I won the lottery. No seriously I did! Of course it was at the expense of my two girls 6 and 3.5, and my mother-in-law. Somehow the victory just wasn’t as sweet as I expected. And instead of money I got to eat a caramelo.
We’ve just come back from two months in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. This trip was two-fold. First we wanted to introduce the girls, now of an age where they will remember the trip, to their grandmother. Secondly, we desperately needed to jump-start their Spanish.
Living in Thailand, it has been difficult to get them the exposure they need. Their father, the only fluent person in our house, works insanely long hours. My Spanish had been stalled at an advanced beginner level since forever. Without loads of spanish-speaking people around, or access to telenovelas, I found it hard to motivate to learn and get past that present tense barrier. And of course the distance and cost meant we haven’t been able to get back as often as we’d like.
This trip was the moment for Mama and las niñas to finally really immerse ourselves in Español! The first thing I figured out is that they learned vocabulary best by playing games and doing every day projects and crafts vs. ‘learning’ the language.
Our Abuelita, who was beyond excited to see her nietas, was well prepared with various games including La Loteria. The girls loved playing the game, except when I won. Maybe my happy in-your-face dance was a bit too much when I shouted “Tabla llena!”.
Of course some of the cards were a little questionable: El Borracho? Ok well technically that applies to my father so it could come in handy. El Negrito? Is it just me or is using a diminutive here -well racist?. But fear not, I was able to find other Loteria games that focused on the alphabet, numbers, baby items, you name it!
Another big win were the mini Tortilla Makers. One was the traditional square wood shape and the other the round metal one. Both made small delicious tortillas de maiz.
Kids know when you are trying to teach them something. One of my girls initially refused to speak to her teachers in Spanish at the local kindergarten they attended. On the other hand, she happily chatted with Anna, the young woman who came to clean the house. The girls love to do chores and the only way to help Anna was to speak Spanish.
This applied to me too! Learning as I made my way around the city or learned to cook new dishes was way more effective than sitting down reviewing conjugations. And it goes without saying that little shot of tequila also did wonders for my fluency.
This blog post was written for the August edition of Multicultural Kids Blogs Carnival hosted by Multilingual Parenting. A huge thanks to Rita for hosting this month’s Carnival. Please check out the many other wonderful contributors.
Keep up the Spanish with your children! growing up in Australia my parents forced me to go to Italian language school they will appreciate it when they are older. My children who are growing up in Italy understand English fluently they may not be too into speaking it although when ever we are in an English speaking country they automatically speak english.
A norwegian friend of ours in Florence confirms that it is actually the mother who teaches the children another language so it is all up to you!!!!
Great to hear that you had fun learning experience during your trip to Mexico :) Interesting cards you have spotted. Are they from an old game that you have found in the house or from a recently purchased?