1. Create a story together
It’s no secret kids love to listen to stories and sometimes tell quite a few of their own! An excellent way of getting your child to practice his or her Greek is to create a story and gradually start to add Greek words in it. The story could be about a character in Ellinopoula’s video series, such as Odysseus; for instance ‘If Odysseus reached “ancient New York”, what do you think he might have found there?’
2. Plan excursions and other activities with Greek-speaking families
Learning in a social context is not only very effective, in the case of learning a language, it’s essential! An excursion with other Greek-speaking families gives kids the opportunity to be exposed to and practice their Greek language skills spontaneously while having fun.
3. Map of Greece or Cyprus
This is a great activity to learn Greek and learn about Greece and Cyprus. You’ll need to print out a simple map of Greece and/or Cyprus and stick it on the refrigerator door. The objective is for your child to fill in some keywords in Greek related to each major city on the map; it could be something famous about the city or the name of a friend or relative living there.
4. Right mindset from the start
Maintaining the right mindset from the start is key to the success of your child learning Greek. It is important to understand that we must value the importance of learning Greek and keeping Hellenism strong for the future generations. In so doing, children pick up on the importance of the endeavor they’re undertaking and place more focus on learning Greek.
5. The ‘Shopping List’ game
If your kid goes shopping with you (and they might, if they want you to treat them to something), prepare the shopping list together in English and Greek. Whenever you pick up each item on the list, ask your child to tell you how it is called in Greek.
6. Storybook from a library or bookstore
In this digital era, it’s good to remind kids about the magic of looking for a book in the library or a bookstore. You could go ‘treasure-hunting’ together looking for books on Greek mythology or folk stories, in either Greek or English (the latter to spark an interest in learning Greek).
7. ‘Name the Toy’
As the title implies - name the toy (in Greek) and you win points! You could set it up in such a way that your child needs to earn 10 points to get extra play time or an ice-cream. For each toy named correctly in Greek, 1 point is earned. As you progress, to up the stakes you could deduct a point for every mistake made! ‘Name the toy’ is a good way to transition to ‘name the item’ in any other kind of setting.
Flashcards are really beneficial for learning any language; they’re easy to use, mobile, and very effective. Search for Greek flashcards online or check out our flashcards at Ellinopoula.com. Tip: Start with items your child is familiar with and add more gradually.
9. Assess progress together
This one is both an activity of its own and a principle to follow for all the activities listed above. It’s essential to keep track of your child’s progress; remember, it’s not only to make sure your child is progressing, it’s also to demonstrate your interest and pride in the journey he or she is on and to communicate the value and importance of learning Greek.
10. Greek songs for kids
As parents and educators we know that learning in sing-song is fun and effective - visit any kindergarten around the world and you’ll be sure to see kids singing at one point or another. Kids of all ages can benefit from short educational songs, like the ones featured on ellinopoula.com. In addition, older kids and teenagers can search for Greek pop songs online.
11. Set goals together
As parents and educators, it’s our duty to guide kids and keep them on track. This means we need to ensure they’re not falling behind and also not being pushed too hard. For them to accept that their endeavors are worthwhile, it’s essential they feel our support and guidance. A good way to achieve this is to set goals together; these could be daily, weekly, or monthly goals. Tip: the purpose is not to ‘monitor’ your child, rather for you and your child to monitor his or her progress and work towards improving it, together.
12. Watch Greek video series together
Watch a video series in Greek together, such as Aesop’s Fables or (Ms Sakkis, please choose the one you think is the most popular). While watching, ask your child questions such as ‘what does that mean?’ or ‘why did he do that?’ to give him or her the opportunity to explain the story. Remember, kids don’t have to get it completely right; the objective is getting kids into the habit of being able to record and comprehend the Greek language with the intention of narrating it to others.
