Father reads bilingual sound book to his bilingual child during an outing

Exploring Language Learning on Vacation with Your Bilingual Child

Let’s face it– vacations are the best part about summer break! They’re the perfect opportunity for families to bond, relax, and create lasting memories. For parents raising bilingual children, it’s also a great time to reinforce language skills in a fun and engaging way as you explore new places, sights and activities. A change in atmosphere can even inspire kids to get excited about practicing their second language, so take advantage of this opportunity! 

Whether you're lounging on a beach, exploring a new city, or camping in the mountains, there are plenty of creative ways to continue practicing a second language with your child. Here are five easy and enjoyable activities that you can incorporate into your vacation plans to keep your little ones excited about practicing their second language: 

1. Explore Local Culture and Cuisine

One of the best ways to immerse your family in a new language is through its culture and cuisine. Research local restaurants or markets ahead of time where the target language is spoken. Dining out will become an adventure as you encourage your child to order food or ask questions in the local, target language. Even if your child is just starting to grasp the basics, interacting with native speakers and exposure to authentic conversations will certainly enhance their learning experience.

2. Turn Sightseeing into a Language Treasure Hunt

Transform sightseeing into a language-learning treasure hunt by creating a list of items or landmarks your child should look for. Write a checklist of vocabulary words in both languages that you’ll want your child to locate and practice. For example, in a city tour, you might look for "el museo" (the museum), "la plaza" (the square), or "la estatua" (the statue). Encourage your child to point out these discoveries and use the words in sentences. If you have more than one child, you can even turn it into a competition to see who can locate the most items. This activity not only teaches language, but also keeps children engaged and observant during your outings– it’s a win-win! 

3. Play Language Games on the Go

Keep language practice playful with interactive games during travel time. Games like "I Spy" or "20 Questions" can easily be adapted to focus on vocabulary in the second language. Have your little ones take turns describing objects or scenes in the environment using the target language. This not only reinforces vocabulary, but also encourages creativity and communication skills. You can even make it more challenging as your child progresses by introducing riddles or word association games. This language practice activity is perfect for airplane rides, car rides, or hotel downtime.

4. Create a Travel Journal Together

Encourage language learning through storytelling by creating a travel journal together. Use the journal as a conversation starter at the end of each day, discussing what was seen, learned, and experienced. Depending on your child’s age, you can either ask your child to draw pictures or write about their favorite moments from the trip in both languages or simply draw it with them or have them color it an image you outline for them. This is an amazing way to both reinforce language skills in the target language and create a memory book of your vacation adventures that your child can look back on with pride!

5. Read Bilingual Sound Books During Downtime

Make sure to pack some books into your suitcase! During quieter trip moments or before bedtime, you can use bilingual books to help your child unwind while practicing their second language. Reading is a fun and easy way to squeeze in language practice while on vacation and an activity the whole family can participate in. Binibi’s bilingual sound books for kids are the perfect tool for keeping little ones entertained during downtime on your trip. You could even use our musical books to entertain little ones during airplane or car rides with upbeat, popular nursery rhymes. As you read or sing together, pause to discuss the images and ask questions in both languages, reinforcing new vocabulary in a relaxed setting.

Vacations provide so many opportunities to integrate language learning into your family's itinerary and expand your child’s vocabulary with new words relating to new experiences. By incorporating these activities into your travel plans, you not only support your child's bilingual development, but also enrich their cultural awareness and appreciation while keeping language practice fun and interactive!