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by Liliana Diaz
November 22, 2021
With the holiday season approaching, you are probably wondering what to buy for your little bilingual, or perhaps you are looking to gift an educational toy to a little one on a bilingual journey. Well lucky for you, you are in the right spot! As a bilingual speech language pathologist and new bilingual mom, I am constantly on the search for toys that can provide English and Spanish output.
NOTE: Before you decide to purchase any of the following toy recommendations, I would like to advise that no matter what toy you decide to purchase for your little one, learning a language is more than just receiving exposure or playing with a toy with bilingual output. Learning a language is about having meaningful conversations in the target language, creating consistent exposure in a variety of environments, and having consistent use of the language.
One cannot expect a child to learn another language simply by playing with a toy. Yes, your child might learn new vocabulary in the target language but, speaking a language is more than just using different vocabulary words. HOWEVER, you CAN increase your child's knowledge and use of the target language by engaging and playing with him/her and the new toy. Buying a toy that provides output in your target language just creates another tool that you can use while engaging with your child in order to ensure that he/she is receiving more exposure to new vocabulary in your target language. At the end of the day, any toy in which YOU can provide the output in your target language works best :)
That being said, if you are looking for some extra "tools" to help you expose your child to vocabulary in your target language, then here are my top recommendations for bilingual toys. All of these toys are available in English and Spanish.
Affiliate links provided below.
Puzzles are a great tool to use in order to build your child's memory skills, probem-solving skill, fine motor skills, attention, visual-spatial skills and more! In addition, you can build your child's language skills by labeling the pieces, having him/her request pieces and/or having him/her ask for help if needed. I really like these Colors N' Eggs Matching Puzzle that comes in English and Spanish.
The best way to build your child's knowledge of a language is through reading! Reading books in your target language will allow your child to become biliterate. In addition, research suggests that learning to read in the first-language is strongly related to successful second-language learning and academic achievement. In addition, research shows that literacy skills developed in the native language transfers to the second language. My favorite bilingual books to read to my son include any of the Lil' Libros board books in English and Spanish.
Also be sure to check out CottageDoor Press' bilingual board books here.
Many of the Baby Einstein toys come in a variety of languages. One of my favorite toys to use with my son during tummy time is the Baby Einstein Glow and Discover Light Bar Activity Station. While I am not a huge fan of electronic toys, I like this toy because it models the animal names and colors in Spanish, English and French. In addition, the lights distract my son from being on his tummy and prolong his tummy time (he hates tummy time). When using this toy, I like to model words such as "push, again, more, look" to my son.
Playing BINGO is a great game for building attention and listening skills. I love using BINGO in speech therapy with my students to target a variety of goals and/or use it as a reinforcer. The great thing about BINGO is that you can find the game available in a variety of languages. One pro of this game is that if its not available in your target language then you can still play as long as you model the word in your desired language. This is a great game to build vocabulary skills! I really like this Spanish BINGO set by eeBoo. It comes with a variety of categories to play with and it has the word below the picture.
I cannot get enough of books and I cannot stop preaching about the importance of building biliteracy at an early age. I really enjoy these musical books by Canticos. These books provide music in both English and Spanish and come in a variety of familiar tunes such as Wheels on the Bus.
Building blocks are fun to play with and best of all, you can model all sorts of functional language with them. When playing with my students, I like to model words such as "more, up, down, oh no, tall, short, again." I love these Jumbo Bilingual Alphabet Blocks because they have a variety of pictures on them (animals, shapes, colors, etc) and come with the label in both English and Spanish.
Adding visuals to your home environment makes for great teaching and learning moments. I really like his bilingual poster called LVAP Bilingual Talking Alphabet Poster. It can be hung anywhere and provides voice output in Spanish and English. I also really like these cozy Spanish and English Learning blankets by Birdy Boutique. I frequently snuggle my son in it while talking about the pictures on the blanket.
This is a super cute electronic book by LeapFrog contains a variety of functional vocabulary words that your little one can listen to in both English and Spanish. The book includes word categories such as pets, animals, food, mealtime, colors, activities, opposites, etc. Your child can touch the words on the pages and listen to the words and learn some fun facts in English and Spanish.
Imaginative play boosts your child's language and social skills. Children learn about cooperative play such taking turns, problem solving and role play through imaginative play. What better way to work on those skills than with this fun Bilingual Salad set by Wordy The Ensalada. The toy props contain the name of each item in both English and Spanish.
Here's another great way to work on enhancing attention, visual-spatial and memory skills. Minilingo Spanish & English Bilingual Memory Card packet is a fun memory card game with colorful illustrations. Each of the illustrations contains the word on the card in English and Spanish.
Did I miss any of your favorite bilingual toys? I would love to know if you have any other suggestions to add to the list. Comment below!
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by Liliana Diaz
November 29, 2020
by Liliana Diaz
September 13, 2020
by Liliana Diaz
July 20, 2020
Welcome! I am Bilingual Speechie and this is my speech therapy blog! Here you will find bilingual (English & Spanish) resources & activities for speech language therapy! I am here to make the lives of all bilingual SLPs easier!
My name is Liliana Diaz-Vazquez and I obtained my bachelor’s degree in communication disorders in 2012 and my master’s degree in speech language pathology at Saint Xavier University in 2014.
I am a certified, licensed bilingual speech language pathologist (SLP) currently practicing in Chicago, Illinois. I have a passion with working with the bilingual population! I specialize in pediatrics with children ranging in ages from 1-18 years old and I predominantly serve bilingual and predominately Spanish-speaking students in general education programs, blended preschool programs and low-incidence programs.
I currently work full time in the public-school setting and part time in early intervention. I also run my own blog and create all sorts of bilingual resources/activities which I use with my own clients. I have extensive experience treating and evaluating a variety of disorders. I have worked with children with autism, Down syndrome, cognitive impairments, learning disabilities, apraxia, fluency disorders, language disorders and developmental delays.
My areas of expertise include augmentative/alternative communication (AAC), bilingual language development and the assessment and treatment of language delays/disorders in bilingual children.
I am a certified member of the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) since 2014, a member of the Illinois Speech and Hearing Association (ISHA) since 2014 and maintain licensure in the state of Illinois.
Aside from working with families and children, I am a part time foodie! Follow me on social media to check out all my food adventures within Chicago!