Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Bilingual Travel Games & Free Sample

A few weeks ago, my friend Frances asked me for some travel games in Spanish. They were headed on a road trip and she wanted to use the time to boost her son's Spanish. Just for fun, I made a few pages and then decided that MommyMaestra readers might enjoy them, too. And THEN I thought I better make some English versions for the English-language learners following this blog.

There are 10 travel-related games in all. My kids got in on the creation process. We had such a good time creating the packet! So if you are hitting the road this summer and are looking for some fun games in English OR Spanish that your children can play together or on their own, consider my Bilingual Travel Game packet. You'll find a sample download of one of the games below.



Here's a look at some of the other games available in the complete packet...



To purchase this packet, visit my products page or my TpT store

Happy traveling!

Monday, June 20, 2016

App Review: Yash Math Adventure

As we head into summer vacation, I have to think about how I'm going to keep my kids' reading and math skill sharp without making them feel like we're doing school work. Reading is easy as I simply make regular trips to the library and bookstore to let them choose their own books. But math tends to be another matter. At first, I was having them do one lesson each week from their math curriculum, but that was ALWAYS met with resistance and complaining. And then, I had the opportunity to review a new app by Degenet and my problem was solved! (Pun intended!)



NameYash Math Adventure
Subject(s): Math
Brief Description: A math learning app disguised as an adventure game!
Price: $2.99
Language: Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, Dutch, and French
Ages: 6+ years
DeviceiOS, Android, Windows, Kindle

Created by a team of Hispanic team of artists, software and game developers, Yash Math Adventure is the most fun math app that we've encountered so far. My son, who is not a fan of math, but loves adventure games, has really enjoyed this app. And so has my daughter who is going into 7th grade. 
From beginning math students to advanced, this is an app that grows with your child. You can change your setting to determine the complexity of the math problems. 

First, you select a profile. Up to three different profiles can be stored at once, so you can either have three different players at different skill levels using the app (like my son who just finished 4th grae and my daughter who just completed 6th), or you can set it up so that one game focuses on addition or subtraction skills (or both!), while another focuses on multiplication and/or division. You can select the difficulty level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced).

Then you'll watch a short animation that introduces you to to the game (see more below). After that you begin moving through the levels that include different habitats, such as woodlands, palm beach, hollow caverns, desert valley, hidden falls, and mount lava.

In true Mario Brothers fashion, you'll be collecting coins, dodging creatures, jumping and swimming your way to success. Sometimes you'll have to push a lever to open a gate and in order to push it you have to successfully complete a math problem. Or if you accidentally get stung by a bee or fall in a pit, you have to answer another math problem. There is a nice balance of adventure and math in this app so that your child doesn't get annoyed by the amount of math problems, but isn't just sitting there playing some mindless game, either.


And MommyMaestra readers will love that this app is that it is available in SIX different languages. You don't have to buy separate apps. When you start the game, just click on "Options" and then select your preferred language. There isn't a lot of reading or language involved, just a fun animated introduction before the game begins. It basically tells you that some bad guy has hidden coins all over the world and you have to go and collect them to save the day. 

You can also turn off the music, sounds, or reset the game from the Options menu. The music isn't obnoxious and the graphics are rich and colorful.

We also love the little student with his backpack. He's cute, but my daughter does wish that the game offered the option of a little girl, too.

So if you're looking for an app that your kid will actually enjoy and that hones his or her math skills at the same time, this is it! You can play this game year round, or save it for the summers. 

Visit their website to learn more. Enjoy! 


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mundo Lanugo Revives Traditional Latino Games


By now we all know that play is serious business for children. For thousands of years, children have learned through traditional games. From socialization to developing their fine motor skills, these games teach valuable concepts. But in today's tech-obsessed society, many of those traditional games are being forgotten and lost. (I actually wrote about this SIX years ago here.)

