8 Awesome Second Language Learning Activities

8 Awesome Second Language Learning Activities

If you are interested in finding new ways to expose the little one/s in your life to the beauty of a new language, then you’re in the right place! On this post, I’ve compiled a list of 8 awesome second language learning activities that I’ve thought of, looked up, and tried out myself. 🙂

Typically, when you think of immersing children in a language that’s new to them, you think of high-cost programs, interactive TV shows, etc., but those aren’t the only resources out there! There are plenty of fun, free ways to teach children and let them have a great time, as well.

Related Post: 6 Ways To Make Second Language Learning Fun

Just remember that you don’t have to be proficient in the language yourself to teach your child! You can learn songs, read short books, do finger plays, play simple memory games, etc., and be learning right along with them. That’s what I’m doing, and I’m enjoying it just as much as my five-year-old brother!

I hope you enjoy this post!

~~~

{Language Learning Activities}

1. Songs. This is a great one for all ages! From nursery rhymes to hit pop songs, there’s a large music selection out there across a whole variety of languages. I’ve been listening to GallinaPintadita on YouTube recently because I’m teaching my younger siblings Spanish, and “Los Pollitos Dicen” has been our favorite so far!

2. Finger plays. Look up “finger plays” in the language that you’re teaching and see what you find! I just did that myself, and I found an article on Google that I’m going to have to read later hahahah

3. Simple conversation. Teach them words that they’d like to know in the new language! Bring up how to say different subjects that they’re interested in, from cars, to toys, to animals, and anything else, really. 🙂

4. Digital activities. Computer games designed for young children can easily be turned into a language learning experience if you talk about what they’re seeing and playing in the new language, even if the game itself is in English (or whatever language you two primarily speak). Be creative!

5. Books. This one’s my favorite! If you can get your hands on books written for children in the new language, then that’s a perfect way to immerse your child (as long as they’re enjoying it!). However, if you have to get picture books or wordless books to discuss with them because you can’t get any in the language that you’re teaching, that works, as well. Visit your library and see what they have (unless you’re teaching a very young child, in which case I’d browse board books online).

6. Games. There are all sorts of games, from board games to card games to word games! Browse Google and see what you can find.

7. Flashcards. Depending on the child, flashcards can be very fun, or very boring. If you think your little one would enjoy flashcards (alphabet, animals, words, etc.), definitely give it a try! And if not … I wouldn’t recommend them. But don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of other fun ways to teach them.

8. Television. I don’t highly recommend this one, as studies done on children who watched foreign language shows have shown little to no signs of further language development, I thought I’d go ahead and list it as a possibility. This is because if you were to watch one of those shows with your child (Dora the Explorer or Handy Manny, for example) and talk about the show as you two watch it, that will be a way better experience for them than if they watched it themselves!

~~~~

The key point throughout this whole post is that children will not be as receptive to a new language when left to learn it on their own. TV shows, books, computer games, interactive apps, and movies are awesome resources for doing with your child, not off by themselves.

Just like when adults are learning a new language, children also learn best through experimentation; trying out new words, letting new sounds roll off our tongues, and growing more confident through praise and understanding. Simply watching and listening doesn’t provide the same experience.

I hope that this post has helped and inspired you. If you have any suggestions of your own, please leave them down below!

How would YOU teach your child a new language?

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to help!

— Maggie

6 Ways To Make Second Language Learning Fun

6 Ways To Make Second Language Learning Fun

I understand that this post probably won’t be relevant for most of my readers. Despite this, I decided to still write it in the hopes that one day, I can inspire someone!

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been studying the subject of raising children to be bilingual. While I don’t have any kids of my own yet, I do have two younger siblings – a five year old and an eight month old – who I can easily start teaching the Spanish language!

No, they won’t grow up being bilingual, although that would be pretty cool! I don’t know enough of the language myself yet to be able to do that … but I can do different, fun activities with them to teach them the basics. I’ve already started doing that, and I’ll be sure to talk about that in my next post on this subject!

In this post, I’d like to share with you 6 ways to make second language learning fun – these are the best tips for introducing a child to a new language!

