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How can I make flashcards more fun?

Lucas stacking chairsAhhh… the perennial question! How do I make flashcards fun for my kids? Most people simply hold up a card and see if the child knows the answer and move onto the next one in the stack. From experience, this type of “game” does not last very long. The “fun factor” is pretty much non-existent. However, it does not take much planning on your part to make flashcards more exciting. Trust me. It is easy. 

Here is how to make flashcards more fun:

All you need is a toy/game/tool that has multiple pieces and have your child “earn” a piece by answering one correct flashcard. The more cards he/she answers the more pieces he/she gets! It actually makes the game more exciting because the child does not just immediately get all of the pieces to it! This earning method slows the game down and makes the child really focus on the goal of the game. 

What are we playing right now?

My kids’ favorite is this stacking chairs game. The children get one chair for each correct flashcard. The object of the game is to stack all of the chairs without them falling. If the chairs fall down, the children have to start over again. My children find this game incredibly compelling and love answering the flashcards to get chairs. stackingchairs

Factors for Success: 

1. Don’t let your child play this game outside of the flashcard time. It should be played ONLY with flashcards and put away all other times. 

2. Make sure that the game is something fun. It does not have to be the most expensive toy out there — but it needs to be compelling. 

3. The toy needs to have enough pieces for your child to be able to build/create/finish it within 10-40 flashcards. Don’t pick a game or toy with hundreds of pieces because then your child will lose interest in having to answer so many flashcards to get the pieces. 

4. Have a few of these games ready to go so that in case your children show the slightest sign of being bored with it, you can tuck that one away and bring out a new one. You can then break out that old game at a later point and it will keep its “game life” a bit longer. Never let your kids get bored with a game because then it will always be labeled as “boring” in their heads. 

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 Happy playing! 

Michelle Gannon

Founder of The Language Playground

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Did you know that you can get region free dvd player in your car?

region free dvd playerOur beat-up red minivan was on its last legs (or wheels) and it was time to get a new car. I found the minivan of my dreams (I think I am official middle-aged with that phrase) and my husband, the master negotiator, was sent in to close the deal. The minivan was perfect — sliding doors, keyless entry system, eight seats  - but it lacked a DVD player.

As a final point of negotiation, I sent my husband in with a mission. Get a region-free DVD player installed. In order to play most DVDs from China in Mandarin, one needs a region free DVD player. Regular DVD players that you find in the United States are not able to play most DVDs from China. Toyota is a Japanese car maker, right? They should have those! Sure enough – -region-free DVD systems for cars exist! You just need to ask!

Region Free Built In DVD Players for the Car! 

We installed a built-in unit that came with two headsets (you can buy more if you need them) and the unit plays all of our DVDs from China. I buy a ton ofRegion free dvd players 1 newly-released DVDs from Amazon in Mandarin, but before our swanky updated system, we could not play any of them. As a family we do not watch much TV, however I certainly use this kind of entertainment for long car rides.

No Guilt!

With DVDs in a second language, I do not feel guilty letting my kids watch TV. Think about all of the vocabulary they pick up in popular new movies like Turbo, Despicable Me 2,  and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  And… they are engaged the whole time! 

Other Options

So let’s say you already have a DVD player installed in your car. You do not have to put in a whole new one in order to play DVDs from other regions. There are lots of other options for playing region free DVDs in a car. You can get these handy DVD players that fit right in your headrest! Or you can get a portable unit that you can then take with you into hotel rooms. There are lots of options for watching region free DVDs in the car (see the carousel from Amazon below)! 

My kiddos are just thrilled to have all sorts of fun DVDs at their fingertips and I love hearing the giggles coming from the back of the car! 

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Tricks for speaking a second language at home with your child

1396951232_bubblesDo you speak a second language at home with your children, but there are no parameters around when it is spoken and as a result the kids don’t speak it? I have had multiple requests from nervous  parents worried that their children will never speak their native language with them. It can get complicated when life gets busy or when one parent does not speak that language. The default always becomes English and then the child never truly becomes fluent because English is there as a handy little default language.

Because of the nature of my website, I also get a lot of suggestions about how many families have set specific parameters around when/how they speak the language that I want to share with you.

 

Family Tricks That Work:

Family A’s Situation: The mom speaks Mandarin and Cantonese and the dad speaks Spanish.

Their solution: Mom speaks Mandarin in the morning, Cantonese after lunch, English during dinner so that they can have a conversation together and Spanish after dinner with Daddy!

