Arabic

Games and Activities to Teach Young Children a Foreign Language

foreign language games and activities for kids

Throw away the workbooks! Pack away the textbooks! Teaching a foreign language to a young child requires you to think differently about what learning looks like!

The most effective method of acquiring a foreign language is the same method as a child acquires their mother-tongue; through regular exposure to the language in their daily lives.

Charlotte Mason said that young children learn languages through, “the ear, and not the eye,” (Vol 1. p.301), and so when we begin teaching young children, initially it is the ear that needs to be trained as the child becomes accustomed to the sound of that new language.

Before we jump into workbooks and expensive curricula, teach your child to speak the language at home through play and by natural exposure to the language.

foreign language games children

This blog post has been written in collaboration with WordUnited, who gifted my family their write-and-wipe flashcards and compensated me for my time. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in blog posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

How do we teach young children a foreign language?

Young children can learn a new language by hearing it used in their day-to-day lives, without the need to use extensive curricula.

“The child should never see French words in print until he has learned to say them with as much ease and readiness as if they were English.” Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p.301).

Ideally, this requires at least one of the parents at home to know this language to a basic level, or for them to employ someone else who does. However there are no end to private language tutors or classes available in most cities, as well as online.

French should be acquired as English is, not as a grammar, but as a LIVING SPEECH. To train the ear to distinguish and the lips to produce the French vocables is a valuable part of the education of the senses, and one which can hardly be undertaken too soon.” Charlotte Mason (Vol.1 p.301).

Once your children are familiar with the words, and how to use them in their speech, you can introduce them to the written appearance of those words. Before beginning them on workbooks, I would recommend using flashcards. Flashcards are an ideal way to introduce children to the written form of any langauge, and can be used in games and activities to help keep children engaged.

foreign language games and activities for kids

At what age should I start teaching a new language?

To put it simply, children should be exposed to the foreign language as early as possible. We all know from our own children, that at the age of two years-old, toddlers may have grasped only a handful of words. However by the time they become three, they are able to hold a conversation and articulate their needs and interests with relative ease.

During these 12 months, there has been no “formal” teaching. Rather the child has heard the language spoke frequently used in the context of real-life, and that is all he/she needed to learn to speak it.

Thee ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.

However, whatever age your children may be, I would recommend you begin talking to them in a foreign language as soon as finish reading this blog-post!

Teaching foreign language to kids

What is the best foreign language to teach a child?

This is of course a matter of opinion! We have chosen to teach Arabic because of its connection with our faith, and French because my husband’s Mauritian heritage.

Others may suggest Spanish, Mandarin, or even Latin. I would advise that you look at your own family, where you live and what languages would be most useful for your children’s future.

Games and Activities to Teach Young Children a Foreign Language

To see these activities in more detail, and watch my family playing these games…

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

1.Daily Language Time

For one hour everyday, have your family speak ONLY in the new language.

If they need something from you, they will have to ask for it a foreign language. Likewise, when you speak to them, speak to them in the new language. By doing this, you are putting the language in a real-life context that helps young children to learn.

Charlotte Mason tells us that “…the child thinks in sentences” and so the most effective way to learn a new language is to have the words put into the context of sentence and place.

2. What’s in the Box?

Fill a box with items you have in your home. Then pull one out at a time and ask your child (in the new language), “What’s in the box?” Pass the object to them and they should give you an answer in that language, in a full sentence if possible.

Why not put cutlery or plastic animals in the box, or try different vehicles, fruit and veg or other household items. The possibilities are endless!

3. At the shops

When shopping with your children, read out the shopping list in a foreign language and ask them to retrieve the items for you. If your child is older, they could even write out the shopping list in the new language for you.

This simple activity makes learning fun and interactive. Your children will not even realise that they’re having a language lesson!

learning foreign language for children

4. Colour-hunt

Call out the colour in the new language, and ask your children hunt for something that colour in the room and bring it back to you. Once they get used to that, you could begin to include numbers and other vocabularly: “I want three red cars, ” or “I want two balls.”

5. Get Moving!

This game is one of my favourites!

Make sure that your children have plenty of room to move about as you call out a command, such as “Run!” or “Jump!” in the foreign language. The children will then have to do that action until you call out the next one.

6. Sing along

Children have an incredible ability to retain songs, so use this innate ability to help them learn the new language!