So you can only imagine my excitement to learn that our friends at Mundo Lanugo have decided to help preserve these precious traditions. Every Thursday this summer, they are releasing a new video on their YouTube channel. Each video teaches a traditional Latino game such as A la vibora de la mar, A la rueda, rueda, Chicle Americano, and many more. 

Subscribe to their YT channel, then tune in each week to learn a new game for your children to play. You'll find the videos for these games here. Mundo Lanugo has already released two videos. 

And, yes, they are the cutest thing ever. Narrated by children, your children will be excited to learn these new games. I love how they include the words on the screen so you can sing along. And I especially love how these songs take me back to my own childhood and a cassette tape with all these songs that I absolutely loved and played over and over again.

These videos help develop your child's vocabulary and language skills by nurturing their sense of rhythm, encouraging their imagination, and through repetition.

Take a look to see for yourself:


I know your nenes will love these games. Enjoy!

~Monica


Monday, June 13, 2016

La Casa del Árbol/The Magic Tree House Activity Pages & Free Download

La casa del árbol activity pages

A few months ago, a MommyMaestra reader posted on my Facebook page looking for resources to use with your children who were reading the Magic Tree House books in Spanish (La casa del árbol). Well, I looked and looked and sadly, didn't find anything available. So I had to add it to my to-do list.

So here it is! If you have children beginning the Magic Tree House books in English OR in Spanish, I hope you'll consider this activity packet I put together. It covers the first three books in the series and has activity pages to boost your child's reading and writing skills.


Your child can also learn about history with the activities I've included that complement the subject of each book. So you'll find literacy sections about Ancient Egypt, the Middle Ages, and the time of the dinosaurs.


And I've been careful to include pages that cover other subjects, too!



And the best part is that they are all available in Spanish, too!




But if you're still not sure, why not download these free sample pages from my packets? I've shared pages in English and Spanish from each book.I hope your children enjoy them as much as mine did!




To purchase the complete packets, please visit my download page here on this site or stop by my TpT store.



Friday, June 10, 2016

123 Andrés: ARRIBA ABAJO

I just get so excited when I find high-quality materials for teaching our children. And it's even better when I get to share them with you! If you have children in preschool and kindergarten, you are going to love this new album from 123 Andrés.

ARRIBA ABAJO (aff) is a fantastic compilation of songs in Spanish and English that teach children basic concepts such as syllables, vowels, and more. It is an explosion of creativity, rhythm, and learning. This CD has 20 songs; 10 in Spanish and 10 in English. What absolutely amazes me is how Andrés is able to create these songs in both English and Spanish and stay true to the lyrics. That, my friends, is exceptional talent!

The CD begins with Vamos a cantar/Sing Now with Me, a do-re-mi song for children. Completely original, your children will be singing in no time.

Diez pajaritos/Ten Little Birds with Nathalia Palis is a lively adventure into learning how to count from 1 to 10.

El danzón y el cha cha cha/Danzón and Cha cha cha focuses on helping children learn ordinal numbers and order.

Cosquillas/Tickles is a fun song that will make little kids laugh!

Cielo, suelo/Sky, ground is the one that personifies the title of this album. Your nenes will reach for el cielo, then tap their toes on el suelo. It is guaranteed to get your kids moving and learning about the difference between up and down.

Los dos vacas/The Two Cows teaches children the difference between big and small, huge and tiny. It is a sweet song that will capture your child's imagination

Dame una A/Give Me an A will take your kids around the world as they learn their vowels! Andrés has also created a music video to accompany the Spanish verse of this song and it is SUPER CUTE! You can watch it below.

Vuela, vuela/Fly, Fly is another counting song but at a faster pace. It also includes the up and down concept.

La semilla/The Seed is our science song that describes what happens when you plant a seed and take care of it. It discusses a fruit life cycle and the things that a seed needs to live and grow.

The CD ends with Lunes, luna/Monday, Moon, which teaches children the days of the week in a gentle way.

