It is that time again! Time to have fun in the garden (physically or virtually) in French with Part 2 of Sarah Dodson-Knight’s wonderful 4-part summer activity.
Whether you are a newbie in French or a native speaker, you are sure to find some fun activities in this series to get French language flowing with your children! French not one of your family’s languages? No problem – just adapt it by doing activities in your language and finding children’s YouTube videos and songs in your language. Amusez-vous bien!
Learning French in and Around the Garden
Part Two: Art and Drama
In the first part of this series, we discussed singing traditional songs like “Savez-vous planter les choux?” and reciting nursery rhymes like “La coccinelle” with your child. Now take it a step further: act them out!
For “La coccinelle,” stand up together and mime painting polka dots, feeling the length of your antennae, and flapping your wings, just like the ladybug in the rhyme. Become spiders, rain, and waterspouts for “L’araignée Gypsy.” If you have a vegetable garden (or even if you don’t!), play the roles of the farmer and the rabbit hiding from him in “Le fermier et le lapin” or the gardeners in “Savez-vous planter les choux?”
Try a puppet show, too: you or your child can draw pictures on heavyweight paper of plants, creatures, and objects found in a garden, attach them to popsicle sticks, and make a play about a garden.
It can be as simple as crouching behind a chair, holding up the drawings, and presenting them one at a time (“Voici une abeille qui visite une fleur“–here’s a bee visiting a flower), or you and your child can write a script and perform it. Perhaps you could try re-enacting the story of “Le fermier et le lapin“!
Any garden-related artwork that you can encourage your child to do can be mined for its linguistic offerings. When your child draws a flower, have her take it a step further by adding roots and labeling all its parts in French. Draw the ladybug (or a bug of your child’s choice) and label its parts too!
Or how about designing comics with stock comics characters inspired by the antics of insects in your garden? Use the templates here to illustrate a short comic strip or an entire page or two for a comic book. You or your child can add dialogue and narration in French.
Other artsy garden-related activities could include working on crafts (such as building a model birdhouse and painting it), forming bugs and flowers out of Play-Doh or Sculpey, and illustrating bookmarks and doorhangers in a garden theme.
Remember, even if your child is simply coloring pictures of flowers, you can still make this a language-rich activity by asking your child what he or she is doing, making suggestions, providing descriptions, and prompting him or her to talk in French during and afterwards. Since the focus will be on his artwork, using French in this context should feel more natural and less forced.
Join us back here in August for Part 3 of Learning French In and Around the Garden, literacy activities, followed by Part 4, tactile and kinesthetic activities.