Spanish Christmas Traditions: Comprehension Activity

In the build-up to the festive season, learning about Spanish Christmas Traditions is a fun way to encourage interest amongst language students. Making language learning fun and relevant makes learning easier.

Download our free printable Spanish Christmas Traditions comprehension exercise to give to your students or read it out loud to them (subject to their ability) and then ask them to answer the questions.

spanish christmas traditions

Tradiciones Navideñas Españolas

 

La Campaña de Navidad

Spanish Christmas TraditionsEn España, es normal comenzar a ver decoraciones de Navidad en Noviembre.

Muchos edificios importantes están decorados así como las calles y las casas. Alrededor de Noviembre empieza también la Campaña de Navidad en todos los centros comerciales y en pequeñas tiendas.

La intención principal de la Campaña de Navidad es decorar las tiendas de forma navideña y ofrecer descuentos y rebajas para incitar a la población a iniciar sus compras de Navidad.

El Portal de Belén

Spanish Christmas Traditions

Una decoración muy típica en España es el “Portal de Belén” que representa a Jesús y sus padres. Estas decoraciones se pueden encontrar en casa particulares y en tiendas, bares y restaurantes y, en algunas zonas del país.  

Cuando se acerca el día de Navidad, se pueden encontrar representaciones de belenes en vivo y en directo, en la calle.

 

Nochebuena y el Día de Navidad

Tradiciones Navideñas Españolas Nochebuena es un día muy celebrado en España. Se celebra en todo el país.

La comida servida ese día puede variar dependiendo de la zona, pero todas tienen algo en común: siempre se sirven mucha comida.

Después de la gran comida, es común comer algo dulce, principalmente “turrones”, que se parecen a las tabletas de chocolate pero suelen ser más gruesas y con diferentes tipos de frutos secos.

 

El Día de Navidad se celebra normalmente con la familia. Todo el mundo abre los regalos de debajo del árbol que ha traído Papá Noel.

A los más pequeños de la casa les encanta esta parte y, por esa misma razón, esta parte del día está dedicada a ellos aunque los adultos también reciben regalos.

De nuevo, la comida servida puede variar según la zona del país pero es común servir grandes cantidades de comida.

 

Nochevieja y Año Nuevo

Spanish Christmas TraditionsEn el 31 de diciembre, es común quedar con la familia y amigos, tanto en casa como en la calle, para celebrar Nochevieja y el Año Nuevo. Hay muchas fiestas y celebraciones por todo el país.

Cuando llega la medianoche, es común beber champán o cava y comer doce uvas de la suerte. Se come una uva cada vez que suena el reloj, en los últimos doce segundos del año. Se dice que comer dichas uvas trae buena suerte para el siguiente año.

En algunas zonas del país se “recomienda” llevar ropa interior de color rojo para iniciar el año, ya que se dice que también trae Buena suerte.

Día de Reyes

Spanish Christmas TraditionsEs España, el día 6 de enero, celebramos algo parecido a la Navidad: un día en que los pequeños reciben regalos y dulces y las familias se reúnen de nuevo para pasar el día, juntos.

El día antes del Día de Reyes, por la tarde, en las calles de todo el país se lleva a cabo “La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos”. Los Reyes Magos y sus ayudantes pasan por las calles, tirando dulces a los pequeños. A los niños y niñas les encanta estar en la calle recogiendo caramelos y saludando a los Reyes Magos.

En este día, es muy común comer el “Roscón de Reyes”, un tipo de bizcocho con un agujero en medio y con frutas y frutos secos encima.

El Roscón contiene dos sorpresas: una pequeña figura y una alubia. Quien sea que encuentre la figura, puede ponerse la corona que viene con el Roscón. Quien sea que encuentre la alubia tiene que comprar el Roscón del año siguiente.

 

Now the Questions/ Las Preguntas …

 

  1. ¿Cuando es normal comenzar a ver decoraciones de Navidad en España?

  2. ¿ Qué es la intención principal de la Campaña de Navidad?

