Category Archives: Families

Bilingual Summer Reading List

Whether your summer is action-packed or laid back, there are stretches of time that are perfect for getting in some bilingual reading. But what books are perfect for the long ride to grandma’s, or the quiet afternoon by the lake? We’ve brought together some of our favorite summertime reads that are sure to appeal to kids of all ages and interests. Bonus: They’ll be improving their bilingual skills. Our titles are available in English with your choice of over 50 languages!

Books About Outdoor Fun

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

It’s such a beautiful day – let’s go on a bear hunt! Dad takes his four children on a grand adventure across grassy fields, through a river and into a cave. They’re not afraid!  (Ages: 2-7)

Let’s Go to the Park

This board book is all about letting young children explore the area they live in.  What animals and people will they meet? What objects will they see and hear? The simple text is just right for young readers who are starting to recognize words. The text promotes simple conversations: What can you SEE? What can you HEAR? WHO will you meet? (Ages: 0-4)

Goal! Let’s Play!

Let’s discover games and sports played around the world! In Nigeria there’s swimming, running in France, and even camel racing in Dubai. Children will be inspired to get moving! This book, part of the “Our Lives, Our World” series, explores the diversity of children’s lives around the world. (Ages 2-6)

Books About Friendship

I Took the Moon for a Walk

A young boy goes on a magical adventure with his friend, the Moon. Lyrical verse combine with detailed illustrations, delivering a dramatic backdrop for an imaginative journey. Readers will love the serene beauty of the night time world. At the end of the book, discover facts about the moon as it passes through the sky, and the ways it influences our lives. Readers can also learn about many nocturnal animals who occupy the world at night. (Ages: 3-8)

What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby?

What should Dog, Duck, Cat and Dog do when the baby says, “Boo-hoo-hoo!” Should they feed him? Play with him? Will that baby EVER stop crying? Cressida Cowell brings us an award-winning book full of gorgeous illustrations and a story familiar to any family that’s been blessed with a new addition. Toddlers and preschoolers will love the repetition and animal sounds. (Ages: 1-6)

Keeping Up with Cheetah

Cheetah wants a friend – a friend as fast as him. But poor Hippo can’t keep up, and is left in the dust. With so many differences, how can these two characters play together? Young children will learn about what it means to be a good friend. (Ages: 2-7)

Multicultural Books

The Crow King

The evil Crow King has stolen a beautiful bride, and her husband must set out on a dangerous journey to rescue her. How can this mere mortal defeat a merciless demon? With strength and courage! This Korean tale by Lee Joo-Hye is about the fight between good and evil.  (Ages: 5+)

Mamy Wata and the Monster

Mamy Wata is the queen of all the water. One day, when she is swimming peacefully in a big river, she hears the news: a terrible monster has been scaring the nearby villagers. So Mamy Wata lies in wait near the monster’s cave. But, to her great surprise, instead of finding a monster, she finds a sad and lonely man who has been bewitched. This colorfully illustrated book brings African culture to life on each page. Children will be captivated by the lyrical text, perfect for reading aloud. (Ages: 4+)

Deepak’s Diwali

Deepak is having the worst Diwali ever! No sparklers, no fairy lights, and now Deepak is certain Ravana the demon king is after him! This story by Divya Karwal is part of our “Celebration” series. It’s a warm contemporary story, with beautiful illustrations that celebrate Hindu mythology, recipes and activities. (Ages: 3-8)

Traditional Stories… with a Twist!

Not Again, Red Riding Hood!

