Four Tips to Make Days at Home Fun (and Educational) With Your Preschooler

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Four Tips to Make Days at Home Fun (and Educational) With Your Preschooler

by Nuria Santamaría Wolfe, Encantos Co-founder

Have you, like many other parents, found yourself at home with the kids for the next few weeks and don’t know what you’ll do to keep them learning (and entertained) for the rest of the summer?

Take a deep breath and get ready to do a little bit of planning. With a bit of preparation, you and your kids will get through this – learning and having fun, one day at a time.

Here are four tips to help you plan fun and educational days at home with your preschoolers.

  1. Start with your child’s teacher: Begin by reaching out to your child’s teacher and ask for sample lesson plans, materials, books, or any other tools they can share with you. They are the experts after all. Also, this is a great opportunity to ask if there’s any specific area where your child needs additional support so that you can focus on helping them prepare for the fall.

  1. Check out your library’s free digital resources: Most local libraries provide free access to myriad resources including e-books, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and TV shows. Check out a few items for them – and a few for you!  The best part? No need to sign up to yet another service – it’s all part of your library membership!

  1. Take inventory of what you have at home: Go on a hunt around the house for forgotten educational treasures! Recruit your little treasure hunters to dig up those electronic learning toys in need of new batteries, coloring books with intact pages, half-used sticks of sideways chalk, and so many more riches lost long ago. You’ll discover that you have so much to fill their days without having to go out to buy anything.

  1. Create a schedule to fill your days: Develop a daily schedule that includes learning time, free play, outdoor time, and chores.
    1. Learning: Use a combination of books, apps, videos, music, and toys to create varied learning experiences that will keep your little one engaged in small bursts of time. Switch between the different media to hold their attention and keep them engaged.
    2. Free Play: Kids learn while they play! Give them tools and time to let their creativity guide their activities – building blocks, wooden toys, pillow towers, etc. Let their imagination run free and they’ll surprise you with the things they’ll build and the things they learn along the way.
    3. Outdoors: Plan outdoor time every day – a walk with the dog around the block, a bike ride around the neighborhood, or some time in the garden watering the plants. Use it as an opportunity for a nature lesson as you point out the blooming flowers, the bees buzzing, or the rolling clouds. There’s a science lesson waiting to be taught all around us when you’re outside.
    4. Chores: This is a great time to remind your little ones about the importance of community and the fact that we need everyone to pitch in and help. Assign chores throughout the day to empower your kids to contribute and feel like a valuable member of the family. Chores for preschoolers can range from helping to set the table at meals, putting all toys away in the playroom at the end of the day, helping to sort and fold laundry, and putting out food for the furry members of the household. They’ll feel proud to help out and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Most important of all: take it one day at a time. No one expects you to continue to work, take care of your family, and become a full-time teacher overnight. Remember to schedule some time for self-care so that you can stay at your best and can continue to be there for your kids to keep them learning and having fun at home.

Don’t forget to check out all the Canticos digital and print resources in English and Spanish, including the Canticos Bilingual Preschool App, videos, and the Canticos Learning Hub.

About the author:

Nuria is an entrepreneur and mom raising two bilingual children. She joined forces with another mom, Susie Jaramillo, and founded Encantos – a family entertainment and education company for today’s multicultural families.

Together they launched Canticos – a bilingual baby and toddler brand with books, apps, and sing-along videos.

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Choppity Chop/Pícalo Ya: Sing and play!

Choppity Chop/Pícalo Ya: Sing and play!

Video

Activity

  • English
  • Español
  • printed activity sheets
  • crayons or colored pencils.

This week we are sharing our cooking song “Choppity Chop!/ ¡Pícalo ya!”. Children will practice:

  • Singing along to “Choppity Chop! / ¡Pícalo ya!” in English and Spanish
  • Kitchen vocabulary with our memory game

Play this song during cooking or meal time and see if your children can apply their new vocabulary.

  • hojas de actividades impresas
  • crayons or colored pencils.

