Language Stories

Bon appetit! Reinforce your child's language learning in the kitchen

Posted by Language Stars on Jan 11, 2018 3:53:55 PM

Portrait of a family preparing lunch in the kitchen-145216-edited.jpeg

Your child is on their way to learning a new language and you're seeing the results that Language Stars programs provide. How can you build on what your child is learning in the classroom?

One of our top parenting tips is to take your child's newfound language skills into the kitchen. Preparing meals or treats with your child is a fun shared activity that you both will enjoy. It promotes a love of all things culinary, teaches them valuable life skills like patience, responsibility and teamwork, and it'll also keep language acquisition humming along at home.

Here are some ideas for 'bilingual cooking' with your young learner:

Be your own narrator

Talk through the steps of what you're doing in the kitchen when you're making the meal. Narrate your movements and activities. "I'm stirring the sauce." "Now I'm walking to the refrigerator." Why? We know from FunImmersion® that when teaching kids a foreign language, it's powerful to pair fun activities and movement with vocabulary. It helps children learn, understand and retain their new language.

Play 'name that utensil'

Open your cutlery drawer and ask your child how many utensils they can name. Make sure to focus on the utensils you're using for your meal, and repeat the names in your running narration. "I'm using the whisk to stir the sauce." (Hint: This also works for teaching your child the names of ingredients and spices you're using.)

Use post-it notes

Write the names of appliances on sticky notes and stick 'em. You can also surprise your child by opening the fridge and secretly putting sticky notes on bags of cheese, the milk carton, an orange, anything you'd like. Children learn by repetition, and this is a fun way to reinforce vocabulary words.

Choose a language-appropriate recipe

Is your child studying French? Make croque monsieurs (grilled ham and cheese sandwiches) or crepes. Spanish? How about tacos? Italian? Pizza or pasta. If you're a native speaker in your child's new language, choose a recipe from your grandma's kitchen. This is a great way for your child to learn not only the language, but the country's culture as well.

Choose age-appropriate kitchen tasks

Don't overwhelm your young child with complicated tasks — that might defeat the purpose. The whole idea is for the experience to be fun. Young kids are great at stirring batter, assembling the makings for tacos, topping pizzas and other simple activities.

Bottom line, cooking with your child is a great way to continue his or her language immersion, and have fun, at home. Bon appetit!

What's the first 'bilingual recipe' you'll cook up with your young learner?

Topics: parenting, language