Little Red Riding Hood is on her way to see her father. She has ten cookies to bring to him. Along the way, she meets some familiar characters, who also happen to be very hungry: The three bears, the three billy goats gruff, and Rapunzel. And, as always, there is the Big Bad Wolf. How will Little Red Riding Hood get past that hungry wolf? This clever story combines favorite characters from many tales, and can also be used as a math counting book.  (Ages: 3-8)

Jill and the Beanstalk

Jill, the self-assured protagonist, must battle an evil giant and save her family. While on her adventure, she meets characters from other nursery rhymes, like the Queen of Hearts and Little Bo Peep. “Jack couldn’t help feeling envious of Jill, he wished he’d climbed a beanstalk instead of a hill….” (Ages: 4+)

Pinocchio and the Real Boys

This bilingual story re-tells the classic tale of Pinocchio, a puppet who wants to be a real boy. After learning lessons through some misadventures with his schoolmates, Pinocchio decides to be responsible, and think for himself instead, and finds that his greatest wish comes true! This is a great read-aloud book with lyrical text and whimsical illustrations.  (Ages: 4+)

How does your family make time for summer reading? Comment and let us know!

“Reading” by Marketa via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d5CknA

Multicultural Learning Activities for Summer

A beach in the summer timeWith summer here, many parents find themselves asking the same question: What should I do with the kids until school starts up again? There’s no reason you can’t make language and cultural learning part of your summer break routine!

Games

These 5 multicultural games from around the world are a simple way to get moving and playing together! Try a rousing game of 1, 2, 3 Dragon, or a few rounds of Palm Ball. It’s a great way to stay active this summer, all while learning about different cultures.

Reading

Taking a months-long hiatus from learning might set your kids up for the dreaded “summer slide,” when kids lose some of the progress they made the year before. For bilingual learners, especially, a long break from consistent language exposure can erode some of their hard work.

Set aside some time in your schedule for reading. To help you pick the right bilingual books for your family this summer, we put together a handy reading list with stories that are humorous, tell traditional tales, and are full of fun songs to sing!

Travel

If your summer includes travel plans, you can make bilingualism part of your family’s summertime adventures. Engage children in fun travel activities, whether it’s during a ride to the grandparents’ house, or a flight overseas. Try out these travel activities, and you’ll be there before you know it!

Ease Into Summer

Lastly, are you or the kids feeling a bit off-kilter, now that the school schedule has come to an end? Some people experience anxiety about big changes to the daily routine. In this post, we offer 3 tips to ease the transition into summer break.

What are your kids’ favorite summer activities? Comment below and let us know!

“Slice of paradise” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d85Y5u

5 Multicultural Games for Kids to Try This Summer

Kids playing outdoorsIf you’re looking for something fun to do this summer, give these multicultural games from around the world a try! From games that you can play in a group, to one-on-one games, they are perfect for all ages. Get your kids or campers outdoors to play a fun round of Catching Stars or a competitive game of Hoops! It’s a great way to stay active this summer while learning about different cultures.

STALKER (Botswana)

In this enjoyable group game, two players are chosen to be the Hunter and the Springbok. These two players are blind-folded, and the rest of the players form a circle around them. The Hunter must try to catch the Springbok, and the Springbok tries to stay away from the Hunter. The group is not allowed to touch either player, but they may choose to make different animal noises to distract the Hunter. Once the Springbok is caught, the group chooses two new people to be the Hunter and the Springbok.

CATCHING STARS (Equatorial Guinea, Zaire)

This game is typically played with a large number of players. Split the group into one smaller group and one bigger one. The smaller group is Catchers and the bigger group is Stars. All the Stars stand in a line on one side of the field, and the Catchers stand spread out in the middle. The Catchers say, “Star light, star bright, how many stars are out tonight?” The Stars respond, “More than you can catch!” The Stars then try to run as quickly as possible to the other side of the field without being tagged by the Catchers. If Stars are tagged by Catchers, they become catchers too. The game continues until all Stars become Catchers.

1, 2, 3 DRAGON! (China)

This is an active group game that is fun for children of all ages. Players form a line with each player’s hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The first person in line is the Head, and the last person in line is the Tail. The Tail yells, “1, 2, 3 dragon!” and the Head starts moving to try and catch the Tail. The rest of the players must follow the Head’s movements exactly, while staying connected to one another. If the line disconnects, then the dragon has died, and the Head must move to the end of the line to become the Tail. If the Head is able to catch the Tail, the Dragon survives! The Head still moves to the back of the line to become the Tail in order to give the next person in line a chance to be the Head.