Family B’s Situation: The mom speaks French and Spanish.

Their solution: In the kitchen everyone speaks French. In every other room in the house, they speak Spanish.

Family C’s Situation: The parents don’t speak any second language, but want their children to learn Mandarin.

Their Solution: They hire a babysitter who only speaks to the children in Mandarin and never allows English to be spoken with her even though she can speak perfect English

Family D’s Situation: The parents speak German, but not as fluently as they would like and are nervous about teaching their children incorrectly.

Their Solution: Everyone speaks German when they visit the grandparents (which is often — once a week) and the parents struggle a little, but improve their language skills!

Family E’s Situation: The mom speaks Mandarin, but dad only speaks English and does not like getting left out of the conversation.

Their solution: Cartime after school with mom is always in Mandarin. All other times are in English.

Perhaps one of these tips can work for your family! If you have another solution that works for your family (maybe you can be Family F? :) , please email me or post on our Facebook page and let me know. I’d love to hear about your ideas!

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I’d love to stay in touch, 

Michelle

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Article: The Language of Life: What makes America beautiful?

AmericaWhat a great article discussing the backlash that Coke received for the Super bowl ad where people sang “America the Beautiful,” in different languages. I ,too, got goose bumps when I heard this song, relishing in our beautiful nation filled with all kinds of languages and people. But apparently a lot of people disagree. Is it ”unpatriotic” to sing this song in multiple languages? 

The author of the article, Angela Jackson founder of the Global Language Project, discusses the similar backlash that she incurred when she launched the first Arabic language program in an elementary school in Harlem. Questions were raised, “How could we teach Arabic in American schools? It must be part of some type of conspiracy?”

It seems as if some folks are limited to the shortsighted thinking that assumes American children should only learn English and will only need English in their lives. 

Some great quotes from her article: 

” Giving these students fluency in a second language helps them in their future educational and employment career goals, making them highly coveted, multilingual employees.

“The Huffington Post recently reported that kids who speak a second language score 150-plus points higher on standardized tests and that employees who speak a second language earn 10-percent to 20-percent more than their monolingual peers.” 

“It’s ironic that the Coke commercial is being called unpatriotic. What I find un-American is our current public school system where a child’s ZIP code is directly linked to their future educational prospects” 

Check out the full article here: The Language of Life: What makes America beautiful? 

Enjoy! 

Michelle

michelle

 

PRODUCT REVIEW- Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventures: Learning Mandarin Through Stories

binbindvdWhat delicious giggles I heard from my two little girls Hudson (2) and Lousha (6) while watching Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventure! Perhaps it was because the show incorporates the two things my girls love best — flying and bubbles! Bin bin travels by bubble and flies to his magical adventures — you can’t get better than that! 

In Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventures, Bin Bin and his friends teach children about colors, foods and sleepy time through fully animated stories, catchy songs and fun “lessons” at the end of each show.  The characters explore Mandarin vocabulary through three engaging stories, Where Did All the Colors Go?, Magical Land of Food, and Sleepy Time Adventure. 

STORY 1: Where Did All the Colors Go?

In the first story, Where Did All the Colors Go?, Bin Bin rides a magical bubble to Color Land!  A storm has washed away all of Color Land’s colors. At first, the characters only want to add their favorite color to the landscape, but then they realize that a world with all of the colors is more beautiful.

ASPECTS I LOVE ABOUT THIS STORY:

  • The main colors red, blue and yellow are clearly reinforced during the beginning of the story when each character only wants their color used. My two year old knew those three colors down pat by the midpoint of the story.
  • I love bigger message about difference and acceptance —  that the characters realize that a world with only one color is no fun at all.  
  • The creators of this DVD incorporated a bit of science into this story by showing how two colors can mix together to form another color. While this element would probably go over the head of a younger viewer, the older child would find this idea appealing. 

STORY 2: Magical Land of Food

In the second story, Magical Land of Food, the Bin Bin’s friends are unable to find any food to eat so they go on a journey to the Magical Land of Food where funny food items grow on trees (hamburgers) and on the tops of flowers. My children loved the magical component of this story — hot dogs that you could grab on a bush. 

binbinbubbleNOT CRAZY ABOUT: 

  • Many of the food items chosen were very “American” (hot dogs, pizza and hamburgers.) I am sure those food items appeal to children, but I want my kids to learn about food items that they would encounter if they went to China as well as foods that they see here. While I know that China has these food items, I would prefer it if my children learned the names for other foods that might appear in Chinese dishes. 

