Jul 22

How to Make a Friendship Bracelet

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

In the spirit of summer, Jump! Immersion is changing the focus of the blog to give families some ideas for hands-on activities and conversation starters. We hope the ideas are lighthearted and fun!

For the Artist: Bracelets made of Thread

I have friends from Colombia and Costa Rica that have given these away as token gifts upon their return from their country of origin. This is an activity that can be done inside or outside the house while taking a break. Children that are into creating things and/or expressing themselves love these projects. Suitable for both boys and girls, starting with elementary-aged children (for longer attention spans, as a general guideline).

Before you conclude that this is “just” Latin American-inspired, did you know that there are some similar knots/decorations in China and Japan? See the decorative knots of China, (Chinese: 中國結; pinyin: Zhōngguó jié) and the Japanese “Kumihino” braiding that coincidentally use a circle loom.

To start the friendship bracelets, I went to the local craft store to get some pink/purple yarn or embroidery string for one of my children and some green/gray ones for the other child that is obsessed with Minecraft. Do not feel obligated to buy a “kit” from the local craft store or toy store unless you want/need that peace of mind; the supplies are minimal.

Supplies Needed

Your supply list for the first simple thread bracelet:

  • Small piece of cardboard
  • A round object
    such as a drinking glass to use the rim as a guide to make a circle
  • Pencil
  • Button
    A “cool” button to use to secure the bracelet
  • Scissors
  • Embroidery String
    4 colors, at least 25 inches long

Click Here for one great “goof-proof” video tutorial (even I understood it!:-)

Caveat: Parents, you may want to watch any opening YouTube advertisement videos or side ads before your child watches to determine your comfort level with ad content. You can also search for other DIY Bracelet videos; you will be spoiled for choice.

With that said, the instructions are clear, the video is upbeat and engaging for children/tweens and I can’t help but feel chipper with the blogger.

Just as the “Rainbow Loom” craze of two years ago (which still lives on), children will love to make these for family and friends who will wear them with pride! An ecologically sound gift—hand crafted and made with love. At least, that is our theme in our home—“made with love.” Priceless.

Video/Photo Credit: DIY Friendship Bracelets. 5 Easy DIY Bracelet Projects! by SaraBeautyCorner

Jun 01

Movies & TV Shows Children Watch in China

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

I polled teachers here at Jump! Immersion School to compile this list of movies & television shows for children in Mandarin Chinese--this is what children watch in China. Again, it is a work in progress, so input is gladly accepted!

(Pictured is a scene from an episode of the series"Pleasant Sheep & Big Bad Wolf".)

Note: You can find these on YouTube. It's best to preview or talk to your child's Mandarin teacher for the "green light."

Preschool & Up

    English Name
Format Mandarin Name Pinyin Topic
    "3 Monks" (movie)
Cartoon 三个和尚 sān gè héshang Shows teamwork. 1 monk comes down the mountain to gather water; 2 monks shoulder the burden together, but what do you do with 3 monks? You fight!
    "Baby Tadpole Looks for Its Mother" (movie)
Cartoon 小蝌蚪找妈妈 xiǎo kēdǒu zhǎo māma Tadpole asks animal friends who is his mother. Shows life cycle of frog.
    "Pleasant Sheep & Big Bad Wolf" (TV series)
Cartoon 喜羊羊和灰太狼 xǐ yáng yáng hé huī tài láng Mr. and Mrs. Wolf have one idea on their minds—eat the sheep! The sheep create ingenious ways to escape Wolf's traps. Discusses community, teamwork, etc.
    "Big Head Son, Little Head Dad" (TV series)
Cartoon; at least 150 episodes 大头儿子,小头爸爸 dàtóu érzi , xiǎo tóu bàba Good for preschool & elementary school crowd.Discusses community, family.

