D staring at him.  What happened?  Why is this A student getting a D in Spanish class?

In years past, I have tried to explain to all my students that learning a language is not like learning any other subject in school.  You have to employ a different mindset to be successful in the Spanish classroom.  Essentially, high school Spanish 1 is a class in which you try to simulate in one semester what your brain did as a baby over the course of two years of life.

Although that may sound daunting, don't shut down on me yet!  Learning a foreign language IS hard, but it's not impossible and it doesn't have to be a GPA foe.  Set yourself up right by following these strategies below, and you won't have to worry about failing Spanish class.  I promise.

1) Commit 25 minutes a day to studying, Monday through Saturday.  

Yes.  I said Saturday.  It's like the Little Engine That Could.  Or maybe the Tortoise and the Hare?  Either way, it's better to study consistently, on a daily basis in little chunks, than to save all your Spanish homework for the night before some big quiz or test.

2) Memorize your vocab.

You may think you know all those words on the vocab list your teacher gave you . . . or the ones at the beginning of the chapter. Sure, you read over them in your head.  You held your hand over the English side and quizzed yourself.  You got them all right, except for one or two you had to peek at.  But here's the real way to tell whether or not you know them.  First, make yourself a set of flashcards.  Write the Spanish word on one side, and the English word on the other.  As you write each Spanish word, say it out loud.  Now quiz yourself by looking at the Spanish side and see if you can say the English word for each one without looking.  Did you do it?  Great!  Now for the hard part.  Flip the cards over and quiz yourself from the English side.  Do you remember how to say all those English words in Spanish?  Once you can nail that without any mistakes, you've got a pretty good handle on your vocab.  If you learn better by hearing things, watch this video on the "Flashcard Strategy" to see what I mean.

3) Get a study buddy.

This is the only way I survived Spanish 101 in college, and it's also how I managed to pass many a hard tests in college.  Make it fun!  Meet for coffee or rotate dinner at each other's house and study together while cooking something yummy to eat.  Use Netflix or ice cream as a reward at the end of your study time.

Everybody loves a buddy!

4) Check in with your teacher at least once per unit (or chapter).

Even if you think you understand the material, find something to have a question about.  Trust me, teachers like to know that you care.  And doing this will form a habit to make it easier to go to your teacher with questions when there really is something you don't understand.

5) Take notes.

Nothing is learned unless it is self-taught.  This means, you are not going to learn Spanish if you aren't trying to understand the material.  Your teacher is just a guide.  You have to make the material your own, which means when that input is coming towards you make sure you are understanding it enough to say it back.  Taking notes is the best way to do that.  If you can't figure out what to write down, that might be a sign you're not comprehending the material.

6) Make a Spanish playlist on Spotify and listen to it throughout the week.  

Have you ever thought about how we hear our native language for TWO YEARS before we ever start to try to form words ourselves?  Hearing the language is so important, and music is one of the most enjoyable ways to hear a language.  You could also try watching your favorite movies on Netflix with Spanish audio instead of English.

7) Read out loud & speak out loud.  

This goes along the same thread as number 6.  Your brain needs to be hearing that language.  As much as you can, read your assignments and exercises and vocab lists out loud as you study them.  You might feel silly doing it, but I promise it helps!

I would love to hear if you decide to follow these steps in your Spanish class this year and how it goes for you!  And don't be afraid to ask me any questions you may have.  Probably one of my favorite things is helping people learn about the Spanish language.  Buena suerte!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Our Bilingual Charlotte Mason Homeschool Journey

Miss the broadcast?  Go here.
It Doesn't Have to Be Perfect
It’s not that I don’t like learning.  Maybe it’s that I like learning too much.  Maybe that’s what has me feeling like I’m in over my head.  Maybe it’s that I’m a perfectionist and think I need to know ALL. THE. THINGS. before I begin something.
Just Start Somewhere!
I’ve recently subscribed to the Fly Lady emails.  Have you heard of her?  She has a website that has been recommended to me over the years when I reach out for help in the area of house cleaning.  I have a hunch her emails might actually help me with more than house cleaning.  There’s this saying she uses at the end of each email: “You are not behind!  I don’t want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are.  O.K.?”

