Category Archives: Rhythm & Rhyme

El Quijote

We have started reading a children’s version at home and our son is loving it, our daughter not so much. I have had to stop and explain some bits as they don’t have the vocabulary for some of the concepts that come up. But we are doing well, it is a great exercise to see what is missing and great exposure to vocabulary we don’t use regularly at home. If you want to get your own version for kids in Spanish your best bet is to go to, there is also a kindle version in Spanish in amazon uk which is quite cool since the chapters are written in comic format. The one we are reading at home is published by Susaeta and is a good balance of writing and pictures for our 5 and 7 year olds; if you are not sure what to buy you can look at what guiadelniñ recommends and to get started today, go to this great site which has Poems in Spanish for all sorts of famous characters and situations. Here is a link to the poems about El Quijote and its wonderful people.


Of course the other option for the culture factor is to get the children to read it themselves in English, Usborne has published a young readers version of it.

tongue twister

No se decil la “ele”

My son said the other day:  ‘Mira mama un dog’. I asked why he had jumped into English to say dog and he answered: ‘no se decil pelo’. It isn’t that he can’t say ‘hair’ it’s just that he can’t roll his ‘r’ yet to say ‘perro’. Since then he has often reminded us he can’t say the ‘r’ and hopes one day when he is older he will be able to.

But sometimes children do need a little help. Those of you who are not native Spanish speakers will be glad to know that even Spanish children sometimes need to go to a speech therapist to get those ‘rs’ going. They do not always come naturally.

So I have looked into it a little and it seems that until a child is older than 5 there is nothing to worry about, it is still possible the r will come on its own. After 5 for native Spanish speaking children it is best to seek professional help. Most children get the rrrrr in a few sessions, some need a bit more intensive work and a minority will not be able to say it, just like any other lisp.

If you are worried about your child not being able to make certain sounds in Spanish you can book an appointment with lovely Ana who is a speech therapist and find out what the best way forward is.

In the mean time  this page has some great tongue exercises that are easy to follow

And here is a youtube video with a simple but effective idea

Autora del video: Eugenia Romero, maestra de Audición y Lenguaje 

Let us know what you think!


Our favourite books for the Spring term

Here are our most precious recent finds:

‘BUSCAR’ from our favourite new children’s author Olga de Dios. This is her second book and it is beautiful with  her fun and quirky illustrations. Her first book ‘Monstruo Rosa’ by the way is becoming big in China! These friendly monsters are taking over the world with their cute, basic and very important messages.

buscar   monstruo china

El monstruo de los colores – another monster with a great message. Schools don’t really teach our children about emotions explicitly. Yes they provide a ground for practising emotions but how much do they actually talk about them? Here is a book that makes emotions clear and simple for all. Love it love it.



Cocorico – My children have been loving this story. All the teachings from the red hen, little red riding hood and the three little pigs all in one simple book about a little chick. The cat says ‘marramiau’ great for practising rolling those ‘r’.


A new book to add more magic to Christmas

Sylvester will help start the yearI recently went to the Christmas party that organised with Eddie Katz.

As always, all London mums parties are fun fun fun.There was dancing, eating, a wonderful Santa and story time with the gorgeous books from I heard George and the Knight and was as mesmerised as all the children around me. The pictures were beautiful and a really sweet story about friends having the courage to help each other.

I later looked through the other books they had and fell in love with the cute looking dog in Sad Tales for Me: A Bidography. But I was lucky to take home Sylvester and the New Year which I immediately loved because  of the traditional, gentle drawings, just magic!

I read it with my daughter, now this book has a few sentences in each page written in a bigger font and my daughter has just started bringing reading back home from school, so it is a perfect book for us and perfect timing, I read the smaller font and from time to time she reads a sentence in bigger font. It is a lovely way to share a book.

The story itself also really surprised me, I was expecting another Christmas story since Sylvester looks a little like Santa, I thought it would be another version of the same thing. But no! It is a beautiful story, quite spiritual and a really lovely way to explain the new year, the passing of time and growing old and gives children another thing to look forward to during the Christmas holidays.

