3 Malty the Blue Tiger Activities to Keep Kids Learning at Home
By Melba Ellen Williams, M.Ed.
Many parents are scrambling to find meaningful activities to do with their children during the COVID-19 school closures. In addition to reading and practicing math, this time together is a wonderful opportunity to practice another language together.
Children learn best through two-way conversations with an adult. It expands their vocabulary and helps them use new words appropriately. Plus, the attention they get by spending this valuable one-on-one time with you is often the greatest reward in their minds!
Here are three activities that work well with Malty the Blue Tiger books and audiobooks and that teach kids another language at home. You can do these activities with your children whether you know the language or not! Discover bilingual books and audiobooks below, and read on for indoor learning activities.
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1. Word Matching Games
If your child has listened to a Malty the Blue Tiger bilingual audiobook and followed along with the included printable story, they have engaged two senses: sight and sound. Playing a matching game with the words from the story is a great way to incorporate a third sense — touch! — to reinforce that vocabulary acquisition. This type of sensory play is important for overall cognitive development.
1. Print out a second copy of the read-along included with your bilingual audiobook.
2. Cut out the English words and the corresponding Spanish words. You can use just the word strips, or glue them to index cards. If you choose to do the latter, you may want to use cards in one color for English words and another color for Spanish words.
3. Spread out both sets of cards, and ask your child to match the English words to the Spanish words. The story's color-coding between languages will help them along the way. Participate too, and if you want, set a timer to see how fast you and your child can match up the words! Aim for a faster time each time you play.
4. Check the printable read-along to see if your matches are correct. This game will improve your child's language, reading, and memorization skills all at once.
2. Bilingual Bingo
Play this classic game with a bilingual twist — it'll help improve your child's vocabulary, listening skills, and focus, all of which play an important role in bilingualism.
1. Make a worksheet with four rows and four columns (you can draw a quick grid yourself!).
2. In each square, write a word in Spanish or French from your Malty the Blue Tiger book. Use the illustrated glossary in the back! Ask your child to draw a picture of each word to go along with it.
3. Make a list of the 12 corresponding English words in random order.
4. Call out the English words and see if your child can find the corresponding Spanish or French word by using the picture as a clue. Help them say the Spanish or French word when they identify the picture.
Their goal will be to mark pictures in a straight line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. If you're playing with more than one child, make sure the words and drawings on their boards are in different places.
If you want, you can also use these BINGO templates with illustrations from Malty the Blue Tiger books.
3. Add Words to Everyday Conversation
If you use the Spanish or French words from Malty the Blue Tiger bilingual books as a part of regular conversation, children will be even more likely to store that vocabulary in their long-term memory.
For example, if you point to a scarf and ask them to bring you “la bufanda,” and then thank them for bringing you “the scarf,” they will begin to instantly recognize the word upon hearing it in the future.
If you're not a native speaker yourself, this will allow you to practice together! It's highly beneficial for kids to see you practicing a new language, because it shows them there's value in it, and that it's okay to make mistakes along the way. What matters is that they try!