Fighting Feeling "Not Ready"
I always feel “not ready.”  It’s that same feeling I had to fight when I finally decided to jump on Periscope the other day to talk about our first year of bilingual homeschooling Charlotte Mason style.  I have no idea how to do that!  I look around and see people who talk about Charlotte Mason as easily as they breathe in and out.  Or I see people who are native Spanish-speakers homeschooling their children in Spanish AND English.  But they live in the States I tell myself.  They hear English all around them and have unlimited resources in English to help them school their children in a second language.  My next conclusion sounds like this: “I just need to move to Costa Rica.  Then I can bilingual homeschool.”  Can you tell I tend to make things harder than they have to be?  I have so much to learn.  

How I'm Preparing During Summer
I have so much to learn.  But with a few guides I've found on Periscope (@aliciahutchinson@liladelightedinlife, and @juliebravewriter), the books below, the curriculum designed by Ambleside Online, and the guidance of my sister-in-law (we're going to be going through Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles together) I hope to get my bearings in Charlotte Mason enough to establish a foundation of how we will approach learning in the years to come.*  It's a process and each season, each year I'll continually want to learn more and re-evaluate.   But for now, this is where I'm starting out.

*If you want to follow the same reading schedule we are just click on the "20 Principles" link above.  It will say you can't view the content, but all you have to do is register as a member of the AO forum--it's free.

How to Incorporate Spanish
As I mentioned on Periscope, all of the read-aloud and living books assigned for Year 1 on Ambleside Online originated from English-speaking countries/authors.  Which is fine and great--it's our mother tongue.  So to figure out how to incorporate Spanish into our Charlotte Mason education for now I'm simply inserting Spanish where she says French in her "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six."

" name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences..."

" sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song...

I also hope to dig up some good blogs or blog posts about a Charlotte Mason education in Spanish, and until then I'm listening to general homeschool information (in Spanish) from the new podcast I found last week called Madres Homeschoolers.

What About You?
Did you feel overwhelmed starting your first year of homeschooling?  How did you decide on a style?  Are you using Charlotte Mason's philosophies to guide your schooling?  Do you bilingual homeschool?  I would love any encouragement or ideas you have for me!  And let's remind each other we don't have to have it all figured out before we begin.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Speak Spanish with Your Baby!

When I had my first child a friend told me: "Speak Spanish with him all the time.  Let your husband speak English and you just speak Spanish."  I sooooo wish I could have done that.  I just was not quite prepared for it.

Adjusting to being a mom for the first time felt like enough.

Oh.  And I was also newly married and figuring out how to be a wife.

Did I mention my husband also went back to school after our first was born?

Basically I was overwhelmed with life and hadn't given much thought to passing on my second language (Spanish) to my child.

My friend was so wise and I wish I could have followed her advice.  But life is like that sometimes and we just can't do all the things.  At least not at once.

So here I am with my fourth child.  She's ten months old, and she's actually in the baby carrier, laying her head on my chest as I write.  {These months go by so quickly.}  Fourth time around I feel much more comfortable speaking Spanish with my baby.  I have much more research under my belt, know so many bloggers that support and encourage me, and have had a little practice.

Just today in my email inbox I received an email with a huge list of baby vocab from a blog I found in those years between my first child and my fourth.  That email reminded me of another blog post I read three years ago (when I was newly pregnant with my third) over at All Done Monkey--which I love because she explains so well how to use the words in context or how you might hear them used.  All of this made me think...I should share this with people who might be looking for help with introducing Spanish to their babies.

Does that sound crazy to you?  Introducing a foreign language to your baby.  It's not!  I promise.  Especially if you are like me and studied Spanish in college and have a dreamy idea that one day you will be able to teach your kids to speak it.  I would say, start as early as you can.  Each day I find more and more resources online to help us parents.  

