My daughter’s current 3 most favorite at home activities

My daughter started going full time Kindergarten, and now we have less time to go out and play outside and winter is almost on the way in Germany. So, I was constantly thinking for activities to engage her in fun filled as well as to be spontaneous in her creative play. Though we have lots of activities, 3 activities she always go back everyday and she is not bored a bit. As we have lots of ideas out there in internet, I would like to share 3 activities which my daughter enjoys a lot and might help parents get some ideas for their kids.

1. Building her own Zoo: She is a lover of animals and she gets so happy to build her own Zoo. I believe investing in these type of toys will definitely increase the creativity in kids without loosing the fun. This particularly increased her love for animals and also for young kids the names of animals will easily register in their mind rather showing pictures in books. I would highly recommend this for parents.

The place which is closed with white paper is lion’s cage (to protect the other animals :))

2. Playing Shop: We always have a best time playing shop. Before buying this shop I just thought she will have fun but later realized how it helps her to learn buying, selling, counting, money value, knowing different types of veggies and fruits etc. She is now implementing what we play in toy shop while real shopping. Day by day she introduces new things in the shop and thinks attractive ways for customers to buy in her shop (marketing strategies ha ha.. ).

3. Fun worksheets: As we started to slowly incline on educational side. I started her to play and learn with worksheets and she started to love it. There are many many online resources provide worksheets for kids and I personally use and recommend Education.com.
It helps young learners prepare for school with this cute themed maze. Education.com has many more fun preschool games to check out!

They have plenty of printable worksheets, online games, guided lessons, lesson plans from kindergartners, pre-schoolers and older kids. My daughter is totally into maze and matching games. What better time than Summer time to do some reading and matching using fun Summer words and images! Check out Education. com for more fun matching and reading activities.

Please do comment your tips below which might help other moms.

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Toddler speech boost tips from an immigrant mom

Hearing our kids speak is a real delight to every parent in this world. It’s an important milestone in our kids life, saying that I am an Indian mother, living in Germany, who have a daughter who overcame her speech problems with little magical push from my side. Speech problem in kids especially living in other land is more common, as we live away from the family. The main problem for immigrant kids, who live in a foreign land is the lack of family environment like grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins etc. If a kid grows in this unavoidable situation, then it’s our (parents) duty to put some extra effort to boost our kids to speak.

If you are that worried parent, then I would like to shed some light on your path of encouraging your toddler’s speech process with the tips which worked for me:

1. Speak with clear words even in early stages: Start your full on conversations from the day one (actually even earlier while in the womb). Parents often think the babies cannot understand them and start using words which are not clear and babble like their babies do. That’s a proven wrong method and in later stages your toddler will delay in speech.

2. Sing songs with your child : Singing songs is the best and effective way to develop speech in early stages. It’s the attractive method for kids and my daughter loved to sing songs and rhymes. As a 4 year old now she sometimes use her own words in the rhyme and converse with me, which I find so funny and creative.

3. Read lots of books: Reading books as early as possible is a great way to boost their speech and imagination. I started to read to my daughter when she is just few months old. Start with picture books and few lines stories and slowly upgrade. Spending your time in reading for your kids is definitely a great investment for their future developments.

4. Your facial expressions matters a lot: Facial expressions always helps kids to read your emotions in a better way. It’s a great way of boosting their speech and understanding. Your expressions and bold body language make them understand you better which will lead to conversations. Majority of the speech therapists got positive results by playing emotion identification games with kids.

5. Repeat words: It’s a important thing to do with kids. Repeating words helped my child a lot when she struggled with speaking. I used to have five words in my mind which I repeat for the whole week to her in different situations when she starts picking up that word I will then switch to next five, which helped her a lot.

6. Ask lot of questions: Always be a fool in front of your kid. Act as if you doesn’t know anything and ask questions. Please avoid asking yes or no questions, once they feel comfortable in it then they will fix on it.

7. Role play: This method is my favorite method and it worked out well for me. I used to be her baby and my daughter will be my mom. When we started playing this, I noticed her using more words as she pretend to be me. When kids start to be like us then definitely their mind will search for words to speak like their mommy or daddy.

8. Explain in a way they understand: When kids struggle in understanding you, then take your time and speak with them in a way they understand you. They never expect any logical answers from you so, stop thinking how you explain things and make them understand easily.

9. Go on the flow with the nature: Make kids understand that we get everything from nature like sounds, rhythm, tone etc.. Sound like a birds and animals, make them hear even tiny sounds like the sound of the wind, clock ticking sound, water dripping sound etc.

10. No pressure on kids: My final point for all parents out there is not to pressure the kids to speak. Pressure will most of the times backfire so just go with the flow. Keep trying and make them feel speaking is a real fun.