Elementary School, 7-12 years

    English Name
Mandarin Name Pinyin Topic
    Changjiang Qihao
长江七号 chángjiāng qī hào A coming of age story about a boy, his father and a small alien. Boy is raised by his dad who is absent for many hours due to work. A kind teacher and an alien show the boy what is important in life.

Middle School, 15+ years for economic and cultural themes

    English Name
Mandarin Name Pinyin
    Not One Less
一个都不能少 yīgè dōu bùnéng shǎo
    The Way Home
回家 huíjiā
    Beautiful Mother
漂亮妈妈 piàoliang māma

*Older kids in China will watch Japanese anime translated into Chinese.

Be sure to also check out our list of movie classics Jump! Immersion teachers grew up watching in Spanish!

Jun 01

International Children's Day

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

Did you know?

Today is the June First International Children's Day in China [六一国际儿童节 or liù yī guó jì ér tóng jié]. Children 14 years and younger are given a "pass" on school work and are taken outside the confines of school for the day. Schools typically sponsor field trips to such places as a local park, or a zoo or even an amusement park.

Children's Day Celebrations Worldwide!

Children’s Day is celebrated in many countries. The roots of the commemorative day were initially to bring awareness to children's rights, the importance of education, safety, sanitation, and even life itself.

Festivities can run from January to December, with the Bahamas starting the party on the first Friday of January (typically the 1st through the 3rd), to the island of Dominica on the last Friday in December (typically the 25th through the 30th). The Spanish-speaking countries refer to this day as el Día del Niño.

This year at Jump! Immersion School we opted to celebrate the Mexican holiday on April 30th. Our students were thrilled to have popcorn, dancing, and a special visit from not one... but TWO guests: Mickey Mouse and a Friendly Clown! It was the talk of the hallway during pick-up in the afternoon.

Jump! Immersion School values festivities celebrated around the world. We like to occasionally take the time to engage in festivities during our Spanish and Mandarin Chinese language track programs and even our summer camp programs and weave in laughter and play... lest we forget we are working for children. We follow the founding principles of Jackie Sanin, the CEO, to make time for a song or a dance to lift our overall spirits!

May 22

Movie Classics We Grew up Watching in Spanish

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

A few months ago, when I found out about the NYC Children's International Film Festival (or perhaps it was during one of the many snow days here in New Jersey!), I started to think back to what movies or television shows I saw as a child in Spanish.

Very fuzzy memories... the character "Chapulin Colorado" of Mexico? The shows did not appeal to me at the time. But now I have children of my own and I would like them to see movies/TV shows from other parts of the world. I ask myself, how many Disney or mega-production company-fueled movies can I stomach?

I searched the Internet—strangely, in this New Age where we seem to list, post, and pin seemingly everything, I found nothing! So, I decided to informally poll the teachers here at Jump! Immersion School. I caught them off guard during drop-off and at pick-up, but then they started to remember. The list I have compiled is at the end of this post—it is a work in progress, so input is gladly accepted!

Parents, many of these movies can be found on sites like YouTube. Others exist on parallel Spanish-speaking sites. I would simply caveat that you should either review the movies (at least visually) or sit with your child during the first 10 minutes. (When I was trolling through YouTube for "Heidi," I found an "anime" version that looked a bit too violent for my taste.)

It would also be wise to give a short introductory speech or disclaimer to your child to remind him/her that certain phrases or actions were appropriate in times past, but opinions change. This would be particularly beneficial when watching "clean" but "slapstick" comedy shows. Something akin to "Benny Hill"or "Mr. Bean" for the Anglophiles. Parents will differ, but whenever time allows, I prefer to watch movies with my children, to share my insights in real time (a.k.a damage control).

Learning Language through Movies... and Songs too!

Seeing "authentic" movies is but one example of an activity to supplement learning language and finding a way to link your child's study to native students in other countries. I personally have a daydream from time to time, of watching my children at a park or resort overseas making new friends in Spanish, but also picking up the country-specific ties—be it songs, poems, books, or perhaps even an action hero.