STORY 3: Sleepy Time Adventure

The little bunny Max can’t wait to say good-night to his favorite things: stars. But when he looks up in the sky, Max is unable to find any! 

ASPECTS I LOVED ABOUT THIS STORY: 

  • After bubbles and the concept of flying, stars are right up there with things my kids love. The notion of engaging with the stars in this story was enough to keep them enthralled even though it is the last story in the series. 

binbinBIN BIN’S MAGICAL BUBBLE ADVENTURE PARTING THOUGHTS:

 OVERALL PRO:

  • MAIN MENU SCREEN CHOICES: Parents have a variety of choices when they get to the opening screen — they can either pick to watch all of the stories, just the lessons, just the songs or the whole shebang. If the parent only has 10 minutes or so to kill and would love to pop in a video — this DVD enables parents to quickly and easily present just one small segment. Anyone who is a parent would know that you can’t pop in a full feature-lenght show for your kids and expect them to be totally OK with you shutting it off after just 10 minutes! Also, my children really love the songs and so often I will just choose the song options as that is what they want to hear and I don’t have to fast forward through the story to get to the song. 
  • ENGAGING TESTING COMPONENT: I love the “testing component” sections at the end of each story. The “lessons” offer an opportunity for viewers to engage with Bin bin and his friends and answer questions. My children (even the 2 year old) loved answering the questions. Perhaps they were also compelled to answer because after a short pause, the answers are given by a group of happy sounding kids. That audio choice made my children want to play along with “the other kids”. 
  • INVITING STORYLINE: Even though my children have watched this DVD many times, they are still riveted by the content. Hudson, the two year old, always says “ut oh” when the storm approaches in one of the stories. 
  • IMMERSION WITHOUT ENGLISH AUDIO: So many of the DVDs out there for Mandarin only incorporate a few words of Chinese and then the rest of the DVD is in English. If you want to get an immersive DVD experience, you typically need to buy a special region free DVD player to play the disks from China. This disk plays on US players. 
  • CLEAR WORDING: It was hard not to pick up some Chinese while listening to the story as the characters repeat vocabulary (but not in a boring way) and say them very clearly. I watch a lot of Mandarin Disney DVDs with my kids and often because the dialogue goes by so quickly, I can’t catch anything! The audio in Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventures is clear and well-paced. 
  • MEMORABLE SONGS: My kids sang right along almost from the very start! 
  • A MOMPRENEUR CREATED IT: I love supporting the “little guy”and not let Disney have all of the fun. The visionary behind this series is a mom from the Bay Area in California. She had an idea and went for it. 

OVERALL CON:

  • No subtitles. For a newbie to Chinese, I would love to have some help in figuring out the storyline. 
  • I could not get it to play in my car, but perhaps it is an issue with the kind of DVD player I have in my very swanky red Toyota minivan. 

For more information about this DVD and the company check out their website at: http://www.kakekids.com

Have fun! 

Michelle

michelle

 

Resolution for 2014: Introduce my child to a second language

the slightest edgeI can’t tell you how often people come up to me with wonder in their eyes asking how my children speak Mandarin when I don’t speak it at all. These parents think that accomplishing this goal was some sort of Herculean feat that took hours and hours of classes for my children and a huge change in our family lifestyle. 

Not true. Here is a little secret….

I just finished reading The Slight Edge: Secrets to a Successful Life by Jeff Olson which suggests motivational tools to help you make small changes in your life toward success. The author’s main “secret” is to spend a little bit of time each day consistently on your goal. Every minute you spend on that dream moves you one step closer to making it a reality. The idea is that if you chip away at that plan each day it will add up to a lot even though day-by-day  it does not appear as if you are making much of a dent. 

I did not realize it, but I was actually applying the “slightest edge” techniques to my approach of teaching my children a second language. Every day my children get a little bit of Mandarin — sometimes it is two or three hours and other times it is just 20 minutes. They get a bit of Mandarin every day — without fail. There is not a day that goes by where they don’t get some exposure in Mandarin. The cumulative effects of that exposure has allowed my children to be fluent in Mandarin. 

Is it hard work? No. 

Have we dramatically altered the way our family works to incorporate Mandarin into our lives? No. 

Do we spend hours and hours drilling Mandarin into our children’s brains? No. 

Do my children speak Mandarin fluently? YES. 