Sing nursery rhymes and children’s songs in that language. If you don’t know any yourself, look on Youtube! There are so many in different languages that you can listen to for free.

7. Bi-lingual books

Read you children’s favourite bedtime stories to them in a foreign language. This is an easy and enjoyable way to add exposure to the language with very little effort on your part. You will be amazed at the selection of bi-lingual books available at the library for you to take out.

8. Flashcards

Once you children a comfortable understanding and using certain vocubulary in the context of their lives, you can begin to teach them how these words look in the written form and encourage them to write them themselves.

For this stage in the process, we use Write-and-Wipe Flashcards from Word United.

Word united Arabic flash cards

The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.

Each card shows the word or letter along with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has that word written out, followed by a tracing and hand-writing exercise. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

Word united Arabic flash cards

These beautiful flashcards introduce children to the foreign language in it’s written form, and allowing them to have hands-on practice spelling the words too.

If you are interested in purchasing the Write-and-Wipe flashcards for your family, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or visit the Word United Amazon Store .

You also find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Word united Arabic flash cards

 

Remember, very young children learn language through their ears, and not their eyes!

Hold back on workbooks and textbooks until you children are starting to understand the spoken language. The ages 2 and 3 years-old are critical in language development, and thus this is the ideal time to begin introducing a new language to them.

When your children are ready to move onto the written form of the language, try using bi-lingual books and flashcards, like the ones from Word United.

This will your children with a solid foundation with which to master another language and help them in their further study of that foreign language.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I would also love to hear how you have successfully taught your children another language.

Let us know in the comments below!

In need of your duas.

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

| Day in the Life | + Arabic Flashcards GIVEAWAY

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

Since we began using the Ambleside online homeschool curriculum, our daily routine has changed. We are spending more time reading living books, less time doing worksheets and even more time outdoors!

WATCH THE VIDEO below to see a typical day in our Muslim homeschool.

Also, make sure to scroll down to the bottom of this blog post to enter this month’s GIVEAWAY!

Muslim homeschool UK DITL Arabic

This blog post is part of a sponsored collaboration with Word United, who generously sent me their products to review. Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and the sidebar. Please see Disclaimer for more information.

 

WATCH THIS VIDEO!

Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards

We are using the write and wipe flashcards from Word United to enriched our homeschool English and foreign language curriculum.

These cards provide a hands-on approach to learning a language that has kept my children engaged and enthusiastic to learn more!

Word United Enlgish flashcards

The Word United flashcards are available in English, Arabic, French, Spanish and German; teaching the alphabet, numbers, colours, shapes and actions in each of these languages.

Each card showcases the word or letter with a beautiful high quality photo on one side; whilst the other side has the word written out, and then space for tracing and hand-writing practice. These high quality cards are kept in a magnetically closing box, along with two wipe-able board pens.

Word United English flashcard

If you would like to learn more about these flashcards, WATCH THE VIDEO above, visit their website (www.wordunited.com), or find them on Twitter and Instagram.

Word United Arabic flashcard

Other Products Featured

Arabic Flashcards
English Flahscards
Abacus
Scythe
How to Read a Book
Home Education: Volume 1
Charlotte Mason Summaries
Primer Free and Treadwell
Matilda
Harry Potter

Wizards of Once
Mr Poppers Penguins
Beatrix Potter Collection
Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

 

GIVEAWAY

This month, I  am thrilled to be sharing the beautiful Word United Write and Wipe Flashcards with THREE WINNERS!
Each winner can select ONE SET of the Write and Wipe flashcards from WordUnited.com.
The giveaway will run from Saturday 28th November  2017 until Saturday 4th November 2017 at 12am GMT.

This giveaway is OPEN TO UK RESIDENTS ONLY.

All entrants under the age of 18 must have parental permission to enter.

You can enter by following the directions in the Rafflecopter widget posted below (click HERE is you would like to know more about Rafflecopter).
I’ll announce the winners on THIS blog post and contact them directly through email.
The winner has 24 hours to respond, otherwise I will have to select another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I know it can be fun to see how other families home-educate their children; but more than that, I hope you found something useful in our YouTube video. Whether its a new book to read, or a new idea, I sincerely hope that by sharing these moments of our lives with you, I am helping you and your families in someway.