  3. ¿A quién representa el portal de belén?

  4. ¿Qué es un belén en vivo?

  5. ¿En qué parte de España se celebra nochebuena?

  6. ¿A qué se parecen turrones?

  7. ¿Done deja Papá Noel los regalos?

  8. ¿Los adultos también reciben regalos?

  9. ¿Cuando se celebra nochevieja?

  10. ¿Cuando se come las uvas?

  11. ¿En qué fecha se celebra el Día de Reyes?

  12. ¿Qué es La Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos?

 

Use the link below to DOWNLOAD OUR FREE PRINTABLE

Christmas Comprehension Text

 

VISIT OUR SHOP FOR MORE GREAT GIFTS AND FREE DOWNLOADS

10 Food Gift Ideas for Your Little Language-Learning Foodies

Food Gift Ideas guide for little language-learning foodies

Nothing beats learning while having fun. This is our philosophy here at Cooking with Languages. As it is gift-giving season, we thought we’d put together some food gift ideas for your little language learning foodies so they can do just that: learn while having fun.

All of the ideas below are food-related items (toys and non-toys ideas) that can also, for the most part, promote language learning.

1. Pastry cutters

 

Cookie Cutters
You can find pastry cutters in almost any shape or size these days. But what about some fun cutters in the shape of letters? Perfect for practising the alphabet in a foreign language while baking or for playing spelling games, for example.

2. An Activity Cookbook

 

bilingual activity cookbook
What better gift than a language learning activity cookbook? If you are a bilingual family, if English or Spanish is your minority language, this cookbook will be perfect for your little foodies. They can learn the target language while playing little games and cooking our authentic easy recipes. Our cookbook is available as a printed version or as a printable to download. Wrap it up with a little accessory (a whisk, a knife or our matching apron) and you have a great non-toy gift for the little bilingual foodie in your life. Find out more here.

3. A Fun Food Play Set

 

Learning a language is not just about learning words. It is also about learning a culture and the foods people in those countries eat. If your child is in love with Japanese culture, what about getting him or her a sushi set? We also love wooden pizza or cake sets for pretend play.

4. A Child-Friendly Knife

 

Get those skills sharpened with a knife designed specifically for children. Young kids will love being taken seriously and cutting on their own.

5. A Cooking Class

 

Child cooking

If you are after an experience gift, how about a cooking class? You could search your local area for classes aimed at children. You could also organise your own and team up with a speaker of your target language and organise something with other families. Or you could search for cooking classes in a holiday destination you might be visiting soon. Contact us for details of our Cooking With Languages classes

6. An Apron or Two 😉

 

Of course, no little foodie can cook without a lovely apron. Our matching adults and children aprons make a great family gift. They also come perfectly bundled with the cookbook mentioned above.

7. A Blank Recipe Book

 

notebook

What about purchasing a simple blank notebook and using it as a recipe book? This would make a really inexpensive gift and is perfect for encouraging writing skills in a target language.

8. Playmats/Placemats

 

Placemats

Eat & Play Placemat by Chronicle Books

This could be a fun gift for families who like to eat out or for kids’ tables at events/parties. There are lots of paper placemats out there. These ones though are food-themed and are a great way to practice a language or even leave comments for the chef.

9. Food-Safe Pens

 

pens

If your children like to bake cookies or decorating them, food-safe decorating pens could be so much fun to add some amazing colours and effects. Imagine how much fun they would have baking cookies and writing on them!

10. A Snack Box

 

SnackCrate

Sample box from SnackCrate

 

If your children like to eat as well as cooking, a snack box from treats around the world would make a fun gift. You can find subscriptions to boxes like these with snacks from around the world. These make for an excellent opportunity to learn about different cultures from around the world and will be perfect for all ages.

So, there you have food gift ideas for your little language learners. What other ideas would you like to share with us?

Don’t forget to check out our shop!