But how

In our family, the kids might get to watch a TV show on the weekend in Mandarin. On a plane ride, we will bring the iPad and the kids play Mandarin games. When my husband, Jim, and I go out on a date night, we hire a Mandarin-speaking babysitter. If our children express an interest in a class, we look for a tutor or a class offered in Mandarin. Our bookshelves are filled in Mandarin books. The kids’ bedroom has posters in Mandarin. Check out my Top 10 Ways to Get Started to find what small changes to you can do that would work in your family. 

Jeff Olsen’s Slight Edge theory is that if you do something that you want to accomplish a little bit each day consistently, you will reach your desired goal. 

Start chipping away at your ideas today!

Happy New Year! 

Michelle

 michelle

 

 

Product Review: Bear Hunt Game for Critical Thinking

Bear Hunt Game by Melissa and DougProduct Review: Bear Hunt Game by Melissa and Doug

Where can I get it: Bear Hunt by Melissa and Doug via Amazon

Playground Rating:

StarStarStarStarHalf Star

We just love this high-quality game by Melissa and Doug to build deductive reasoning skills in both English as well as in Mandarin. It is easy to turn games that are traditionally played in English into a fun activity in your target language. We use this Bear Hunt Game  with my 8 year old son and my 5 year old daughter to build their vocabulary and deduction skills in Chinese. 

How to Play?

Each player gets a game board (there are two in a set) with a variety of bears under each flap. Some bears have hats, others have a mustache, some  have flowers in their hair, etc.  Players choose a bear on their wheel at the bottom of the board, and the other player asks yes/ no questions to try to guess which bear the other player has chosen. What a wonderful game for teaching process of elimination! It’s very durable, and its clever design has no pieces to lose! It is great for developing deduction skills. 

How to play the game in your target language? 

We play the game exactly how one would in English, but in Mandarin. Children explore vocabulary such as color, hat shape, hair style, flowers, gender etc. while trying to figure out which bear you have hidden. 

What I love about the game: 

  • Builds logical reasoning skills in an entertaining way 
  • Highly entertaining — my children will play this game all day! 
  • Children can win just as easily as an adult (parents don’t have to “try” to lose every once in awhile, you will probably lose a few times even when you try! )
  • Game pieces are all attached so you won’t lose any pieces 
  • Very sturdy (we have had ours for years and it still looks brand-new) 

What I am not so crazy about this game: 

  • As with many of the Melissa and Doug Games (see my review about the Memory Game) the game is a bit heavy for travel. However, if you are just traveling in your car, this game is perfect. 
  • When a player turns down a window, it can be a bit loud (see the video below) which might wake up a sleeping baby if you are playing it in the car. However, the durability of the game makes it so that it won’t fall apart and so the pieces are on the board tightly, which makes for the loud sound when you close a window.

The following video demonstrates how we play this game as part of our morning routine with our Mandarin-speaking helper: 

 

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments! I’d love to hear from you! Please post at the bottom of this blog entry or email me! Let’s stay in touch. If you liked the ideas in this post, please sign up for our newsletter so that you can hear from us!

michelle

 

Portable Region-Free DVD Players for Travel!

Portable Region Free DVD playerAre you going on a trip with your kids this summer?  After living in Japan and traveling back and forth to the United States, I very quickly learned the value of a portable DVD player. Why not use the travel time to expose your child to a second language? If you are exposing your child to French or Spanish, often you simply need to buy a “collector’s edition” version of the DVD in English and it will come with tracks in those languages. Check out our DVD recommendations and reviews for French and Spanish. However, if you are interested in Mandarin or Cantonese for your child, you need to make sure that the DVD player you have can play DVDs from that region. A region free DVD player can play ALL regions — meaning it can play DVDs from anywhere in the world. 

Often the seats are too low in the airplane for my children to see the TVs hanging from the ceilings of the aircraft and the shows that they have are often not appropriate for children (American Pie for a 4 year old, I don’t think so). While we no longer have to endure the long flights from Asia to the US, we still head to New Jersey every year and it is wonderful to have a little portable DVD player to keep my children entertained on the long flight.

My children only watch TV in Mandarin and so we are limited to the DVDs that are dubbed in Chinese. If you already have a portable DVD player that can only play US Region DVDs, I highly recommend checking out the website Asian Parent. This San Jose-based “mom and pop shop” has a wonderful selection of LEGAL children’s DVDs such as Toy Story III, Piglet’s Big Movie and Dora the Explorer, as well as some classics like Cinderella, all of which play on any DVD player you buy in the United States.

