Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bzzzpeek: Environmental sounds from around the world!

Onomatopoeia, or words for the sounds of things, like "creak" or "moo" are huge fun for young children.

They're fun for the rest of us, too, when you look at how much they vary in different languages.  

As such, I give you: Bzzzpeek.  Kid-friendly sounds from 22 countries, done by children who are native speakers.

There are many animals (like the cow) with only slight variations, but some real head-scratchers as well.  (the Japanese snake is a fun one).

No ads, no links, no distractions.

The ONLY thing not awesome about this site? It was, at last I checked, in flash and didn't work on iOS devices.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photo Toy Safari Language Activity

Here's an idea for a long, tedious road trip, or even just running errands with the kids:
Velcro arms allow for action-heroine poses.
Take along a toy (probably not a favorite; something silly-looking and novel) and photograph it at each of the places you stop.  Poseability is a plus. 

Some ideas and extensions for older kids:

  • Could be a wonderful conversation starter in later months.
  • Can you make your toy fit in with the scenery?
  • Can you put together the pictures later, as a narrative?
  • Use them as story prompts.
  • Add captions
  • Add thought bubbles.
  • Blog, email, or digitally scrapbook the ongoing adventures of the toy.
With very young children, the photos work well as a treasure hunt book of basic concepts.
  • Labeling: Use photos of the same small toy on each page  ("where's the doggie? There's the doggie!")
  • Prepositions: You can put the toy on, in, and under,
  • Colors: Go on a color search in the store.  Pose the toy by something red, yellow, etc.
  • Letters and numbers:  Posing the toy by words you find  in the real world ("sale! Buy 2!") helps children put script in context and understand that it has meaning.
  • Shapes: what shapes do you see in the picture?  Again, this is a great opportunity to put learning in context.

Grocery shopping is no longer boring.
(also: cylinders! So hard to picture in a book,
so easy to show in real life!)
Freezer pose!  Older children might make up a story about how she wound up in there,
younger ones might be interested in picking out the bright colors and letters.

Something to look forward to on a long, long drive across the country!

Here, with no children at the table, we missed
a wonderful opportunity
to make a tableau.
The giraffe is in the pet area.  He has no leash.
Your kids may be too sophisticated to find this funny.
I think it's hilarious.  
Lots of colors in this photo, older kids would be able to guess
what time of day it was taken.   

The horse (donkey?) looks like it's thinking in this one.
What's he thinking?