Tag Archives: language

How to Promote Your Child’s Development with Modern Toys

This week we have guest post from Rachel Summers.
How to Promote Your Child’s Development with Modern Toys

All kids love toys, that’s a given. It’s something that all parents deal with, and most of us actively encourage. Not only do we love seeing our kids happy, but we know it’s important to keep them entertained if we want to get anything at all done throughout the day. However, most importantly, we know that toys and playing can be amazing for our child’s development. It’s important to know what kind of development your child should be aiming for at each age, and their key milestones. Information on this is available at Child Development Info. The following tips can help you make sure that the toys you get for your child are the most helpful in terms of their physical, mental, and emotional growth.

1. Set a Foundation with Social Skills

Social skills are the first steps to your baby’s development, and they can start really early with games that involve sharing or taking turns. This could be with passing a ball or building blocks together. As your baby grows into a child, board games that involve multiple players and interaction can be a great way to teach them social skills.

2. Find Games That Encourage Creativity

Any game that encourages creativity is great for a child’s development. The parts of their brains that imagine things when they are children develop as they grow, creating creative thinkers and problem solvers. You can build on this as they grow, which could help them in the work place in later life. Games where your child uses their imagination are games without wrong endings, and with multiple options, so your child can become flexible and not need any rigid rules. Business magazines such as Forbes describe in detail how creative thinking is essential in the modern workplace, and that you can instill these skills early.

3. Tailor Games for Toddlers

Once your baby has grown out of some of their basic toys, you can start teaching them things like shapes and colours, as well as helping them practice their motor skills. These skills can help your child grow into happy, healthy, and active adults. Providing your toddlers with motor skills can give them confidence in their physical ability which is great when they start school.

4. Make the Most of Technology

We all hear how kids are going to be zombies who can’t interact with real people, because they spend all of their time with iPads or in front of a TV. And letting your child watch mindless TV or play silly games isn’t good for them in huge amounts – however you can utilise technology to your advantage. On a single tablet you can have thousands of story books, educational games and activities, and even apps to help develop a flair for writing, art, or music. Much like businesses will use UK Top Writers to make sure their content is flawless, parents can use apps and websites to build on their parenting skills and make sure they’re doing everything they can for their child.

5. Develop Their Language Skills

At a certain age, all babies will be able to talk. However, their level of language and their ability to express themselves can vary massively, so finding toys that are interactive, that speak or ask them to speak, and that address emotions and feelings can help them grow. Many adults struggle with communication, so you are doing your child a massive favour by helping them build on this skill as early as possible.

There will be times when a toy is just for fun. However, the rest of the time toys should be used to help your child advance and grow into a capable school child and confident adult, and assessing whether a toy meets any of the criteria described above is a great way of checking whether a toy is really good for your little one.

Lingo book giveaway

It’s not long until the Polyglot Gathering. I’m so excited to be going for the first time.

My husband went along to the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin last year. Read all about it here. 

In October he also travelled to Thessalonki in Greece for the Polyglot Conference.

One of the Keynote speakers was Gaston Dorren, author of LINGO- a language spotters guide to Europe. His talk was insightful and inspiring.

 

We read the book Lingo over a year ago (an inspired birthday gift) and learned an awful lot about the crossover of the European languages.

 

This is my favourite quote.

“Two languages in one head? No one can live at that speed! Good Lord, man, you’re asking the impossible.”

“But the Dutch speak four languages and they smoke marijuana.”

“Yes but that’s cheating!”

Eddie Izzard

 

It is an intriguing and entertaining book looking at the more than fifty European languages and dialects. I really enjoyed it and think it is a MUST READ for all linguists and Polyglots.

 

We’ve one copy to give away below. If you have a copy, have a go to win your friends one.

Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Betty and Cat – Hennie’s Multilingual writing adventures

This week I have a real treat in store for you. An interview with the amazing Hennie, author of the Betty and Cat books.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Holland, immigrated to Montreal, then lived in Toronto, moved back to Holland when I had a mid-life crisis, and now spend my time between Holland and France.