If you want more information, Jump! Immersion School envelopes your child with songs, poems and subject matter from the native-speaking teachers' countries of origin. You might hear children practicing tongue-twisters in Spanish at recess or singing "Happy Birthday" as they do in Mexico. It is a beautiful thing... come see!

María Chucena techaba su choza
y un techador que por allí pasaba le dijo:
"María Chucena, ¿techas tu choza
o techas la ajena?"

"Ni techo mi choza ni techo la ajena,
que techo la choza de María Chucena."

Movie Classics We* Grew up Watching in Spanish

Teachers Country Movie or TV show
Specials Colombia
  • El Chavo (Mexico)
  • Chapulin Colorado
  • Abeja Maya
  • Jose Miel (the friend of Abeja Maya, a spin off)
  • Candy
Pre-K4 Mexico
  • El Chavo
  • Chapulin Colorado
  • Candy
  • Capulina (the stage name for actor Gaspar Henaine)
  • Marcelino, Pan y Vino (a Lenten story; an orphan meets God in the attic)
Kinder Colombia
  • Abeja Maya
  • El Viento en los Sauces (The Wind in the Willows)
  • Topoyiyo or Topollillo
Admin Director Peru
  • Candy
  • Heidi
  • Marco or Marcos (friend of Heidi, spin off)
  • La Niña con la Mochilla Azul, a Spanish movie by Pedro Fernandez
  • Topoyiyo or Topollillo
  • The show of Tio Johnny (his signature was drinking a glass of milk at the end, with a cow mooing)
  • The show of Yola Polastri, a great singer
Spanish Programs Director Costa Rica
  • La Ballena Josefina
  • La Casa de la Pradera (Ah--Little House on the Prairie!)
  • Mujercitas (Little Women, what a classic!)
  • Heidi
  • Pequeño Poni (or Pequeño Pony)
  • Gems
  • Abeja Maya
  • Marcelino, Pan y Vino (the Lenten story)

Spain Under Construction--check back shortly!


Click Here!

*We are the teachers and staff at Jump! Immersion School!

Be sure to also check out our list of
movies and TV shows children watch in Mandarin Chinese!

May 01

Printable Mandarin Fruits & Veggies Placemat

Today is Labor Day in China. This day celebrates all workers who have contributed to Chinese progress. As the Chinese will be taking the week off to go on outings, picnic, etc., food will play a central role. Here are some "basic" fruits and vegetables to get your child learning new words in Mandarin.


Please be sure to print on regular (8x11) paper
for best results.

Download Printable Placemat

Be sure to get our Printable Chinese Zodiac Placemat and our Printable Spanish A-Z: Alphabet Placemat too!

Apr 29

Feria de Sevilla ("Seville Fair")

sponsored by the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre

  • Where: Parker Press Park, 428 Rahway Ave, Woodbridge, NJ
  • When: Sunday, May 3rd, 2015, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
    (Rain date May 9th, same time)
  • Admission: FREE!

"The history (both past and living) of flamenco is unclear. Many scholars cite South Asian (i.e.) Indian dance, gypsy dance, with threads of Caribbean and jazz influences woven in. It is a passionate form of expression; serious dancers search for "duende" or the spirit within us, to bring out the fiery aspects of the dance. There are also European influences, such as ballet, to pick out. Come judge for yourself!"

This day promises to be an afternoon of cultural delights. The "Feria" will provide performances by Alborada's widely-acclaimed professional dancers and musicians throughout the afternoon. "Sevillanas" dancing throughout the park by dancers in traditional costumes, arts & crafts for children, flamenco dance and castanet lessons, a flamenco fashion show, artists creating works "en plein air" inspired by the dancers and the outdoor festival, Spanish food and drink for sale, and much more.

Irish step dancing is another variation or permutation of flamenco, in this author's humble opinion. Riverdance, anyone?