HOOPS (Greece)

It is helpful to have at least 5 people on each team in this game. There are two teams, and each team selects one person to be the Roller. The Roller will stand at the starting line with a hula hoop. The rest of the players will be on the side with small balls or bean bags. The Roller rolls the hula hoop past the people on their team, and they try to get as many balls through the hoop as possible without the balls touching the hoop. The team who is able to get the most balls through the hoop is the winner.

PALM BALL (Italy)

Similar to Dodge Ball in the US, you only need a ball and a piece of chalk to play this game. Mark off a big rectangle on the ground with the chalk, and draw a line through the center of the rectangle. Each player stands in their side of the box. One player starts by serving the ball into the other person’s box, and that player must send the ball back by hitting it. You can’t hold the ball – you can only hit it back into the other person’s box. The ball can only bounce in your box twice before making it to the other side.

Comment and tell us about your favorite multicultural game to play with your family!

“Kids Playing” by Mr Hicks46 via Flickr is licensed under BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/51JNBG

Home Language Maintenance Strategies

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the benefits of home language maintenance. However, many parents struggle to maintain the home language (HL) for a variety of reasons. Here, we offer some concrete suggestions that parents can use with elementary-aged children, to ensure they receive the cognitive, cultural and professional benefits of bilingualism.

Teachers can share the following strategies with parents and even provide assignments that will support HL maintenance. Educators can also build bilingual book libraries to provide resources for children to read at home in the HL, and at school in English.

  • Require your child to speak to you in the HL while at home. Give praise for doing so, and do not punish the child for wanting to speak English. Children will need several daily reminders to speak the HL.
  • Have one parent do homework with the child in English (as that is the language at school).
  • Provide grade level-appropriate homework for your child in the HL. If possible, coordinate with the teacher to select homework that is related to what they are doing in class. If there is not enough time to do this on the weekdays, pick a weekend day to do it.

1. Incentivize your child. Example: If you do this homework, then we’ll go to the_____________. If you don’t finish, we cannot go.

2. During the summer, do homework in the HL on a regular basis (if possible, work with your child’s teacher in determining summer assignments.

  • Find cartoons, music, movies, multicultural books, apps and educational shows to play for your child in the HL. Screen time should be limited.
  • If possible, send your child to your home country.  If you still have family there, you may be able to arrange a home stay where the child gets maximum exposure to the HL.
  • Explain to your child why it is important for her/him and your family that he or she speak both languages. Young children can understand and think critically about the importance of bilingualism, such as:

1. Maintaining the family’s native culture.

2. Maintaining communication with family who only speaks the HL.

3. Having pride in where you come from.

4. Being wll prepared for the future and a bilingual world and workplace.

  • Give age appropriate examples of how others value their bilingualism. Examples: “My friends at work wish they spoke two languages,” or “your teacher is so proud of you and impressed by your bilingualism,” or “I got my job in part because I speak two languages.”
  • Provide a print-rich environment for your child in the HL: Have your child help you choose fiction and non-fiction books in the HL, make grocery lists, write letters to relatives, and do other writing tasks in the HL. Reading and writing in the HL takes time and effort, but is important.
  • Stay firm, confident and proud of your “HL Only” rule while in the house. Children in elementary school are much more likely than middle school or high school children to eventually accept the rule and adapt to it.
  • Think of HL maintenance as part of parenting – you’re the enforcer!
  • Do not get discouraged when your child doesn’t want to speak the HL. If your child is just making the change to home language use, start by having your child speak to you in the HL for an allotted amount of time each day.

1. Be creative and pick a phrase in the HL that your child must use a couple of times a day for that week, for example.

2. Tell your child it’s like a challenge or a game: “If you speak to me in Spanish after school for 20 minutes and during dinner, you’ll be rewarded with _____.” Sticker charts, point systems, and more will show your child how s/he is progressing and s/he can earn something after reaching a certain point.

  • Do not criticize your child for using incorrect grammar, having an accent, or using the wrong word when speaking the HL. It’s natural to make mistakes, and you can gradually correct him or her with gentle reminders.
  • If you have an infant as well, have your elementary school child speak to the baby in the HL only (for the benefit of both children).

