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DIY Bilingual Word-a-Day Chalkboard

Raising bilingual children is an everyday challenge for me. The English part they've got down, but since I'm the only one in their lives that speaks to them in Spanish on a regular basis, Spanish needs to be reinforced and encouraged as much as possible. I never want them to feel like learning Spanish is a chore, so I try to find ways to incorporate it into our lives that they find fun.

We read bedtime books in Spanish, watch DVDs that have Spanish-language audio tracks and use apps or video games that are in Spanish. Even though I do my best to incorporate bilingualism into our lives, I still need to be reminded that if I say something to them in English, it's a great idea to follow up with it in Spanish as well. Enter our DIY bilingual word-a-day chalkboard.

My girls love chalkboards, and, truth be told, so do I. Ever since childhood, a chalkboard has represented a world of possibilities to me. Chalkboards are for learning, playing, working out problems, drawing and expressing yourself; they shouldn't just be relegated to the classroom. I love chalkboards so much that I just happen to have chalkboard paint at the ready. Of course, if you already have a chalkboard, you can use that, but making your own and including the family in the process is part of the fun and gets them more invested in the project.

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Here's how we made ours:

• We found a random piece of board in our basement and painted it with chalkboard paint.

• Once the chalkboard paint had dried, we used a hot glue gun to attach a ribbon on the board for easy hanging.

• The girls helped pick out buttons from a bag of buttons we have to add a little playful decorativeness.

Once you've got the chalkboard all set up, place it in an area with high visibility and add a different word to it in both its English and Spanish translations every day and discuss that word with your kids. If your children are old enough to write, you can have them write the word on the board themselves. If you need inspiration for words, you can do a simple search for "free printable bilingual flashcards" and have the words pre-printed and ready to go. It's a great way to visually celebrate bilingualism in the home.

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