Tag Archives: bilingualism

Five Surprising Places for Language Learning with your Little One

5 surprising places for language learning with your little one
This entry was first posted on July 11, 2014 on the Flash Sticks Blog

la lune

We’re fortunate enough to have a great guest post on the FlashSticks blog today, from Sarah Barrett, of Lingotastic. You might remember Sarah from her post a couple of weeks ago, where she told us all about her language teaching journey.
Sarah’s parent and toddler group, Lingotastic, uses puppets, music and stories to help young children and their families to take their first steps into a second language, in a friendly and welcoming environment.
Today, Sarah tells us about a couple of here favourite stealth language learning ideas for families. Perfect timing just before the weekend.

1. In the playground
On the swings: Count in the target language whilst pushing your little one. And once they’ve mastered numbers, you can always progress to trying out days of the week, as well as months of the year.
Round the roundabout: Ask your little one if they want to go faster or slower in the target language. My children learned the word nochmal – again – on a roundabout.

Family car trips
2. In the car

Counting: Sometimes simplicity is the most effective way for your children to learn a new language. Count to ten around in a circle in whichever language you choose. My children love this one and it’s a great way to ensure they’ve got their numbers down.
Dictionary games: This one’s great and has never-ending possibilities. Simply select a letter and give a description, then ask your child to guess the word. So, for example, you might say, “the word starts with an “F” and is a cake with fruit in it.”
Listening to music: CDs with songs in the target language are a brilliant tool. Music is a very powerful tool for language learning. What’s great from my experience is that children find themselves singing a song fluently in another language, then they become curious about what the words mean, which is where the real learning comes in.

at home
3. At home

Instructions: Give simple instructions in the chosen language, making it as much as a casual part of your routine as possible. You might say, “Schuhe an! (Put your shoes on!).” At first, you may need to do a little translation, but you’ll find that your child very quickly begins to understand the words in the target language.
Counting: There’s no end to the counting game. And counting when going up and down stairs is a great bit of fun.
Arts and crafts: Craft is good for language learning too. When you are making things together, be sure to point out the vocabulary for colours and whatever other materials you are using or things you’re making together.
Pairs: Matching games are great too. We have a few with pictures and words in the target language.
Reading: It goes without saying that bilingual books are brilliant. Your local Library can rent them from Bright Books, if they don’t have some already.
Online: YouTube has lots of brilliant videos of nursery rhymes and even Peppa Pig in a variety of target languages.
Toys: My children had some brilliant bilingual toys, which sing nursery rhymes and teach simple vocabulary.
FlashSticks: Oh and obviously, as the guys guys at FlashSticks were so kind as to let me throw some words together for their blog, I should mention that FlashSticks are brilliant for reading age children. Stick them around the home and label things. Oh and don’t forget to take pictures while you’re out and about, so you can tweet them at FlashSticks on #FlashSticksFriday.

4. In the Garden

Gardening is a great stealth learning activity. And one we can’t get enough of at home. Simply point and name plants and objects, as you play together.

5. Out and about

Visiting the farm or zoo, naming animals in the target language is a great way to pick up some really useful vocabulary. Supermarkets and shops are also good for naming objects too. In fact, it works anywhere!
The aim of this blog was just to kick off a discussion on stealth language learning tactics that your little ones will love. I’ve put forward some of my favourites, but I LOVE hearing new ideas, so if you’ve got some great ideas that I’ve missed, I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.
As a language learning and teaching enthusiast, I’d love to connect with any like minded teachers and learners. It would be great to meet those with little ones or who work with little ones, so if you’d like to get in touch, let me know in the comments below or you can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter or via email.

4 Ways that Bilingualism Prepares Children for a Better Future

Today we have a Guest post from Paul Martin. He’s an English teacher living in Buenos Ayres and a writer for Language trainers. So without further ado, here it is!

All parents want to do whatever they can to ensure that their children have all the tools they need for a happy and prosperous future. And one of the greatest gifts you can give your child — one that will last for his or her entire life — is that of bilingualism. Given young learners’ natural curiosity and aptitude for learning languages, childhood is the perfect time to learn and master a new language. Further, beyond knowing another language, bilingual children enjoy a host of other benefits that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Picture by Pixabay

1. Increases cultural awareness
Some say that language holds the key to understanding culture. Indeed, learning a language isn’t just about learning new words — it’s about connecting with an entirely new way of viewing the world. By learning a foreign language, children are connecting with not just vocabulary and grammar, but also the culture and history of that language.

2. Enhances creativity
When children learn another language, they’re exercising their brains in new and unusual ways — language-learning forces them to think outside the box, to expand their horizons. And all this mental energy has a positive effect, even outside of the realm of language
recent study has shown that bilingual children solve mathematics problems more creatively than monolinguals.