 

Introducing Our First Spanish/English Language-Learning Bilingual Cookbook

Your Children Will Love Our Bilingual Cookbook …

Are you a bilingual family using Spanish and English daily? Are you a parent wanting to teach a little bit of Spanish or English to your children? Or maybe you are a teacher wanting to bring a little of diversity to your foreign language classes? Do you like cooking simple and scrummy recipes? Do you want to have fun with food while learning a language?

If you answered “Yes” or “Sí” to any of these questions, you will love our wonderful bilingual cookbook with recipes, puzzles and activities.

bilingual activity cookbook

This amazing 84-page bilingual cookbook will guide you through simple recipes while learning new vocabulary and having fun with your children at the kitchen table. Our fun language assistants, Arthur the Apple and Nerea Naranja will make language learning as easy as following a recipe. This book is designed for children learning Spanish or English (as a foreign language) and is perfect to compliment any language learning already happening either at school or at home. It is suitable for school-aged children but can also be adapted for younger children (if parents or teacher are on hand to help).

Content:

In our Activity Bilingual Cookbook, you will find:

– Simple and scrummy recipes:

  • Easy Pancakes,
  • Egg Muffins,
  • Fruitburgers,
  • Tuna Fishcakes,
  • Pizza Omelette,
  • Home-made Lemonade,
  • Lemon Brownies,
  • Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies,
  • Chocolate Brownies
  • Catalan Cream

All recipes include ingredients lists and instructions in both languages (Spanish and English).

– Vocabulary sheets: colours, numbers, alphabets and more.

– Games: matching words, fill-the-blanks, word search, spot-the-difference …

– Worksheets to create your own recipes in Spanish (or English) and shopping lists to photocopy and prepare for each of the recipes before you go shopping.

bilingual cookbook

Who is our Bilingual Cookbook for?

Whether you are teaching or learning Spanish or English, there is something for everyone who loves to teach or learn, while having fun.

Our language learning activity cookbook is perfect for bilingual families. If English or Spanish is your minority language, doing some of these activities at your own pace, give your children an extra boost in the target language. It also enriches their vocabulary.

Our language learning activity cookbook is also perfect for language teachers. Whether you are teaching Spanish or English as a foreign language or running a language after-school group, you can use the recipes and little games as support for some of your activities.

Here are just a few of our wonderful language-learning mini chefs …

Where can you find our Bilingual Cookbook?

You can download a printable version of the cookbook to print at home or at your local copy/print shop. You can also buy a book version (shipping currently only in Europe).

To complement the activity book, you can also order our children’s or adults’ aprons (shipping only in Europe).

For more language learning tips, delicious printables, mouth-watering Spanish recipes and updates, don’t forget to follow us on social media: Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Have a Look at Our Shop …

5 Tips To Incorporate Food Culture Into Your Language Classroom

A language classroom is not just about learning the grammar and the vocabulary. It is also about learning the culture or cultures to better understand the language. We all know how food is a fabulous way to get to understand a culture and its people. So what better or more fun way to learn a language than through food?

Today, we share 5 simple and easy tips to incorporate a country or a language’s food culture into your language classroom, your homeschooling routine or your language learning experience.
food culture
The key here is the authenticity of the content. Every decent educator will know that to learn a language authentic materials work best and are the most useful. Nobody wants to learn about made-up artificial conversations between a French baker and a customer talking about bagels!

Here are our 5 authentic yet simple tips:

Design Your Own Food Packaging

In a globalised world, it is not difficult to find food packaging containing foreign languages. Just head to your local (ethnic) supermarket and pick something that fits your target language. You get to use the packaging to learn a few words (and taste whatever is inside if it is relevant). Alternatively, next time you are visiting your target language country, bring back food packaging.
fod culture


 Create A Menu

Once again, you don’t need to travel far to find menus written in a foreign language. Either visit your favourite restaurant or check out menus online from restaurants in your target country to get a taste of your favourite dishes.
As an activity, get your students to search for menus, study them and create a brand new one for their very own restaurant.