Don’t be afraid and don’t get discouraged if the time and effort to implement a plan seems overwhelming at first. It will become part of your routine, just like anything else you’ve established in your home. Reach out to other parents who are in your situation, join online communities of bilingual parents, and do your own research if you have the time. There are many resources out there that can help you! It’s very rewarding when your child can speak to you and to others in your native language.

Guest author Emily Enstice is a former teacher at Willow Creek Academy, a K-8 charter school in Sausalito, California. She received her doctorate in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco.

This blog post is linked with the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop. Be sure to check out other bloggers’ tips, teaching strategies, and resources!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

“Facts About Languages” by Elaine Smith via Flickr is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) https://flic.kr/p/VoddCu

Benefits of Home Language Maintenance, From Parents’ Perspectives

Nearly one in three U.S. children live in a household where a language other than English is spoken, but are the same number of children fluent in their home language? Actually, many parents struggle to maintain the home language for a variety of reasons: when spoken to in the home language, children respond in English; some teachers encourage English only at home (the perception that another language confuses children is false); parents, their children and many societal groups view home languages as inferior to English. These examples of parent struggles with home language maintenance resonate with immigrant families across the U.S.

Subtractive & Additive Bilingualism

Despite the fact that many first generation immigrant parents in the U.S. speak their native languages at home, they are noticing that their children are losing fluency and interest in their home language. The 2002 National Survey of Latinos, in which 3,000 Latino adults living in the United States participated, found the following: Almost three fourths (72%) of first generation Latinos speak Spanish as their primary language, but only one in four (24%) are bilingual, and 4% speak primarily English. “In contrast, second generation Latinos are mostly divided between those who are English dominant (46%) and those who are bilingual (47%). Third generation or higher Hispanics are largely English dominant (78%)” (p. 16). In Latino families, second and third generation children are statistically more likely to become English dominant by adulthood, rather than bilingual dual language learners.

After years of teaching young children in the San Francisco Bay Area, several of whom were living in households where Spanish was spoken, I started to notice the broad range of Spanish speaking skills among them. Having researched the problem of subtractive bilingualism in graduate school, I was less surprised to see the erosion of Spanish than I was to see the maintenance of Spanish in some households. Specifically, I wondered how or why parents perceived home language maintenance as advantageous. From a Latino parent’s perspective, what were the perceived benefits of maintaining the home language?

I set out to explore this question in my doctoral dissertation during the 2011-2012 school year.  There are many proven benefits – cognitive, socio-emotional, developmental, cultural, and professional – of raising dual language learners. I, however, was particularly curious about Latino parent perceptions of home language maintenance and its benefits. Most importantly, language maintenance is more likely in an additive bilingual environment where the home language is celebrated and honored. While the following advantages are perhaps somewhat predictable and unsurprising, these tend to be the driving forces for home language maintenance amongst parents.

Speaking from the Heart

Adults and children alike express themselves much more naturally and organically in their native languages. In our study, parents spoke critically to their children about the benefits of building stronger relationships with family members vis a vis communicating in Spanish. It’s never too early to start having these conversations with preschoolers and early elementary aged children, explaining how meanings can get lost in translation when a feeling or sentiment is expressed in a second language. Children are very capable of code switching and understanding context!

A Better Future

Bilingual parents want the same advantages they’ve experienced (or strive to experience) in the workplace for their children. Being valued for their ability to communicate with more people, both locally and internationally, is important to bilingual parents who utilize their language skills in their careers and often in their local communities. Parents can have regular conversations about the value of bilingualism with their children, especially in an increasingly global workplace. Children are always motivated by real world connections!

Bridge Between Culture and Language

When parents express pride in their native languages, children often come to see their bilingualism as not only an asset, but a privilege. Their home language is not always appreciated or even acknowledged in other settings, such as school or extra-curricular activities. Children can become more authentically connected to their family and native cultures and traditions when speaking to and engaging with monolingual relatives who have less exposure to English and/or U.S. culture. Visits to the home country are much more meaningful for children who speak the language, and the native culture is more easily accessible. Language maintenance takes time, effort, and resolve, but the rewards can be life changing.

