My 5 year old son Nick likes warriors and fighting. He wanted to play with me and gave me a Starwars soldier. I told him, that I would gladly play with him, but he has to make from play dough a character, that will be strong enough to fight with my soldier and gave him time – 5 minutes.

He managed his task rather quickly and came to me. (here I should have asked him questions regarding his character, like why did he choose such colour,  what does his character like, where is he from…but this idea came to me much later); I told him, that my soldier speaks only English, because the film was made in America and all characters in the film speak English.

So I started conversation for the Soldier – Hello! (Son with his character replied Hello)Then I asked – What’s your name? (My son started to speak an imaginary language, explaining that this is the language of his character. I smiled and explained that he wanted to play with my soldier,  he speaks only English , so if he want to fight with him, he has to speak English to him. So I silently translated what the Soldier asked and silently whispered to my son what he should answer in English. Nick repeated my phrases during the dialogue and I translated to him what the soldier told. Then the warriors fought and waved each other goodbye.

After this game my daughter Dana (3 y.o.) came to me and gave me a horse. She was carrying a toy for herself. The dialogue repeated (and Dana also started to speak an imaginary language and I switched her into English).

I do play such games from time to time with my children. They regularly watch English cartoons, documentaries. In our everyday conversation English occasionally appears, but very seldom. My son likes to greet our family friends with Hello! At the moment this is the second word that he seems to know. The first was “Dinosaur!” from Peppa Pig series.

02 Sep 2013, 11:03
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Good to hear you are finding your experiences useful. I am sure there are also a number of silent readers here who are learning from what you share.
I just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that in some situations you might be overestimating the need of translation for your children. Many things are often clear from the context and even if certain phrases are not clear to the children, the meaning is there and the conversation can go on. Play with it a little and you will see.
I also wanted to suggest that you read once again the PASS suggestions about the mediator. It seems that you are misinterpreting the idea a little.
Nice to read about your experience, Diana! Sounds like you children have no problems in accepting a foreign language, which is great.  I guess you can easily introduce some common phrases which your son can easily repeat and remember in the games, like for instance, why do you...It is also nice to read you understand what could have been improved in your dialogue (like asking all those why questions). So looking forward to your next experience!:)
The same with my daughter.  :-) She knows a few words and songs. I have the same aim as you. :-) I am looking forward to read about your experience.
His level is pre-elementary if I may say so ;) He knows two words. But I tend to enlarge his vocabulary and create English environment.
Hi Diana!
I am glad to read about your experience. What\'s Nick level in English?