One last resource I want to mention is one I bought last month or so (with my own money, and of my own accord): the MamaLingua app.  This app can be used with more than just babies.  What I appreciate about it, is that it teaches phrases and has them spoken by a native speaker so you can learn the phrase with your child if you don't already speak Spanish yourself, or if you want them to hear it in a native voice.  They have a LITE version that is free.  So go download it and poke around to see how it works.  I have some pictures here to show you, but if you're like me a hands-on experience is better to see whether or not you like it.  

In addition to learning words and phrases to talk about "baby life," it's a great idea to learn lots of baby songs and finger plays in Spanish, and also to make sure you are getting lots of adult Spanish input to exercise your own Spanish brain muscles.  But that is another post for another day!  I can't promise when I'll get a chance to share my favorites in that category so be sure to subscribe to updates for this blog (left column) or follow me on Instagram @fortheloveofspanish so you won't miss it.

Click here for a list of baby vocab WITH AUDIO
pronunciations recorded by a native speaker.
Go here for a list of baby vocab with in-depth
 explanations on meaning and usage.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Learn Spanish with Yoga // A KIDS YOGA STORIES Review

Why I Can't Do Yoga 
Near the end of last year I started thinking about adding yoga to my life, so for Christmas mi marido surprised me with a yoga mat.  It came with a block and a strap and an intro DVD too.  I have struggled to figure out a way to work it into my routine.  And the one or two times I did get out the DVD to try, this happened:

A little someone--or someones get so close I can hardly do the movements.  Which I adore, but which also makes me think I should try to get out my mat when I have a little me time so I can actually focus on learning how to do yoga.  Which never happens.  Which means I have done yoga twice since December.  Which is sad.

How I'm Adding Yoga to My Life
THEN!  I heard that KIDS YOGA STORIES was offering Multicultural Kid Blogs bloggers the chance to review one of their yoga stories.  I thought, "Yes!  Yoga with  kids.  That's what I need to try."  AND GUESS WHAT ELSE!?  They offer their stories in so many languages!  Naturally I went with the Spanish option, because what is better than yoga with your kids? YOGA WITH YOUR KIDS IN SPANISH. (Why am I using so many CAPS today?  Hahaha!)  So I signed up to review a copy and received a digital Spanish version of Sophia's Jungle Adventure (Sofía en una aventura por la selva).

Before I walk you through what happened when I read this story, allow me to first give you a quick explanation of the book.  In a nutshell, KIDS YOGA STORIES are stories of kids having some type of adventure or experience in nature.  As you read through the adventure, the story incorporates different yoga poses along the way, inspired by what the character of the story is doing.

For example, in Sophia's Jungle Adventure, the first thing she does is take a plane ride to visit the jungle in Costa Rica.  The book has an illustration of Sophia doing the Warrior 3 yoga pose, but the kids call it the avión or airplane pose.

What Happened When I Read the Story
When I first read the story I skimmed it by myself, then started thinking about how I would introduce it to my kids.  My first mistake was I didn't read the parent/teacher guide in the back.  When you buy this book, make sure to read that section first.  The guide explains wonderfully how to introduce yoga to your kids, and how to make the best use of the book with them.

I was getting all stressed out trying to figure out how to do all the poses before I read the book with my kids.  I even gathered a bunch of beginner videos on YouTube.  Then I read the guide and it calmed me down.  The guide emphasizes how yoga for kids should be fun and safe and relaxing.  It even explains how you should read the story first before doing the yoga poses, and even how you can adapt the story for different ages or group sizes.

Should I Buy the Spanish or English Version?
I have the Spanish version, and I love it.  It is great practice for me and expands my own vocabulary!  However, if you are not fluent in Spanish you will want to buy the English version, and maybe just learn the names of the poses and/or jungle animals in Spanish.  This is because the parents guide and everything is in Spanish, and you want to be able to read through that easily as it is a great resource.