Esta semana estamos compartiendo nuestra canción \“Choppity Chop!/ ¡Pícalo ya!”\ Los niños practicarán:

  • Cantar “Choppity Chop!/ ¡Pícalo ya!” en inglés y español
  • Vocabulario de la cocina con nuestro juego de memoria

Toque esta canción durante la hora de cocinar o comer para que tus hijos practiquen aplicar su nuevo vocabulario

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Best Practices for Teaching Vocabulary

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Best Practices for Teaching Vocabulary

By Sophia Espinoza

As a parent raising bilingual children or a teacher of bilingual students, you likely find yourself searching for ways to effectively teach children vocabulary words in a new language. There are a lot of great research-based best practices out there, but sometimes it can feel daunting to know where to begin. Below are some curated strategies that will work great at school and at home. And on the theme of our new song, The Small Little Plane/Había una vez un avión”, we are highlighting fun suggestions for teaching opposites.

1. Make a real-world connection

While flashcards might be the way you were taught vocabulary words, the reality is that they are not the most effective way to help children retain knowledge long-term. Whenever possible, tie a new word to something a child can experience, like an object they can hold or an emotion they can feel. Connecting it to something experiential is more powerful. 

One good basic strategy is to label things around the house in both their native language and their new language. You should also take advantage of “teachable moments,” or opportunities to pausing and teach right then and there. This is especially good for abstract concepts like emotions. Finally, have children hold or touch objects while they are learning the corresponding word. 

2. Engaging repetition is key

Every time a word is practiced a stronger connection is made in the brain. However, rote repetition is terribly boring. This is why teachers often use songs and rhyming books to teach new words. 

Have a child create a playlist of songs they like in their new language they and play it often. You’ll see that sometimes they can listen to songs on repeat more than is tolerable for adults! Their young brains love taking in familiar, predictable music, lyrics, and stories.

While playing “The Small Little Plane” have your child do the same hand or body movements every time they hear the song. The opposites featured in this song are up-down (subía-bajaba), in-out (entraba-salía), flew off-came back (iba y volvía).

3. Incorporate interests

Instead of focusing on random topics, teach vocabulary relevant to children’s interests. They will be more willing to listen and speak if they care about the topic or activity at hand.

A fun way to teach opposites is to have them act them out in Simon Says or charades. In addition to the examples in “The Small Little Plane”, some great words for this are hot-cold (caliente-frío), big-small (grande-pequeño), or happy-sad (feliz-triste).  

It’s not always easy, especially in the beginning, to get children to speak words in a new language. Don’t give up, keep trying different strategies, and whatever you do don’t push it! A gentler approach is always better than “forcing” children to do something they find unpleasant. Learning new languages should always be fun!

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The Small Little Plane/Había Una Vez Un Avión: Read, sing, and color!

The Small Little Plane/Había Una Vez Un Avión: Read, sing, and color!

Video

Activity

  • English
  • Español
  • Printed activity sheets
  • pencils
  • crayons or colored pencils

This week we are so excited to share our new song “The Small Little Plane”! Children will practice:

Reading and singing along to “The Small Little Plane/Había una vez una avión ” in English and Spanish

This is a great lesson for children of all ages.
  • Hoja de actividad impresa
  • Crayones o lápices de colores

¡Esta semana estamos muy emocionados de compartir nuestra nueva canción “Había una vez un avión”! Los niños practicarán:

Leer y cantar “Había una vez un avión/The Small Little Plane” en inglés y español

Esta es una buena lección para niños de todas edades.

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Los Mejores Villancicos – Villancicos en Español

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Los Mejores Villancicos – Villancicos en Español

Por Nuria Santamaria Wolfe 

“Es la temporada de Jingle Bell Rock y Rockin Around The Christmas Tree”, pero mientras oyes tu estación navideña local o digital, es posible que también escuches el favorito de las fiestas en español “Feliz Navidad”. Hay muchos más villancicos que provienen de esa canción de José Feliciano, y son la manera perfecta de avanzar en la educación bilingüe de tu hijo. Aquí está nuestra lista de los mejores villancicos para esta temporada navideña.

  1. Feliz Navidad de Jose Feliciano: ¡Por supuesto! Esta canción bilingüe súper pegajosa y sencilla es un clásico. Feliciano te desea “Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad” que se traduce en “Merry Christmas, Prosperous New Year and Happiness”. Nos encanta “desde el fondo, de nuestro corazooon”. 
  1. Mi Burrito Sabanero: si no lo sabías, “Tuki tuki tuki tuki, tuki tuki tuki ta” es el sonido que hace un burro en su viaje a Belén… Y también es la letra pegajosa que cantarás después de escuchar esta canción. Este villancico venezolano es un verdadero clásico. La hemos traído a la vida a través de nuestra aplicación en español favorita para niños pequeños. Y mira el libro aquí. 
  1. Belén, Campanas de Belén: esta es una de las canciones navideñas en español más alegres y se traduce como “ Bethlehem, Bells of Bethlehem”. Tus angelitos pueden cantar junto al coro que evoca las campanas de Belén, que suenan para anunciar el nacimiento de Jesús.
  1. Noche de paz: aunque no está hecha originalmente en español, nos encanta la versión en español de Silent Night. Conocer la melodía y la letra en inglés hará que sea más fácil cantarla en un segundo idioma.

