Activity

Baby Words French _Infographic

Baby Words in French

 

Baby Words French _Infographic
Baby Words French _Infographic

So what is funny is that I often have parents in class who have very decent French – some could even read ‘Le Monde’ newspaper or watch the French news… but they do not know how to speak to little kids 🙂

In this infographic series, I will provide fun and useful words for speaking to your child.

Enjoy x

Activities with babies Edinburgh

‘Banish Baby Brain’: 7 brain-stimulating activities for parents

I have always disliked the term ‘baby brain’ (I have also heard it be called ‘momnesia’). New parents have so much on their plate, of course, their focus is elsewhere! However, there is scientific backing to suggest that mothers are impacted by a lack of concentration and focus.

It is true that as a new parent you can feel like your brain is not functioning correctly. You could even be forgiven for thinking that you were losing brain cells in those first crazy years of parenthood. We just focus on this new arrival who turns into a testing toddler and then an active preschooler… It passes in a flash and we can forget to embrace it.

But what about #selfcare? How about using your time with your child to learn and grow WITH them?

Why keep learning as an adult?

We create new neural connections in our brain when we learn and practise something new. These neural connections enable our brains to process information more quickly and keep our minds sharp.

Additionally, studies show that those who continue ‘exercising’ their brain in adulthood reduce their risk of, or delay, certain types of dementia.

So, when you find yourself in charge of a little one and the day is stretched before you, see it as an opportunity. There are LOADS of activities you can get up to with your young child to keep your mind active.

Here are my top 7 brain-stimulating activities for parents:

  1. Sewing – Although this may not initially seem baby-friendly (pins, sewing machines…!), I know several Mums who have used their extra time at home to learn basic dressmaking or home furnishings. Edinburgh’s Red Thread Studio runs baby-friendly midweek classes. I have not been but it looks awesome! Red Thread Studio
  2. Podcasts – Parenting is a funny thing. At times you don’t have a second for yourself. Then sometimes you suddenly find yourself in need of entertainment i.e. baby falls asleep on you or toddler falls asleep in the car just as you arrive at the supermarket – potentially wasted time! Not if you have a back up of podcasts to listen to! Download several to your phone on a subject which is new to you and sit back, listen and learn. Two of my fave are TED Radio Hour and Stuff You Should Know (SYSK) but you can find literally thousands of awesome quality podcasts. Not sure how to download a Podcast? Read this article.
  3. Free online university classes – These days we have access to a world of knowledge at our fingertips, literally. In recent years, there has been a rise in access to quality learning-programmes online – for free! For online courses created by universities, check out Future Learn. You can browse their enormous catalogue of subjects, enrol and learn: any time any place.
  4. Yoga – It is quite obvious that any regular exercise has physical health benefits.  Most people are also aware of yoga’s positive impact on our sense of wellbeing but did you know about its brain age-defying properties? A recent study has shown a link between regular yoga sessions and a higher number of brain cells! The good news is that you can easily start yoga with your child and many groups out there can support you. In the Edinburgh area, check out YogaBellies parent & child classes where you will get a warm welcome from Jen, Louise or Rosy.
  5. Museums – Not on your list midweek? Think again! Museums these days are mega-child friendly and also pretty quiet during the week in Edinburgh. I have had whole exhibitions to myself while the baby sleeps in the pram or even crawls on the floor beside me 🙂 There is also always caffeine nearby. I go a lot with my 3-year-old and she loves looking at the paintings and is now quite at ease in a gallery! The National Galleries Scotland run BYOB talks (Bring Your Own Bump!) “Monthly informal gallery chats for grown-ups with their wee-est ones.” Amazing!
  6. Languages – Of course, this is where my passion lies and I would encourage you to grasp this opportunity with both hands! Learning a new language has huge proven cognitive benefits. Brushing up on our existing level can seem daunting but believe me, it is not all that hard. At Mini French (or Mini Spanish coming next year) you can learn along with your child. The language coaches are trained to keep parents and children engaged and you will come home feeling brighter in every way!
  7. Socialise with purpose – Finally, as parents of young children, we ALL have days when we are overwhelmed and can barely function (in fact I am writing this in bed with a toddler next to me). On these days, meeting up with fellow parents who are all in the same boat is very important. There are social groups around the country. One very good one in Edinburgh is MumUnity. A supportive bunch of Mums run by Amber, the founder of Lottie’s Boutique. You will be met with no judgement and a cuppa. Your mental health is paramount. At Mini French, you will also meet lots of cool, like-minded parents. Our aim is for every parent to get a warm welcome and many stick around for a coffee after.

