As a Latina mom raising a multicultural bilingual daughter, it is important to me that I find resources, including toys, that will help us on our bilingual journey. I had the opportunity to attend NY's Toy Fair where I discovered the latest in toy trends. Understanding what will be out in the market and having an idea of how you can implement language learning will make you look twice on your ventures through the toy aisle. I hope that my many findings will help your family on your journey. I will also share with you my frustrations in hopes that toy manufacturers reading this can take into consideration moms like me.
Everyone is getting in on the unboxing craze. Now toy makers are going beyond the LOL surprise doll and now unboxing puzzles, board games, pet toys, food toys, etc. Plush animals that turn into foods or plush toys that reflect multiple feelings. Toys that add another element of surprise is the name of the game.
We don't own many unboxing toys, simply because I am not a fan of millions of little parts everywhere. That being said, my daughter has been gifted many LoL dolls and unboxing toys. How you can incorporate Spanish into their unboxing experience is to think about contents, colors, discovery, and location words. Here are some examples:
Toys that are all different textures like slime, kinetic sand, dough, putty, clay, that can be molded or made into something with a twist, ex: scent, glitter, sequins, or that resemble food, are all the rage.
My daughter loves play doh, the squishy toys, and anything that has an interesting texture to it. I use play doh or clay as an opportunity to teach her the letters is Spanish. I'll draw a letter on a piece of paper and then she'll create the letter with the play-doh. You can also practice more Spanish words that describe textures like these:
Capitalizing on huge properties coming out like Frozen 2, Paw Patrol Movie, Toy Story 4 and also evolving existing properties like Transformers and Batman, toys will be reflecting these big movies.
Besides the obvious of watching movies with Spanish audio, you can also practice your Spanish with these words associated with Toy Story, Frozen, Transformers, and Paw Patrol:
|Mr. Potato Head||Señor Cara de Papa|
Retro toys making a comeback either better or to look vintage. Board games like Scrabble, Life, and arcade games like Space Invaders are now reaching a new generation.
This was probably my most favorite trend at Toy Fair. I love to play games and my daughter does too. We play chutes and ladders, sorry, and memory game among many. We play in Spanish. We count in Spanish and use common words like your turn, dice, and more. Here are some words we use when we play games:
|empate||tie (as in tied game)|
Toys that teach and inspire beyond. World travel, space travel, careers, coding, engineering, etc. It's not your average doctor play.
It was very apparent that children's toy are promoting a sense of high capacity and big dreams in big ways. I love the idea of teaching my daughter that she can be anything that she wants to be from an astronaut, to an engineer, to a software developer, these careers goes beyond the police officer and doctor from my childhood. Here are some Spanish words that will get the aspirational and inspirational play started:
Toys that teach coding, robot friends, and AR (Augmented Reality) toys are just some of the toys pushing technology. I was blown away by the volume of tech in toys, though I was saddened that most of the toys do not teach Spanish or a second language. Remember, compared to the rest of the world, only a small percentage of Americans speak a second language. I was happy to hear that some of these toy suppliers are adding Spanish or French to their offering.
Well, we'll have to wait until more toy manufacturers catch on that they are losing money by not offering more foreign language options. Until then, it's up to us to seek ways to incorporate what we are teaching into their gaming experience. Here are some words you can teach during tech play:
|realidad virtual||virtual reality|
I had a great experience and met some great vendors at Toy Fair. It is my hope to continue to seek out Spanish language learning resources and also multicultural resources that empower today's modern family. If you speak a foreign language, remember, it is up to you to try your best to pass it down. Your children will not learn by themselves. It may not be easy and your child may speak with an English accent (mine does) but what matters is that you are putting forth the effort. I promise you, your children will thank you for teaching them.
If you want to learn more about Raising a Bilingual Child, check out my free 20 Page guide available for you for free!