How many languages do you speak?
I speak Dutch, French, and English. I studied German, but for some reason, the words won’t come out of my mouth properly! My current thing is learning Spanish.

Have you always been keen on languages?
I’ve always been keen on communicating, and sometimes it takes another language. At home, languages were always a thing – my dad was keen – he spoke four and started learning Spanish at an advanced age. He also thought Esperanto was the way forward and learned that.
Living in Montreal at a time when the English were in power, we were the only family I knew that had Francophone friends. We were different, they were different, and the people we lived among (the Anglophones) must have thought that we were different. Somehow, that ended up making us more tolerant, and I think more interesting in the long run.

Could you tell us a little about your language learning journey as a child,
Learning English (there were three of us kids; my parents already spoke school-English when we immigrated) was always fun at home. We shared stories, we showed off, we were shown off (I remember my dad having me recite Humpty Dumpty into a tape recorder for the folks back in Holland). It was never considered a chore, hard, un-fun, or extraordinary.
New year’s day we had Dutch friends for lunch and ended the day with French friends. My husband is American. So: we started the day in English, nattered in Dutch over lunch, spoke French all evening, and then went home talking English. There are millions of people all over the word who live like this, and were probably never taught to make a big deal of it. It just happens.

Could you tell us a little about your career background?
I was a copywriter all my working life. My greatest joy was writing a two-part children’s story for the newspapers around the Santa Claus Parade, sponsored by the department store I was working for. I even got a fan letter.
What inspired you to write and publish your books?
A friend here in France, an illustrator who has grandchildren growing up bilingually in Brussels, asked me if we couldn’t collaborate on a bilingual kids’ book. She ended up being too busy to illustrate it – but I caught the bug, and did it. Not for a second, though, did I consider a translated book – the Betty & Cat books just flopped out in two languages.

Anything else you’d wish to add?
There are so many people around the globe working with kids – and adults – teaching second, third and more languages it gives you hope for the future. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner. And one way to truly understand is to learn the language.

Find out more about Hennie’s amazing books at bettyandcat.com

What Chinese phrases you should know before you visit China?

FotoLuciachinaThis week we have a guest blog from Lucia from Lingholic. She is an inspirational polyglot.She is Portuguese and has a degree in English and German. At the moment she is curently taking a Master’s degree in English as a second language for young learners. She is also improving her Spanish and French!

So over to Lucia…

China, the world’s second biggest economy and home to over five thousand years of unique history and culture. Since China opened its door to the world in 1978, it has become one of the top business and leisure destinations in the world. Although traveling to a foreign country is always exciting, but it can also be difficult, especially when you don’t know the language. Of course, you don’t have to learn Chinese for months to become fluent and enjoy your time in China, but there are definitely some key phrases that will be very helpful for your experience. What Chinese phrases you should know before you visit China? I think these phrases are a good start for your trip preparation:

1. Hello
你好 [nǐ hǎo]
The world famous “Ni Hao” is likely the most well-known Chinese word, and for good reasons; in just about every language, you almost always start a conversation with “Hello” or “Hi”, which is why this is likely going to be the most frequently heard and said Chinese word for you during your time in China. As much as a smile is a universal language, it never hurts to also say hello. And if someone says it to you first – Don’t panic, the proper response to a “Ni Hao” is simply another “Ni Hao”.

2. How much (is this)?
多少钱 [duō shǎo qián]
Regardless if you’re the shopping type when you travel, there is no doubt that you will, at some point, have to ask “How much is this?” , it could be at a train station, Bus stop, or a small local restaurant. So make sure you are fully prepared when it comes to money matters.

