How preparing a trip helps children learn a 2nd language

We are headed to Shanghai. Our first trip to China. We started learning Chinese a little over a year ago, and we are excited to discover a new culture and practice what we learned so far.

As we prepared for the trip over the last few months, we realized that the excitement of visiting China was a good way to reinforce the Chinese vocabulary of our kids (and our own).

Here are a few activities we did together to prepare the trip and practice mandarin. 10 to 15min at a time.

Creating a diary

Elena (7) has her journal where once a week she wrote a page about what she will experience in China. Pablo (4) has his own journal where he draws what he wants to do there.

Gathering pictures and building an itinerary

We gathered different pictures of famous places in Shanghai: buildings, streets, markets, parks,… Elena wrote their name in Chinese pinyin.

Although we bought a couple of guide books about Shanghai, we sat down to create our own itinerary for the different days we will be there. Elena and Pablo looked at pictures of Shanghai and gave their input on what to do and where to go each day.

Learning to order food

We are firm believers that you discover a culture through food. Elena and Pablo created a food list we will need to buy and specialties we want to taste, and looked for their translation in Chinese.

Visiting Chinatown

Chinatown in New York is an amazing place, you really feel like being on another continent. What better place to get our kids excited to go to China?

If you have other tips on how to make trip preparation a language learning opportunity for your kids, please let us know!