[pullquote]Thank you so much for my book! We will treasure it years to come and the story of Sylverster will now be part of our Christmas repertoire. [/pullquote]

!Feliz Navidad! !Próspero Año Nuevo!

You can find farfarawaybooks in facebook and twitter


 (post by guest blogger: Cuentos Infantiles Cortos )


Since we are little, our parents have always read children’s stories before going to sleep. Who does not remember the story of the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood or the story of Cinderella? ….Yes, sure you remember!


Research has shown that the benefits that tales have on the learning of our children are very important as they stimulate their intellectual development by putting our children in different situations over each story.

In addition, stories exercise their curiosity and promote their creativity as well.

Therefore, the stories are a fundamental tool for us parents, in educating our children.


7  Reasons:

1. Reading is a fundamental skill builder. Help stimulate the learning and assimilate knowledge easily.

2. Reading is an active mental process. The stories encourage creativity, as children identify with the story’s characters.

3. Reading improves concentration, vocabulary and focus.

4. Reading is highly enjoyable, is a fun way to learn.

5. Is there anything more bonding than a bedtime story?

6. Reading teaches morals. Stories help educate children on human values in a very illustrative manner.

7. Lifetime Benefits. Creating a reading habit will surely benefit  their academic development.


We appreciate and would like to thank ‘Cuentos Infantiles Cortos.’

for their contribution to the blog .

We highly recommend visit their website where you can subscribe and receive a story tale everyday !

Creative Places to read a book

There are the usual places you read with your child: on the couch, in bed , at the kitchen table, etc.

And then there are the Creative Places, places that help the reading time you have with your child feel more special, magical, and mystical.

They are places that say, “This is our special time together; let’s discover something while we’re at it.”

A few weeks ago, I discovered this magical reading nook at Belle Squeaks, and fell in love:

A reading tent!  What a fabulous idea! 

Our spaces affect our moods, and our attitudes. Whether it  be a special place at home, or a secret corner of your library, a bench in a nearby park, or a tree fort in your backyard.  There is something entirely magical about a “reading nook”.

You know these places. You’ve probably found yourself reading a good book in them yourself.


Do you have any creative reading places

around your house?

I challenge you to find that special place

with your child

and enjoy the magic!

Childhood songs

After weeks of listening and dancing to the DVDs of CantaJuego, full of new and old nursery rhymes, playground songs and cartoon tunes, I can safely say that nothing touches my sensitive fibre like the songs of my childhood.

Mothering a bilingual child in a country different to the one where I grew up has been a learning curve, until recently my only knowledge of something resembling an English nursery rhyme was One Little Indian or One potato and that was from my first years of learning English at school in Spain (i.e. in the early eighties). I have had to learn songs like The wheels on the bus, you know those that go round and round, together with Row your boat and, a firm favourite in this household, We’re going on a bear hunt. I had to learn them through necessity, as I was otherwise the only one at toddler group who wasn’t singing.

I can sing English tunes just fine (or rather, once I learn the lyrics, I can work my way through them as badly as I have ever sung). My heart did melt a little bit when my daughter started doing all the signs of the wheels on that darn bus with the people who go up and down and the wipers that go swish swish swish and the fact that every time you hear the song on a CD or on TV and every time you sing it at toddler group you realise that there are a million and one versions of that tune and no one can agree on one.

However, when I sing a Spanish song from my childhood, like El patio de mi casa, Abuelito dime tú and a myriad of other tunes that saw me jump, skip, run, hold hands and go round and round in circles during my childhood waiting to see what happened to Heidi or to Marco, the boy with a monkey called Amedio, or to Maya the bee (yes, our cartoons were a bit different to yours), strange tears fill my eyes, a weird feeling invades my soul and grips my heart.

I have had to learn a few new Spanish tunes too: Soy una taza (I am a mug, well yes I look like one dancing to that one) and El zapatero (the shoemaker).

