Friday, July 13, 2012

French for Kids - Weather and Numbers

Our Introduction to France week was a bigger success than I could have possibly imagined.  I'm so glad I did a lot of prep work in advance to come up with some really fun and engaging activities.  My son is all the time asking "How do you say ________ in French?"  I bought a kids' "first words" book in French for some basics, but I think I'm going to have to invest in a French-English dictionary to keep up with him!

Learn about Weather in French

On day three besides continuing to go over our days of the week names and basic sayings in French, we worked on weather terms and counting.  I had some weather cutouts from a preschool bulletin board I'd used last year (they're a little beat up but are still cute!), so I decided to turn them into a French weather pinwheel.  These are larger pieces that show a boy or girl standing in each type of weather, but a simple cutout of a sun, cloud, snowflake, etc would work as well!

We took a paper plate, flipped it over and glued the cutouts around the plate.  I used a permanent marker to write the names in French of each of the different types of weather, and wrote the French word for weather in the middle.  It's hanging up beside my son's impressionist artwork in our kitchen as well.  Each morning when we do our morning routine, going over the calendar and weather, we can say the weather term in French and English.

I used a single hole punch to put a small hole in the paper plate behind each of the cutouts so depending on the weather we can turn it around and that day's weather term will be facing up.  If I'd have really planned ahead on this, I would have used a small brad and attached an arrow in the center that could spin to point to that days weather!

I found two short videos on YouTube that we also watched to hear how to pronounce each of the terms.  This first video is a really short (just under a minute) video that just lists the French translation for sunny, rain, thunder, and snow.  The second video is a fun little song that teaches you how to talk about the weather in French.  My son really enjoyed this one:

Patterns & Counting

I think counting from 1 to 10 is often one of the first things taught when learning a new language, so it definitely had to make it into our introduction week.  It's also one of the few things I remembered from French class without having to look up!  My son already knows how to count to 10 in Spanish thanks to Dora and Diego, but I think before long he'll have it down in French as well.

To practice saying the numbers, I repeated them over and over counting on my fingers.  My son would repeat me after each number.  I repeated them several times as he worked on the pronunciation.  Then we started to count using these game pieces.  I had this bag of blue, white, and red chips in our craft cabinet leftover from a board game we used to have.  The colors were perfect for our French theme, and we got another chance to work on color names in French as well.  Check out my blog post on how we learned our color names in French here.

I used a dry erase board, but it wasn't really necessary.  I created a pattern and let him repeat it.  Then we'd count the chips.  Then I let him create patterns.  He'd ask me for a "bleu" chip or for a "blanc" chip.  

When he started creating patterns longer than 10 chips, I decided it was time to move on to the next activity.  Counting higher than 10 will have to wait until I remember more of French class or find a better YouTube video!

By the way, here's a link to a cute little YouTube video of a number 1-10 song in French:

To keep working on patterns and counting (I got him to start over at 1 after he reached 10, nothing like repetition!), we strung beads onto some string to make necklaces.  Blue, White, Red was the pattern like the colors on the French flags still hanging in our kitchen!

What's great about these patterns and counting is that it can be adapted to any language and with any colors.    It's all just about the practice and repetition!  And the necklace was a fun little keepsake from our Introduction to France week!

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