Andrés Salguero's debut album, ¡Uno, Dos, Tres, Andrés! was nominated for a Latin Grammy Award last year and it is easy to see why. His music, while educational for children, is guaranteed to engage everyone who hears it. Parents, I DARE you to listen to this CD and not tap your foot or swing your hips.

Your kids will learn valuable concepts while moving and dancing to the beat of these energetic and cleverly arranged songs.

The album is supposed to come with a 35-page learning guide, but I haven't seen it yet, so I can't comment on it.

ARRIBA ABAJO makes its debut today and is available on iTunes, Amazon (aff), Spotify. And be sure to visit Andrés' website.




Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this album for review. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

California Homeschool Convention Giveaway

Attention all California MommyMaestra readers!!

Next week, the Great Homeschool Convention in Ontario, California, begins on Thursday and runs through Saturday (June 16 - 18).

If you are a homeschooler, or are simply thinking about homeschooling, I know you don't want to miss it! There are so many resources that are made available for us at these conventions. Whether you're homeschooling elementary children or students in high school, you'll be inspired in your homeschooling adventure and find essential tools to make your learning journey fun and effective.

Learn how to start homeschooling, techniques for struggling learners, the best way to teach your special needs child, and so much more!

The California Homeschool Convention will have over 220 speaking sessions covering a wide variety of topics to help equip you with the needed rejuvenation to continue homeschooling. Sessions include the following and much more: how to continue teaching through high school, how to teach math, tips for the struggling reader, reluctant writer prompts, teaching science at home, etc.

If you are the parent of a special needs child, you will especially love the sessions created just for you. Experts will discuss homeschooling children with ADD, ADHD, autism, dyslexia, and how to work effectively with gifted children or those who have special needs.

The HUGE exhibit hall alone is worth the trip! Click here to see the list of exhibitors. I can spend hours in a homeschool exhibit hall.

Now, here's the special gift from me to you:

GHC has generously offered MommyMaestra readers a 50% discount to next week's conference. Registration is $55 (Individual) to $70 (Family), BUT if you register HERE and type in the coupon code: mommymaestra16 then you can get half off of your registration until Monday, June 13th at midnight! This is TOTALLY WORTH IT!

The Giveaway


In addition, GHC has offered 1 FREE FAMILY REGISTRATION to their California convention for 1 MommyMaestra reader. This is so exciting. I wish I could go!

Since this convention starts next Thursday, this is going to be a flash giveaway. You'll have through Monday night to enter and I'll pick a winner on Tuesday.

To enter to win, simply use the Rafflecopter below.

¡Buena suerte!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Free Download: Summer Word Search & Activity in Spanish



Summer is here and one of the first things we did was head straight for the pool! So it is pretty exciting that this month's freebie from our sponsor - Spanish for You! - has us covered with this vocabulary-boosting download.

This activity comes with a word search, activity, and audio file. They teach the students the Spanish words most commonly used at this time of year, as well as how to pronounce each one.



Bilingual Books about Summer (affiliate links)

You may also enjoy these bilingual books related to summer and the beach:


  • Los Zapaticos De Rosa / Rosa's Little Shoes by Jose Marti and Lulu Delacre
  • From the Bellybutton of the Moon: And Other Summer Poems / Del Ombligo de la Luna: Y Otros Poemas de Verano by Francisco X. Alarcon
  • Chipi Chipis, Small Shells of the Sea / Chipi Chipis, Caracolitos Del Mar by CPCC Press


  • If this is your first time here, you can find other free samples from Spanish for You! here. There are some fantastic downloads of games and activities for you and your family to enjoy. If you enjoy this activity, be sure to visit the Spanish for You! website where you'll find tons of additional resources for you to help your young Spanish learner!

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Honda Road Readers GIVEAWAY

    Is your family hitting the road this summer? Are you planning any long car trips to get to your favorite lake, national park, or family reunion? Or maybe you'll just be spending a lot of time driving to and from summer camps or other fun activities. Those drives are the perfect time to boost your child's reading skills. I've partnered with Honda to share a special resource you don't want to miss!

