Learning languages on a walk!
When learning a language, it is easiest to learn it when we hear and see the words in a context. Making the language jump off the paper is what makes us learn it.
Studying by memorization is certainly one way of learning, but the truth is that we learn faster when there is context. Here is a simple way to create some context through an activity as simple as going on a walk:
- Before going outside (to the park or just around the block), make a list of things that you might see/find/look for during your walk.
- Write down the words in both languages and make a quick drawing of the item. For example: stick / patyk , leaf / listek , grass / trawa , etc. Add a check-box next to each thing so that you can check off having found the item
- Collect each one of the items: pick up one stick, a leaf, some grass etc, and when you get back home, lay all the things that you collected out on the table and practice the words again by asking “gdzie jest patyk” (where is the stick) or “pokaż mi trawę” (show me the grass) etc.
This activity is very simple and can be done in varying degrees of difficulty. You can look for one big stick and one small stick, you can look for tall grass or short grass, you can look for different colored flowers, etc so your list of things you’re looking for can be 5 items or 50 items. You can add many adjectives, describing texture, size, and color. It is important to make the list together, to say the words out loud when you find them, and to repeat them again while you’re laying them out on the table. Repetition helps a lot, but the process of looking for and finding each item is what makes the vocabulary special; that way the words now belong to your child because you have done something that creates context and makes the vocabulary jump off the paper.