TV in your target language  is an outstanding and fun way to exposure your child to new vocabulary! See my previous post on TV as a Learning Tool for ways that we use TV to explore Mandarin.  I used to have a US region portable DVD player, which limited our viewing options to the older Disney films dubbed in Chinese.  However, a lot of my older DVDs are now scratched and skip. What a wonderful surprise to break out a newly released Mandarin DVD such as Wreck-it Ralph or Cars 2 on our next trip with our new region-free portable DVD player

Where can you get DVDs dubbed in Mandarin?

It takes a bit longer for the Mandarin version of a popular DVD to make it to the US — about 8-10 months later than the English versions. They often come with an English track as well so you can use the same DVD to play at playdates or sleepovers with friends who don’t speak Mandarin. 

Here are some fun new DVDs we just got for our trip: 

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michelleIf you have any questions or want to stay in touch, please email me at michelle@thelanguageplayground.com 

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Book Review: Kaleidoscope Kids Books

Kaleidoscope Kids Book ChinaTitle: A Kaleidoscope Kids’ Book: China

Author: Debbi Michiko Florence

Where can I get it: 

Kaleidoscope Kids via Amazon (click on the link)

Playground Rating: 

StarStarStarStarStar

 

 

My family just LOVES this adorable and inexpensive book series by Kaleidoscope Kids to learn about different cultures and countries!  We have the China version of the series and so this review will mainly cover this book, but I have perused the others countries available and they are similar in style.

This book is wonderful for folks teaching their children about cultures in general. It is not meant for just the Chinese language student. Author Debbi Michiko Florence touches on various aspects of Chinese life in the 12 illustrated chapters such as the country’s landscape, daily life of children in China, popular inventions, history, cuisine, and more – but all in a very approachable and creative way! The illustrator, Jim Caputo, wraps the tidbits of information within cute illustrations and call out boxes making it very digestible. While the book is filled with lots of details about Chinese culture, it never feels overwhelming. 

Lucas Reading Kaleidoscope Kids China

What I love about this book: 

  • Graphics: The delightfully whimsical artwork truly make this book! I can’t put it down! 
  • Pictures: in addition to illustrations, the book includes many actual pictures of the items and places discussed. 
  • Approachable:  The author describes each item, cultural element and location in a way to give the reader a good overview, but not so much as to turn away the reader. 
  • Relevant to Children: The author often invites children to compare their lives/country’s customs with that of China. 
  • Activities: Instead of just a guidebook about China, this Kaleidoscope Kids China book invites children to explore some of the concepts on their own. The step-by-step instructions with illustrations are easy to follow and fun to do! My favorites are the paper making craft and dumpling recipe. 
  • Variety: The activities are not just limited to cooking or craft ideas. The author of this creative Kaleidoscope Kids China book also includes active ideas for the kinesthetic learner, such as a chasing game, tea tasting party and juggling skills. 
  • Try It Sections: In addition to the larger activities such as moon cake making, the author peppers the book with lots of “Try It” ideas to further explore the ideas she mentions in the book in simple ways. For example, in the food section, the author asks her readers to see how many different objects they can pick up with chopsticks. 
  • Introduction to Language: Sprinkled throughout the book are “Say It” boxes where the author invites children to pronounce some of the words she mentions in the text. She does not use Chinese characters, but instead uses both pinyin AND a pronuciation guide. What a great way for beginners to Mandarin to say the words without having to learn pinyin first!
  • Ponder This Sections: Kaleidoscope Kids Book  presents a few opportunities throughout to connect the text with children’s own lives and personalities and open up a dialogue for the parents to extend the learning outside of just the cultural components discussed. For example, she asks readers to think about some risks they have taken when she shares information about climbers of Mount Everest.  My son also loved discussing the debate over the construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River. 

What I am not crazy about: 

  • While most of the book is fantastic, my son found the first few pages dull. The author of this Kaleidoscope Kids Book about China starts off with a discussion about the government and cities in China. While it makes sense to start at this point, my son was initially turned off by the geographical topics. We jumped ahead to the cultural elements first and then went back to the first chapter after he got more interested in the book itself.
  • A few of the activities are relatively unrealistic. For example, in her description of the Great Wall of China, she wanted to convey the idea that it is a very long wall. She suggests having a grownup drive a mile in a car and make note of the starting and ending points, then walk that mile. If I did this activity with my son, I think the point would be lost by the time we reached the mile point — and then we would have to walk back another mile to get home!

