Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Christmas is over,but what about the presents (A look at bilingual toys)

Christmas was a very lovely and special occasion this year with it being Chloe´s first Christmas. Christmas isn´t Christmas without children. However, it was all very hectic and quite last-minute. I wasn´t at all organised so I´ve vowed to be better organised next year! Plus it was all over very quickly almost before you could blink. I was still wrapping presents, making mince pies and even decorating the Christmas Cake on Christmas Day!In the lead-up to Christmas, I was playing traditional Christmas carols and songs for Chloe to listen to, such as Little Donkey and Away in the Manger, on YouTube. I´m not as worried about her learning Spanish Christmas carols and songs as I know she´ll probably learn them at school or pick them up from her cousins, aunt and grandparents.

Traditionally Spanish people celebrate Los Tres Reyes Magos on the 5th January more than Christmas Eve/Christmas Day and Father Christmas. However, Santa has become a lot more popular over the years and now most families celebrate both! My husband´s family however tend to celebrate Christmas Eve and Santa more so Christmas Eve was spent with my in-laws in a traditional Spanish way. Seafood (which I never eat any of as I don´t like it!), ham and cheese and then leg of lamb, turrón and other little cakes, such as marzapanes (which I don´t really like either) Think I´m definitely in the wrong country as far as food is concerned!The lights are then turned off, the kids shuffled into my suegro´s study and "Papa Noel" comes and it´s all a bit of an anti-climax if you ask me!

My parents came to spend Christmas with us though, which was nice and they brought a lot of the food such as the turkey, parsnips, cranberry sauce, a Chocolate Orange, Christmas Pudding, that you can´t find or buy where I live. So we had a British Christmas Day complete with presents, turkey and all the trimmings.

I thought I´d look at some of Chloe´s toys, especially some of the bilingual ones. Like books, I don´t think it´s necessary for all her toys to be bilingual so long as there is a good mix. In fact, so far she only has two bilingual toys

One is is a Chicco Bilingual Talking toy mobile phone although as my mum bought it in Portugal, it´s in Portuguese and English rather than English & Spanish so it´s always switched on to the English mode!I think two languages is enough to cope with at the moment!! This is particularly good for babies of 6 months and up as it teaches them about communication as well as teaching them numbers 1-4 , animal noises and Hello.Who is it? and Bye,Bye in both languages. Each animal button plays a different tune such as The Entertainer etc. When the globe button is pressed the globe spins round and plays a tune sung in English or in the other language, depending on what mode the phone has been switched to. I think this is a great toy for any bilingual child...Chloe loves it particularly as we sometimes put the proper phone to her ear so she can "talk" to Granny! I´m not sure how much it cost as I can´t find the price on the Chicco website!

Her other bilingual toy is also from Chicco and is the Chicco Bilingual Talking Cube (I´m not a Chicco rep I promise!!!)and is a bright,colourful cube with activities on each of it´s faces. It is supposed to be from age 9 months upwards but I´ve been letting Chloe play with now and there haven´t been any problems (she´s 7 months!). It teaches children numbers 1-3, apples, yummy and there´s a catchy little song, ABC (again with a catchy little song), colours and basic shapes e.g. I´m a yellow star etc and of course the Spanish equivalents. There´s also a dial pad like on old-fashioned telephones had and some balls that spin round with animal pictures on them,which also help develop co-ordination. For more info, check out the link I posted...however, it is in Spanish, I´m afraid. This toy is also quite good for bilingual babies although the Spanish is probably more Castellano Spanish from Spain and not from South America. Here is a link to some other reviews on so you can read them and make your own mind up.

A wonderful toy for any child, not just the bilingual child, and that is probably one of Chloe´s favourite toys is the Fisher Price Sing n´Go Choo-Choo Train. This is a train with three carriages in which a toy giraffe, elephant and a monkey travel.Each of the animals can be played with on their own and have moveable legs, they also have tactile surfaces and some can even be used for teething.When you press the smokestack, the train moves forward and plays a song, then when the elephant is placed in its carriage three different songs are played (all in English of course and very American sounding). This could also help to encourage the child to crawl after it!It is suitable for babies from 6 months up and was voted as one of Parent´s Magazine Best Toys of the year in 2006. I nearly forgot, the only bad thing about this toy is that the batteries soon run out! What bilingual toys do you have and which would you reccommend?


  1. Hi there

    I came accross your blog whilst over at German in the Afternoon. I will be following your story from now on with interest.

    Bonne Maman

  2. Hi Tracey,
    I can't say we have any bilingual toys. There are quite a few out there for English-Spanish, I think, but nothing really for German - at least not in the US. I am thinking about placing an order from Germany's Amazon (and shelling out the big bucks for shipping!) for some German puzzles. Aleksander is really into his alphabet and has a puzzle (English) with pictures under the letters. But it doesn't work when we're speaking German! That isn't really bilingual, but it would fill at least one void where his toys are concerned.
    Kate :)

  3. Hi Bonne Maman! Thanks for leaving a comment and stopping by my blog! I hope you enjoy it!

    Germanintheafternoon, it´s a shame that it´s difficult to find bilingual toys in the US and that you have to resort to Germany´s Amazon & shipping! I´m sure you´ll find something though on Amazon!