Emily Enstice is a former teacher at Willow Creek Academy, a K-8 charter school in Sausalito, California. She received her doctorate in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco.

 

“together” by Spirit-Fire via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8dLJyi

25 Must-Read Multicultural Books for Preschoolers and Kindergartners

Set of 25 multicultural children's booksLanguage Lizard is thrilled to offer a new, exclusive collection of must-read multicultural books for preschool and kindergarten children! This set of books gives you an instant, award-winning library of diverse books for your classroom or home. No need to search around! We’ve selected 25 of our favorite multicultural stories that expose children to cultural and ethnic diversity and celebrate differences.

The books portray children from various backgrounds, including African American, Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, Asian and Native American. The set includes stories related to the immigrant experience, books that help children embrace their unique heritage, and folktales from around the world. 

The entertaining and well-reviewed stories help students appreciate diversity and build community with those around them. Children in diverse classrooms will build self esteem as they read/hear books in which their culture or ethnicity is represented. (Note: All books in this set are in English. Educators looking for bilingual multicultural booksclick here or visit Language Lizard’s language-specific pages.

Stories Included in the Collection

  • An Ezra Jack Keats Book Award winner that explores the similarities of two children who live in very different communities across the world.
  • A child revels in who she is despite her differences. An ode to self-esteem, with fun and silly illustrations.
  • An Asian folktale in which a young child is rewarded for his honesty and loyalty. An IRA-CBC Children’s Choice and An American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists.”
  • A sweet story in which a girl helps her Tia (aunt) earn money for a new car (since much of their savings goes to relatives who live far away). Winner of an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award, an Amelia Bloomer List Selection and an American Library Association Notable Children’s Book.
  • An introduction to Ramadan in which a young boy shares his experiences of this special time and wants to try to fast like the grown-ups do.
  • A book that looks at children all over the world and illustrates our common humanity.
  • A child is teased for looking different and learns how to celebrate his differences.
  • A book celebrating non-violent social change and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award, illustrated by a three-time Caldecott Honor Recipient.
  • A Latino boy “conquers the world” (except his sisters!) while teaching kids about a theatrical, action-packed sport that is popular in many Spanish-speaking countries. A Pura Belpre Illustrator Award winner, a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year and an ALSC Notable Children’s Book.
  • Observing the features that make us unique, a story that celebrates what makes each child special.
  • A Chinese girl learns to appreciate what her culture has to offer during an “American” holiday. An IRA Notable Book for a Global Society.
  • A simple introduction to racial and ethnic diversity that teaches children that you can’t tell what someone is like from the color of their skin. An ALA Notable Book.
  • A book with diverse characters that inspires and guides young children to recognize their self-worth and develop confidence in themselves. Includes a section of discussion questions, activities, games and tips.
  • A trickster gets into trouble when he tries to do what goes against his nature. Winner of an ALA Notable Children’s Book, an ABA Pick of the Lists, and a National Parenting Publications Gold Award.
  • A story that uses colors as the backdrop for sharing Muslim culture, with artwork that brings classical elements of Islamic art into a modern setting.
  • A classic Chinese legend in which a poor boy helps thwart a greedy emperor’s plan.
  • With bright, bold illustrations, an artistic child notices and appreciates the colors of her friends.
  • A young girl delights in her favorite Korean dish… with details about how readers can prepare it themselves!
  • A reassuring book that encourages kids to embrace their individuality and celebrate multiculturalism.
  • A lovely Native American folktale that cautions children against bragging and teasing. An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies and a Parenting Magazine Reading-Magic Award Winner.
  • A look at different families around the world, what they do and how they help each other.
  • A Caldecott Medal winner, magical woodcuts are used in an Indian fable that explores big versus little, and the nature of pride.
  • A book celebrating different cultures illustrates that the things that make us different also make us special.
  • A simple story about friendship with culturally diverse characters and suggested after-reading activities.
  • A lovely book about the children of the world and their inherent similarities. Supports The Global Orphan Project.