“Speak to your children as if they are the wisest, kindest, most beautiful and magical humans on Earth, for what they believe is what they will become.” – Brook Hampton

Hope these 10 points help you in boost your child’s speech. To immigrant parents like me who works hard in developing speech in your kids, keep trying and your success is not too far. Have a happy parenting.

Disclaimer: I am not a speech therapist, nor do I have any professional medical certificate. I hold a medical technologist masters degree and worked for short time. Only this and my experience as a mom are just about it.

Please do comment your tips below which might help other moms.

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3 Best English-German toddler bilingual books that works great for my kid

As I already told in my last blog, which is 5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis, now I am going to reveal my 3 best English-German books which helps my daughter to learn both languages simultaneously.  If you are considering introducing these two language to your child at the same time then this blog is going to benefit you and your kid. For everybody trying to raise a bilingual/multilingual child, whatever your background and reason, it’s very important to realize that acquiring a language requires massive exposure to that language. This can be attained by parents talk as much as possible to their young children, to read a lot to them and sing to them.

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1. Englisch spielend leicht (mit CD): Ein Bildwörterbuch:

This book really work very good for my daughter. This is ideal for above 2 years old kids. It has small phrases which is actually easy for kids to catch up words quickly without getting bored. It covers all the basic phrases and words in day-to-day life. At every end  of the page, a small box with easy grammar explanations (see the picture below) are given which is probably useful for mommies like me out there. The exciting part is the CD with this book, which is really good and my little one loves to hear in the car ride.  It costs around 7.99€.

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2. The Toddler’s Handbook: Bilingual (English / German) (Englisch / Deutsch) Numbers, Colors, Shapes, Sizes, ABC Animals, Opposites, and Sounds, with over 100 Words that every Kid should Know:

This is one of the favorite books for many parents. It is little bit on the pricey side, costs around 15.00€. But the quality of the book is ideal for little kids. This book can be used in early months and babies get very excited about the colorful pictures. I couldn’t find good  and quality books like this a lot.

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3. Mein allerschönstes Wörterbuch (Kinderbücher):

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This is one of my favorite books and it’s a oldest book of all and many native Germans recommend this book. This book is on the pricey side, costs around 24.00€, but it’s worth the buy. I got this book from a second-hand shop for 10€. If you guys could buy it or just lend this from a friend or buy in second hand shop like me, then that would be great, because it really works for my child. I highly recommend for kids above 2 or probably 3 years old, as the book is a paper book. It’s designed for both genders, you can see the pic below.

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I hope this helps for mommies to choose the right book for their kids. Stay tuned for more English and German story books for little kids.

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5 Best books that helps my kid to learn German in daily basis

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Raising a bilingual or multilingual kid needs a lot of commitment for every parent. If you decided to raise a child bilingual or multilingual (with the new language like German) there’s no harm in immersing them in the world of German from day one. When I had my daughter I decided to raise her multilingual from day one and the best way to expose her to languages is by books. I slowly started searching for books in German which should be simple and understandable with lots of pictures which should not only attracts my kid but also me. As I too learn with her.

The research shows that babies can distinguish between languages from the age of just seven months, use qualities like pitch and duration of sounds to keep two languages separate. German language can be exposed in different forms like nursery rhymes, books, lullabies, cartoons and television shows. I am not a native speaker and cannot speak very good Deutsch so, I decided to expose my kid to these forms and still working on it.

Take a look at some of my and my kid’s favorite books that I read and still reading to my daughter:

1. Wie heißt denn das?

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This is the first ever book I bought for my daughter. She started her German language with this book. It’s a small book and ideal from the age of 6 months. It’s a board book and I would say it’s worth a buy. I think it will last forever. Still mine look brand new.

2. Mien erstes Bild Wörterbuch

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This is one of my favorite books and it has about 500 words with pictures. The best part of the book is the quality of the book for a such a low price (4.99€ ) and the colorful pictures in it. It is ideal for 2-year-old kids. The attractive part of the book is that it has a small story in the beginning (like the pic below) and then lead to words so it’s very interesting for kids to read the words which connects to the story.

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3. Mein großes Bilder-Lexikon

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This book is ideal for 2 to 4 years old kids. On each double page a theme is presented, with many details and it is very helpful for us moms and dads who doesn’t speak German. Everything is labeled,  so while reading one will never gets into the embarrassment of not knowing what e.g., is an ein Bagger or ein Radlader. I therefore recommend this book to all who have small children. It is a great gift for boys and girls. It costs around 8.97€.

