Three whole years ago, when my oldest child was just two years old, Jojoebi of A Bit of This and a Bit of That posted a café that she opened in her house with her son and his friend. I knew right then that I wanted to do this. Not sure if it is for me or for my kids though!! It's like that cool amusement park called Kidzania where kids get to role-play all different kinds of jobs. So much fun!
So this year when we had an unexpected vacation and no plans, I knew that somehow I would sneak in some fun, some English, and some role play. I told my son about the café idea and he was not really that enthusiastic. See, our friend T has an honest to goodness French café and Spinky thinks that means the world does not need another café. Okay, I can roll with that.
When pressed for what kind of shop he wanted to open, my son said he wanted to open a hairdressing salon. Cool! My kids were both into this idea and decided that I would be the customer rather than the worker. We set up a little station, including a big bowl for washing hair, my son wrote up a price list, and we made a gigantic accessory station that included a dinosaur with double-sided tape. Oh well, anything for an English activity, right?
Maybe not anything. As soon as I had my hair washed Spinky was into the kitchen while Domba was towelling my hair off. I could hear some drawers opening and then he was back into our little shop with a triumphant gleam in his eye, brandishing my meat scissors, and asking me how short to cut my hair. I was up in a flash because this was a little too real! I am not letting my son cut the hair I've been growing out for 2 years!!
Back to the drawing board.
I don't think that Spinky really though he would get away with this because he wasn't very upset about not being able to cut my hair, but also not too interested in the activity after he realized that we would not be using sharp objects to change my looks. So he came up with the idea of a tea shop called "Teacup" that would serve tea, onigiri (rice balls), and cookies. I am not sure what the difference between this and a café is, but I'm into this idea as no sharp objects seem to be involved.
|Welcome to Teacup|
The long and the short of it is that Spinky and Domba opened a tea shop, and were totally okay with my English only rule for a short time. They loved it, actually, as they forced all their customers, from the neighbours' kids to my mother-in-law to order in English. They love to boss people around. In Teacup the customer is not always right!
We played tea shop every day over our holidays, they were really into it. So was I! This was probably the best English lesson ever. Not only did I get my kids to use English with each other and non-English speakers, get my son to write something unaided in English, get them to practice using fake Canadian money, and have them volunteer to do it on their own, I got tea and cookies out of the deal.
|Teacup menu, featuring rice balls, tea, and ice cream|
So here, for my post for August's Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism hosted by Best 4 Future, is my suggestion for a heritage language activity that combines spoken and written language with math, is to role play a shop. Especially a shop with cookies.