3. Where is the toilet?
洗手间在哪里? [xǐ shǒu jiān zài nǎ lǐ]
No matter where you are, it’s always good to make sure you know how to find the nearest toilet. Let’s break this sentence into two parts; the first part is the word “xǐ shǒu jiān”, which means toilet, and “zài nǎ lǐ” literally means “at where”. You can replace the first part of the sentence with other words to find out where other things are, for example, “where is the ATM” would be “ATM zài nǎ lǐ” in Chinese.

4. Thank you & Excuse me
谢谢 [xiè xie] &不好意思[bù hǎo yì si]
Good manners never go out of style, even when you’re traveling. Saying thank you in Chinese when you’re in China is a great way to show your appreciation, and if nothing else, you will almost always receive a genuine smile in return!

Of course, having good manners isn’t just about saying thank you. In fact, being as polite as you can be when you’re asking for help is perhaps even more important. Before you ask someone where is the toilet, you can start the sentence with “bù hǎo yì si”, which works like “excuse me” in English. You can also use it to apologize when you accidentally bump into someone, or when you need to get someone’s attention.

5. My name is… I’m from….
我叫 (Your name),我是(country)人 [wǒ jiào (Your name) wǒ shì (country) rén]
There is no better way to experience a foreign country than to talk to the people! Even with the language barrier, you’ll still likely to learn a thing or two about the country and its culture. Start with a smile and “Ni hao”, then follow up with a little something about you!

Last but not least, you should definitely know how to say “No”.
6. I don’t want (something)
我不要[wǒ bú yào]
As a tourist or visitor, you will inevitably become a target for street vendors, or simply receive offers of services and products you may not need. To get yourself out of this type of unwanted situation, you can just politely, but firmly say “wǒ bú yào” or just “bú yào”, followed by the service or product offered.

In addition to a few common phrases, there are also a handful of things you should keep in mind for your trip to China, such as taking off your shoes before entering someone’s home, and always have your hotel’s business card (with Chinese characters) with you at all times.

Are there any other phrases you think are really important to know?

You’ll never guess what happened on Friday!

On Saturday I went along to Mumsnet workfest 2016. I was still very surprised to be going along. Twenty two hours before I did not know I was going! I got a tweet from Barclays to say I’d won a pair of tickets. I looked at the website and was so excited about the line up. Just a quick call to my hubby to chat about childcare and I was all set to go. The Mumsnet workfest looked to be aimed as mums returning to work after maternity leave. I figured there were a couple of seminars that looked really good and it was a great opportunity to network.

The most surprisingCath andMe part of the day was when I met Cath. I arrived early and got chatting to another he. She had an awful lot in common with me. I’m from Bradford, and she lives there now. We both LOVE languages, especially German, so we chatted about that, about our families, and the Lingotastic classes I run. Anyone who has read my blogs, or met me in the flesh will know that family language learning is my passion, so another mum looking to bring more language learning into her family life and maybe run classes like mine is an absolute joy to me. Cath said this was something she’d like to do so discussed my journey and ideas for her to work towards something similar.

The first event was with the keynote panel of Karen Blackett OBE, Jo Whiley, Jess Phillips MP and Kirstie Mackey. It was awesome to hear them share their stories and “How they do it all.”Panel speaking
Karen is a truly inspirational women who has created a culture in her company which includes and celebrates family. Jo Whiley shared how through her radio career she has worked with supportive people who have allowed her to be a mum as well as an employee. The two shining light pearls of wisdom from this session were “One good parent is enough”- Jess, and “Bring the whole of you to work” – Karen. If the day had stopped there, this would have been brilliant already.

I’m self employed, so the break out session on The Key to building your business was just what I wanted to hear. It was so great to hear others stories. I heard what I know now to be true, “Starting your own business is not the easy option”. I also had the time to reflect on how lucky I am to have a hubby who has let me run a selfie2business which did not make any money for the first two years.
For the second breakout session I walked in, and the lovely Esther Stanhope was bouncing around with excitement. It was titled “How to network when you hate small talk” There were lots of brilliant little tips I could quickly put into practice. We had to break into pairs and speed network. I found out that Katie loves Bradford (where I’m from) and writing and blogging. I was so excited I took a silly selfie. She confessed that prior to this she was a selfie virgin!

