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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cherry Blossoms! Spring! (Enfin)

Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families. Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!

Could it be that we are really through to the other side of this incredibly long winter and into the beautiful Washington, DC printemps!?  It's hard to believe it is here to stay, I feel like there have been so many false starts. Let's hope the warm(er) days are here for good and we can finally all go outside and play!

I am determined to promote outdoor activities in French whenever the weather cooperates and I hope many of you will join us!  This week come for Cherry Blossom Gouter under what hopefully will be fully blooming trees on Thursday from 3:45pm- 5pm in the Kenwood neighborhood in Bethesda (which, IMHO, is so much less of  a production than going downtown especially if you are anywhere near Bethesda. And the trees in Kenwood are trop beaux!).   We have a beautiful French storybook that my brother and Japanese sister-in-law gave to Zach about a Kokechi doll and her trip to Tokyo during Cherry Blossom season, so we can have a very seasonal French storytime that teaches us some Japanese, too! [Konnichiwa= Bonjour = Hello]. All ages and language levels are welcome!

In case you missed Language Stars's "foreign language blasts" last week (we did, unfortunately, due to a stomach bug), the Gaithersburg center Director tells me more are planned for the spring season, so stay tuned. Also, they can arrange customized blasts (presumably at the same $29 price) if they can get at least 4-5 kids together so if any other Mamans would like to join in with me on on this please email me!

Out and About
($) indicates there is a cost for the event. 

Tuesday  

Thursday

At Home

Some ideas for springing into Printemps:

Sing (and act-out) "Savez-Vous Planter les Choux": a very simple, fun song:

Start with the basic verse: "Savez-vous planter les choux (cabbages), à la mode, à la mode, savez-vous planter les choux, à la mode de chez nous?".  Then change to "Savez vous avec le ______ (insert any body part: coude/elbow, tete/head, genou/knee, pied/foot....) while you tap on the floor with whatever word you chose (tete-banging not recommended;-))  à la mode, a la mode, savez vous avec le ________, a la mode de chez nous. Alternate between "savez vous planter les choux" and "savez-vous avec le _____".  

Better yet, sing while planting some actual choux! [or for that matter adjust the song as you plant your first seedlings for anything - lets see....savez vous planter les pois, à la mode de chez moi; les fruits/chez lui....)

Plant an avocado seed (and learn all the associated vocabulary) following instructions on Cacaboudin.com

Read "Toujours Rien?" by Christian Volz, available at the Bethesda and Silver Spring libraries- a lovely little story about a man who plants his seed and comes back each day to check if it has grown. The reader sees all the activity happening under the soil, but he only sees the surface (toujours rien!) until one day....!  Such a cute book. 

Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s Facebook page!




Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Break en Français! March 25 - 31


Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families. Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!


For many of us, there are way more daytime hours to fill this week during les vacances de printemps, so let’s try to spend as many of them as possible en français !  

There are several opportunities for French practice with kids this week both at home (see essential vocabulary for Easter Egg-dying below) and out and about in the Washington, DC area: French storytime at PB and Jack in Fairfax, VA on Wednesday hosted by Language Planet, and an Easter Egg hunt on Saturday at the Alliance Française are a couple of highlights. 

Also: Language Stars is offering 90-minute "foreign language blasts" for Spring Break ($29 each) at various locations with enticing themes include Angry Birds, Pirates, and Fairies & Pixies! Admittedly, this post is late and some may have already filled up (I promise to do an advance list next time!but it may be worthwhile checking to see what is still open -- we will attempt to register for at least one of these - they had us at "Angry"!  Merci et bonne semaine!  

Out and About

($) indicates there is a cost for the event. 

Tuesday  

Wednesday  

Thursday
Saturday
10:50am - Storytime at the Alliance Française (free) and Egg Hunt at the local park! ($)

At Home

Dye and Decorate Easter Eggs /Teindre et Décorer les Œufs de Pacques
Below are some basic instructions and some of the vocabulary* we used today as we made our first batch of real Easter eggs. 

   Boil the eggs= cuir les œufs (hard-boiled eggs = œufs durs)
   Make the dye baths = preparer les bains de teinture
   Pour water into a plastic cup = verser l’eau dans un gobelet en carton
        ◦             add vinegar / lemon juice to the water to make the colors brighter = ajouter du jus de citron / vinaigre a l’eau pour que les couleurs soient plus vives
        ◦              dip the eggs in the dye = plonger les oeufs dans le colorant
        ◦              The longer you leave the eggs in, the brighter the colors will be = plus tu laisses les œufs, plus vives seront les couleurs 
   After ten minutes, check the color = apres 10 miutes, verifie la couleur
   Use the egg dipper to take out the egg = utilise ta louche pour retirer les œufs !
   Decorate with paint, stickers and glitter! = decorer avec la peinture, des autocollants et paillettes!