    We live in a pretty small town, and the nearest museums, shopping mall, and theater is half an hour away. So we easily spend an hour in the car three times a week or more. I trained my kids from an early age to grab a book before we head out and spend that time reading.


    Well, Honda is thinking about your kids, too, and that's why they've created Honda Road Readers, a children's audiobook app to help kids read and use their imaginations during those long car rides. You can get classics to the latest bestsellers delivered directly to your phone. If you own a Honda, you can simply enter your VIN number and you will have access to five free audiobooks per Honda VIN for one year.

    Don't own a Honda? Although you’re not able to buy audiobooks in the app, you can still enter the giveaway below and redeem the free codes.

    All you have to do is download Honda Road Readers on iTunes or Google Play. The Peter Pan audiobook comes already installed for free. But you have over 100 other titles to choose from. All the books are organized by age, so it's easy for you or your child to pick the ones best suited for their age group.

    What I love most is that many of the titles have a "Discuss with your Family" feature, so that parents can nurture their kids' reading comprehension skills. To access this feature, all you have to do is click on the little "brain" icon next to each title.

    Honda has also partnered with the National Teacher of the Year Program to create a "Teacher's Picks" category. Maybe you'll find some titles that your child's teacher has assigned them for summer reading?

    The only thing I don't like is that this app doesn't include any bilingual or children's books by Latino authors. (Hey, Honda! Diverse books matter! Let me know if you'd like some suggestions...I have tons!)


    The Giveaway

    Honda has generously offered to give two free audiobooks to 15 MommyMaestra readers! (Thank you, Honda!) Plus you get Peter Pan when you download the app, so that's 3 free books to take you through the summer - that's one book each month before school starts back up!

    To enter the giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

    ¡Buena suerte!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Disclosure: This offer is made possible by a partnership with Honda Road Readers. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

    Friday, June 3, 2016

    Comprehensive Summer Games Unit & Free Printable


    I am SO excited to share with you this new project that we've just completed! Multicultural Kid Blogs is an amazing community that supports parents around the world who are trying to raising global citizens. I've collaborated with them in the past on different printable packs, but this is by far, my most favorite! Bring on the Summer Olympic Games Unit!

    I had the great pleasure of working with two other talented content creators - Julie from Open Wide the World and Annabelle from The Piri-Piri Lexicon. Together we've created this Summer Games Unit with 100 + pages of Olympic goodness for your kids. Inside this no-prep packet, you'll find:


    • a history of the Ancient and Modern Olympics

    • a brief description of all the sports played in the 2016 Summer Games

    • world mapping activity

    • a medal tracker so your family can keep score at home during the Olympic Games

    • an introduction to this year's host city and country

    • introductions to the Olympics top ten nations with the most medals; includes country facts, geography, brief histories, landmarks, wildlife, music, famous people, Olympics facts, a kid-friendly recipe, and recommended reading

    • book suggestions for exploring these countries more in-depth

    • reading passages about seven famous Olympians from around the world

    • additional worksheets that allow students to show what they've learned, such as flag matching, word search, matching, fill in the blank, multiple choice, and trivia.

    An answer key is included, as is a list of sources referenced for each section. These fun activities are designed for children ages 8 - 12, or 3rd through 6th grade.


    Visit Multicultural Kid Blogs or their TpT store to purchase this great packet. (Psst! It's on sale through Friday, 6/3!)

    I can't wait to begin this study with my own kids! 

    To get YOU excited about it, too, I've created this free download. It's an example of the type of work you'll find in this packet.

    I hope you enjoy.




    Thursday, June 2, 2016

    Speekee, Online Spanish Program & Giveaway



    Time for another review of a Spanish learning curriculum! If you're thinking of having your child learn a new language this summer, Speekee is an online, immersion program.