4. Soundbuch In der Wildnis: 10 Tierstimmen

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We bought this for our daughter on her 2nd birthday. This sound book is very high quality book,  that is, it consists of thick cardboard and the sound bar on the side really good and will lasts forever. Batteries are included and so it can go straight after unpacking. This book is little bit on the pricey side (14.99€) but it’s worth a buy I could say.

5. Ein Tag bei uns 

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This book is about little Theo’s daily routine from getting up, playing in kindergarten and going to bed. This book is really good for linguistic development and can be used from early months. The quality of the book is very good and the pictures are very colorful. It’s not expensive too (3.90€).

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It has great picture quality

I hope this blog is helpful for parents like me who try to grow their kids bilingual or multilingual. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on best German story books for kids and bilingual books (English and German) for kids.

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Engaging kids in home. Ways that I follow

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Back then, in my childhood I used to always play outdoors, of course it’s India and especially I am from South India and the weather there always is favorable for outdoor games and yes weather plays a main role in engaging kids. Here in Germany, after having my daughter I realized, how hard it is to engage a kid in home especially in winters. Her terrible two drove me crazy and I was constantly thinking for ideas to engage her. Kids have a lot of energy to let out. Being a minimalist parent I don’t want to invest more on toys or expensive stuffs, while we have a lot of things around us which bring joy to our kids.  So, Parents here you go, take a look at some of my ways to engage kids indoor.

Be with your child. I know, not every parent has enough time to spend with their kids. But, when you do have time to spend with your child, do things that they enjoy. Giving our time is a big thing that we can do for our  kids. Even simply sitting near them and staring at what they play matters a lot to a kid. In case if you are working parent, avoid bringing work home with you. In case you have to, then allow your child to sit with you and do some coloring or do puzzles etc. But all they need is your presence.

Fun Reading sessions. My daughter loves books in any form. Sometimes she take my novel and start pretending to read :). Reading sessions are really a good way to engage kids and also make them to start their interest in reading at very young age. Since early on, I have been reading books to my daughter. After I finished reading a story book to her, I would always tell her it’s quite time now for mommy and you to read the book by ourselves. And she will just stare the pictures of the book and keep saying the words from the stories which I read. It’s a good way for improving their memory and creative thinking.

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Involving kids in household chores. I would say it’s one of my favorite task because it always makes my household chores less stressful by seeing the cuteness of her doing those chores. Give chores which excite them. For example, I say my daughter to clean the television because it shows you your favorite cartoons or wipe the mirrors as it shows your beautiful face everyday to you etc. Involve them in kitchen for putting veggies in respective baskets and cooking. My daughter roll her own tiny Chapathis (Indian bread), sometime peeling carrots with my assistance and baking with kids are always fun. Involving them in house hold chores make them to teach cleanliness, discipline and also how to look after themselves and the house.

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Painting. Which kid is not the fan of painting, be it hand painting or with brush. My daughter sometimes do it on her face too. It’s okay to be messy while having fun. Creativity starts from colors and using them on papers , so encourage kids to paint more and don’t forget to encourage them by showcasing their creativity on walls or doors or like me by hanging it in a notice board.

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Doing exercise together. It’s a great way for both to have fun. We laugh a lot while we do mommy daughter exercise. There are a lot of videos out there which you can play in TV and just do by seeing it. It is quite a good way to be fit and also incorporate healthy activity for the kid in indoor. For us sometimes exercise sessions will change to dance sessions too :).

Make use of old cardboard. Before you throw away those cardboard of your new washing machine arrived in, you need to check out all of the brilliant things you can make with them. Amazing play houses for no cost can be made for your kids. My daughter used to stay in that for whole day and play. It doesn’t need to be so perfect (your kid doesn’t need that too).

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Her dolly sleeping in the cardboard house

Do a magic show. I made her a backdrop with two chairs and said mommy is ready for your show, that’s it my daughter got so excited to make her own show.  It made her to think all interesting things for the show like shadow puppets, magic toys arrives from shopping basket etc., which was so fun and it really encouraged her creativity.

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Magic show – She asked me to close my eyes and took toys from the shopping basket 🙂

Role play. Every kid has their favorite story and favorite character in it. Find the stories which they are obsessed with and start playing a role play, It’s not only fun but also helps them identify good from bad while encouraging bravery.  You can choose a superhero or a fantasy characters such as unicorns, dinosaurs, princess tales etc. Along with being fun, using imagination in their play improves their creativity. It’s not necessary to buy those costumes, just make those with what is available near you. Kids will never complain about it for sure.

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Role play – Little red riding hood (obviously I am the Wolf :))

Do try these methods, they are cost-effective, develop the skills, bonding and also engage them in home. Please do follow me and share you experiences in comments which might help a lot of people out there.

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