Lunch was delicious restaurant quality food and great chance to network. I chatted with a bilingual Russian & English mum about what they do at home, and she said advice and support would make a massive difference to her as her daughter grows. This was a massive encouragement to me and something I am considering I how to work in practice.

 

I went along to the self esteem workshop with Kim Morgan from Barefoot Coaching. The room was pretty full. It was a high speed session including many ideas and a couple of group exercises. I came away with a revelation that as women we all struggle with similar issues which was a real eyeopener to me. Her book The Coach’s Casebook looked a good way to follow up on the session.

We were so fortunate to be able to find out “What we did next”-inspiring stories with five awesome women who were inspired to launch their own business by Workfest 2015.

I was so excited that the guest speaker this year was Matthew Syed. My hubby has been reading his book “Bounce”, so I was excited I could hear him speak. He presented so clearly. This was a real lightbulb moment, to see my own growth mindset and fixed mindset. It was a real eyeopener as a mum, to help me to encourage my own children to see that if things go wrong, failure is not final, and though failing we learn how to do it better next time.
MattSyed If you want to buy his books Black box thinking and Bounce for yourself, click through.

It was an awesome day and I came away feeling comfortable in my own skin and that I’m not doing a bad job as a mum. Not bad at all for an event I’d not heard about before the Friday.

This blog is the first in a monthly series celebrating women in business and the workplace. I believe that if something is not celebrated it can die, so I want to take the chance to celebrate some awesome women. If you’d like to write a guest blog for us get in touch.

Is this THE best method for learning a language?

Languages, lessons and learning

This week we have a blog from Alex who is just as evangelistic about early language learning as us here at Lingotastic. Over to Alex…

Hi, I’m Alex the worst tanned Paraguayan EVER. This is a sort of summary of my language learning journey and the entrepreneurial adventure I’ve embarked on since graduating from university in languages last year. I’ve co-founded One Third Stories, where we create bedtime stories that start in English and end in a different lingua.

I would describe my upbringing as alternativo, as there aren’t many people who are born in Paraguay, America del Sud and look this white. I’m told I sound typically British when I speak in inglese, but then when I switch to spagnolo, people will recognise a strong accent from America del Sud that feels out of place, given my pasty complexion. But that’s just me (and my unfortunately pasty siblings).

A none Paraguayan looking family

A none Paraguayan looking family

There are so many benefits to learning another language, but when I was growing up I never realised how lucky I truly was. My parents were missionaries (another reason for my use of the word alternativo), and they made the conscious decision to bring me, my brother and my sister up bilingual. My dad was the linguist (he just loves words) and would speak to us three in spagnolo, and my madre would speak to us in inglese. We attended an international scuola there studying everything in both lingue.

Moving to the UK helped me realise how lucky I was to speak other lingue. From a professional perspective they helped me get my first ‘real job’, as a Spanish Assistant at the scuola I attended as a student (Biddenham Upper School). Academically, I realised that it was something I wanted to pursue further so I decided study Politics with italiano e portoghese at università. My Year Abroad was the best year of my life, and the one where I probably changed the most. I was an intern at Armani, studied in Venice and volunteered in Brazil during the World Cup. I truly believe every person should live abroad for a little while, but unfortunately it’s something that doesn’t happen often enough.

Brazil, France and England/Paraguay during the 2014 World Cup

Brazil, France and England/Paraguay during the 2014 World Cup

Besides offering me experiences to meet amazing people, opportunità to travel and grow as a person, lingue have played opened up so many doors. I graduated last year and with one Third Stories found a way to pursue this passion I share with Sarah, and inspire the linguists of tomorrow. I’m lucky enough to be working with one of my best friends Jonny Pryn, one of the first people I met in the UK, who has a lifetime worth of negative experiences in languages and is absolutely convinced we can provide a single positive one for future generations. If you want to check out our work we have a free audiobook of ‘The Three Little Pigs’ to learn español or française.

