I’m on vacation this week, and yesterday, our family went to the zoo. I was guarding our stroller while my little one took a tour with her father and saw an au pair out with her host family doing the neatest thing. They were all speaking Spanish together, though the father occasionally slipped into English and the au pair occasionally corrected their grammar or taught them a new word. They had twins who couldn’t have been older than 18 months, and boy of five or six, all of them experiencing the zoo in another language.
What a great idea! It’s never too late or too early to learn a new language. On your next outing, practice in your au pair’s native language. Pick a place that’s familiar and full of things you can name and describe to build your noun and adjective vocabulary, like the Indianapolis Zoo. Before you go, talk about the trip over dinner in both languages, and ask your au pair to teach you some useful words and phrases for the trip.
Tip for parents of young children: a dog doesn’t say “woof” in every language. Check out this Animal Noise compendium and even your toddler can take part!