 Role-play: At The Restaurant

You have created your very own menu, all you need to do now is to set up a little role-play with that menu: waiter and customers. Asking questions about the menu, ordering from it, paying the bill are all wonderful authentic practice situations for any language student. Food vocabulary is obviously important here too but you get to add much more to it.
 

Cook a Typical Dish

Of course, one of the most obvious things you can do to incorporate food into your language lessons is to cook a typical dish from your target country. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or complicated and if you have no cooking equipment, a salad could work too.
If you are learning French or English, we have a fun pancake/crepe counting challenge and recipe here.
Take a look at our ever-growing collection of authentic recipes on Pinterest. They are organised by target language for easy planning.

Write Your Own Recipe

If your students are up to it, you could even ask them to write or translate their very own recipe. Imagine you are to cook something typical from your own country for people who only speak your target language. You will need to translate the recipe for them. You could supply them with a recipe or they could make one up. Watch out for translation of weights and measure units! They need to be culturally appropriate too. This is a wonderful activity to do to practice cooking-related verbs too.

food culture

Have you got any other tips to add to this list? We would love to hear about the ways you do incorporate food into your language lessons or classroom.

Download FREE materials and great gifts …

Kids in the Kitchen: What Skills Can They Learn?

Get your kids in the kitchen and watch them grow!

kids-in-kitchen

 

It’s time to get your kids in the kitchen!

Young children love to copy what other people are doing. They gain great pleasure out of helping their parents wash the car, tidy up or even put the shopping away. A positive way to put this curiosity to good use and satisfy their inquisitive minds is by teaching them a new language whilst performing theses activities.

Get your kids in the kitchen and they can bake cakes, make pasta or play with pastry dough while you feed their mind with new words.

By having fun getting messy in the kitchen, they won’t actually realise they are being taught a new language.

Learning a language often means learning by rote and repetition, as words and phrases need to be repeated to be remembered. But repetition does not have to be boring. Making the experience fun helps to keep young learners curious and keen to carry on.

[bctt tweet=”Repetition need not be boring! Make it fun and watch them learn #languagelearning” username=”cooklanguage”]

 

Children are sponges. They are easily excitable. When they are excited and interested in something they absorb more. They learn without realising.

No matter what age your child is, they can have fun learning languages through cooking or simply playing with food.

Children use all of their senses while cooking. By helping them learn to cook and to know about food, you help them to be more comfortable with different foods and can even make them healthier eaters.

Pressuring young children to eat vegetables at the dinner table is known to be counterproductive – it actually increases resistance to healthy foods.

Download FREE materials and great gifts …

In a nutshell, kids like what they know and they eat what they like. So, making food and cooking fun has many benefits.

 

In addition to using food and cooking for learning languages, you can use them to help with:

  • Improving motor skills in younger children: start with soft foods that they can add/mix/grate/cut with plastic scissors or child-friendly knives …
  • Mathematical skills: from number recognition, basic sums, to learning weights and measures,
  • Reading and comprehension: encourage your child to read the recipe to you, ask them questions that spark their imagination eg. How do they think the food will look? Taste? smell?
  • Telling the time and measuring time
  • Boosting vocabulary: ingredients, using descriptive words to describe how food looks, smells and sounds while it’s cooking,

kids-in-the-kitchen

Children, of all ages, have fun while using all five senses which is why cooking is so entertaining. First, they’ll be using their eyes to find ingredients and read the recipe. Then they will be touching the food as they chop it or mix it. After that comes the sound of the cooking as the food sizzles, bubbles or makes a popping noise. This gives off the lovely smells which help to get the mouth watering as they finally get to taste their delicious dishes.

 

As well as new words, you can introduce some simple maths while you cook. Your children can weigh out ingredients on the scales or use measurements such as litres and grams. If rolling out pastry or pasta, they’ll need a ruler to measure the length too. They’ll be learning to tell the time as they stir the pot for two minutes or bake a cake for 40 minutes, for example.

