Hey. I´m doing great...not one but two blog posts within a few days of each other!!!I´m on a role! I just wanted to get this posted as if you are still struggling for ideas of what to buy your bilingual children this year(like me, I´ve been wracking my brains despite my daughter having a large list of things she wants!)while there´s still time for you to buy them(hopefully! ); )
1. Books, books and more books: I really want to instill a love of reading in my kids so I always buy them lots of books, particularly those in the minority language but sometimes in the majority language too. Bilingual books are also a great option. Some of the books I´ve bought this year for my children are ABC Zoo by Rod Campbell and The Orchard Book of Nursery Rhymes for my 1yr old and I Can Read!Oxford Poetry for 5 year olds and The Puffin Book of Stories for 5yr olds for my 5yr old...will have to let you know our opinion of them after Christmas but they have mainly good reviews on Amazon!!!
2.Board games in the minority language: These are great to play as a family and encourage children with their speaking and vocabulary and other skills,such as literacy,numeracy, problem solving etc above all in the minority language. I love Orchard Toys games and this year I´ve bought my 5yr old Junior Scrabble,as I´m trying to encourage and improve her literacy skills in the minority language and I´m going to try and buy seperate Spanish tiles if it is possible.
3. DVD´s: These are great because you can buy your children´s favourite cartoons or TV series in the minority language but they often have many other language audio options and subtitle options too. Films are also or TV programmes from the minority language country that aren´t shown in your country of residence are also good options.This year we haven´t bought any but previous years my daughter received Charlotte´s Web, The Waterbabies & Rainbow DVD´s.
4.Audiobooks: This is great for improving listening skills and encouraging literacy in the minority language. I have been meaning to buy my daughter an audiobook for the last couple of years but have yet to do so, so I can´t really reccommend any although I have heard that the James Herriot Treasury for Children audiobook is very enjoyable. Here´s an excerpt.
5.Music CD´s: Again this is a fantastic way to improve listening skills,vocabulary, pronunciation etc and also to bring bilingual children closer to the culture of the minority language culture. From albums of groups or bands to soundtracks from films or even typical children´s songs,I´m sure you will find something that you child will enjoy listening to and even singing along. We like the CD If You´re Happy & You Know it Clap Your Hands which is a collection of traditional children´s song but is also a CD-Rom, from which you can dowload worksheets and there´s also a video of Row Row Row The Boat.
6. Other monolingual/bilingual toys: There are many toys that are bilingual or even trilingual or you can buy monolingual versions too. Some of my favourites have been Chicco´s Bilingual Talking Cube, Vtech´s My Pal Violet (monolingual) and a more recent addition, a trilingual toy remote control.Puzzles are also great too.Lil´ollo has a lovely range of bilingual products which would make a lovely gift for bilingual children.
7. Magazine subscription: You could subscribe to your child´s favourite monolingual magazine especially if it focuses one that focuses on their interests for example if they love horseriding, a magazine about horses and ponies etc or aomething more general. This would enhace their literacy skills and vocabulary especially if the magazine is about a specific subject as they would learn subject specific vocabulary which they might otherwise never be exposed to. Also if it is a more general magazine it can also engage them more with the culture of the minority language culture too. I have bought my daughter CBeebies Weekly to encourage her with her reading and as the magazine features many of the characters from Children´s BBC, which she desn´t get to see unfortunately, hopefully it will engage her in this side of British culture.If my daughter enjoys this magazine I might take out a subscription.
8. Theatre/cinema etc trip: If this is possible in your city, then you could give them a trip to see a play, pantomime or musical at the theatre or to the cinema to see a film in English. In our case it would mean travelling to the capital so would make it more of a gift!