    Name of program: Speekee
    Target age: 4 years old and older
    Amount of materials: Moderate, all online
    Price: $7.50 per month, subscription based
    MommyMaestra Rating: ♥♥♥

    THE REVIEW:



    Speekee is an online, video-based program. It comes with four different programs for families and one for schools:

    1. Speekee FastTrack (ages 4 - 7)
    2. Speekee Accelerate (ages 8+)
    3. Speekee TV
    4. Speekee Play 
    5. Speekee Scheme of Work (for schools)

    I had the opportunity to review Speekee's Accelerate program for children ages 8 and older. This is a subscription-based program. Once you sign up (for $7.50 a month, automatically drafted), then you'll have access to the program, which is composed up of 40-weeks worth of lessons. (So if you do the math, that's 10 months @ $7.50, for a grand total of $75.00.)




    You can either go to the website and login, or you can simply use the emails, which you'll receive once a week. Here's a peek at Week 3's email:


    Each week is composed of four lessons (mostly videos) that focus on key words and phrases to get your kids speaking Spanish. Week one, for example, is all about introductions and learning what to say when you meet someone. Each video features kids speaking Spanish and using the phrases to greet each other or otherwise interact. There are no translations. This is full immersion. Your kids learn by watching the videos and hearing and seeing how the children are interacting.

    The videos themselves are fun and engaging. The kids are funny and speak excellent Spanish.

    See that red button in the third image above that says "Suspend Emails"? Let's say you are extra busy one week or that you go on vacation for two weeks without internet access. Rather than try to catch up, you may prefer to suspend the emails until you get back so that your child can simply pick up where they left off.

    While there is minimal prep time, each video lesson does contain an introductory section with directions for the educator/parent. It gives suggestions for discussion topics and tells you things you can do to introduce new vocabulary.

    Some of the lessons are just a worksheet (or include one) which you or your child can print directly from the site and complete.

    This is a great program for kids who are into technology and online learning. The full immersion will probably take a bit of getting used to for kids who have never heard or spoken Spanish before, but with some encouragement, should catch on quickly.

    Speekee is based out of England, so the children in the videos have Castilian accents (from Spain). So keep that in mind if you are wanting your kids to learn Spanish with a Latin American accent.

    If you are hesitant about trying this program, you can test it out for free. Each subscription comes with a one-month, free-trial period. The only thing is that if it isn't a good fit for your family, you need to go in and cancel your subscription via your PayPal account because you have to enter that payment option when you sign up (even though you are doing the free trial). Otherwise, Speekee will assume you want to continue the program and will automatically start drafting once a month.

    Overall, it is obvious that a lot of time and effort went into this program and it is nice to have one that offers a different teaching style for older, more self-motivated students.


    The Giveaway

    Speekee has generously offered a free year's subscription to one MommyMaestra reader!

    To enter the giveaway, just use the Rafflecopter below.

    ¡Buena suerte!

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    Disclosure: I was not compensated for this review. In fact, I had to pay for a couple of months until I was able to get time to sit down and look at this program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids

    100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids
    Affiliate links used.

    In keeping with our theme of summer learning the fun and easy way, I've partnered with Page Street Publishing to share with you a great activity from their new, must-have book for families with young children.

    I received a review copy and am absolutely loving this new resource by authors Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij of TheEducatorsSpinOnIt.com.

    100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids (aff) is a treasure trove of activities to keep kids busy learning over the summer - and throughout the year! You'll love the creativity of these games. And yes, there are 100 games, divided into six different themes:

    1. Fantastic Reading
    2. Amazing Writing Adventures
    3. Really Cool Math
    4. Super Science
    5. Magical Music and Art
    6. Going Global

    From "String Art" to "Family Photo Word Puzzles" to a "Continent Fortune Teller" (pure genius!), you'll find so many wonderful activities using a minimal number of materials that you probably already have lying around your house. The key here is that learning doesn't have to be boring, expensive, or complicated! Some of the best games only use a couple of items.

    And with summer upon us, I especially think this would be a valuable resource for busy parents, grandparents who babysit, and daycare workers looking for activities to keep little hands with active minds busy!