How We Plan to Use It
I love how the book spans many subjects, especially if you use it to incorporate Spanish.  Our family plans to homeschool next year, so we will be using this book all year long to learn yoga, to explore the Costa Rican jungle, and to learn Spanish.  So I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me about our adventures with Sophia!  Get a copy for your family and you can follow along with us.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Women Making History: Laura Baena, Founder of Club de malasmadres

All March people around the globe have been celebrating women and women in history.  If you are interested in celebrating multicultural women in history you can read through the 30 amazing articles of the 2016 Women's History Series (see below) put together by the lovely bloggers of Multicultural Kid Blogs.  I have the honor of wrapping up the series, and I would like to highlight one woman that caught my attention recently who is making history.

Laura Baena, founder of Club de malasmadres (Club of Bad Mothers), dedicates her energies and passions to pioneering a new voice for modern moms.  I would even say, her fight is for the modern family as a whole.

I found Laura and the malasmadres through Instagram.  The fact that they were in Spain intrigued me (of course!); the fact that they were moms encouraged me; and their hilarious tongue-in-cheek propaganda (for lack of a better word) converted me to a follower.

So what is a malamadre?  I'll translate the following as best as I can:
"Club de #malasmadres con mucho sueño, poco tiempo, alergia a la ñoñería, con ganas de cambiar el mundo o al menos de morir en el intento… Madres imperfectas que luchan por no perder su identidad como mujeres, por seguir creciendo profesionalmente y desmitificar la maternidad. Conseguiremos acabar con el concepto de “superwoman”, ese que nos impone la sociedad y que no nos ayuda en nada. Porque no tenemos súper poderes ni queremos tenerlos." 
"A club of #Malasmadres (bad mothers) who are so sleepy, who have little time, who are allergic to whining, who have a desire to change the world or at least will die trying...Imperfect mothers that fight to not lose their identity as women, are continuing to grow professionally and demystify maternity.  We seek to get rid of the concept of "superwoman," that image the society imposes on us which doesn't help us at all.  Because we don't have superpowers, neither do we want them."

What I love about Laura Baena's work, and the work of Malasmadres, is that they know the work is not done.  They know the conversation is not over.  They are keeping the dialogue ongoing--continuing to develop and define what it looks like to be a modern, and satisfied, woman.

If you're on your smart phone, click here to watch the video above.

In an article Baena wrote on International Women's Day she says, "The only way to advance, to arrive at a social change where the word "inequality" doesn't exist, is reflecting, talking, constructing together a better future for those to come and a better present for those that don't have time to wait."

Be sure to check out their website to follow along with their current initiative: #yonorenuncio.

And their blog to hear from other mothers and get advice on all things MOM.

And remember to check out the series below to learn about other women around the globe in history!

Women's History Month Series on Multicultural Kid Blogs
Join us for our second annual Women's History Month series, celebrating the contributions and accomplishments of women around the world. Follow along all month plus link up your own posts below! Don't miss our series from last year, and find even more posts on our
  Women's History board on Pinterest
  Follow Multicultural Kid Blogs's board Women's History on Pinterest.
March 1 A Crafty Arab on Multicultural Kid Blogs: 7 Women Artists Who Changed History
March 3 The Art Curator for Kids: Songs We Can See - The Art of Peggy Lipschutz
March 4 Kid World Citizen: Children's Books about Women Scientists
March 7 Mama Smiles: Picture Books about Great Women in History Your Kids Need to Know
March 8 Hispanic Mama: 4 Latina Women Who Made It Happen
March 9 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes: Spanish Children's Book on the Life of Felisa Rincón de Gautier, First Female Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico Colours of Us: 28 Multicultural Picture Books about Inspiring Women & Girls
March 10 Witty Hoots: Some Awesome Women in My Life
March 11 MommyMaestra: Women in World History Trading Card Template
March 14 Crafty Moms Share: The Thinking Girl's Treasury of Real Princesses
March 15 The Jenny Evolution: Non-Fiction Books about Women for Kids
March 16 Discovering the World Through My Son's Eyes
March 17 Living Ideas
March 18 La Cité des Vents
March 21 A Crafty Arab
March 22 La Cité des Vents
March 23 Peakle Pie
March 24 All Done Monkey
March 25 The Art Curator for Kids on Multicultural Kid Blogs
March 28 Creative World of Varya
March 29 Family in Finland
March 30 The Jenny Evolution
March 31 For The Love of Spanish

