Gift ideas for multilingual children


Gift ideas for bilingual children


Anyone in your family being raised learning more than one language? Maybe you would like to send something to someone abroad who speaks a different language?


Most gift guides out there are language-specific (e.g. for little learners of Spanish) or for adults language learners. I struggled finding general gift guides that could be suitable for all/most children being raised with more than one language. With this in mind, I have scoured some of my favourite shops and come up with some money-can't-buy options also. I hope there is something for everyone. (Simply click on the images to be taken to the links/products).
Some links in this post are affiliate links and I may earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you!

- Bilingual wall art

How about a beautiful poster or image to put on their wall? If you scour Etsy, I am sure you will find some clever ones. Yet, it is tough finding some in languages other than English or bilingual ones. Some of my favourite ones include Frau Otilie for German materials (there are also a few in English). 

Counting poster in German from Frau Otilie


Children Inspire Design has some really cute posters, wall maps and alphabet posters in different languages.

Poster from Children Inspire Design


Etsy also has a really lovely array of posters and decor in many languages. I love in particular the products made by Our Bilingual Family. 

Portuguese-English alphabet from Our Bilingual Family (other languages are available too)


- Board games
We got given this game, Dobble, (also called Spot it in English) when our oldest was 5. There are different versions of it (Junior, Sports, etc). The aim of the game it to name something that matches your own card. So you have to think of the name of objects really quickly. It is a great language game to practice vocabulary. And it is great fun. 

http://a-fwd.com/fr=thepiripiri00-21&uk=thepiripirile-21&com=thepiripirile-20&s=Dobble+card+game&asin=B0031QBHMA&asin-fr=B0031QBHMA&asin-uk=B0031QBHMA&asin-com=B0039S7NO6
Dobble/Spot It

For more games options, take a look here. I have selected our favourite games that can be played in any language. 

- A penpal
How about getting that little multilingual in your life a penpal? If they are old enough to read and write (or are just beginning), this might be a great option. Find another friend in a different country within a similar age range and who speaks one of the child's minority language(s). And you never know, lifelong friendship might blossom too. If you really want to add something material to the gift, how about a cute little penpal kit like this one?

http://www.trilingualmama.com/pen-pal-kit/
Penpal Kit courtesy of Trilingual Mama

- Language minority books
This is an absolute must in my books (pun intended). Parents often struggle to find decent quality books in minority languages. So if you are a friend, family from afar or have access to those minority language materials, parents will forever be grateful. Here is a non-exhaustive list of online stores that usually ship worldwide and focus on language books and materials (and you would be supporting a small business).

http://www.thepiripirilexicon.com/2015/06/where-to-buy-bilingual-and-foreign.html

- Magazine subscriptions
For a present that lasts throughout the year, what about a subscription to a magazine in a minority language? Many magazines will ship abroad. Here are some suggestions for foreign language learning for older children. Also, Bayard do some great ones in French for all ages. Our daughter has been reading Astrapi for the past couple of years and they have been one of the greatest gifts her grandparents got her. A bilingual one (Spanish, English) for little kids can be found here. National Geographic also has versions in many languages. 




- Audio books
If your bilingual child does not read yet, or even if they do, audio books may be a great alternative to books. They are also a lot less daunting as they can be played in the background while doing another activity. Passive learning at work.

- Bilingual toys
I am not normally a fan of toys that talk or that make noise. But I make rare exceptions for one or two quality toys in minority languages. We have an older version of this farm toy from Chicco. It is great for counting, learning colours and animal names and sounds. Even the 6yo still likes to press the buttons once in a while to repeat the words in Portuguese. And it exists in many different language combinations. 

http://a-fwd.com/fr=thepiripiri00-21&uk=thepiripirile-21&com=thepiripirile-20&s=Chicco+bilingual+farm&asin=B0084M88G4&asin-fr=0006007900&asin-uk=B0036G2H5G&asin-com=B0084M88G4

- Digital materials
I am not going to tell you how to subscribe to Netflix in a country that is not yours (ahem VPN ahem), but there are certainly lots of films and cartoons available online these days that are watchable in different languages. 

- T-shirt 
A fun customised t-shirt or top of some sort with words in another language always make people talk and comment. I found these cute ones from Mixed Up Clothing. Etsy also has a decent collection you can customise to suit your needs. 

https://www.mixedupclothing.com/collections/hello-around-the-world/products/korean-onesie

- A piece of culture
Growing up multilingual is not just about learning a language. It is also about learning about the culture(s) associated with the language in all its aspects. So think outside the box. What about a recipe book from said country? A music album? A game that kids there play but is difficult to find elsewhere? A typical piece of clothing? Something that will spark their interest and that will make them special because nobody around them has the same. Because being multilingual is about celebrating diversity.

- A journal
A journal makes a great gift for kids who can write, especially if you can find prompts in a minority language. I have selected a few of our favourite journals here. Worth noting is this journal for kids that is available in many different European languages: Happy Self Journal. See my full review in this article


Bonus ideas
If you are looking for a gift idea for the parents of the multilingual children, I highly recommend this book. It is written by two great mothers and experts. Lots of ideas to boost languages at home with simple games and activities. 




If you are looking for more ideas, have a look at Bilingual Kidspot. There are some other excellent gift ideas for bilingual children.

Non-language specific gift ideas for bilingual and multilingual kids
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Did you see my other gift guide?

http://www.thepiripirilexicon.com/2016/11/10-gift-ideas-for-little-travellers.html

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you! Just ordered the Dobble. Love the idea of games where everyone in our multi-lingual family can gather round the table and play. Sometimes, the winner wins only because their language matches the game played! Happy Christmas!

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