    While I think most of the activities are best suited for children in elementary grades, many of them are easy to adapt for children of all ages and skill levels.

    Page Street Publishing is so great that they have allowed me to reprint one activity from 100 Fun & Easy Learning Games for Kids. I chose one for those of you with younger children. And I love that it can be adapted for ANY LANGUAGE!



    Stack a Word


    Learning to read can be exciting for children. Learning how to blend letter sounds is one of the foundations for success. Players use movement and visual clues as they the stack cans to form words.

    Focus Skill: blending letter sounds in spoken words
    Great For: getting moving while you learn

    Materials
    • Construction paper
    • Scissors
    • 10 cans of similar size
    • Black marker
    • Tape

    Directions to Make
    1. Cut 10 papers to wrap around the cans.
    2. Write two vowels and two consonants on each paper. Vary letter combinations to include all letters.
    3. Attach a letter paper to each can with tape.
    4. Write down on a separate paper select consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words in focused word families.


    Directions to Play
    1. One player calls out words from the focused word family sheet.
    2. The other player uses the cans to sound out the words and stack on one another to form each word.
    3. Continue to create words until all the cans are used.


    Game Variations
    • Use cans to create letters in family members’ names.
    • Create word family sets by adding an additional vowel-only can.
    • Create nonsense words and sound out while stacking on top of each other.

    Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

    How to Send Your Kids to Summer Camp...at HOME

    Hallelujah! Summer is officially HERE!

    For us, that means a more relaxed schedule, less structure, and frequently bored kids. And that's okay by me. Boredom is the mother of invention and creativity. So I'm more than happy to let my kids get bored and have to use their brains to dream up ways to stay busy and entertain themselves.

    One thing summer does NOT mean around here: free tech all day long. Nope. No way, José. I have pretty strict tech time rules. They can only play on the computer/iPad/Kindle AFTER they have:
    • Read a book
    • Finished chores
    • Made something
    • and Completed a family service project (more about that later).
    They also have assigned tech times (from 2- 4 in the afternoon).

    However, despite all of my intentions to have no set schedule, I do need some guidance at home. SO I was compelled to create my own little non-schedule schedule for guidance this summer. And I started thinking, maybe some MommyMaestra readers would enjoy a little non-schedule schedule, too?

    And then THAT got me to thinking about summer camps and this post on my Facebook page: 


    Not everyone can afford summer camp all summer long (I certainly can't). And while one or both of my kids may have a week in June that they'll be doing a class at our local college (LEGO Robotics!), it won't eat up the whole day and it's only one week. SO that means I need to be thinking about how to keep these kids busy in a way that isn't too structured and doesn't requite TOO much effort on my part.

    Enter in the MommyMaestra FREE Summer Camp at Home Plan!

    Okay, so I've already started off by stocking up on all the basic art/craft supplies at the now-far-away Michaels (Boo hoo! Still mourning the loss of the one I used to go to near my house that closed up!). And I made a list of those items that we typically use. It's now available in this packet so you can stock up, too, if you want to. 

    I also have a simple, open plan for those of you who like a lot of freedom. You can just print and cut out my little weekly guide and hang it up somewhere in your house for easy reference.

    Or if you just want ideas for things your kids might enjoy doing, I've made a calendar for the month of June that includes one activity to do each day. These crafts teach your children valuable skills without them realizing it. I’ve also been very careful to include crafts or activities that explore Hispanic heritage. You don't have to do the activities in order, and you don't have to do all of them. Just pick and choose what you'd like your kids to do and go with it. Heck, you don't have to do ANY of it if you don't want to!

    Remember: No stress! No pressure! Just FUN and EASY!!




    In addition to this packet, I have lots of fun stuff planned for you here on the blog, so be sure to stop in often and see what sort of goodies I've shared to keep your kids busy when they get bored. (While secretly learning without their realizing it!)

    I hope you guys all have a great summer! 

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