5 Ways Dads Can Help Spanish Learning

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids.

Raising your kids bilingual is more difficult than it sounds. For Hispanics in the United States, it can sometimes be hard when your child won’t speak Spanish to mom and dad, and Spanish learning can quickly become a struggle if we don’t have support. Much more than simply speaking in your native language, there are formal techniques that you can use to help this process along.

One thing is for sure both parents can contribute to this process. It doesn’t matter which of you is the one speaking the non-dominant or minority language – dads can, and need, to be involved in their child’s bilingual Spanish education.

Dads Can Help Spanish Learning in 5 Ways

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids.

Dads can help Spanish learning by watching television and movies with their kids in Spanish.

  • Be consistent
    One Person, One Language, or the OPOL method, is one of the most common ways to help your children become bilingual.

    Basically, each parent speaks only one language to the child. This conditions them to think of Spanish as the language that you need them to speak in order to be able to communicate – in this way, dads can help Spanish learning be natural for the family.

  • Be patient
    It’s been shown that bilingual children sometimes take longer to start speaking properly, as their brains are working hard to try to figure out the two languages. So – don’t give up. And don’t push your kids in either language.

    If you are consistent, their language skills will smooth out soon enough.

  • Share your culture
    Particularly if you are far from your native country, your child may feel like it’s not a relevant part of his or her life. Make a point to share photos and stories of your family, country, and culture – in Spanish, of course! Kids will love that special storytelling time with their dads.

But language learning isn’t all serious. Here are some fun things you can do to support your child as he or she learns Spanish.

  • Give them media in Spanish
    One of the best ways to teach kids Spanish is to make sure they have plenty of ways to include Spanish in their daily lives – and that includes entertainment.

    By buying them books and music, dads can help Spanish learning by giving them ways to practice, but you are also showing them that Spanish is fun and relevant to their day-to-day lives. Watching movies and television shows in Spanish together lets them share your culture with you while they practice their listening skills.

  • Play games with them – in Spanish
    Lots of card and board games have Spanish versions. For example, Monopoly, Life, or Scrabble. Other games are easy to use in Spanish: Connect 4, Pictionary, Go Fish, or Uno. Make game night Spanish-only. Not only will they need to use Spanish to play the game, but have them use it in any conversation that night, as well.

With dedication and creativity, dads can help make the Spanish learning process fun and effective.

Do you have a specific tip about how dads can help Spanish learning?  Let me know in the comments.

Tin Artwork in Latin America

Tinwork mobile from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Entering a store that sells Hispanic art, one of the most common, yet beautiful, things that you will see is a variety of artisan pieces made of tin. Tin, or hojalata, has played a significant role in the Mexican creative arts for centuries. As with many Latin American art techniques, Mexican tin art has its basis in Europe but with a decidedly New World twist.

Tin itself is a chemical element, readily available and not easily oxidized, both of which made it popular since recorded history, both alone and combined with other metals.

In fact, mixed with copper, it forms bronze, the first known alloy which dates back to 3000 BC. Tin also forms part of pewter and is often used to plate steel in order to prevent corrosion.

The History of Tin Artwork in Latin America

Tinwork mobile from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Tinwork mobile from Oaxaca, Mexico.

The use of tin as artisan technique, particularly pierced tin, began in central Europe where it was used to create decorative yet useful housewares. These designs varied widely depending on the location and the type of item.

One common item created with the punched tin technique was lanterns, which provided a way to transport light safely with beautiful results. These types of punched tin items were created in the Americas since the beginning of colonization. In fact, there is even a type of tin lantern named after famed American hero Paul Revere.

Although tin was already available in Mexico before the Spanish arrived, Mexicans didn’t use it on a large scale. The introduction of European methods set the stage for the regionalization of tin work in Latin America.

The rise of tin artwork in Hispanic history and culture began in the 18th century, when the coating of tin onto iron was perfected (tinplate). Given its low cost, it became the common man’s way to have design objects in the home.

Tin Artwork in Mexico

In Mexico, these tin pieces take on a number of traditional forms. Some of the most common are frames, mirrors, and pieces from Hispanic religion such as retablos and milagros, the small tin pieces in the shape of body parts that are offered as thanks to a saint after a perceived miracle.

Mexicans applied the traditional European use of hojalata in the creation of lanterns making it one of the most common uses is the luminaria (lamp).

However, the technique is versatile and other applications of tin artwork in Latin America include candelabras, jewelry boxes, Nativity scenes, and more.

Designs and motifs in pierced tin art, while varied, include flowers, whimsical curlicues, and geometrical figures. Also common are roosters, birds, and other animals, hearts, and representations of the human body.

The style of the tin artwork also depends on the region of Mexico. For example, in Oaxaca, you may see shiny pieces or pieces which have been painted colorfully. But in San Miguel de Allende, considered a center for metalwork, artisans age the pieces through oxidation for a different look.

How to Create Art in Hojalata

As an ancient artisan method, the creation of pieces in hojalata (also called lámina) is relatively simple. Depending on its thickness, the piece can generally be cut with scissors. It is then embossed with the design through the use of hammers and other specialized tools. Then, it is welded together as needed.

The tinplate can be left as-is or it can be painted with dyes and lacquers, diluted with alcohol or paint thinner.

As “the poor man’s silver,” tin artwork in Latin America and the artisans who made it were underestimated and overlooked for years.

So the next time you get a chance to see some, take a good look and think about the ancient history of this artistic technique.

Do you own any tin work art? Tell us where in the comments!

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