Just a Few Reviews of the Books in this Collection

  • “Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love.” – Kirkus Reviews
  • “With its universal themes of wanting to fit in, self-acceptance, and self-esteem, this read-aloud is sure to strike a chord with many young readers/listeners, and on a variety of subjects, not just race.” – School Library Journal
  • “Explores the child’s experience of straddling two cultures – and serves up an ending as satisfying as sweet-and-sour pork and crusty dessert.” -The Washington Post
  • “A beautifully crafted book that will be enjoyed as much for the richness of its illustrations as the simplicity of its story.” – School Library Journal
  • “Children will appreciate the warm, personal narrative, as well as the connections with Muslims all over the world.” – Booklist
  • “Beautiful full-color illustrations portray this ancient Chinese folktale…” – Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies
  • “A splendid tale, perfectly paced for an amusing read-aloud” – Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
  • “… strong, dramatic woodcuts perfectly interpret the old fable.” – School Library Journal
  • “[An easy read] with child-friendly illustrations and easy-to-understand examples of real-life situations.” – Skipping Stones: A Multicultural Children’s Magazine.
  • “Expressive, child’s-eye watercolors get in on all the activity… in this celebration of a well-loved cultural dish” – Horn Book
  • “… [focuses] on positive thinking and assertive, kind behavior that can bolster children’s mental health, their relationships, and their performance in school.” – Sean Covey, best-selling author of The 7 Habits of Happy Kids
  • “Beautiful…. This will enrich and spark discussions of diversity.” – Booklist
  • “The Strength of family and the importance of pursuing one’s dreams are the bedrock of [this…] picture book.” – Publishers Weekly
  • “An essential book that acknowledges in the simplest of terms our common humanity.” – Kirkus Reviews
Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Mugs that Celebrate Diversity & Languages – Back-to-School Gifts for Teachers and Students!

Mugs bilingual and multicultural gifts

It’s that time of year again – summer is winding down, and school is back in session! Language Lizard is offering a new set of colorful mugs that celebrate cultural diversity and the love of languages – perfect for educators, students and parents alike!

“Welcome” in Different Languages

"Welcome" in many languages multicultural mug

This unique mug says “Welcome” in many languages, and is a great gift for teachers who work in multicultural classrooms. Languages include Arabic, Burmese, Chinese, Czech, Dutch, Farsi (Persian), French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Lithuanian, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Somali, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese and Yoruba.

Bilingual Superpower

Bilingual Superpower mug

Learning a new language takes dedication and a lot of hard work! Let the world know about your bilingual superpower! A great gift for students and teachers that encourages and promotes language learning. English-only edition of this mug is also available.

“We All Smile in the Same Language”

"We all smile in the same language" bilingual mug

Our “We all smile in the same language” bilingual mug has English on one side and Spanish on the other (English-only mug also available). A fun way to celebrate diversity and inclusion while enjoying your favorite beverage.

All mugs are 11oz  and microwave safe. Happy sipping!

Multicultural Activities: 5 Great Games Played Around the World

Kids playing with a large ball

If you are looking for fun summer activities to get the kids outside and staying active, try these fun multicultural games played around the world! 

These games are a great way to teach your children about other cultures while still having fun this summer. Some of these games just need a few people, while others can be played with large groups. They are simple to learn and do not require a lot of equipment. Children of all ages can join in and stay active while simultaneously learning something new this summer!

HUNTERS AND RABBITS (Belgium)

You can play this game with as many people as you would like and it should be played in a wide, open place.

  • One player starts with the ball – he/she is the hunter.  This player then has to dribble the ball to get closer to the “rabbits,” which is everyone else in the game.
  • The rabbits are only allowed to hop, they cannot run.
  • Once the hunter gets close enough to a rabbit, he/she must stop and throw the ball at a rabbit’s legs. If the ball touches the rabbit’s leg, then that rabbit becomes a hunter too. If the ball lands anywhere else besides the rabbit’s legs, then the rabbit stays a rabbit.
  • The last rabbit standing is the winner of the game. The tricky part is that no matter how many hunters there are, there can only be one ball to catch the rabbits with.

