Wednesday, 25 July 2018

A - Z of Multisensory Language Learning for Kids: B

In this new series, I'll be sharing some multisensory language learning ideas, which will help you to teach languages to your young children in a fun, engaging way. If you're not teaching languages however, most of these activities can be adapted to fit many themes in your own language too!



If you follow our blog posts, you may already know that I am documenting our German language learning journey. You can find quick links to our previous posts and the reasons behind them on our Language Learning Adventure page. 

B is for...

BREAKFAST CEREAL

Breakfast cereal is a cheap, fun sensory element to enhance learning - and it's edible too (mostly!) Children love the different colours and textures, and the way it crunches, or runs through their fingertips!


Ideas for using in language learning:


  • Theme it - Use different breakfast cereals to create a certain theme, such as a farm or a construction site. Children could learn the names of the animals in the target language, or the types of vehicles. 
  • Hide objects in it - If you have a deeper container, you could hide objects or flashcards to represent the vocabulary you are teaching. Children can then find an item and say its name in the target language. You could ask them to find something in particular, and ask them to say, "Here is the _______ ." This will reinforce any new vocabulary and help them to build short sentences.
  • Scoop it - Ask the children to fill up a different coloured container each time, to help learn colours in the target language. They will have lots of fun with a variety of scoops and spoons, and reinforce their knowledge of colours too.
Where possible, allow them to experiment with the textures and tastes - it's all good fun! But remember, never leave very young children unsupervised with breakfast cereal. Uncooked porridge oats are not pleasant to eat and some shapes may pose a choking hazard. 

BOOKS

Books in the target language are a great way to share new languages with children. I like to use stories that are already familiar to them, so it captures their interest from the beginning. 

You can find lots of children's books in other languages on sites like Amazon and Ebay, and specialist companies too. You can also get bilingual books, where the text is in both English and the foreign language. Don't forget to check your libraries, we found quite a few in there!

Ideas for using in language learning:


  • Read it - Simply read the story as it it! Look at the pictures with the children and see if they can use them to understand the story. If the book is already familiar, get them to listen out for cognates, which are words in the foreign language that sound like the English version. E.g. Apfel in German sounds like apple in English. 
  • Take a theme from it -  Stories like The Very Hungry Caterpillar lend themselves nicely to lots of language learning themes. From this book alone, you could learn counting, days of the week, fruits/veg/food, healthy and unhealthy, the life cycle of a butterfly, colours and more!
  • Act it - Make up actions to go with parts of the story that you can associate with certain words of phrases. This kinaesthetic style of language learning really helps some children commit the vocabulary to memory, and it's great fun too!
Have you got any activities beginning with B which could be used to help learn languages? I'd love to know! Why not leave me a comment below? If you missed A, you can find it here! And don't forget to check back soon for the next letter in the series - C!

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Finding joy in the little things:  I love how enthusiastic my children are about books! My son really loves it when I read him a familiar book in German, because he feels he already knows the story so the fun bit is learning all the German words for things!

My daughter's favourite activity at messy play is when there is anything edible! She gravitates towards the cereal trays and sometimes I can't get her away! She loves to discover new things, so I'm looking forward to setting up a deeper breakfast cereal tray for her soon to help her learn vocabulary from The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

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