Life with 4 kids 6 and under. Our trip to pick up Tonito in China is: mid-March 2008 through April 12. Our trips to pick up Ricky in Ethiopia are in June and August of 2010.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


You may know that Tonio and I try to speak a lot of Spanish at home so that the kids will be truly bilingual. Unfortunately with school and friends being all in English, and me being around the kids more than Tonio, (although I was trying to do Spanish, I would slip into English whenever we're in a rush or someone's in trouble, etc). So anyway, when Vivi started to refuse to speak in Spanish and say she didn't speak "espanol," we decided we needed to be more proactive about teaching them Spanish. I got out a ton of books from the library about homeschooling, and about preschool activities in general, and created a little program that I was going to do in the afternoons after nap (mornings they are in school!). Tonio and I decided we would do themes every week or two and the whole time it would be in Spanish.

So we started with dinosaurs since it is an easy topic to start with. Our library has a search on their web site where you can look for book in the entire metropolitan area and then request them with an interlibrary loan, and they will deliver them to your library. It is awesome!!!! I have used this before for other books, but this was perfect- I put in "dinosaurios" (in Spanish) and requested about 30 kids books, which all trickled into our library. Every night before going to bed we read a couple of these books (some were just stories, and some were non-fiction). The kids LOVED it!!! Here are the activities we did over the past 2 weeks:

* Made footprints in playdough with our play dinos

* Dino stickers

* Classified our play dinos into plant eaters and meat eaters

* Made a dino puppet and practiced our prepositions (put it between your knees, on top of your head, under your foot, etc)

* Coloring/painting/stamping dinos

* Cutting out dinos from a worksheet (we need to work on our cutting skills;)

* Matching skeleton pictures with dino pictures

* Playing dino memory (or just finding matches)

* Pretending we are paleontologists and searching for dinos that mommy hid

* Trip to Science and Industry Museum to visit the dino hall and "Sue"

And then one activity that we did that I read on someone's web site (some of you are going to laugh at this!:) But you know I'm a nerd, so..): I put on a little "play" for the kids with a lamp, a black piece of construction paper, the play dinos, a fake rock and plastic plants. First I had the kids help me group the dinos that were plant eaters, and then meat eaters and we talked about the different protection the plant eaters had against the others (stegosaurus' plates, ankylosaurus' tail, etc). Then I showed them eating plants, and how the meat eaters would come and try to eat them. I wasn't going to get this detailed but the kids really liked watching the tricertops fight against the t-rex! So then the "meteor" (rock) came and crashed into the earth and the "dirt" (black construction paper) covered the sun. (then I turn off the little lamp). All the plants disappeared because they didn't have sun, and then the plant eaters had nothing to eat so they disappeared as well. Then the meat eaters had nothing to eat so they disappeared. After a while the dirt went away and the sun was shining again, so the plants came back but the dinosaurs did not. Tonito and Vivi absolutely loved this little skit and after me doing it a couple of times they could do it as well. The do it in mostly English and a little Spanish, even though I do it completely in Spanish. But I'm happy that they at least started using a little Spanish. I even asked Vivi why the estegosaurio had plates on its back, and she answered in Spanish! (para protegerlo!)

Our little experiment seems to be working! I am doing food this week and then Thanksgiving the following week. If anyone has any other ideas point me in the right direction!:)

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