TRIANGLE GAME (Greece)

Triangle game from Greece

This game is typically played outside where you are able to use chalk with a small group of people.

  • You draw a large triangle on the ground and split it into 3 parts as shown above. The smallest part you label with a 3, the middle a 2 and the bottom a 1.
  • Players take turns throwing rocks from 15 feet away. As they are throwing, the players add up their scores based on the numbered section that the rock landed in.
  • The first person to 50 is the winner.

GOELLKI (Russia)

  • Players stand in pairs, with one pair behind the other.
  • One player stands behind the row of pairs and that person is “it.”
  • The person designated as “it” then yells “Go!” and the last pair in line must then both run to the front of the line. One runs on the left side of the line the other on the right, and they need to reach the front without being tagged by “it.”
  • If “it” is unable to tag anyone then they must be “it” again for the next round. However, if “it” does tag somebody then the person they tag is the new “it” and the previous “it” goes to the front of the line.

RELOJ (Peru)

There can be up to 14 players in this game and the players need a long jump rope. Two of the 14 players will be spinning the jump rope while the other players line up.

  • The first player in line jumps into the rope, jumps once and comes out without being hit by the rope.
  • Then the next player runs in and jumps twice and comes out.
  • This pattern continues up until 12 jumps in a row.
  • Once the players reach 12 jumps, the pattern will start with 1 again.
  • Note: There must be no hesitation to run and jump into the rope; if there is, then that player is out. Also if a player hits the rope at any time with any part of his or her, the player will also be out.
  • The last jumper standing is the winner.

EL GATO Y EL RATON (Puerto Rico)

This game must be played with a group of people, and they must choose a leader. (Typically the leader is an adult.)

  • The leader will select one person to be the cat and one person to be the mouse. The rest of the people will form a circle holding hands.
  • The mouse will start on the inside of the circle and the cat will start on the outside. The objective is for the cat to catch the mouse with the people in the circle trying to help the mouse escape and keep the cat out without ever unlocking arms.
  • If the cat gets into the circle, the mouse must escape it.
  • When the mouse is caught, the leader chooses two new people to be cat and mouse, and the game starts all over again.

What multicultural games do you like to play with your little ones? Comment below and share!

Playing with a Big Ball” by Michael Coghlan via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/oRtyNU

This blog post is linked with the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop. Be sure to check out other bloggers’ tips, teaching strategies, and resources!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

 

Multicultural Books for National Reading Month & Giveaway!

woman in a library

National Reading Month is a great time to try out a new multicultural book with your little ones! Celebrate with fun, diverse children’s books that introduce them to different cultures. And don’t miss out on the Multicultural Stories Giveaway we are co-sponsoring with our friends at I Teach K-2!

What is National Reading Month?

Every March, National Reading Month kicks off with NEA’s Read Across America, which celebrates the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. All month long, organizations across the country hold events that celebrate the love of reading, and encourage kids and adults to enjoy new books or re-visit old favorites.

Our Favorite Multicultural Books for Children

If you’re looking to grow your classroom or personal library by adding great multicultural picture books the kids will love, here are some of our favorites. (Each title is available in English plus your choice of a second language, so kids get to explore a second language, too!)

Grandma’s Saturday Soup

Grandma's Saturday Soup - multicultural children's book

Each day, something new makes Mimi think of her grandma, whom she misses very much. She misses Grandma’s special Saturday Soup, and her stories of life in Jamaica. Derek Brazell’s colorful illustrations brings this story to life, and make us wish we all had a remarkable grandma like this!

Welcome to the World Baby

Welcome to the World Baby - diverse children's books

How are new babies celebrated around the world? Tariq’s classroom gets to meet his new baby brother. During circle time, the students share the different ways their families welcome new babies into the world. Na’ima bint Robert brings us a beautiful, thoughtful exploration of cultural and religious diversity through the eyes of our children.

