2017 Holiday Gift Guide for Bilingual Babies, Preschoolers & Kids

I know what you’re thinking: It’s September. Fall is just beginning. Why are you doing this to me???

The short answer is: I actually do my holiday shopping around this time of year, partially because we typically spend Christmas with my family in Puerto Rico and I need to make sure everything arrives in time, and partially because I just really enjoy the process of researching and thinking about what items the people in my life will most enjoy for the next year. I can’t be the only one out there! (But if I am, then just bookmark this until you’ve had a large glass of wine and you’re ready to think about the holidays.)

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Using a Kids’ Tablet For Language Advantage

Our kids don’t watch a ton of TV, but when we travel (especially on planes) that goes out the window. We got our kids the Fire Kids Edition Tablet and in the days before our trip I’ll usually spend some time downloading Spanish kids’ shows available on Amazon for free through Prime (and a handful of their favorite shows that were not available for free). You can also check out my previous post on how to filter Amazon for Spanish language videos. (This post contains affiliate links.)

I used to be pretty anti-tablet for our kids (just a personal choice!), but about a year ago we left N and E with a new babysitter, while our regular (amazing) nanny was on vacation. One night I came home from work and N asked me to put on some music, after which he proceeded to dance ‘like the video,’ but only after we ‘paid’ him. I never found out what video he may have seen with that pinch hitting babysitter, but it took me a good 6 weeks to convince him it was ballet. In any case, since then I’ve tried to control these tech-savvy kiddo’s video intake and I found that this tablet had all the parental controls I was looking for (it automatically turns off their access at certain times or after a certain amount of videos/games/books too!). It’s been an added bonus that I can load it up with Spanish shows and they still feel like they have control over what they watch.

In any case, I thought I would share! We’re gearing up for a short vacation this summer and I’ll be loading their tablets with Spanish shows once again. Stay tuned for my list of shows that are available, so you can avoid the (embarrassingly long) amount of time it sometimes takes me to find what I need.

And if you’re interested, it looks like Amazon has some current deals on the tablets (links with details posted below). We got the kids’ version because it comes with the cover,  1 year of “FreeTime Unlimited” (which basically offers access to a ton of kid-friendly books, videos, apps & games, though most are in English) and the 2 year guaranty that whatever your kids do to it, you can get a new one (that was the big draw for us). But you can just as easily turn on the parental controls using a ‘regular’ Kindle Fire. Let me know if you have a different system you enjoy more! We’re always open to new ideas.

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How to Change the Default Language on Netflix, Hulu & Amazon Video

I’m embarrassed to admit how long it took me to figure out how to set default languages or search for Spanish content on the various streaming services we use. So I thought I would share what I’ve found and save you the trouble of figuring it out. Keep reading to see how you can change default languages and search for Spanish language content on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Video.

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Spanish Programming for Kids – Netflix April 2017

As I’m sure you all know, in a pinch, TV can be a lifesaver.  Until recently, whenever N gets to watch a videito I’ve had to scramble to find an age-appropriate show in Spanish, which can be surprisingly hard if I don’t already have a specific show in mind!  So I thought I would put together a cheat sheet for some of the great  young kids’ programming available in Spanish on Netflix right now.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list (and I excluded some programs that we sampled and I didn’t like), but at the very least it’s a good start. If you have any programs to add, feel free to note them in the comments!

Where available, I’ve included links either about the show or to the show’s site, including free episodes available online (not all are in Spanish). All of the shows I’ve included below are aimed at younger kids (rated TV-Y, which is appropriate for ‘all children’ or TV-G, which is for a general audience, including children), just in case your little has an active imagination and is easily frightened, like N, who walked out of Moana a few months ago and still talks about the scary “tummy guy” (aka Maui, the “demigod”).

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‘Constructing’ My Vocabulary

I just posted about the realization that, though I am natively fluent in Spanish, there were many words on which I needed a refresher.  One of N’s first obsessions was with trucks, specifically those having to do with construction. My preferred way to learn more about them was through books (which you will notice is a common theme for me, just because they relieve so much of the pressure of providing new and interesting vocabulary), but along the way we’ve also encountered the occasional show and activity that spark some great opportunities for expanding their (and refreshing my) vocabulary.

Books

MI SUPER CAMION AMARILLO

Both N and E love this book, which their grandmother brought on a visit about a year ago and is still in our bedtime rotation.

(For the record, this is an affiliate link, which means if you click on it to purchase from Amazon, I may earn a small commission, which will allow me to fund the further purchase of books and other items so my kids can put them to the test and, if merited, maybe even earn a recommendation on this blog.)

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