I leave you with the one that leaves me looking like a mug, literally and, so that you know why all the mad positions, it goes through kitchen utensils: I am a mug (soy una taza), a teapot (una tetera), a spoon (una cuchara), a ladle (un cucharón), a bowl (un plato hondo), a dinner plate (un plato llano), a knife (un cuchillito), a fork (un tenedor), a salt shaker (un salero), a sugar bowl (un azucarero), a blender (una batidora) and a pressure cooker (una olla exprés). Enjoy!


Play it to your kids, say cuchara, tenedor or cuchillo the next time you or they have a spoon, fork or knife in their hand and they’ll be speaking Spanish in no time, so will you.

PS-Yes, the video is bad, yes the guys look dodgy but seriously my daughter loves them and it amazes me how much she learns from them and how much they are helping he recognise and say words.

From Journaler to Scrapbook fan

From age eight to college I was an avid journaler. For most of that time I journaled weekly.

I could spend an hour or more pouring my life and views into my journal and I think it may be one of the reasons I remember so much of my childhood.

As an adult, that dedicated activity was slowly losing its space in my life and it was until I got pregnant that I realised how important was to keep track again of all the precious moments and the new daily adventures that I was experiencing as a brand new mom.

Since then, two years ago, all the memories and memorabilia of my son Santiago: handprints, first greetings cards, first foods, first flight tickets, etc have been  kept on a lovely handcraft  box waiting to be organized on a special journal.

The idea has been going around on my head for several months and occupied an important place on my TO DO list for 2012, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that I met Camilla, the creative brain behind the scenes of Memory Albums of London that I have decided to finally go back to my old days as a young journaler.

She showed me how she does the albums, where all the creativity comes from, what endless possibilities we have when filling them and most important how much fun we could have doing it!!

Her passion was all I needed to start my project again,and I would love to share the Album she gave us with all of you:  AMIGOS de Olé Kids.


How can you get one of these gorgeous albums?

Simply by entering to our competition and BE THE WINNER!!



Effective ways to read to our children

We’ve all heard it a million times: Read to your children, it helps develop pre-reading skills.It’s your duty and obligation as a parent.

Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit strong but don’t we have a responsibility as parents to help our children? The point is that those who tell us to read to our children usually have very good reasons for telling us to do so.

Researches confirm that the benefits of reading aloud continue into elementary school: “Listening to stories read aloud by the teacher is one effective way for students to enrich vocabulary.”

According to the Reading is Fundamental campaign(1), every time we read aloud to our children, we are stimulating their imagination.

The Multilingual Children’s Association(2)confirms that “frequent book reading leads to more advanced language skills.” It is not just the type of books, the level, or even the language in which they are written that matters. Literacy is a result of frequency; the old “practice makes perfect” .

If your child is consistently intrigued by the traditions associated with the Spanish language, he or she will be more apt to read about them. Encourage an interest in your native culture buying books in Spanish or borrow them from a local library.

Here are some ideas that the experts recommed to make the most of this reading time and also help to build our child’s literacy skills while keeping it fun: (3)

Make reading a part of every day: Try to read to your child for at least 15 minutes each day. Bedtime is an especially good time to read together.

Hold your child while you read: Sit with your child on your lap as you read. Let him or her hold the book and help turn the pages.

Read with fun in your voice:Use your face, body, and voice to make reading fun. Use different voices for different characters.

Know when to stop: If your child loses interest or has trouble paying attention, just put the book away for a while. A few minutes of reading is ok. Don’t continue reading if your child is not enjoying it. With practice, your child will be able to sit and listen for a longer time.

Talk about the pictures: Point to the pages and talk about the pictures in the book. Ask your child to look at the pictures for clues to what the story is about.

Show your child the words: As you read the book, run your finger along the bottom of the words. Soon your child will realize it is the words that are read and not the pictures. If you’re reading a book in Spanish, feel free to let your child know the English version of a word. Say something like “Perro is called dog in English.”

We are sure there are plenty more ideas on how to read to our children and we would love to hear about them so do please please feel free to leave us a comment!!

(1) (2) colorin colorado