Bilingual Babies - Finding Second Language Resources

I was recently asked where I find my resources that I use to teach our children Russian.  This is an excellent question and although I will tell you where to find resources to teach Russian as a second language, you can use these same ideas to find the language your family is learning!
1. In-laws and Friends - The first place I always start is by asking anyone who lives in Russia to send or bring us learning materials.  The things I ask for are
  • Traditional books, (not an English book translated into Russian, but a true Russian written book).
  • Talking books or books with a battery component
  • ABC puzzles and blocks
  • Kids workbooks and educational primers
  • Learning Posters
  • CD's and DVD's Sesame Street (Улица Сезам) is produced in many countries around the world and is an organization I would recommend looking into.  The show format is the same and they address age appropriate concepts, but videos do not just translate the USA version, rather are created specifically for that country.   These DVD's are not readily available due to cost (around $20 each), but my in-laws are able to pre-order them from one specific media store in their city.
Here is a short video about how I organize my book shelf to include these Russian books.

2.  Another way to get some of the above items are online stores such as Amazon.  This gets tricky with languages like Russian, because materials are not as readily available, but some products do exist.

3. You Tube - there are many videos available in other languages, but I strongly urge you to PREVIEW without children present.  Some of the content is not appropriate for children.  I have several videos on our playlist and will let the children watch them once in a while.  Here are some links to the Russian videos I may show my children.

We've even made our own You Tube videos, which brings me to the next way we get our learning resources!

4. Make your own.  We often find ourselves making the majority of our own learning materials. 
  • My husband translates books, magazines, and posters.  He just writes the Russian translation into the book using a permanent marker next to the words in English. Here are some more ideas!
  • He will also write a sentence on a piece of paper and let the children illustrate it to create our own simple posters. We have been talking about spring this week and each child told him what they liked to do outside in the spring.  It says, "I like to swing on the swing in spring,"  in Russian of course!  We then put these pictures on our fridge and re-visit them daily to give the children multiple exposures to the vocabulary. I may ask her to point to a specific word, read it to me, or tell me something else she likes to do in the spring.
  • I also make worksheets and easy reading books for the kids
    My most recent packet uses dot-markers to learn the Cyrillic Letters.  It is available for
    purchase at Teachers Notebook.
Both Kim and I are trying to parent with purpose.  We feel that early and continued exposure to another language is important for our children.  On many Monday's we will continue to bring you helpful tips, advice, and stories on our adventures raising biligual children.  Although I am teaching my children Russian and she is teaching her children Hindi, the tips, advice, and stories may inspire you to spend more time interacting with your children in the language your family chooses! 


Miss S. said...

Such a cute blog! I just found you tonight and I am utterly enjoying the posts!
I'm a follower!

Miss S
Just Teaching...Kindergarten

Amanda said...

Miss S - So glad to have you here. We hope that we can be a resource for you and your kindergarten parents as well! Please let us know if there is any topic or idea you would like to see covered about parenting with purpose and we will try to address it!

Tracey said...

Great ideas for finding resources for bilingual babies! I´ll be using some of these ideas!

Amanda said...

So glad you will be able to use some of these ideas! Some languages are harder to find than others, let me know if I can help in any other way =) It is so nice to hear from other parents who are trying to raise bilingual babies (I know mine are getting older and not really babies, but they will always be my babies!!!)

Medea said...

Oh how fabulous! I love that you make your own Youtube videos!

One of the reasons we live in Japan and not Canada is that it is easier and cheaper to source English materials here than it would be the other way around.But nice to know there are so many options- some of which would not have been around even ten years ago!

Yelena said...

Love this post! I too teach my child Russian. Finding Russian-language materials isn't really hard any longer, just not cheap. We don't have family in Russia, so I usually order from online Russian books stores. The biggest drawback is that usually there's no preview. Plus the selection of games, puzzles and such isn't as great. Cartoons and TV programs - Soyuzmultfilm, Russian animation studio, has a channel on YouTube with a lot of great cartoons. My son also loves Smeshariki videos. Recently we subscribed to an Internet service that allows us to watch regular TV programming and archived shows and cartoons. We've found this service to be worth the money. Also, surprisingly, our local library has quite a few Russian-language books.

tkh007 said...

Hi! I really enjoyed reading your blog, you have great ideas about teaching Russian! We live in Australia and I also teach Russian to my kids (I'm a native speaker). As there are no Russian books available here I make my own books in Power Point, using text from famous kids books I find online and various pictures from the web. Also there are most of Russian cartoons on YouTube. I've recently started my blog and post about Russian book and cartoon-related craft and play.

Stephen Greene said...

I started to read this post thinking it wouldn't be of that much use to me because it is so easy to find material in English. However, the ideas for making your own materials on youtube and for your kids to illustrate are great and something I will definitley explore in the future. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Sarah @ Baby Bilingual said...

I found myself nodding my head throughout the post, especially with the ideas of creating your own materials and using minority language workbooks. But I also agree with you about the dangers of letting kids loose on YouTube and the joys of "talking books" in the minority language. (We use Leap Pad and Tag books in French, for example, and a couple of toys that play French nursery rhymes, all purchased used through eBay Canada.)

(Here's a tip for how to give kids access to YouTube but limit what they can see: I put links to playlists that I have "pre-approved" on my iPad so that my son can choose which ones to watch.)

I really like your explanatory video about the bookshelf display--it's so true that having themed books on display makes it more likely that children will grab them first!

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful ideas! (By the way, I love your pins, too--I'm a big fan of yours on Pinterest.)

sara said...

Learning a new language effortlessly can be a unique experience for the learners, as it takes lots of patience and hard work to get adopted with an acquired language.

ielts vocabulary

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