Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spanish Enrichment- Pocoyo

As I have mentioned before, we only speak to the boys in Spanish and they only respond to us in Spanish. I have seen time and time again that Spanish-speaking parents do not automatically produce Spanish-speaking children if you live in an English-speaking environment. As children get older and their parents become less cool, they tend to gravitate to what ever their friends or the majority is doing. Therefore, they need more outside influences to keep their interest in learning and using Spanish. My plan is to post once a week some of the other sources (besides mom and dad) for Spanish in my sons' lives. Today I am going to post about a wonderful little program that I found about a year ago on You Tube. Pocoyo is a cartoon produced in several languages about the adventures of a little boy and his friends; a dog, a bird, an elephant, and a duck. The language is simple and easy to follow and the programs are short (usually around seven minutes.) D and M absolutely love to watch it.
You can find one episode here called "No Tocar" or Don't touch. It also shows several other episodes that are available. We have watched most of them and they were all great. I would be happy to translate the episode or some of the words if someone has trouble understanding. The narrator is from Spain and uses some words that maybe unknown to some but for the most part, it is very easy to understand.
If you watch the video, please let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Calabazas-Color Mixing

D loves to mix colors and I was inspired by a project that I saw here on Tired, Need Sleep. I pulled some containers of different sizes (2 liter of pop, gallon of milk, and piña colada mix :) out of the recycle bin. I put in a little red paint and a little yellow paint and gave them to the boys to shake. The boys shook the bottles until the paint turned orange and covered the entire bottle. We cut out eyes, nose, and mouth and glued them to the bottles to make the Jack-o-lantern faces. We had so much fun that we are planning to mix more colors to make bottle monsters next.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Calabazas- Pumpkins

I have to admit that I have been waiting for October. Not only is it my birthday month :) but I also LOVE Halloween, pumpkin patches, fall festivals, and everything else that comes along with it. This week the boys and I are doing PUMPKIN activities. We kicked it off today with a trip to our local Botanical Garden for their pumpkin fest. I am not sure who had more fun the kids or me.

Otoño- Fall Crafts

Here are a few of the crafts that we did to go along with our "otoño" theme.

D thought the most interesting part of "otoño" was the fact that the leaves change color and fall from the tree. We recreated this with a tree that I made from butcher paper. I wrote numbers on leaves made from different fall colors. I would call out a number and he had to find it and throw it on the ground (make it fall). Can you guess what his favorite part was?

The second game we played with the tree was to practice lower case letters by identifying the letters in the words verano (summer) and otoño (fall). I made the letters for summer green and the letters for fall in fall colors. I would love some more ideas for the use of this tree since it is still up and my little guy hasn't destroyed it yet. :)

We have been taking lots of walks around the neighborhood lately. This time we gathered a few of the leaves that have changed colors. They were hard to find since fall comes late to Texas. We flatten them and glued them to a piece of cardboard to make a wreath. I think that we will do this again in a month or so when more leaves have changed colors.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Libros (Books)-Otoño and more

I checked out a few books about fall from the library. D, to be honest, was not very interested. I pick five or six books every night and have him choose which four he wants to read. I put the new library books in the mix hoping that he will pick them. The last couple of weeks he has become very opinionated about his book selection (don't ya hate it when they have their own opinions :) and refuses to listen to a book that he hasn't chosen. I have "tricked" him into listening to a couple of them by reading them loudly to his little brother and usually curiosity will get the best of him and he will gradually come over to see what is going on. Anyway, I have included the two fall books and the other non-fall books that we have read this week.

Product Details
El primer otoño de Clifford was, like all Clifford books in our house, a big hit. My kids can not get enough of that big red dog. This book is all in Spanish.

el otoño by Josep Parramon
This is a simple book about what happens in the Fall. This book is entirely in Spanish published in Spain. There was no picture on Amazon.

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This book, Counting Ovejas by Sarah Weeks was the absolute favorite of the week. A little boy who can't sleep counts sheep of different colors. This is a simple bilingual book with a pronunciation guide for non-Spanish speaking parents. Good book for learning or reviewing color words.

Product Details
Another popular book with my kiddos. Siesta by Ginger Fogelsong Guy is a bilingual book about two children gathering items for a campout in their backyard. Another good book for reviewing color words.

Product Details

This book has made several repeat performances this week. Borreguita y el coyote is about a
clever little lamb that outwits a coyote that plans to eat him. This book is written in Spanish but an
English version also exist.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Otoño- Fall

This week were are learning about Otoño (Fall). First we went to the libary and checked out several books which I will post later and today we did our first project.

First we took a walk around the neighborhood and collected hojas (leaves).

We stopped to look at a mariposa (butterfly). D was not in a good mood this morning. He has been kind of moody lately. He usually loves taking walks.