3. Improves problem-solving skills
In addition to getting their creative juices flowing, knowing another language helps children think analytically. A Scottish study found that bilingual children performed better than monolingual children at tasks that required problem-solving skills. And what’s more, these problems didn’t just involve linguistic matters — bilinguals outperformed monolinguals in both language and arithmetic-related problems!

4. Protects against future neurological problems
One of the most surprising benefits of bilingualism is that it can keep your brain healthy even later in life. It’s recently been found that people who speak multiple languages show a significantly delayed onset of age-related decline in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. Just as daily exercise keeps your body healthy, bilingualism is a work-out for your brain, and keeps your mind healthy.

From giving them a more global, worldly outlook to protecting them against future cognitive decline, bilingualism is a gift that truly keeps giving. And aside from making them creative problem-solvers, knowing another language is just so cool! Indeed, if you want to prepare your child for the future, there’s no better thing you can do than teach him or her a new language.

Paul writes on behalf of Language Trainers, a language tutoring service offering personalized course packages to individuals and families. Check out their free online level tests and other resources on their website or send them a quick inquiry quick enquiry to find out more about their tailor-made lesson plans.

Souper Language Learning


Soup is one way we encourage language learning in our home!
My children really like German packet soups. You can eat fire engines (Feuerwehrsuppe), ghosts (Gespenster Suppe), fairy tales (Märchen Suppe), sport (Fuẞball Suppe),and letters (Buchstaben Suppe).
When make these soups we must first read the instructions in German and translate them into English.
A cunning bit of language learning and reading to let them have what they like! They also like to find Gespenster (Ghosts) Hexen (witches) Zauberer (wizards), Princessin (princesses) und Einhörner (unicorns) in the soup.


We like to make German Göterspeise (jelly) too. We were making some Waldmeiser Götterspeise today and my daughter was reading the instructions while I translated them. She read Kartofel (potato) instead of Köchloffel (wooden spoon used for cooking) the instructions then read “stir with a potato until fully dissolved” We giggled a bit over that!

We think language learning can be lots of fun (and even quite yummy!)


There are some brilliant language learning resources out there. As a parent raising bilingual children I know how difficult it can be to find resources suitable for children.
Here are a few and some with special Lingotastic discounts to tempt you further…

As we’re heading towards September and little ones first day at school Kiddicones are a brilliant way to celebrate your child’s first day at school. We can offer Lingotastic readers an exclusive discount of 10% quoting code LINGOKID. Free Delivery” to the U.K. only (an additional charge of £4.99 applies for deliveries to the Republic of Ireland).

Reading together is a brilliant way to increase your little one’s language skills. It’s a good way to sneak a hug from a lively toddler too! One Third Stories are amazing books They use the clockwork methodology. The stories begin in English. Gradually, words in the target language are introduced in contexts that make their meaning immediately apparent. Words become phrases, phrases become sentences and sentences become whole pages in another language. This book is available in German, French, Spanish and Italian. A beautiful book and inspiring a love of language from a young age which has massive long term benefits. Buy your own copy at OneThirdStories via this link https://goo.gl/49z9KPcode

Betty and Cat is a unique range of billigual books.

At Lingotastic we sing and play in English, German, French and Spanish so I’m so pleased to recommend The Little Linguist’s Alphabet poster created by the lovely Una. The Little Linguist’s Alphabet is a multilingual alphabet with 26 objects that all start with the same letter as their translations in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. Now D is always for Dinosaur, and P is always for Princess, no matter which combination of these languages your little linguist speaks.This beautiful poster is available on www.loveyourlingo.com


The guys at Lil’ollo bring language to life, with creative imagery and engaging characters, through wall art, flash cards, posters, and games. They they are designed to capture the imagination of young learners when their minds are at their most receptive.
Kiddicone are a brilliant way to celebrate your child’s first day at school. We can offer Lingotastic readers an exclusive discount of 10% quoting code LINGOKID. All orders include Free Delivery.

Singing is my favourite way of learning a language so here are some CD’s both me and the families coming to Lingotastic classes would recommend.

Babi Bach CD
The lovely Penni from Babi Bach has produced a brilliant bilingual Welsh and English album. Here is our interview
The album is currently available for download through most major sites including Amazonand Spotify. CDs can be ordered directly from Penni (info@babibach.co.uk) a
a little mandarinA Little Mandarin produce a fun funky CD of both familiar and traditional Chinese songs to expose little ones to mandarin from a young age, to help them “tune in” to the language. The songs are really funky so it’s fun for grown ups as well as little ones. My family used this CD and within five weeks had picked up four songs. As Mandarin is so different to European languages there is real value to very early exposure to it so, when they encounter it later in life it feels familiar and they can pick it up more easily. The album is also available on Deezer and Spotify.

