Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. No payment, monetary or otherwise, was received by Latinaish.com. This is a guest post with language learning tips from PandaTree which includes a code for a free session for Latinaish readers!
Summertime, and the living is easy; or at least that’s how George Gershwin’s song goes. If your kids are learning a foreign language, it can be challenging to keep up their language practice during the summer. Kids can lose one to several months of learning over the summer, which means they spend time catching up in the fall instead of making new progress. Luckily, you can turn summer into a chance to maintain – and even deepen – their language skills without losing out on any of the fun.
1. Traveling to a Spanish-Speaking Destination
Maybe this is just the excuse you needed to visit a new place, learn about another culture and give your children a chance to practice Spanish in the process. Dos tacos, por favor! Immersing yourself in a different culture can be a great motivator – and a lot of fun for the whole family. If a trip isn’t in the cards, try regularly visiting a Latin American or Spanish restaurant or looking for local events celebrating Spanish-speaking cultures.
2. Summer Camps
Similarly, foreign language camps can provide an immersion environment and boost language skills. Your child can build friendships and make connections with other children studying a foreign language.
3. Books on Tape
Long car rides – or hanging out in the hammock – are perfect times to listen to audio books. Choosing a book your child has already read in English can be helpful because knowing the plot line helps with comprehension if they don’t know all the words. Check your local library for Spanish audiobooks. Audible.com also has quite a large selection of a selection of Spanish audiobooks for kids.
4. Spanish Game Night
If you speak some Spanish, try turning a family game night into a Spanish theme. Games like Bananagrams, Scrabble, Pictionary and even card games are fun to play in Spanish, and no need to buy a Spanish version. You can also play games while on the road, like I Spy or Twenty Questions. Or play an alphabet game where a player has to think of a word starting with the last letter of the previous player’s word. Everyone’s Spanish will get sharper and you might even have a few laughs.
5. Become the Student
If you don’t speak Spanish yourself, asking your child to be your summer Spanish tutor can benefit both of you. Mark 20 minutes on your calendar a couple of times a week for you to be a willing pupil. Your child can even use some of the materials they covered in school as teaching aids. Not only is teaching someone else a great way to reinforce your child’s own learning, your child will gain a new perspective on the learning process. Even parents don’t learn things instantly – it takes practice and making mistakes is part of the process. By seeing you model a positive growth mindset your child will pick up some important learning strategies in the process.
6. Find Someone to Practice With
Conversation practice is crucial for developing language fluency and one of the best ways to help your child keep up their Spanish language skills over the summer is to find someone for them to practice with. If you speak Spanish at home you’re already doing this, although sometimes as kids get older it can become more difficult to get them to reply in Spanish. If you don’t speak the language yourself, it can be extremely helpful to find a trusted person that your children can practice with. Is there a babysitter or a grandparent they can talk to regularly?
One option parents find really convenient is online foreign language video sessions with a native Spanish speaker. It’s a great way for kids to get one-on-one conversation practice. PandaTree.com has made it simple for parents by handpicking tutors who are friendly and engaging to talk with. A few 25 or 50 minute sessions a week can accelerate your child’s skills – and fit conveniently into busy summer schedules with no driving required. Sessions are recorded so parents can review their child’s progress, and parents get updates after each session about what their child covered.
Want to give it a try?
Until June 15, 2016, Latinaish readers can get their first PandaTree session for free!
Just visit PandaTree.com and use promo code Latinaish516
Know it’s Worth the Effort
Whatever approach you choose for keeping your child’s language skills fresh over the summer, know that it is worth the effort. By helping your child learn a foreign language you are giving them a gift for life. Learning a foreign language boosts their brainpower, opens future career doors and deepens their understanding of different cultures as well as their own. So bring on the summer (learning) fun!