Summer holidays in the minority language country: what can you bring back to make the benefits last a little longer?

Summer is here and many of us bilingual families will shortly be on our way to the minority language (ml) country for the holidays, or maybe are already there!
For us, trips back to the ml country is the opportunity to boost our children’s minority language, but what can you bring back to build on the excitement of these ml holidays and make its effect last a little longer?

  1. Books – that was the obvious one, right? 😉
  2. Magazines – often forgotten, magazines are an excellent way to give your kids a flavour of what their ml peers read and pick-up on their ml culture. This might even become a ritual for all of your holidays in the ml country, purchasing magazines during your stays back there 🙂
  3. Music – with young children, we always think about putting nursery rhymes for them to pick-up the language. Yet to develop their ml culture, you might want to bring back ml music the whole family can enjoy. For older children, why not bring back a CD from the ml summer hit that they might have heard throughout their stay (provided they liked it of course!)? Two summers ago, I downloaded the 2 songs my eldest had grown fond of over her summer stay in Spain. The minute I played them back home, her eyes lit up with excitement, and ever since she has associated her happy summer memories with these songs.
  4. DVDs – For younger children, they will feel like a treat associated to their ml holiday. For older children, it is a good excuse to plan family movie nights once back in your ML country.
  5. Games – the more typical ml games the better so as to build the ml culture in your home environment.
  6. Food – For example, we bring back Fideuá noodles, typical Spanish cheese and ham vacuum-packed that we can eat over the following months. It enables to include this part of our minority culinary culture into our daily home life.
  7. Prints – pretty posters or other kind of prints in the ml for your child’s bedroom, either with ml text for them to read or pictures of very ml things they might identify as part of their ml culture. You can also bring back some pretty prints (e.g: landscapes, landmarks…) of your country for the rest of your home, to add some of your ml culture to your home.
  8. Decorative items – For example, of you are from Spain and your suitcase allows, why not bring pottery for your kitchen (e.g: typical salt pot and oil recipient), or beautiful decorative plates? If you happen to visit a museum or place, why not bring a pretty magnet illustrating the ml culture? For instance, when I visited Madrid, I brought back a small magnet of the famous painting “Las Meninas” and for Valencia a magnet made in the typical local azulejos. They are tiny details, but built up over time, you are building the ml culture around your house.
  9. A local product your child really liked – to build on the good memories your child might have from their ml stay, if they liked an easily transportable item such as the toothpaste they used there or a body lotion they loved the smell of, why not try to bring some back? It might sound like a ludicrous idea, but in fact the idea behind this is for your child to keep in mind the good memories, so as to foster their fondness for their ml country.
  10. Simple souvenirs – here again, I might be stating the obvious, but try to bring back little personal souvenirs, simple things such as shells picked on the beach that can be kept on a shelf, as a permanent reminder of the nice times spent in the ml country. As for the local product, the idea behind this is fostering your child’s fondness for their ml country.

And you, what do you bring back from your ml holidays to keep the benefit going a little longer? Please share in the comment section.

8 Comments

    1. Enjoy your holidays! And make the most of it! 😉 Extra little tip I got from my mum: get some ml books at the souvenir shop of the places you visit. They often have little books oriented for kids that explain the history of the monument you visited. 😉

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      1. Great ml material and great for your little ones to bathe in the ml with great memories to take home! 🙂
        I L-O-V-E the Alhambra! Magical monument! Enjoy! 🙂

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  1. My son’s school has a day to celebrate cultures so when we travel we like to bring back an outfit that reflects that culture. On the day of the cultural event, my son will dress up. He is always super excited to wear his outfit. We have also found children’s books with puzzle pieces embedded in them which have become a must-find on our adventures.

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    1. That is a fantastic idea and fits in nicely with another post in the Culture Tips section of this blog about celebrating the ml festivities 🙂 Thank you for sharing it! Kids love dressing up so much!
      Since getting my eldest her new Sevillana dress she is definitely more aware of this aspect of her Spanish origins and has spotted Sevillana related items during our current stay in Spain 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I find quite difficult to find nice children books here in the Uk, so everytime we go and visit some family and frinds we always come back with a suitcase full of books! Every single time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think they’re always the best souvenir for my kids too. 😉 And it is so nice to take the time to browse through the actual books in the library (otherwise I buy them online, which does not provide the same pleasant feeling).

      Liked by 1 person

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