His mood improved greatly and he did enjoy the leaf rubbing project that followed. I didn't take a picture of it, but we first taped all of the leaves (upside down) on the table. Then we covered the table with white butcher paper. If you do not have paperless crayons on hand, removing the paper would be the next step. Luckily D has had this weird obsession with peeling paper since he was little so we were ready to go. Lay the crayons flat and rub until the impression of the leaf comes through.

M decided to help also. :)
I love how it turned out. We are going to use it as a table cloth for the week.....or at least until someone spills something on it. :)

Mexican Independence Day-activities

This week we did several crafts and planned to attend some events centered around Mexican Independence Day. Unfortunately the rain pretty much cancelled everything this week. We did go to a short program at our local recreation center and D got to play Loteria for the first time. He loved it. I suspect his favorite part was the giant candy bar that he won. Here are some crafts that we did this week.

First, we made maracas. I found three empty plastic bottles and removed the wrappers. I replaced them with blank pieces of paper. The idea was the D would color and decorate them, but he was just not into that this day so I did most of it.

Next, I had D help me find things to put in the bottles that would make noise. Filling the bottles was definately his favorite part. We put rice in one bottle, dry noodles in the second, and coins in the third. He loved counting the coins and figuring out which ones would fit in the bottle. (Quarters were too big.)

Here are the finished maracas. D refused to let me take anymore pictures of him. He often tells me "No mas fotos mami." Both D and little brother M played with them all week. D invented the game "¿Cuál es la maraca más ruidosa?" (Which maraca is the noisiest?). It was a fun, but loud week.

We drew our inspiration from the book Nos Vamos a México (see post below.) We loved the suns in the folk art drawings and decided to make our own. This was a very raining day so the boys painted in the bath tub. After everything and everyone was clean and dry, I drew and cut out the suns.

This is the wall behind our kitchen table. We usually keep it decorated with our art projects. We also made a giant Mexican flag and D practiced his cutting skills by cutting out the cactus. Viva México!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mexican Independence Day

Since Wednesday was Mexican Indpendence Day, we read several books and did activities centered around the theme of Mexico. My husband's family is from Mexico and it is important to us that they kids not only learn the language but also about their culture and history. Here are a few of the books that we read.

This is a beautiful bilingual book. It is about a little girl who lives in the desert so her entire world seems brown. She looks closely and finds all of the beautiful colors around her.
A beautiful bilingual alphabet book. Every letter is represented by an animal that has been handcrafted by a family of artist in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Nos Vamos a Mexico (Let's go to Mexico) was my favorite book of the week. The illustrations are beautiful and each page shows a different scene of life in Mexico.
This alphabet book is entirely in English and too difficult for my son. He did enjoy looking at the pictures and we will definately check this book out when he is a little older. I would recommend it for older English-speaking children who want to learn more about Mexican culture.

Must be doing something right....

D attends a Spanish Immersion preschool two days a week. This is his second week and he loves it. The only part of the day that he does not like is the 15 minute English circle time. The director who teaches this mini-lesson told me today that D became angry and told her "No me hables en ingles. Yo hablo espanol." (Don't speak to me in English. I speak Spanish.) He then proceeded to cover his ears during the story in English. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not think that there is anything wrong with speaking English. I am a native English speaker myself. I am thrilled, however, that Spanish is so important to D. I was so afraid that D would fall into the same trap that many Hispanic children growing up in the U.S. fall into. I have seen many cases of children of friends and family members that speak and understand Spanish until they enter school. The English influence of school and friends seems to be so strong that many children begin to refuse to speak Spanish. Many of the parents try to maintain the language in the home but eventually give up. Just from the limited contact with English television, neighbors, and my family, D has picked up quite a bit of English. I was amazed the last time my mother and niece came to visit to hear him speaking to them in complete grammatically correct sentences. There is no doubt that D will speak English seeing as we live in the U.S. However, maintaining his Spanish will be the challenge. So far I think that we must be doing something right.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tomorrow is Mexican Independence Day. My husband and his family are from Mexico and it is very important to us that the boys share their culture and history as well as their language. This weekend I will post some of the activities that we did for el 16 de septiembre. VIVA MEXICO

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Computer issues have kept me from posting pictures so I am way behind on posting. My son is "dinosaurio" crazy so we did a week of dinosaur themed activities a couple of weeks ago.

This was D's favorite activity of the week. He must have made his "volcan" erupt 50 times. This was a super easy activity that I found on multiple websites. Just build your volcano out of play-doh, put a little baking soda in the hole, and add "vinagre" with a dropper.
We made the letter "H" for huesos (bones). I love the letters found on "No Time for Flashcards" but I always have to modify for Spanish words.
After being in hibernation for a couple of months (I rotate toys when they are driving me crazy or he is just not using them) we brought out the dinosaurs for dinosaur week. D had a blast playing with them. Here you see the dinosaurs at "dinosaur school" according to D. My favorite part was seeing D separate the dinosaurs into "carnivoros y herbivoros" without any coaching from me.

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