If you would like to see more of us, and an almost daily look into our homeschooling day, you can follow me on Instagram or Facebook.
In need of your duaas.
Peace and Love,
Our Muslim Homeschool Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Easy Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes!

Children are never too young to start learning Arabic! One of the first steps for children is to master the Arabic alphabet.

In our homeschool we like to find creative and fun ways for children to learn. Recently we decided to make cupcakes an decorate them with the Arabic letters. The kids loved this hands-on approach to learning and I think your family will too!

Our Muslim Homeschool uses affiliate links in posts and sidebar ads. Please refer to my Disclaimer for more information.

 

Cooking together teaches your children important life skills, as does all the cleaning up afterwards! Younger children love mixing and pouring ingredients together, whilst the older children improve their maths skills by measuring out and weighing out the flour, butter and sugar.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity! Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Similarly, this tactile and sensory approach to learning was very successful in helping my younger children learn their Arabic alphabet. Not only does it require them to identify the letter in their mind, but also focus on how the letter is formed when making their own with icing.

Not only is this activity really fun, but it also works really well and is an effective way of teaching children the Arabic alphabet. ….And you get delicious cakes to enjoy afterwards too!

Arabic Alphabet Cupcakes

These cupcakes were very easy to make, and older children may be able to follow the  recipe will minimal help from you!

I decided to top each cupcake with butter-cream icing, because it’s just so delicious! Then on top on that we added the Arabic letters, made from Ready-to-roll icing.

 

You will need…

Equipment:

 

Ingredients:

  • 110g/4oz Butter, softened
  • 110g/ 4oz Caster sugar
  • 110g/ 4oz Plain flour
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla paste (Alcohol-free) – Buy HERE

For Decorating:

  • 140g/5oz Butter, softened
  • 280g/10oz Icing Sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp Milk
  • Ready-To-Roll Icing (Several Colours) – Buy Here (Vegetarian)

Cupcake Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 350F / Gas 4.
  2. Line the muffin tin with paper cases.
  3. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat it using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into another bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs and vanilla separately.
  6. Mix all the ingredients together.
  7. Spoon the mixture carefully into the paper cases.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes until risen and firm to the touch.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from tin and allow to cool completely before decorating.

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Icing Recipe

  1. Using a whisk, beat the butter until soft.

  2. Continue to whisk whist slowing adding the icing sugar.

  3. Add the milk and mix well.

Let’s Decorate!

  1. Apply 1-2 tbsp of buttercream icing to the top of each cupcake. You can pipe it on yourself, or let your children do it using two small spoons.
  2. Flour your kitchen surfaces to prevent sticking in the next step.
  3. Roll out the ready-to-roll icing to approximately 5mm (1/2 cm) thick.
  4. Use the Arabic letter cutters from the play dough kit to cut out any letters from Arabic alphabet you wish to learn/revise.
  5. Carefully use a butter knife to lift the letters onto the top of the cakes.
  6. Continue until all the cakes are decorated.
  7. Enjoy!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Tip: If your ready-to-roll icing gets too warm, it will be difficult to cut out the letters. To prevent this, keep the icing in the fridge until you are ready to use it.

I hope your family enjoy making and eating these Arabic alphabet cupcakes! They would be a great addition to any children’s party, iftaar or Eid celebration!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Arabic alphabet cupcakes - Teach you children the Arabic letters with this fun activity!

Have you ever used cooking to teach your children an Academic subject?
What other creative ways have you used to teach the Arabic Alphabet?
Please tell us about it in the comments below!

Peace and Love,

Dr Gemma Elizabeth

Cooking-Skills-iHomeschool Net


Educational Games for 2-8 Year Olds

Teach Your Kids Islamic Studies…ONLINE!

Ali and Sumaya school review

This blog post was sponsored by aliandsumayaschool.com. See disclaimer for further details.

Teaching your children about Islam can be a daunting prospect! Where do we start?

How do we teach the material?

Once they do start learning the various Islamic sciences, how do we keep up the momentum and maintain their enthusiasm.

How can we encourage our children to want to learn about Islam?

What are the best online resources available to help parents?

Ali and Sumaya school review

 

I was recently introduced to the Ali and Sumaya school, an online Islamic school, that teaches children the principle Islamic sciences, from the comfort of my own home.