 

Then there are the words they will use. It’s not just learning about ingredients but they will be boosting their vocabulary with new verbs such as basting, boiling, rolling or roasting; and adding adjectives like bitter, sweet, delicious, juicy, salty, smooth or lumpy. You can encourage them to communicate by asking them how the food feels or to describe how it tastes.

By getting children involved in the cooking process, it’s a sneaky way to get them to try new things. If they’ve cooked it, they’ll want to try it so think about introducing different ingredients or spices as you go along. Hopefully, this will encourage them to be more experimental with flavours. Most children go through a fussy eating stage but getting them to help prepare the family meals can be one way to get them to taste new foods. They’ll feel proud and excited at helping and should be more likely to eat something they’ve helped to make, especially if you say how yummy it looks.

To sum up, children can learn new words, a new language, simple maths, the time and communication skills by helping prepare a meal. Bearing that in mind, we think cooking with children is a fun way to teach while you also get a little helper in the kitchen. Now, we just have to persuade them that washing up is a great game to play too!

kids in the kitchen

 

Try these simple activities, in your target language, for starters…

(These ideas can be adapted to whatever language you are introducing.)

  1. Using your fruit bowl …
  • Can you name the fruits in your bowl?
  • What colour are they?
  • How many are there?
  • What do they smell like?
  • What do they feel like?
  1. Open your cutlery drawer …
  • Can you name each utensil?
  • How many are there of each item?
  • What is each item used for?
  1. Create stickies (and if you are artistic, add drawings too) of  Kitchen items …
  • E.g. fridge, freezer, sink, cupboard, drawer, tea towel, dishcloth …

 

4. Play the “hot/cold” game  …

  • The idea is that your child has to guess which word (in the target languages) is the correct name for the items in your kitchen. As they get closer to the item, you say “hotter” (in your target language) and as the move further away you say “colder” (in your target language)

Learning a language through cooking

     5. Use out Activity Cookbook

  • If your target language is Spanish or English, choose one of the recipes from our Activity Cookbook and work together with your child.
  • Before you start cooking:
  • Look at the ingredients, practice the words together (listen to the audio on our website for help)
  • Make a shopping list together, for the required ingredients
  • Visit the supermarket and purchase the ingredients, with your child, repeating the words and quantities as shown in our book
  • When you are ready to cook:
  • Tell your child (in the target language) what they need to get ready, item by item (using the book for reference)
  • From the fridge, we need …..
  • From the cupboard, we need …
  • Follow the instructions, step by step and make the simple and scrummy recipes.
  • Practice phrases and expressions to say what you love, like, don’t like …

 

There are so many ways how children learn a language in the kitchen, these are just a few simple ideas. We have many more to share with you!

 

Introducing Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge! Designed to get Kids in the Kitchen and Learning New Languages!

pancake-challenge

 

 

 

We have a simple and scrummy recipe to share with you. It is really easy to follow.

This is one of the recipes in our Activity Cookbook that we funded thanks to YOU  on Crowdfunder.

Ingredients

125gr plain flour

1 egg

250ml milk

Salt

Your favourite fillings:  sugar, lemon, Nutella, fresh fruit, honey…

 

How to make the pancakes …

  • Sieve the flour and a pinch of salt into a large bowl.
  • Make a hole in the centre of the flour and add the egg and some milk.
  • Whisk all the ingredients together until you have a smooth liquid.
  • Add the remaining milk and whisk again.

How to cook the pancakes…

  • Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan.
  • Remove the excess oil before adding the pancake mix.
  • Add a large spoon of mix to the frying pan and spread it over the base (the easiest way is to rotate the frying pan slowly).
  • As the pancake sets, loosen it with a spatula and flip over (use a plate if you are not confident flipping).

 

arthur-pancake-challengeArthur’s Perfect Pancake Tips:

  1. For skinny French style pancakes, make sure your mixture is nice and runny.ie. add lots of the milk
  2. For fatter American style pancakes, use less milk to make a thicker mixture.
  3. BEFORE entering the Pancake Challenge, experiment with the mixture to get your best pancake.
  4. Loosen the pancake with a spatula before flipping.
  5. HAVE FUN!!!!