So there you have it… which brain-boosting activity will you start this week?

French Snail Petit Escargot Craft

Craft time in French with your toddler: Autumn PlayDoh Snails

Here is a simple autumn craft you can relate back to your French classes! Make a cute snail with a conker and plasticine or PlayDoh, sing the song “Petit Escargot” and explore the meaning of the song together 🙂

Children are kinaesthetic learners so singing and making together is a fab way to learn.

Petit escargot,

Porte sur son dos,

Sa maisonette,

Aussitît qu’il pleut.

Il est tout heureux,

Il sort sa tĂȘte !

Little snail,

Carries on his back,

His wee house,

As soon as it rains,

He is all happy,

He pops out his head!

 

  1. Roulez la pĂąte Ă  modeler ! Roll the plasticine/ PlayDoh

Petit Escargot

2. Faites une fente à l’un des bouts à l’aide d’un cure-dents ou un couteau pour enfants. Split one of the ends with a toothpick or child friendly knife.        

Petit Escargot Craft

3. Modelez les antennes avec les doigts. Shape the tentacles with your fingers. 

4. Mettez le marron dessus et pressez légÚrement. Place the conker/ chestnut on top and firm down gently.    

French toddler craft

5. A l’aide d’un cure-dents, faites les yeux et la bouche! Use the toothpick to shape the eyes and the mouth.

French Snail Petit Escargot Craft

With supervision, all ages can get involved!
Bingo French counting

Step-by-step method for counting in French with your preschooler

Learning a language together is all about simple steps. Just start somewhere! When you start to see results you’ll be spurred on to achieve more 🙂

Let’s start with counting in French. Below is a manageable home lesson plan to learn to count to 20 (or 10 if that is your child’s current counting level).

1. Start with singing numbers in French together

Music is a very powerful learning medium.

Here is a video from YouTube which I quite like… be warned it gets stuck in your head but that is the point!

At Mini French, we incorporate several counting songs into our sessions. One example is “Un, Deux, Trois  nous irons au bois” (1, 2, 3 we will go to the woods!)

2. Put counting in French into daily practice

As a parent, you will already be aware that children learn through ‘doing’. Here are three simple ideas:

Snacktime: Select a snack today which is made up of small parts i.e. grapes, raisins, crackers…Count them out into a bowl together. Grab a teddy. Count out a snack for teddy. Let your child count out the snack for you. You could add in “Miam! C’est bon!” (Yum! It is tasty!)

Walking: Pass the time and encourage your little one to keep up (!) by counting in French when you climb the stairs or are walking to the car or bus. I know a good song for this but I can’t give away all my secrets in one go… 😉

Shopping: Count the food as you place them in the trolley or at the checkout. This could lead on to learning fruit names. Download my fruit poster here.

This is also something you can ask your care provider to get involved in. Most adults can manage to learn to count in a new language and will relish the challenge! My childminder was delighted to speak in French a little when she looked after my youngest.

3. Play a counting game: bingo or a ballgame

Bingo: Remember that it can be hard for young children to verbalise new words so asking to point at words is easier. Download my bingo printable. There are three levels: ‘Niveau 1 – Niveau 3′. 

COUNT IN FRENCH PRESCHOOLER BINGO

Ballgame: Keep things moving! Children are very active learners and like to have hands-on experience. Grab a ball and kick or throw to each other and try to get to 20 (cheating is allowed!)


So there you have it, adding some small activities into your busy day can be very effective in giving your child a headstart in a language.

Positivity and encouragement are the main resources in your language teacher toolkit. This will boost your child’s confidence and have a snowball effect in their language learning. I see it happen ALL the time at class. Those parents who put in a tiny bit of effort at home through music or games will result in their children having a solid grasp of the foundations of a second language in their preschool years.

Fancy another activity? Check out my Learning Through Taste home lesson!

Felicity

 

French for kids

Watch our new video!