It has been such a blessing to incorporate it into my children’s Islamic education, and I am so excited to share it with you.

WATCH THIS VIDEO where I show you around the Ali and Sumaya school!

CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW:

Teach your children Islamic studies online!

What is an Online Islamic School?

When we first logged on, I was so impressed! It’s like an Islamic version of ABC Mouse! mashAllah! Instead of teaching phonics or maths, it teaches children Quran, duaas, Arabic, and more!

Ali and Sumaya school homepage

The children absolutely adore it, and really look forward to doing their lessons! I have seen an incredible shift in their attitude towards learning the Islamic sciences. When I announce that it’s time for Ali and Sumaya school, they rush to get to the computer and watch one another do their lessons.

They even recognize the characters in the school from the Ali and Sumaya DVDS, which only adds to their enthusiasm!

Ali and Sumaya school Arabic

What does it teach?

The Ali and Sumaya school currently teaches:

  • Memorisation of Quran (Hidfh)
  • Reading Arabic
  • Prophetic Duaas
  • Salah
  • Wudu

However since we began the programme, about 2 months ago, they have continued to offer more levels,and add more learning material to their website every month!

Ali and Sumaya school

 

How does it work?

Most lessons offered involve your child watching a short animated video, where the material is explained. These videos have been made to a very high standard! The audio is clear, with beautiful recitation of Quran, and the animation is amazing!

Ali and Sumaya school Quran

 

Then after practicing what has been taught, they complete a short quiz to ensure they have understood the lesson.

They way the school assesses memorisation is very simple, but very clever. The teacher will recite part of an ayah or duaa, and then conceal part of it with a “beep”. The child then has to decide what is missing from the duaa, and select the correct answer from a number of options.

Ali and Sumaya school online quiz

If they pass the quiz, they are awarded a “badge.” The badges are the equivalent to virtual stickers, and my kids love collecting them!

Ali and Sumaya school badge

A nice feature on the site is the presence of a leader board. For every lesson you complete, you are awarded points, and the students with the highest number of points will feature on the global leader board.

What age does my child need to be?

There are no specific requirements for age or experience. The only thing I would recommend is that your child should be able to comfortably use the mouse or a tablet, otherwise they may struggle to complete their lessons.

Are their sources reliable?

There are so many different ways people practice Islam today, especially with regards to worship. The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school consulted a number of religious teachers from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

If you have any further questions about the scholars and sources that were used, you can email the Ali and Sumaya school directly. Click HERE for their contact details.

Ali and SUmaya school duaas

How long are the lessons?

The time each lesson takes does vary between subjects and levels. However, the makers of the Ali and Sumaya school recommend that children spend 10-20 minutes on each lesson, as few times a week to get the most out of the programme.

We have chosen to use these online classes slightly differently. Instead of everyday, we have been using the Ali and Sumaya school as a reward for good behaviour or academic achievement! They enjoy using this online school so much that they will actually work towards it! They really do love it!

Benefits of Online Learning

Personally, I think the biggest benefit of using an online school like the Ali and Sumaya school, is that the kids enjoy it! Subhanullah, what a difference it makes to your child’s learning when they are having fun!

Ali and Sumaya school

When a child is self-motivated and interested in learning the material, they will retain that information more effectively than if you are forcing them to do their lessons. The Ali and Sumaya school is a fantastic way of nurturing a positive attitude towards studying Islam.

One of the biggest challenges we face as parents today, is the constant struggle we have with limiting screen time. This internal battle happens in almost all of us everyday. Many of us feel guilty at the amount of time our children spend watching TV, or playing on other electronic devices. What is wonderful about the Ali and Sumaya school, is that that guilt is gone! My children can go online, and do their lessons, and learn something really beneficial! Alhumdulillah!

The Ali and Sumaya school provides a halal alternative to the mainstream media. Furthermore, it is a safe and wholesome way for children to spend beneficial time online.

How do I enroll my children?

The creators of the Ali and Sumaya school only take in a limited number of students each term so that they really get to know those pupil’s needs, and assist them as much as possible.

If you would like to secure your child’s place for this terms intake, you can visit their website: AliandSumayaschool.com for more details.

Ali and Sumaya school

If you have any questions about the Ali and Sumaya school, and how we use it in our home, please leave them in the comments section below!

Peace and Love,

Our Muslim Homeschool