First we have to boll the eggs, then let them cool. [How about tidying up while we wait?]
D’abord il faut faire bouillir les oeufs, puis les laisser refroidir. [Et si on rangeait le salon en attendant?]
use the egg dipper so you don't stain your fingers
utilise la louche, comme ca tu ne tacheras pas les doigts
squeeze the bottle.
presse sur la bouteille.
stir
remuer
check to see how bright the colors are.
vérifier pour voir combien les couleurs sont vives
look! the cracks look like a spiderweb!
Regarde! les fissures ressemblent à une toile d'araignée!
that egg is cracked.
cet œuf est fissuré.
do you want the color to be darker?
Tu veux que la couleur soit plus foncée?
you want light-orange or dark orange?
Tu veux l'orange clair ou foncé?
very clever!
très intelligent!
Why don't you just experiment with that one and leave the rest the way they are?
Pourquoi ne pas experimenter avec celui-là et laisser le reste comme ils sont?
it turned brown.
il est devenu marron.
try not to spill on the carpet.
Essaies de ne pas en renverser sur la moquette.
Uh-oh can you please hand me a paper towel.
Oh-oh – s’il te plait donne-moi une serviette en papier.
what a pretty color pink!
let's check if the eggs are dry.

what stickers do you want to put on them?

we'll need scissors and glue.

do you want to put some glitter?

quelle jolie couleur rose!
On va voir si les oeufs sont secs.
Quels autocollants veux-tu mettre?
On aura besoin de ciseaux et de la colle.
Est-ce que tu veux mettre des paillettes?
I can’t wait for the Easter Bunny to come!
J’ai hate que le Lapin de Pacques arrive!
*"disclaimer": as a non-native speaker, I don't guarantee perfect translations! To look up words here and there, go to www.wordreference.com --I use it constantly -- or for detailed egg-dying insructions in French, go here:) Please feel free to correct any mistakes in the comments section below!


Read Frisson l'Ecureuil (the first Frisson book). Zach loves him so much, he has begun quoting one of Frisson's mantras: si rien ne fonctionne, fait le mort (if all else fails, play dead). If you have the book (which, by the way is available on Bonjour! Books! :-)) make sure to print out the complementary (and complimentary!) activity sheet on the Scholastic web site here 

Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook page!

P.S. The DC Grande Fête de la Francophonie 2013 is officially underway! (March 1-April 13). Check out the web site for tons of upcoming French cultural events and activities throughout the DC area for all ages.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The Week Ahead (En Français!): March 18-24

Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families.  Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!  Bonne semaine! 
L'Heure du Conte -- Alliance Française D.C.

Out and About

($) indicates there is a cost for the event



Saturday
10:30am – French Circle Time / Petites Chansons at the Takoma Park Library

10:50am - Storytime at the Alliance Française


At Home

Decorate Easter eggs with Boowa and KwalaIt may be a bit early for the real thing, but you can get into holiday mode early and take full advantage of the fun to promote French practice! See the directory of all the Boowa and Kwala Easter-themed games here. Zach's favorite is the chocolate egg factory (usine des oeufs au chocolat). 

Play "Je vois, je vois, devine quoi...". This is a translation for "I spy with my little eye" I loved that was posted on a WordReference forum.  

For example, suppose you are thinking of your chair which is red. You say: Je vois, je vois, devine quoi... quelque chose de rouge OR quelque chose qui commence par la lettre C (chaise) Then have your child ask questions (use vocabulary!) like: est-ce que c'est le canapé? Est-ce que c'est le tapis?  
Zach and I played this today and he proudly declared after my two clues (carré and ça commence par la lettre T ):c'est facile, Maman. La télévision!

If they don't yet have the vocabulary to ask all the questions, switch roles and have them spy the objects and answer your questions. Tip: don't let them answer yes or no; ask thinks like: "est-ce que c'est rond ou carré / rouge ou noir? / la chaise ou le canapé?) which encourages them to speak the words.     

Watch a kid's video in French!  Check the back of your own DVD cases to see which you may already have with French soundtrack (many of the Thomas the Train videos do, for example)!  Explore the library, book/video store/Target, and/or the almost endless options on youtube: "La Nouvelle Peinture de James" from the Thomas videos, T'Choupi et la Piscine, Caillou chez le medicin, et cetera. As with any content on the Internet, monitor carefully, especially as many of the advertisements preceding even the little kids' shows are totally inappropriate for children. 

Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook pageLe Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!

P.S. The DC Grande Fête de la Francophonie 2013 is officially underway! (March 1-April 13). Check out the web site for tons of upcoming French cultural events and activities throughout the DC area for all ages.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Week Ahead (En Français!) March 11-17


Monday March 11th - Sunday March 17th
Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families.  Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook pageLe Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!  Merci et bonne semaine! 


La Semaine en Français (Out and About in or near DC)

($) indicates there is a cost for the event. 

Monday, March 11
7pm - Dom Juan de Moliere - play presented by Lycée Rochambeau ($)

Tuesday,  March 12 

Thursday, March 14
10am - Open House at Communikids in Falls Church, VA

4pm – French Storytime at the Cleveland Park Library


Saturday March 16: 
9am to 4pm – Children's book sale at the Alliance Française (by Bonjour! Books, Bonjour Mama's new book store!)