It has been a very busy few months! Mini French has been signing-up a record number of children to our programmes. We are obtaining consistently high re-sign up rates from families and have started working in many new nurseries who are all giving us great feedback.

My teachers and I work hard to ensure that our programmes are highly engaging and very effective. We focus on babies to age 7 as I am passionate starting a language in the early years. It is a very specialised role to be able to entertain and engage this age group but sooooo rewarding!

But how did Mini French begin? Watch the Story of Mini French to find out!

For happy brains and bright futures, join Mini French!

Teach my child French

Three things you can do TODAY to teach your child French

We are all busy parents. So I will keep this short! There are many things you can do to expose your child to a second language regardless of your own level. How do I know this? My three children are bilingual and I am not a French native speaker. Yes, my husband is French but I am often the one initiating French at home. We live in the UK so our majority language is English. Our minority language is French and the one that needs nurturing.

Also! I am using the same blueprint to start Spanish with the children and they are learning the foundations of their third language well! Even though I would classify my Spanish as conversational at best.

So what can you do to teach your child French today? And, how do you keep it up?

Here are some quick tried and tested language learning hacks for you (in addition to watching cartoons etc which I have already blogged about)

Identify the moments you have time together

I am going to assume that you are together for some or all of the below daily events?

  1. Bathtime?
  2. Mealtimes?
  3. Getting dressed in the morning?

It is unlikely to be sustainable if you try to carry out whole French lessons at home unless you are homeschooling or VERY dedicated. If you are then WELL DONE! {virtual hat off} You will help them progress really well if you make your home lessons fun and the vocabulary meaningful.

BUT! If you do not have time to create a whole curriculum do not worry! Start with small but effective steps. Identify the moments of the day when you have one on one time (or one to two or three for busy families like mine!) – what could you do at these points?

HERE’S THE HACK: Find a song to go with each one on one time. If it matches up with the activity then even better! Let me help you out. Bathtime: Bateau sur l’eau – here is my free MP3 (I recently changed my file system so if you have issues please email me!). Mealtimes: J’aime la galette (change the word ‘galette’ to what you are eating – ask Alexa or look it up on Google translate), Getting dressed: Sing “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” in French (link is to a rather retro video but I like it!

If you do this regularly you will both learn all the words in those songs! Effortlessly.

Take it further!

  1. Talk about the weather in the morning!
  2. Do the Mini French challenge – you’ll learn so much and easily!
  3. Play restaurants together – role play can be incredibly effective – and fun! Here is the vocabulary you need.

Simple steps, when made fun will have lasting effects! Remember the goal at this age is to pique their interest and demystify languages. By the time they start formal education they will be miles ahead and you have given them a positive experience showing them that languages are part of life and fun.

As ever, email me with questions or your own ideas!

Felicity

Kids French poster les fruits

Free Kids French Poster: Les Fruits!

Another in the poster series

This time – fruit!

LINK HERE

Ideas for using:

Print and display in the house

Cut up into flashcards

Print two copies, cut up and play snap

Keep near the fruitbowl

Use as part of your shopping trip

Make up a fruit song – or find French fruit songs (hint: Pomme de Reinette…!)

 

learn through taste teach french babies and kids

French with kids! A step-by-step guide to learning through taste

Let’s take a multi-sensory approach to learning when teaching a new language!

You learn language through MEANINGFUL and DAILY interactions. That is how you learned your first language and that is how you will learn your second language.

For any family dynamic, monolingual parents ‘teaching’ their baby a second language, bilingual parents striving to increase exposure to their home language or mixed heritage parents raising their child in a mixed language environment – quality and quantity is KEY!

For babies and kids that means – fun, engaging natural interactions.

So grab some fruit, sing ‘Pomme de Reinette’ to set the scene (check out YouTube or ask me!) and try out this fun idea to eat and learn at the same time. A winning combo!

See my fun activity here

If you liked this – check out this French kids vegetable poster

 

7 simple ideas to teach your child French babies and kids

7 simple ideas to teach your child French this summer

Sun’s out and Mini French does not have summer classes this term! Keep up the French with a few ideas here and make sure to download the summer activities French checklist below:

Have a great summer!

Get in touch via Facebook or email to let me know how you are getting on or for more tips!