Learning with Canticos: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play with The Birthday Book/Las Mañanitas

By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

Canticos books are too much fun to reach just once!  Read them with your little boy or girl again and again and find something new to learn each time. 

 

Here are some tips to help you maximize the learning and fun with the fourth book in the Canticos book series: The Birthday Book/Las Mañanitas – inspired by the classic Mexican birthday song “Las Mañanitas” (The Mornings). This song is sung to wake up a child on the morning of his/her birthday, it’s a fixture at every birthday party.  

 

  1. Talk

Use the book to talk about your child’s birthday. How did you celebrate his/her last birthday? Talk about the cake, the games, the friends that were part of it. Ask him/her what they would like to do for the next one? How would they like to celebrate? What theme would they like? Who do they want to be there?

 

  1. Sing

Sing the song and do it twice to double the fun! Check out our bilingual sing-along video to see the lyrics and to hear the pronunciation in Spanish. The video features Sammy the bunny and a traditional Mexican birthday celebration with cake, candy, and of course – a piñata!

 

  1. Read

Read the book twice to double the birthday fun! 

Novelty book: Interject your own sounds and commentary as you lift the flaps. For example, start by opening the first flap with a rooster crow. On the second flap you can say “Wake up snuggle bunny!” to the birthday bunny who doesn’t want to wake up. Play peek-a-boo with the next characters who pop up to surprise the birthday bunny. Read the story once in English. Flip the book and read it in Spanish. Open the book across to see all spreads and: 1. Lay it flat on the floor to see the whole story or 2. Stand it up and connect the ends into a circle to sit inside and be surrounded by the story.

Board book: Pick one language to read the story through to the end. Start again in the second language. 

 

  1. Write

Take out your arts & crafts box and make a birthday card for a friend or family member’s upcoming birthday. Sing Las Mañanitas and personalize it for each birthday you’ll be celebrating. 

 

  1. Play

Pretend it’s your child’s birthday and wake him/her up with the song. Act out a birthday party complete with cake eating and piñata breaking. Open an imaginary gift and eat imaginary cake with all their stuffed animals.

Beyond Bubbles: 3 Fun Ways to Add Literacy Learning to Bath Time

By Nuria Santamaría Wolfe

Bath time can be more than a time to splash around, it can be an opportunity for your little one to soak up some learning. For multitasking moms everywhere, here are four fun ways to make bath time a great time to build literacy skills. 

 

  1. Sing: You sing in the shower so why not start them on the tradition with songs to help them grow their vocabulary? We love Little Sailor – a nautical theme song that you can use to ask your child to name objects around him or her.  Point to toys and other items in your bathroom to introduce your little one to new words. 

The easy verses and catchy tune will have both of you singing along.  Watch our video here and sing along with the lyrics below. Modify the lyrics to make it your own. 

 

Little sailor who went to the sea, sea, sea 

to find what he could see, see, see.

And the only thing that he could see, see, see

was the bottom of the sea, sea, sea.

 

And a diver! 

 

Little sailor who went to the sea, sea, sea 

to find what he could see, see, see.

And the only thing that he could see, see, see, was the bottom of the sea, sea, sea.

 

A mermaid!

And a diver!

 

Little sailor who went to the sea, sea, sea 

to find what he could see, see, see.

And the only thing that he could see, see, see

was the bottom of the sea, sea, sea.

 

A shark!

A mermaid!

And a diver!

 

…and on and on until you’re ready to set out and dry off. 

 

2. Read: Ah the joy of reading in the tub! As adults, we know how relaxing this can be. Introduce your little one to the. wonderful habit of reading in the tub.  You can do this in a few different ways:

  • Read to them: Bring a stack of books to read while you sit next to the tub.
  • Let them read: Use waterproof books to let them read on their own.
  • Listen to audiobooks: Turn up the volume and enjoy a good book together.  Check out Canticos digital audiobooks in English and Spanish via the Canticos Bilingual Preschool App.

 

  1. Write: Once your little one is ready to write, get them to practice in the water.  Here are a few fun tools to use:
  • Foam letters: Stick them to the side of the tub and combine them to make words.
  • Bath crayons & paint: Let them practice writing letters and words and then easily wash them off once it’s time to get out of the tub. 

 

So next time your kid is getting ready to splish and splash, don’t forget that it’s also a perfect song for them to sing, read, and write!

Music and Dancing in Early Childhood Development

In celebration of our new dance-packed song Dum Dum we’re excited to share the benefits of incorporating music and dance into early childhood development. Did you know that they help your child learn more than just motor skills and vocabulary? 

There are many additional benefits, including the development of social skills, literacy, numeracy. In music class, children gain social-emotional skills, like listening to others and following instructions. Learning to follow a beat or read music teaches counting while helping improve memory and attention. And of course, singing along to lyrics in their native language, or even a new language, introduces them to new words. 

Music and dancing go hand in hand. Dancing helps a child develop their coordination by building connections in the brain. As these connections are made, a child’s fine and gross motor skills are improved. Physical play has various health benefits and promotes learning in toddlers and young children. It also decreases the risk of developing harmful health conditions like obesity.

Here are some tips for including music into your child’s everyday schedule:

  1. You can use music to indicate playtime, sleep time, or another important routine. This is especially helpful for children who struggle with transitions.
  2. When you see your child dancing, give them a toy drum or other homemade musical instrument and dance together. Your child will try to mimic your moves, which can help with his/her hand-eye coordination. 
  3. To help your child learn new words and identify the story in a song, try singing their favorite nursery rhymes and inserting their name into it. You can also encourage your child to change words in a song to stimulate creativity.

Finally, parents develop a stronger bond with their children when they enjoy music together. Music is not only a tool that contributes to a child’s development, but it also provides more quality time for the whole family.

Here is a Canticos playlist in Spanish perfect for singing and dancing. We hope it gets your family moving!