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Book Cover Placemats – Integrating 2nd Language


My sons take Mandarin as a second language. I am always looking for ways to integrate the learning from their one-hour session per week into our home.

This integration can obviously be challenging given that I am a certified all-American girl from Maine. In short, I am learning right alongside my babies, which is actually very cool and very good for my 35-year-old brain.

Book Cover Placemat

One way that I integrate Mandarin into our everyday life is by laminating sheets of random coloring pages with vocabulary that we’ve recently covered in class and that represents everyday vocabulary.

This idea occurred to me when I was cleaning out book covers from some of our beloved children’s books.  One of the greatest children’s books I’ve come across recently that really captures children and teaches them Mandarin words and characters extremely effectively is The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters by Christoph Niemann

The Chinese characters are embedded in the illustrations. Pattern recognition is at its best. Plus the story is great. So this book cover was the first I decided to laminate and surprise my boys with the next day.

Book Cover Place Mat

Easy to do, just grab laminating pouches, a book cover, and scissors to cut the cover to size.

Book Cover Place Mats Chinese

Buying a laminator was one of my best purchases although I laughed when I clicked “purchase” on Amazon. Me? A Laminator? Yes, I am a proud owner.

Book Cover Placemats

They were thrilled and excited to talk about their new placemat. So with that response, I decided to print out everyday scenes, allow my sons to color the pages, and then laminate them for everyday use. Meal time is such a fabulous time to learn and integrate vocabulary in another language.

Book Cover Place Mats The Pet Dragon

So simple, all you need are coloring pages or book covers and a trusty laminator. I bought our laminator on Amazon for $30 and love it! I highly recommend the purchase. If you don’t go that route, there are plenty of printing places that will laminate all day and night for you.

Thank you for choosing to read this post. I hope that we inspired you today.

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