13. Network with other parents and educators
Trying to get your child to learn Greek can at times be very frustrating. Networking with other parents and educators can be very helpful as you can share tips as to what works and what doesn’t and come up with new solutions. A strong network will have significant effects on your family’s efforts in promoting an ideal Greek language learning environment.
14. Watch Greek cable TV
Greek Cable TV is a good way to gain access to a lot of kids TV programs in Greek. Out of the plethora of different programs, your child will certainly find something he or she is interested in. Similarly, ellinopoula.com features a vast selection of fun, educational video series for kids, in a KidSafe certified environment.
15. Color-in activities
Kids love color-in activities and it’s a great way to help them learn Greek! Check out our wide range of online and print out color-in activities!
16. English vs Greek alphabet
Always a good one for beginners! Print out a sheet of paper with both the English and Greek alphabet on it. The purpose of this activity is for kids to get accustomed to the Greek alphabet by contrasting it with the English one. You could start with ‘did you know, the reason we call it the ‘alphabet’ is because of Alpha and Beta, ‘Alpha-Beta’, the first two letters of the Greek alphabet’. If needed, you could try to read through the alphabet with the help of Ellinopoula or another aid. You can keep building on this simple activity with such questions as ‘what can you see in this room that begins with the Greek letter ‘Delta’?’ You can then progress on to diphthongs by asking ‘why does the Greek alphabet have 24 letters whereas the English alphabet has 26? There must be some sounds missing…’
17. ‘A Day at the Park’
We’ve got an original spin on this one; the objective is not to name animals, plants, and other items at the park. In the version, you give your child the instruction that you’ll ask him or her to recall certain things he or she saw at the park after you get back home - Crucial: you need to give kids a bit of time to look up the Greek word when you get back home. Then you can ask your child to recall 2-3 items he or she saw at the park.
18. Video calls with Greek-speaking friends and relatives
It’s imperative for kids to practice their Greek language skills with friends and relatives. If you’re on holiday or Greek-speaking friends and relatives aren’t nearby, then schedule regular video chats while encouraging your child to practice his or her Greek. Make sure to practice the vocabulary you expect your child to use in the video call, as close as possible to that time. Remember: call duration is not as important as call frequency and content.
19. Favorite recipe
Every kid has a selection of favorite foods (and they tend to be sweet!) maybe it’s apple pie, cheesecake, or chocolate brownies. So here’s the challenge - kids have to list the ingredients in Greek and you go shopping for them together, all the time referring to the ingredients in Greek. This is followed by preparing the dish or dessert together. For kids whose level is more advanced, they could try to write the whole recipe in Greek.
20. Visit the City’s Greek neighborhood
Visiting your city’s Greek neighborhood is a great way to spark your child interest in Greek culture. It’s also a great opportunity for kids to practice Greek. For example, they can order an ice-cream in Greek or try to recognize the Greek words on a restaurant’s menu.
21. Play Greek language video games together
Online educational games are a very popular way to capture kids’ attention. We’ve created educational games to help kids learn Greek while having fun, such as the Maze game and our Halloween game. To make it more fun, join your child in playing the game, almost without focusing on the Greek language so that learning occurs in a less deliberate, more natural manner.
22. Online tutoring
Tutoring is essential for kids learning Greek; an experienced tutor can identify problem areas and help a child overcome their weakness and achieve better progress, faster. If a tutor is not available, you might want to consider a qualified online tutor, as provided by ellinopoula.com.
23. Greek arts and crafts
Kids love to use their imagination, create, and play. Greek arts and crafts offer ample opportunity for kids to get together and boost their interest in Greek culture and the Greek language. This could involve creating and decorating a “little Christmas boat” (karavaki) or dyeing Easter eggs.
24. Online Greek learning
If a Greek School isn’t available in your area, then it’s good to consider a combination of online Greek learning tools to help your child learn Greek. These could be Greek lessons, tutoring, and Greek culture and history resources. Ellinopoula combines all three to support Greek Diaspora kids who have the opportunity Greek School as well as those who don’t.