FlashSticks – Our Language Hodge Podge Game

Learning can be challenging, so finding a fresh approach to keep things interesting is key! I’ve been looking for ways to mix up my son’s language learning to expand his understanding and keep him interested in learning more.

Arabic and Spanish

For the past month, we’ve tried our hand at learning some Spanish! He’s become fascinated with how to say things in different languages, and we’ve been playing a Chinese-Arabic-English game for a few months. I’d say something in English, like “Thank you” and then he would repeat the same phrase in Arabic and then in Chinese. It worked great verbally, but I’ve been trying to find ways to have him see the written words as well.

I received a packet of FlashSticks in Spanish, and we tried out a new game. A language hodge podge of sorts!

I have some Arabic words stuck on fabric flashcards stuck around my house. I challenged him to match the Spanish FlashStick with the corresponding word in Arabic.

He loved this game – it was a mini language mystery, and I even learned some new Spanish words too!

He got too good at this, so we upped the ante a bit, and I challenged him to make sentences by mixing and matching the Arabic and Spanish FlashSticks together. Like this picture for example…

Hello World

It would be translated in English to say “Hello World.” The “Hello” is in Arabic, and the “World” is in Spanish!

Being monolingual, I do often struggle with whether I should learn the language with him or if I should just be the “guide on the side.”

FlashSticks made it very easy for me to even start memorizing some of the Spanish words and since I could stick them around the house, it was a good friendly reminder to practice every day.

Even for both of us, playing around mixing the languages up was a cool way to appreciate just how interesting languages, of all kinds, can be.

I’d highly recommend you grab a pack of FlashSticks, in one of four different languages, and set aside some time to explore them with your budding linguist.

Here’s how I added a twist to get the most out of my pack of FlashSticks!

  • Compare and contrast the languages. Since my son is learning Arabic and Chinese during the week, his English exposure is rather limited. So, when he saw that the Spanish FlashSticks had the same letters as the English books I read him, he instantly was excited. We spent time comparing the Chinese characters on his school work, to the Arabic writing from his tutor, and to the Spanish letters on the FlashSticks. It was a great way for him to also see just how much he knows and how cool it is to be able to read different languages with very different written forms!
  • Use them to reinforce other words in different languages. As we went through the 100-pack of FlashSticks, there were some words my son knows in English, but not in Chinese or Arabic (just yet). We made a pile of words he knew in the three languages and added on practicing some Spanish too. For the words he only knew in English, we picked two a week and practiced those in all four languages, English, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic! We still have a nice pile of words to go through, but by chipping away at them, a few at a time, he’s building his understanding and making connections between languages.
  • Let your child play teacher. This was his favorite thing to do with the FlashSticks. Since you can stick them, just like Post-It notes, he enjoyed putting a few up and having me practice saying them with him. My Spanish is very rusty, so I had to use the Flash Academy app to hover over the FlashStick to help me with my pronunciation. Playing teacher is an effective way to boost your child’s confidence and give them a chance to flex their language skills and show you what they know!

Cavanaugh Writing

Next time you’re looking for a way to combine language learning and fun try mixing and matching your child’s target language with their native language.

For my son, it was the first time I think he was able to compare the written languages to see just how different they were.

It was an instant confidence booster for him to see that he knew more than me, plus he was able to play around with forming sentences and short phrases, which was super cool!

It is a great way to test their understanding of how words connect and to challenge them to find new ways to tie words together!

What other creative ways have you made language learning fun?

We’d love to hear them and try them out too 🙂

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