'The Three Little Pigs'

‘The Three Little Pigs’

‘The Three Little Pigs’

Is this THE best method for learning a language? If you feel like you’ve understood the lingua (italiano) I’ve embedded in my story, then our ‘Clockwork Methodology’ works. If you want to find out a little più about it go to One Third Stories, visit our website or email me at alex@onethirdstories.com

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Our birthday, NEW CD and holiday classes

This week has been so exciting I may pop!

It is two years since our first EVER class. A free trial at Chesham library.

laterneumzug

It’s been an exciting two years, going from one class a week to four.

Watching some gorgeous little ones grow up and saying goodbye as some move on to school.

Connecting with some amazing language enthusiasts, language businesses and language teachers both in the virtual world and the real world as we’ve met up at Language Show live.

The class (and business) is very different to when we started out with many more props, puppets and bubbles not to mention our own custom made rockets and floor mats designed and made by the amazing Emily Kane

Thanks to all of you who have come along and made the classes so much fun.

Happy Birthday Lingotastic!

Our biggest news is the launch of our first CD- mostly German

It has been a lot of fun to record, which I’m sure you’ll hear!

Lingo_web_CD

Our CD will be available to buy in classes from 14th December, at our special Christmas holiday class and in our online shop.

You will be able to preorder from Saturday 5th on our shop www.Lingotastic.co.uk/shop
Stay tuned for our special pre release offer.

It is great stocking filler and perfect timing ready for the German term in the New Year! You’ll be singing along in the car and at home and picking up lots of German (and a few words in other languages too!)

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As I mentioned before we have our Christmas holiday class coming up on 21st December. 10 am at the Chesham venue 188 Severalls Ave.
We’ll be blasting off to Spain, meeting los tres reyes (the three kings) and joining their journey following the star (la estrella) and singing some brilliant Christmas songs like Feliz Navidad. We’ve a brilliant craft too with some really gorgeous craft materials.

It’s a great way to start the Christmas holiday!

If you don’t know Feliz Navidad already, learn it with us!

New FlashSticks app- review by my 8 year old.

FSFrenchappMy eight year old has been poorly and off school for a few days. She’s starting to feel a bit better so I thought we’d get her learning a bit at home to keep her brain working. The perfect chance to play the FlashSticks app with her. Here’s what she thought.

What did you you like about the app?
I like test speech button so I can practice saying the words.
I like the object scan. We took lots of photos and the computer told us what they are in Spanish.
7up

Noahs ark

What do you not like about the app?
The time goes too quick. I knew some answers but did not press the button in time. It’s annoying. (the word flash game)
I don’t like that you loose points when you get it wrong.

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More from mum…
I had to help her a lot to start with. Fifty words is a lot to focus on in one go and she got fed up of pressing the play video app each time so I read them with her to help her pronunciation.
When she started on the word flash app she found it tricky, but with help got into it. I helped her go back and look at the words she did not know and come back to the word flash.

The word drop game was far too advanced for her.
When working together we noticed the ne…pas and talked about saying I can and I cannot.
We also noticed Est – ce – que and I explained that was how people ask questions in French.

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She is a complete beginner in French so I think that was why it was tricky for her.
More advanced children may be able to use the app more independently.
The app was a good learning experience for us to use together and good to use alongside other methods when learning a new language.

Anyway, what are you waiting for?
Download the app for FREE and try it for yourself. Check out FlashSticks.com.
Let me know in the comments how you get on.

Disclaimer:
FlashSticks gave us a three months free access to this app in order to review the app. This are our own views and opinions.

FlashSticks new app. A review

This week we have a review of the new sparkly FlashSticks app.
If you follow me on Twitter you’ll already know I’m a big fan of FlashSticks sticky post it notes. They are colour coded to help you remember the gender of words. Blue for masculine, pink for feminine and yellow for verbs and adjectives. For a visual learner like me they are a godsend. Simply stick them around your home or take photos when you are out and about like me!
On a windy day outside I’ve almost lost them a few times!

froid

froid

When I heard Flash Sticks were creating a new app I was so excited. I was NOT disappointed.