 

How Do You Enter Arthur Apple’s Pancake Challenge?

 

  • Once you have perfected the art of making simple and scrummy pancakes, you need to practice flipping them.
  • For the challenge, you can flip your pancakes wherever you like … in the kitchen, in your garden, on the beach, in the snow … let your imagination run wild!
  • When you are ready, ask somebody to video you flipping your pancake, as many times as you can.
  • At the start of your video, tell us your name, age and where you are from.
  • Count out loud, in whatever language you can speak, whilst flipping your pancakes.
  • Post your video to our Cooking with Languages Facebook Page (Pop over to the page and see the wonderful video Bodhi and Himani sent to us!)

What other ideas do you have for using food and cooking for introducing new languages?

We’d love to share your ideas on our Facebook page and here on our website.

kids-in-the-kitchen

Why Learning A Language Through Cooking Is A Recipe For Success

There are many reasons why learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success …

Learning a language through cooking

Cooking is very fashionable at the moment with millions glued to the television to watch shows like MasterChef, The Great British Bake Off and Hell’s Kitchen with the straight-talking Gordon Ramsay. Celebrity chefs are also making waves in the kitchen with the effervescent Jamie Oliver changing the way we view food and the lovable Hairy Bikers making great dishes with local produce. So it makes perfect sense to use this tremendous interest in food to help people learn a new language. They can do something they enjoy while learning new words in a fun and creative way.

 

It is something that all ages can try – from tiny tots helping to make cakes or biscuits through to older people who fancy cooking something different while practising a new language, such as Spanish. You can join classes or go it alone through books or apps. For instance, if you’re learning Spanish you could find a recipe in the original language for a traditional dish like paella, gazpacho or rabo de toro (oxtail stew) and follow it. You will learn a lot of vocabulary such as ingredients, verbs and different verb tenses.

[bctt tweet=” Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success! #bilingualbooks ” username=”cooklanguage”]

Learning a language through cooking is a recipe for success on so many different levels. The most important being that you get to cook and taste a gorgeous meal, so that’s an incentive in itself.  It also uses all five senses:

Learning a language through cooking

Sight: Reading the recipe, looking at all the gorgeous ingredients and watching your food take shape

Smell: Wonderful aromas of individual ingredients plus those sensational cooking smells as you prepare your food

Sound: The noise of food as you chop and cook whether it is sizzling in a pan or gently bubbling away.

Touch: The different shape and texture of your food – kneading dough, or getting stuck into making cakes or pasta.  

Taste: The best bit! Trying your food as you go along and then sharing your finished dish with family or friends.

Download FREE materials and great gifts …

 

Learning languages through cooking has so many advantages.

First of all, reading through the recipe, looking up words you don’t understand and trying to commit them all to memory. Then, not only are you reading new articles, but you are understanding what you are reading. If you are a newbie in the kitchen, it might mean you find out what blanching, clarifying, deglazing or searing mean. It’s a crafty way of making sure you understand what you have just read because you can’t wing it when you’re cooking. If you don’t know your meuniere from your marinate, you could be in trouble!

For younger people following a recipe helps you to follow instructions. You need to go through the recipe step by step so your food turns out as it should. Obviously, this is another useful tool to master because there are so many situations in life when you have to follow the rules.

Finally, you should be having fun while you learn. You’re adding to your vocabulary, increasing understanding while learning more about the culture and history behind the language through gastronomy.

If that isn’t enough to get you cooking up a storm in the kitchen while learning a new language, Newcastle University also uses this method of learning. French language students have been taught through cooking. They have instructions on the computer to guide them along with motion sensor technology integrated into the cooking utensils and other equipment which are linked to the computer so it can be clearly seen if the student is understanding the instructions properly.

Learning a language through cooking

We firmly believe the best way to learn something is by doing it for yourself. By cooking and learning about foods, you will learn more about a country while those new words sink in.

 

Help us to bring the love of food and cooking into more households and classrooms!

Learning a language through cooking

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