10:50am - Storytime at the Alliance Francaise


10am - Kid's French Film: Le Jour des Corneilles at the Avalon Theatre ($)



La Semaine en Français (at Home):


Sing/Play  Promenons nous dans les bois":  Watch the song on youtube and alternate playing the part of the children "Promenons nous dans les boispendant que le loup n'y est pas s'il le loup y était il nous mangerait, mais comme il n'y est pas il nous mangera pas: loup y est tu? que fais-tu? entends-tu?" and then wolf's deep-voiced response each time: "je mets mon pantalon (ma veste, les bottes.....) until he's finally dressed and announces "je prends ma fusille, j'arrive!" and the kids scream out "sauvons nous!".  

After you've done it a few times the same way, you can change it up by varying the wolf's wardrobe (je mets les chaussettes, la cravate, les lunettes) and induce more laughs by expanding his "toilette" (je fais pipi, je me brosse les dents;-)). 

Play Parcours d'obstacle (Obstacle course): Create an obstacle course whatever furniture and cushions you've got and wherever you have space and shout out instructions like: Escalade la montagne! Climb the mountain! [pillows piled up]; Grimpe dans le tunnel! Crawl through the tunnel [chairs lined up]; Glisse le long de la rampe! Slide down the ramp! [large pillows propped up against sofa]; Je te chronometre. Peux-tu le faire en 20 secondes? I'm timing you, can you do it in 20 seconds?

Read one of the Frisson l'Ecureuil books (available on Bonjour! Books) by Mélanie Watt; he is Zach's favorite character at the moment and "Frisson se fait un ami" begins with an avertissement (warning) to please brush your teeth before reading the book as Frisson has a morbid fear of germs (great for encouraging reluctant brushers at bedtime!)


Sing and Dance to songs on Radio Moussaillons 
[Note: they sometimes even mix in other languages - yesterday Zach was singing "Como te llamas? como te llamas?" - I've been trying to get him to speak basic Spanish phrases forever and now in four seconds he's got it, from a kids' song on French radio of all places!]

Make a leprechaun's hat (chapeau de lutin/leprechaun) or do an activity on Tete à modeler's Saint Patrick Day page --it has lots of great vocabulary (shamrock = treffle!) and craft ideas.


Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook pageLe Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!

P.S. The DC Grande Fête de la Francophonie 2013 is officially underway! (March 1-April 13). Check out the web site for tons of upcoming French cultural events and activities throughout the DC area for all ages.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Week Ahead (En Français!) March 4-10


Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area language and cultural events for kids and families.

In my experience, nothing is as effective as getting out with other French speakers and making friends, so I am starting off with a list of some of the organized story-times and group activities this week in the DC area. This includes Bonjour Mama’s first proposed meetup: Wednesday, March 6th at 4pm: Gouter and French Bingo at La Madeleine in Bethesda.  I hope to see you there!

Also, I am including a few ideas for both online and offline French activities to do at home. These are things Zach has loved in the past (but unless I have a list handy I often struggle to think of what to do!)

Please share any other ideas or happenings you know of by commenting below or posting to the Bonjour Mama facebook page. Or join or suggest an event yourself on Bonjour Mama Le Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!

Merci et bonne semaine! 

P.S. The DC Grande Fête de la Francophonie 2013 is officially underway! (March 1-April 13). Check out the web site for tons of upcoming French cultural events and activities throughout the Washington, D.C. area for all ages.


La Semaine en Français (Out and About in or near DC)

($) indicates there is a cost for the event. 

Tuesday, March 5 

Wednesday, March 6

Thursday, March 7

Saturday March 9: 


La Semaine en Français (at Home):


·   ReadC’est un livre by Lane Smith– a hysterical book and Zach’s first choice for any storytime.  The link takes you to the gently animated video version of the book (we love both the book and video version).

·    Play “La Bataille en Francais” : this is Zach’s own invention and favorite physical activity in French and it’s pretty basic: you pile up some sofa cushions and as your child runs toward you, bombard him/her with them, yelling things like: “A l’attaque! Attention! Ha! Je t’ai touché la jambe, la tête, le dos, etc.”

·    Watch  a gently animated youtube video of “La Chenille qui fait des trous” (the very hungry caterpillar). As the caterpillar eats his way through each page, you can both chime with all the kids for: “Crunch, crunch crunch crunch….”

·    Play Hide and Seek (cache-cache). This is great for counting practice (un, deux, trois….) as well as vocabulary building (Ou es-tu? Est-ce que tu es sous le lit ? Derrière le canapé? dans la cuisine?). "Ready or not here I come!": Caché ou pas, j’arrive !

·    Watch Disney Cars 2 (Les Bagnoles 2) on TagTele.   Because it's just so much fun, and sometimes you have to kick back and let screen time happen (and if you're like me the weight of guilt is so much lighter when you are watching together, and en français!)

·    Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook page, Le Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!