It launched only few weeks ago and Francesco challenged me to a competition. Being the competitive person I am, I could not resist! Guess what, I got more points than him 🙂

Lingotastic runs in six week blocks of French, German and Spanish. We’ve just started a block of Spanish and this has been a great way to tune into Spanish again. As any polyglot will tell you your strongest language often comes to mind first, so it takes practice to suppress this and the app has been a brilliant help for me to do this for this block.

 

So here is my review of the app.

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There is a “learn words” function which allows you to flick through the words before playing the games.

la barba

el pie

el pie

guapa

My favourite game is word flash. I really like that it shows the colour of the FlashSticks to help you remember their gender. The music is very reminiscent of countdown and keeps you focused.

The other game is “word drop”. A good way to test and improve your spelling of the new words, against a clock. The music for this is really feel-good and makes me smile.

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20150916_205215000_iOS

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The cherry on top of the app is the amazing sci-fi object scanner. Simply switch on the object scanner and take a picture of the object and by some kind of magic (maybe elves?) the app tells you what it is in English and your chosen language.
Here are a few I took to try and fool the scanner.

Anyway, what are you waiting for?
Download the app for FREE and try it for yourself. Check out FlashSticks.com.
Let me know in the comments how you get on.
Disclaimer: These are my own thoughts and opinions. FlashSticks gave me a three month subscription in order to review this app which is just as well since I’ve found it to be addictive… What can I scan next?

Ukrainian, Russian and English with Mykhalo and Anna

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Hnatyev Family

This week I have to pleasure of interviewing two friends of mine, Anna and Mykaylo about their language learning journey and speaking three languages at home.

Hi Mykhaylo and Anna. Could you tell me a little about your language learning journey?
Mykhaylo: I was born and brought up in Ukraine to Russian speaking parents. At home we spoke Russian and I went to a Russian school in the Ukraine. We were taught French and English in School but as I lived in a Soviet Country the furthest I expected to travel to was Poland so it was purely academic subject with little use outside of school.
Anna: I was born in Moldova to Russian speaking parents. I studied Romanian in school as an additional language I learned some English at school. I went to university in Romania and really found it difficult to understand what was happening. As I read for my assignments I would have a dictionary in my hand to look up what each word meant. I also studied German at university.

Do you think children can be introduced to languages from a young age?
Our Children spoke Ukrainian and Russian at home. Our elder son studied Helen Doren English at Nursery school. We were shocked when we heard nursery rhymes in the UK and we recognised them like Humpty Dumpty and Jack and Jill.
As multilingual parents how do you keep three languages working at home, especially with your children attending an English school
Mykaylo: We are mostly focusing on Russian speaking at home Russian speaking television programmes online about travelling to other countries and reading books in Ukrainian to keep the language. He is concerned when going to the Ukraine he can’t speak to his friends. He may continue to learn Russian but to write Russian has lots of rules. He will need to do additional exercises to learn Russian properly or it will be a terrible mess. Many younger Ukrainians and speak Russian well but when I comes to writing it is a different thing.
Anna: Our youngest boy gets frustrated that people do not say his name correctly. He is starting nursery soon and we will send a list of Russian words he uses to help the teachers.

What are the cultural differences in the UK to the Ukraine?
In urban environment there is very little traditional singing. Babies are sung lullibies. We used to watch a short cartoon and hear a goodnight song on the state television. We have familiar famous short poems which are passed down generation to generation.
The school system in UK seems much more relaxed than it is in the Ukraine. It is a much more intense programme in the Ukraine with little time to play in school.

So you’re working in the UK now what do you do?
I am working in business development and client relationships management role in the UK representing a Ukrainian software development company ELEKS.com

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