Monday, March 14, 2016

Exploring Tea in Spain & Peru--Multicultural Toys & Activities for Kids

Food and drink seem to be two things that can always bring people together.  Today with my blogging friends Kay and Maria, we are connecting through tea!  After reading about tea in Spain and Peru below, head over to experience an English High Tea and to explore tea in Indonesia.

English High Tea

Exploring Tea in Indonesia

From Iced Tea in the States...
Where I come from we drink iced tea.  From as early as I can remember, every family gathering would have iced tea, and to this day, it's not a family dinner without iced tea.  Some things have changed about the way we make it, but for the most part the ritual goes like this:  my mom boils a pitcher of water, tosses in 5-6 bags of Lipton (a black tea variety) tea bags, and lays a tea towel over the top of the pitcher for the tea to brew.  After 10-15 minutes she pours the concentrated tea into a larger glass pitcher, adds ice and water.  If you are from the states and are reading this, you can tell right away that I am not from the southern states!  We don't drink our tea with sugar.  My dad adds honey to his and one of my brothers adds sugar, but the rest of us drink it unsweet.

As I have traveled over the years, my tea experiences abroad have been quite different than home.  The two experiences I remember most are the Moroccan tea I had in Granada (Spain), and the tea from cocaine leaves I had in Cusco (Peru).

To Moroccan Tea in Spain...
During my four months in Spain, I tried to make it a point to visit as many cities besides Madrid as possible.  One such trip near the end of my stay was a speedy day-trip to Granada.  I must say, had I not studied in Madrid, Granada would have made a wonderful second choice. Islamic culture permeates the entire south and makes for a vibrant blend of food, drink, people and architecture.

My friend and I took a very early train to Granada on a weekend morning and came back that same night, so the trip was a blur, but what stands out to me most from the trip is our visit to the majestic Islamic palace, La Alhambra, and our quaint visit to a Moroccan tea house.

La Alhambra overlooks the beautiful mountain villages called las Alpujarras that nestle themselves amidst the Sierra Nevada mountain range.  Once we were done soaking in the majesty of the mountains and architecture of the palace, we stopped over at a Moroccan tea house to meet with my friend's friend who had chosen to study in Granada that semester instead of Madrid.  If you don't know, Spain borders Morocco just to the south, and so the Islamic influence is strongest in the south where we were. Surrounded by the dark woods, arched doorways, and colorful mosaics we enjoyed a steaming hot cup of mint tea. What I remember most about the tea is how hot it was, how sweet it was, and how they serve it by pouring the tea into the cups from a very high distance.  The picture below from Kid World Citizen shows the traditional way the tea is served, and you can head over there to get a recipe for making your own at home!  You can also see other pictures there of how it's poured and an explanation of why.

Learn How to Make Moroccan Tea Here
To Mate de Coca in Peru...
When traveling to the Andes mountains in Peru, you won't escape either hearing about, or experiencing altitude sickness.  One of the signature, and natural, remedies for altitude sickness is the mate de coca or tea made from cocaine leaves.  The coca plant, native to Peru, has been used throughout history for its medicinal purposes.  I must admit, upon hearing about the tea I was a little nervous to try it.  But it is served everywhere, and upon arriving at my host family's house in Cusco, a cup was immediately prepared for me along with an order to take a nap.  When someone hands you a cup of tea and says, "Drink! Nap!" you can't really argue with that.  So I obliged.  To me the tea tasted just like any other herbal tea.  Supposedly it helps speed your heart rate up to ensure that you get enough oxygen to your brain in the high altitude.  Whatever it does, it worked.  I didn't experience any sickness adjusting to the 11, 152 feet of altitude.