Yum! Let’s Eat!

Yum! Let's Eat - multicultural books for preschool

This book by Thando Maclaren takes us around the world, to learn about different foods and traditions. Read about exotic dishes like fajitas, sushi, dhal, roti and more! Explore the diversity in children’s lives and develop a worldwide perspective with this book, which is part of the “Our Lives, Our World” series. Other titles in the series include Brrmm! Let’s Go! and Goal! Let’s Play!

The Wibbly Wobbly Tooth

Wibbly Wobbly Tooth - multicultural picture books

Little Li woke up on a Monday morning, only to discover that his tooth is wibbly wobbly! His tooth went wibble wobble all day, until PLOP! it fell right out. Now what will Li do with the tooth?

This humorous story by David Mills, author of Lima’s Red Hot Chilli and Mei Ling’s Hiccups, explores different cultural traditions associated with losing a tooth. It’s a great story to start a class discussion about customs and shared experiences.

Multicultural Stories Giveaway

Language Lizard is co-sponsoring a Multicultural Stories Class Library Giveaway… Enter below by April 1, 2017 for a chance to win!

Giveaway Multicultural Class Library

 

“Woman in Library” by David Niblack via imagebase.net is licensed under CC0 http://imagebase.net/photo/696/Woman-in-Library.html

Celebrate Diversity and Ease Anxiety: Suggestions For Kids & Adults

many people from above

Right now, our lives are permeated with emotionally charged discourse about political and social upheaval. When you think about how much news media, social media and personal conversations we’re exposed to, it’s very likely our kids and students are aware and possibly experiencing anxiety about what they hear and see going on in the world around them. We all may feel disheartened with the current events that are dividing us as people, and as a nation.

If you’re worried that the children in your life are experiencing stress or anxiety, you first want to acknowledge and address these emotions, as we discussed in a previous post. Then, you can try to direct the conversation to the good that is happening in the world.  One way we suggest doing this is to celebrate diversity with our children. When we open our hearts and minds to people of other cultures, we also cultivate a spirit of love and hope, which can lead to strength and healing.

Below are a few ways we can mitigate anxiety for students, your kids and yourself.

Limit Media Exposure

As informed adults, we can’t ever “bury our heads in the sand” by turning our backs on current events. It’s, in fact, vitally important that we check in regularly with reputable news organizations because so much is happening in the political and social realm, in such a short amount of time. However, don’t allow yourself to become inundated by what can feel like a flood of information and reactions. Decide how much time a day you want to dedicate to staying informed, then try to stay within that limit.

If older kids are exposed to news or social media directly, work with them to establish boundaries and talk about what they’re hearing and seeing. With younger kids, we need to be wary that their little ears are picking up on our adult conversations. Decide what information you want to convey to them, and be ready to answer their questions in an age-appropriate manner.

Do Good, Feel Good

One of the best ways to feel better is by doing good for those around you. Find a way that you and your family or classroom can volunteer to make the world a better place. Working selflessly for others can do wonders for your own state of mind. This is also a great opportunity to connect with other people, and build an emotional and social support network.

If you are concerned about the treatment of vulnerable members of society, or discriminatory attitudes, consider supporting causes that reflect your values and help those who could benefit most from your assistance.  Working with children to raise funds to support a cause can be empowering, and allow for substantive discussions on important issues.

Practice Self-Care

When you’re feeling stressed out or sad, take a moment for yourself. Think about the good things in your life that you’re grateful for. Take a break and do something just for you – like reading a book, listening to your favorite song or going for a stroll – and just be present in the moment. Meditate or just lie down and rest for a bit! In order to be kind to others, you must first be kind to yourself.

Suggest these strategies to children as well; these are valuable life lessons that will help them navigate future challenges.  You can also make use of online resources to find support and recommendations.

#CelebrateDiversity

We would love to hear the beautiful, thoughtful, brave ways you are making the world a better place! Take a moment to #CelebrateDiversity with us on social media, and keep up the good work!

 

“World” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/9nZaR3