All in all — a WONDERFUL book!  

Some other books to consider in this collection as a great introduction to different cultures: 

Kaleidoscope Kids Japan                   Kaleidoscope Kids Mexico

 

If you liked this review, please comment via facebook below or join our mailing list to find out more information!  I look forward to staying in touch! 

michelle

Memory Game in a Second Language

Memory Game Melissa and DougTitle: Memory Game by Melissa and Doug

Where can I get it:

Memory Game by Melissa and Doug via Amazon

Playground Rating:

StarStarStarStarhalf star

 

It is easy to use games that you currently have in your house to teach your child your target second language. The games that you play do not have to be written in that second language in order for them to be effective as a teaching tool. Many games readily available in your local toy store are filled with great vocabulary opportunities. This Memory Game by Melissa and Doug is a wonderful tool to use both in English and your target language. 

Memory games are a wonderful way to increase the concentration power of your child’s brain. Memory games can be used not only to help your child to improve her memory by concentrating and focusing, but can also be great for second language learning. We have had this high quality memory game by Melissa and Doug for years and the other day I broke it out with my Mandarin-speaking babysitter as a great way to have fun and explore vocabulary for zoo animals, fruits, colors, farm animals, shapes, numbers and vehicles in Chinese. The wooden game has 25 windows that are coved by wooden shutters that you turn over to find the hidden pictures underneath. A player get to turn over two hidden squares to try to find the pairing. If the player does not make a match, it is the next person’s turn. If the player does make a match, she gets to go again. 

Children can easily play this Memory Game by Melissa and Doug by themselves or with a friend. I often find my daughter, Lousha, playing the game by herself. It is easier to use this pre-set, immoveable game by herself rather than use the traditional memory games of this type where the cards are more like a deck of playing cards and she needs to find a space on the floor and lay them out in rows herself. Often, when we play the games where the game is more like a deck of cards, the rows get messed up and then it defeats the point of the game as the placement of the card moves if you accidentally brush against them.  Also, in our family, we have a very curious and engaged toddler running around who likes to cause mayhem! Cards neatly placed in rows on the floor would not last long in our house! 

Check out this video of my daughter and our helper playing this memory game in Mandarin: 

How do you play the game in a second language?

Simple! Just ask your second language speaking caregiver to play the game in that second language. The game does not get played unless it is done in your target language! Don’t have a babysitter who speaks your target language? Look up the words for the game yourself and create a little cheat-sheet! Then you can learn vocabulary for your second language at the same time as your child! 

What I Love about this Memory Game

  • No Loose Pieces – everything is attached to the game itself and so there is no way to lose any of the pieces. 
  • Easy to Manipulate – it is easy for my children (even my baby) to turn over the windows to reveal the picture below. 
  • Mentally Demanding – the cards are double-sided and so your child will be challenged to try to find the matches if you switch around the cards each time you play. 
  • High Quality –  we have had this game for years and it still looks brand-new! It is made out of wood and elastic and so the game is built to last. The cards are made out of a hard tough-to-rip paper. 
  • Easy to Play without Adult Help – unlike the playing card versions of memory that are so prevalent, this game is much easier for a child to just jump in and play by herself. 
  • Competitive Option: If your child likes to keep score, there is a little score board at the bottom of the game to keep track of how many pairs each person has found. 

What I Don’t Like about this Game: 

  • Travel game? I don’t think so. It is too heavy to carry along with you on flights (along with all of the other stuff you have to lug along with you on trips with kids) 
  • I wish that they had included more cards or had different categories on the other side of the card. I would have loved to have vegetables or professions or clothing items included as categories. 

How You Can Improve the Game for More Second Language Learning: 

  • Trace the board game on card stock paper and create your own game to add vocabulary. Get stickers with various themes for vocabulary enhancement and you can use the same game, but for literally thousands of different vocabulary words! Here are some ideas: 
  • If you want your child to start recognizing words, cover up one of the pairs with the written word on a little piece of paper that you tape over the picture. Then your child will look for the written word in your target second language and match it with the picture. 

 Please let me know if you have any questions or comments! I’d love to hear from you! Please post at the bottom of this blog entry or email me! Let’s stay in touch. If you liked the ideas in this post, please sign up for our newsletter so that you can hear from us! michelle