This photo of Hotel Cusco Plaza II is courtesy of TripAdvisor

What's your favorite kind of tea?  How do you prepare it?  Have you ever tried either of these?  Share with us in the comments!  And don't forget to click on the links at the top of this post to learn about English and Indonesian teas.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Multicultural Toys & Activities for Kids - Leap Day Spanish Skip Counting

I'm getting together with my blogging buddies Kay and Maria again to bring to you all some fun multicultural activities for kids.  Today we are celebrating Leap Day!

Maria has a 2016 Leap Day Journal for you, and

Kay has prepared a fun Arabic alphabet coloring page of the leaping Antelope for you!

Skip Counting on Lily Pads for Leap Year
One Saturday a month we have some friends over for a Spanish play date.  Between the five kids (ages 2-7) and two babies things can get a little rambunctious!  I have to pick lessons that are short, fun, and super engaging.

Two early childhood teachers I follow on Instagram (Deb and Lauren) inspired my activity for this month.  Deb has been creating fun frog activities all month in celebration of Leap Year; Lauren posted a video of her class learning to skip count by tens while jumping on the numbers.  I thought it would be fun to follow the frog theme and skip count on lily pads!

How to Skip Count in Spanish
Once your kids learn how to count to 20 in Spanish, counting by tens to 100 is a great next step.  We've been hanging out with this playlist on YouTube for a while to learn our numbers and colors.  This song in particular teaches how to "Contar por decenas" (Count by tens). Scroll to the end of this post for a skip counting chart in Spanish (complete with pronunciation guides).

Making the Lily Pads
You of course don't have to make lily pads in order to do this activity, but it does add some extra opportunities for language (like talking about the word for lily pad, frog, the color green).  For our play date I prepared the paper plates beforehand by cutting out the triangle shape and writing the numbers 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100.  I set the plates out on the table with green crayons and markers for the kids to color as they arrived.

When Things Don't Go As Planned
You may be wondering, "Then why do I see pictures of the plates being painted?"  Like with any lesson I plan, this one didn't go as planned.  Coloring did not interest the kids as much as jumping.  Who knew?  So we jumped on white lily pads with a few green scribbles.  Everyone loved it enough to stay engaged for about 10-15 minutes which is quite a long time for these ages!  After the play date I got out the green paint and my boys helped me finish decorating them.  Now they are ready to re-use all Leap Year long.

How to Adapt for Different Ages
For the oldest child I had the numbers placed in order in a diagonal pattern (like you can see in Lauren's video on Instagram).  I would call out the number in Spanish and he would jump to it.  The younger kids, however,  had a little trouble knowing which number to jump to next, so we moved the lily pads into a straight line.  As they jumped I would say the number in Spanish.

Learning While At Play
It makes my heart so happy to find these simple and easy-to-throw-together activities that the kids love.  This will be one of those "games" they request to get out again and again without realizing they are learning!


Nerdy Notes
Just a quick note about the number 100.  As you can see in the chart, the word for 100 is cien.  That's only when you are saying the number 100.  Any number in the 100s after that you will say ciento....  The "to" added on to the end is almost like saying and.  For example 101 is ciento uno 120 is ciento veinte.  Go here for a great video that teaches number 100+ if you are interested in learning more!

Also!  You may wonder why it would be important to teach your child a foreign language.  Why go to all this bother of learning how to count in Spanish?  How is counting by tens in Spanish a multicultural activity?  How I see it, is that introducing the concept of a foreign language to children exposes them to the idea that there are groups of people in the world that are different than them.  Foreign language learning opens a door to the world that invites them to ponder and explore the world at large, not just the one they are used to.   I read this week in Be Bilingual by Annika Bourgogne that, "speaking and understanding several languages helps children become more open towards different cultures and contributes to both the tolerance and the appreciation of difference." By teaching them this abstract concept that one object can be called by many different names, we are also planting the idea that there are many ways to live and do things--not just one way.

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