We are excited to introduce a new event at Multilingual Living: For the next 100 days we will be your guide on a fun-filled adventure for bilingual families (or families striving for bi/multilingualism) called:
100 Days of Bilingualism.
Each Monday you will receive a week’s worth of multilingual activities that you can do at home with your children. Not only will it be fun for your entire bilingual family, it will boost your children’s bilingualism into the stratosphere!
Maria, a former school teacher who is currently homeschooling her four children in Spanish and English, will be your 100 Days of Bilingualism guide. She would love to hear from you, so please leave comments about your own 100 days journey along the way!
Without further ado, we’ll turn things over to Maria. Let the 100 Days of Bilingualism begin!
There is something about a countdown that can add extra fun to anything. When I used to teach in school, I especially enjoyed counting the first 100 days and all the activities I could do with my students as part of our counting.
With back-to-school energy in full swing, we have a perfect excuse to start a 100 day countdown of our own. I hope that you will join me in adding an extra bit of bilingual fun and learning during this 100 Days of Bilingualism event.
I will be sharing some general ideas and categories that I have used in the past but, as you will see, the possibilities are endless. I find this is a good fit for bilingual families since it is easy to duplicate (or have the other language speaker in your life duplicate) some of the activities and thus have redundancy across languages with very little effort.
Who doesn’t have a little time each day to have a little 100 day fun? No excuses!
For the sake of organization I will be dividing the countdown into 21 weeks with the assumption that you can work in a short activity five days a week and that this week you will just be getting things organized.
If that doesn’t work for you feel free to divide it up in a way that will work for your family. This countdown is nothing if not flexible, so just make sure its a fun addition to your bilingual routine and not a chore. If you can only focus on a few of the activities each week, that is just fine!
I am gearing these lessons for younger children (ages 5-8) but all of the activities can be easily used with children younger or older with only slight modifications.
For families with multiple children I think the activities are simple enough that you could do them for kids of different developmental levels concurrently without it becoming too complex.
In my house, I will be making small changes so that it works for my 4 year old as well as my 7 and 9 year olds (and I have no doubt the one year old will be joining along with the additional modifications I’ll be making along the way).
We will be doing the activities in Spanish since that is what we speak together and so I will use Spanish when giving examples. Needless to say, you will need to translate the activities into the language you use at home.
Prep Week: September 3-7
Introducing the 100 Day Countdown
This week will set the tone for the next 21 weeks. This first week of activities are really just preparation work to get ready for our big adventure which will start next week.
Don’t let this week’s setup scare you! You are just setting up some things now so that you will have them ready for the ongoing activities.
Materials for the week:
- Blank journal/book (or make your own with paper stapled together)
- Blank paper (colored and white)
- markers/crayons/colored pencils
- Recycled glass jar
- 100 days grid template (CLICK HERE to download and print the .pdf file)
**note that each week you will need slightly different materials depending on projects for the week so be sure to look over each week’s email to get items ready.
The “Daily Three”
You will do three activities each day before beginning your activity of the day:
- 100 days number line
- 100 days jar
- Counting to 100 grid
After day one, these activities will no longer need explanation. You’ll do them before your project or activity for the day and will become a quick and fun way to keep track of the 100 days as they pass.
The journal which you are getting ready (see above) will be used each Monday during the series.
The “Daily Three” Prep:
(1) Set up a number line:
Cut a 8×10 white paper into three equal, long strips and tape them together to form one long strip of paper. This will be the beginning of your number line. For today you can talk about how the number line is going to work or you can do this prep ahead of time and then just pull it out ready to start next week.
Starting on the first day of your 100 Days of Bilingualism (Sept 10) you will have your child write “1” and then each day add a number so that on the last day you will be writing the number “100”
You can hang it on the wall and watch it grow or roll it up and unroll each day. Use fun colors, make patterns, take turns. Just make sure you add a number each day and watch the number line grow. You can do one number line for each child or do a family number line if you have more than one child.
(2) Set up your 100 Days Jar:
Explain to the kids that you will be using a recycled glass jar to collect 100 small items over the next 20 weeks, adding one item each day of the work week.
Let your children help you decide on the items. You might want to have a few options in mind to suggest to your children based on on what you have available around the house (grains of rice, paper clips, staples, small stones…)
Start by dropping one item in the jar on the first day and then add one item each day of the countdown. You could easily extend this activity for older kids by marking predictions on the jar of how full the kids think it will be on day 100 or doing multiple jars with different sized items and comparing the results.
(3) Counting to 100 Grid:
Since 100 can be such an abstract idea the grid will serve as a tangible way to see the 100 days we will be counting. (CLICK HERE to download and print the “100 Days Grid.”)
Using the 100 Days Grid, count out loud with your child from 1-100. On the first day of the countdown next Monday (September 10th) have them color in the “1” box.
Each day you can count to 100 and then color in another box on the grid so that on the last Friday in week 20 you will be coloring in “100” and completing the grid.
For younger kids this is a lot of counting while for older kids this should be a piece of cake. Adjust accordingly. If you have more than one child I would suggest printing out a copy for each child.
Start 100 day journal:
Take today (or this week) to let your kids decorate the journal cover and make it their own and set the stage for the next 20 weeks. If they want to do some writing as well let them go for it, but we won’t start writing prompts until next week.
This journal should be a place that is all theirs – where they feel a sense of ownership. Depending on the age of your children this might be a place your child draws and then you do the writing for them, they might do all of the writing, or it might be a combination of the two. Do what will work best for your family.
The important part is that this weekly writing is a way to relax and be creative so please modify it in a way that fits the needs of your child/children.
We hope you are as excited about these next 100 Days of Bilingualism as we are! Remember that we will be doing this with our children right along with you, so we encourage you to share your thoughts, questions and experiences in the comments section each week.
Let me know if you have any questions about preparations during this week. Setting things up this week is important so that the 100 days will move along smoothly and enjoyably.
Don’t forget to download and print the 100 Days Grid template.
Stay tuned for our next email on Monday next week. It will kick off our 100 Days of Bilingualism for real.
Maria Hawkins grew up in New Mexico immersed in both Spanish and English. She has her National Teacher Certification in early childhood education and has taught in both bilingual and monolingual public schools. She currently keeps busy homeschooling her three bilingual children, teaching weekly Spanish classes for kids, and leading a Spanish Playgroup to support local bilingual families.