Bilingual by music kids song swedish and english illustrated by asa wikman 2 © asa wikman If you fancy learning some Swedish or Danish, Kristin at Bilingual By Music has produced some gorgeous bilingual CDs with familiar songs. You’ll be singing along in no time… I’ve a few Swedish speaking mummies who rave over these CDs. They’re also available on i tunes Spotify and Amazon. Read our interview with Kristin here

Baby Boom Boom produce some baby friendly, sing along CD’s to introduce babies and little ones to other languages early in life, the songs are familiar sung in both English and the target language. The CD features nursery rhymes and songs in English and a second language. Currently you can choose from English and either French, Spanish, Italian, German, Polish, Chinese Mandarin, Scottish Gaelic or Welsh. Exclusive code from Lingotastic. Use the code lingo10 for a 10% discount.

This summer we found out about a brilliant new Spanish CD by Nathalia. When I was your age.Cuando Era Pequeña“> Cuando era Pequeña.
Cuando Era Pequeña Check out our review of it here.

You may have noticed I like Flash Sticks! A really simple tool to increase your vocabulary in French, German, Spanish, Italian, BSL and English. (with more to come)
The guys at FlashSticks have offered Lingotastic customers a special discount.
10% off at Flash Sticks use the coupon code lingotastic10 (in lower case). We interviewed Vejay about the concept read about it here.

Early language learning is all about having fun. Toys that talk and sing in another language really fit the bill there and Rachel’s Toy Shop sell some beautiful ones. Simply mention “Lingotastic” in the comments box when ordering to get to a 10% discount AND your postage refunded!

Mommies Tongue. Stock a brilliant range of bilingual toys as well as multilingual puzzles and games for older children too. Brilliant resources to pick up and practice language whilst simply having fun! We bought a Polish singing Teddy from them a while back and my six year old now knows the alphabet in Polish! We were learning the German alphabet and I was surprised how much she knew. It’s what my teddy bear sings she told me!

Chatterbags make some brilliant tote bags to get people chatting, whatever language they speak. Simply tick which languages you speak, use the bag whilst out and about and get chatting. Mention Lingotastic when you place your order.
Chatterbags blog



The guys at Lil’ollo bring language to life, with creative imagery and engaging characters, through wall art, flash cards, posters, and games. They they are designed to capture the imagination of young learners when their minds are at their most receptive.

Kiddiecones are a brilliant way to celebrate your child’s first day at school. We can offer Lingotastic readers an exclusive discount of 10% quoting code LINGOKID. All orders include Free Delivery.

Raising Bilingual Children

This blog post first appeared at Flashsticks – Raising Bilingual Children easier than you think.

Caroline Sarll and her husband are teachers, but Mum had lived and worked in Germany for a while and had made the decision she was going to raising bilingual children years before her daughter was born.

The only regular German input her daughter had was from her mum and, though many thought them crazy, their dedication paid off and her daughters now speak a good level of German. Mum made it a priority for them and it worked.

A German adventure

A few weeks ago, during the summer holidays, my family and I were in Germany, visiting some relatives, and I was amazed that my children were speaking and understanding so much German.

And it really got me thinking about the importance of languages.

I’ve read so much recently about the benefits of early language learning and we are currently in the process of making it a much higher priority in our family.

My children can communicate better with Oma, their Grandma for non-German speakers, and, as a result, were far more independent than I could ever possibly have imagined.


I was taken aback by the whole experience. And it just goes to show what happens when you make language learning a priority. I wish I’d done it sooner.
Not only am I really pleased with children’s progress, Oma is really pleased too; it’s really helped to bring them closer together.

My daughter even attempted to talk to other children in the Playground in German too, which was fantastic to watch. My 14 year old, meanwhile, is beginning to correct my German, which is great, especially as for so long he had showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in learning the language. I really think any language input is better than none.

Making the decision to start… somewhere

Many parents I’ve spoken to do not have the confidence to pass on their language skills to their little ones. And that’s why much of what I do in my classes is geared around empowering parents to use the skills they have, working with them to help build them together.

There are many useful tools out there to help with language learning at home and raising bilingual children really isn’t as daunting as you may think.

Have a look at my blog on 5 surprising places for language learning with your little one for some ideas, if you’re struggling to find a starting point.

No matter where you start, however, the important part is to make the decision to start. Once you begin, the momentum builds and I really think you’ll be amazed by what can be achieved.

Are you learning a language with your little ones? I’d love to hear all about your experiences of raising bilingual children in the comments below.

Meet the team

Here is the awesome team behind Lingotastic

Runs ‘Mums and Tots’ and school classes, blogs, reviews, learns as many languages as can be squeezed into everyday life.

Runs adult language classes with Language for Fun.Tutors GCSE and A level students. Has a massive list of languages he would like to learn next.



Multimedia manager and tech reviewer. Always trying to pick up words of other languages.


Chief book reviewer and tester for all the songs and books used in classes.


Book reviewer, tech reviewer and toy tester.

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