This is for anyone who would like to teach the little ones in their life a new language, whether you’re aiming for bilingualism or a basic introduction to the language.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy.

~~~

1. Be positive and encouraging. Children become more confident when praised, so if you encourage their progress, however fast or slow it may be, their enjoyment of the second language will be strengthened! Keep activities positive and enjoyable; children love to have a good time.

2. Tailor to their personal interests. For example, I chose several different Spanish books from the library the other day to read to my little brother. While one of the books had caught my particular interest, he preferred another book over it and chose that one instead. I let it go so that we could have a positive experience geared toward his interests, not mine.

3. Teach them when the time is right. If they’re not in the best mood when you’re about to sit down and do an activity with them, wait for another time. Make sure that language learning is always as fun as it can be, not something they feel they have to sit through.

Related Post: 5 Important Language Learning Tips

4. Encourage correct pronunciation, but don’t push it. Just like with a child’s first language, they won’t be able to pronounce every word correctly the first time – even several times! They will learn best through trial and error, not frequent correction. Exhibit patience and kindness.

5. Let them learn in their own way. For example, if you’re primarily singing songs in the new language with them, but they seem to get more out of looking at books written in the new language with you, read more books. Learning a new language, especially for children, has to be a fun process. It’s the easiest way for them to learn!

6. Always make it fun! Children love to have a blast! Whatever you’ve decided to do with your child, turn it into enjoyable activities for them. Kids need positive stimulation. And wouldn’t it be awesome if they looked forward to learning the new language because of how much fun you make it? That would be wonderful!

As you can see throughout these tips, the key word here is FUN! While learning a new language can often be a tedious process, it can also be an awesome journey for children. Be on the lookout for my next post, which will be about possible things you can do to teach your child a new language!

Thanks for reading!

Do YOU have any suggestions or questions about teaching children a second language? Leave them down below!

— Maggie

5 Important Language Learning Tips

5 Important Language Learning Tips

In the summer of 2013, I had to pick a foreign language to study. It was partly for my schoolwork, but it was also simply for pleasure.

At first, I desired to learn French, so I got the resources that I needed to do so. But I quickly realized that the most worthwhile choice for me would be to learn Spanish – and I’m so glad that I made the decision to switch!

In these past three and a half years, I’ve tried out different programs, played language learning apps, and watched educational videos. With my [pretty limited, haha] knowledge, I have come up with a list of 5 important language learning tips for anyone learning a new language. Whether you just started, or you’ve been learning for years, I’m sure that at least one of these tips can help you. I hope you enjoy!

~~~

1. Memorize verb conjugation. I can’t say that I have this one down myself as of yet, but it’s still very important to do! Depending on the verb and the language, conjugation has different forms, but I found that after choosing a single verb (I selected ‘ir’; Spanish for ‘to go’) and memorizing its endings, I am now more easily able to remember other Spanish verbs. It isn’t foolproof, but it does help me to quickly be able to recall those pesky conjugations.

2. Learn as much as you can, as often as you can. Depending on how much time you desire to put into this, your personal preferences will determine how quickly you progress. For example, I’m choosing to only learn Spanish through free apps for the time being, so as I feel inspired, I complete lessons. It isn’t much, but I’m still getting to daily interact with Spanish. Just remember that the more exposure you have to the new language, the faster you’ll learn!

Related Post: About My Passion for Spanish + The Best Language-Learning App!

3. Try to relate new words to words you’re already familiar with. I’m not able to do this very often, but when I can, it is very helpful! For example, the word for ‘cold’ in Spanish is ‘frío,’ which looks a lot like our word ‘freeze,’ which relates back to ‘cold’! That makes it so much easier for me to remember.

4. Use your knowledge to create your own sentences. I’m not talking about the sample sentences they have you memorize on educational apps – however, those are helpful! I’m talking about using what you know of the language you’re learning and making your own sentence/s. For example, tengo un perro. I don’t actually, as a matter of fact, but that was just to show you a sample sentence – one that I didn’t memorize, but can create with what I know of Spanish. 😂

5. Be optimistic! Depending on why you’re learning a foreign language, you may either be enjoying the learning process, or absolutely despising it. If you are enjoying learning, that’s awesome! But whether you’re required to do this, or not, try to be as optimistic as possible; everyone has a unique way of learning, and everyone learns at different speeds. Just because you’re not progressing as fast as you think you should be, or as a fast as someone else is, doesn’t mean that you’re not doing beautifully.

Are you interested in learning a completely new language, or picking up where you left off on one you know a bit of? I recommend checking out the apps (not sponsored) Duolingo and Memrise. Both are available for FREE in the App Store, and Memrise has its own website, as well!

Thanks for reading!

What are YOUR language learning tips? Share them down below!

— Maggie