Jump! Immersion School will be participating at the fair. Come say hello! (or "ole! ")

Mar 20

Printable Spanish A-Z: Alphabet Placemat

Today is Puerto Rican author Luis Palés Matos birthday! And to celebrate, Jump! Immersion School would like to give you a gift! Please download our Spanish Alphabet: A-Z Placemat for your child!

Spanish Alphabet: A-Z Placemat

This placemat has letters A-Z with corresponding words in Spanish and lively pictures your child will recognize to practice letters and words in Spanish. You can even print multiple placemats to help learn setting the table! Click the download button at the end of this post and print on legal-sized (8x14) paper for best results.

Printable Spanish A-Z: Alphabet Placemat

Please be sure to print on regular (8x11) paper
for best results.

Download Printable Placemat

Be sure to get our Printable Chinese Zodiac Placemat and our Printable Mandarin Fruits & Veggies Placemat too!

Mar 12

Homework Struggles? Tick Tock!

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

My children were once at a preschool (yes, you read right) where homework could easily run 30 minutes or more a night. Putting aside your own stance on homework volume, what do you do if your child is resisting sitting down and actually doing it?

How about a timer with a buzzer? This has helped my family immensely, believe it or not. What a satisfying sound it became...


Timer for Kids

Try a Homework Timer

Does your child have "ants in her pants"? Does he just have a case of the doldrums? Present the idea of the timer.

First, decide on an increment of time that is doable, say 15-20 minutes. Then talk to your child and ask for 15 minutes of their undivided attention. 100% focus.

If they give you that, and the homework is done, great! If they give you that and the homework is NOT done... that is fine as well. Just watch their eyes when they realize the magnitude of your statement! However, if they do not focus, you will reset the timer back to the full allotted time again.

To date, I have had success with this—it really takes the pressure off. Use this "just" with language homework or even general homework. I do find that smaller time increments allow for some stretching and moving around, which helps students at any age!

Mar 09

Did you know? Highlights Magazine for Children in Spanish!

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

This is not the same magazine you read at the dentist's or doctor's office when you were a kid!

The 60 year old company actually has a bilingual magazine for children, targeted at 2-6 years old. It is called High Five Bilingüe and it is a dual-language magazine.

High Five Bilingüe Magazine cover Bilingual Hidden Pictures® FUN Booklet cover

From their site:

“Each 40-page monthly issue brings a mix of read-aloud and read-along stories, poems, puzzles and activities in Spanish that are repeated in English in the second half of the magazine.”

The upside for non-Spanish speaking parents is a FREE audio download to hear the stories read in Spanish! An annual Subscription starts at about $35 and includes a bilingual Hidden Pictures FUN booklet with each subscription!

The best part? No fuss shopping AND you can even print a "Gift Announcement" from their website to present to your child, grandchild, niece/nephew for an upcoming birthday or special occasion.

Mar 05

A Gift: Chinese Zodiac Placemat!

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

The traditional Chinese attach zodiac characters to their yearly cycles, and 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. If you missed our blog series on Chinese New Year, please be sure to read it!

As a thank you for following along in our journey as we learned more about Chinese New Year, please download our Chinese Zodiac Signs placemats for your child. Be sure to get our Printable Spanish Alphabet Placemat too!

For Younger Kids

This one has baby animals and is more preschool-friendly for younger kids. Click the download button at the end of this post and print on legal-sized (8x14) paper for best results.

Printable Chinese Zodiac Placemat for Preschoolers

Please be sure to print on legal-sized (8x14) paper
for best results.

Download Printable Placemats

For Older Kids

This one is more traditionally-styled with red & paper cutout images, perfect for older students or even art lovers.

Printable Chinese Zodiac Placemat

Please be sure to print on legal-sized (8x14) paper
for best results.

Download Printable Placemats

Be sure to get our Mandarin Chinese Fruits & Veggies Placemat and our Spanish A-Z: Alphabet Placemat too!

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