Te invitamos a explorar el maravilloso mundo de los villancicos. Puedes empezar con emisoras de canciones navideñas en español como: Pandora Navidad Latina, o buscar música infantil de YouTube para las fiestas ¡Feliz Navidad!

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Making the Most of Screen Time

ENGLISH | SPANISH

Making the Most of Screen Time

By Canticos

The current pandemic has led to the creation of an abundance of resources for online learning. It has also ushered in a dilemma for parents over how to appropriately structure “screen time”.

Technology is unquestionably the medium of this generation and technology can play a pivotal role in healthy development as a tool for learning, entertainment and communication. However, it can also be a source of distraction and a socially numbing activity if left unregulated, especially in teens and children. Parents are left with the unenviable task of creating and regulating a healthy home technology environment. I have included several useful tips that will help ease the burden of monitoring your child’s screen time.   

  1.   FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH THE RESEARCH. 

Fortunately, there is a growing body of credible research that is easily accessible on the internet. The key for parents is to gain a working knowledge about the positive and negative impacts of screen time, as well as identify best practices for navigating technology usage with young children. Find an online tutorial or TV news segment on healthy technology usage and have the entire family watch it together.   

  1. SET THE BAR EARLY

Establishing early healthy guidelines and expectations regarding screen time with children will pay off down the road. Communicate that screen time is a privilege that is earned and screen time behavior is subject to review. Be clear and establish healthy family screen time routines and straightforward DOs and DONTs involving technology usage. Also, be sure to model positive practices in your own screen time behavior.

  1. EMPHASIZE QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Avoid the trap of quibbling over minutes and hours of screen time and emphasize the identification of quality activities. While schoolwork is a given, identifying enriching activities such as communication with family members abroad, online chats with friends, and organizing virtual field trips to museums can help transform screen time into valuable growth opportunities. Be sure to build the screen time schedule around activities, not time periods.         

  1. PROVIDE QUALITY DOWNTIME

Competing with video games and technology is not easy. It is especially difficult if you do not provide children with enjoyable alternatives. Mandate tech-free down periods in your home where your family spends time together engaging in fun activities such as board games, arts & crafts or group meal preparation. By providing enjoyable interaction-based alternate activities, you are reinforcing the intrinsic reward related to socialization and family.

  1. DO NOT VILLAINIZE TECHNOLOGY

Avoid the inherent tug of war associated with debating screen time with children and teens. Transform it by portraying it as a friendly tool that requires training and practice to utilize effectively. Emphasize the user, not the use, as the main focus. Teach kids to have a healthy respect for the medium and help educate them on the many advantages associated with healthy screen time usage, but also emphasize that it can never serve as a substitute for human interaction.

Finally, always remember that they are just innocent kids. Our job is to teach and nurture their development through both success and failure. We are their role models and exemplars for setting their life standards. Let your mantra as parents always remainSMILES ARE FREE AND LOVE IS PRICELESS.   

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The Teeny Tiny Boat/El Barquito Chiquitito: Read, sing, and color!

The Teeny Tiny Boat/El Barquito Chiquitito: Read, sing, and color!

Video

Activity

  • English
  • Español
  • printed activity sheets
  • crayons or colored pencils
  • Summer is in full swing

so we wanted to reshare one of our beach favorites \”The Teeny Tiny Boat\”. This week children will practice:

  • Reading and singing along to “The Teeny Tiny Boat/El barquito chiquitito” in English and Spanish

This is a great lesson for children of all ages.

 

  • Hoja de actividad
  • Crayones o lápices de colores.
  • Colores

estamos en pleno verano, queríamos compartir una canción sobre la playa llamada “El barquito chiquitito”.  Los niños practicarán:

  • Leer y cantar ”The Teeny Tiny Boat/El barquito chiquitito” en inglés y español

Esta es una buena lección para niños de todas edades.

Made with from our familia to yours