Our city speaks more than one language, and many of us want our kids to, too! Story times, classes, camps and concerts all come in bilingual options to introduce even the littlest of linguists to the wonders of languages, or keep them practicing when school is out for the summer. Get kids habla-ing Espanol from babies on up, and get a jump on raising little world citizens.

photo credit: LeTania Kirklandphoto credit: LeTania Kirkland

Bilingual and Language Immersion Classes

The Awesome Playground
While this Highland Park fixture is well known for the indoor playground, the play land offers more. The Awesome Academy hosts weekly Spanish classes for preschoolers and kids in grades 1-5. Marcela Hernandez, a seasoned elementary school teacher who specializes in Special Education, aims to keep learning fun and build confidence in her students that will help them in their every day school setting. Hernandez introduces preschoolers to basic vocabulary and the Spanish alphabet by using a daily theme and exploring it through songs and art. Elementary students learn more extensive vocabulary and the nuts and bolts of sentence structure.

Bonus: If you have the siblings in tow, they can play in the indoor play space during class.

The Awesome Playground
5158 York Blvd.
Highland Park
Phone: 323-256-2467
Online: theawesomeplayground.com

photo credit: LeTania Kirklandphoto credit: LeTania Kirkland

Baila Baila
Isabel Brazon leads kids of all ages with her fun and energetic music classes. Kids are introduced to a conversational approach to language through song as they sing, play instruments and dance. Brazon introduces phrases and concepts through songs and encourages everyone to join in by introducing themselves (“Me llamo _______”), expressing their feelings (muy bien) and learning colors. Baila Baila classes are offered at multiple venues throughout the city. Classes are on a drop-in basis and 45 minutes per session.

Bonus: Baila Baila can also be seen in concert. Check the website for dates and venues.

Baila Baila
Online: bailabailaonline.com

 

photo credit: courtesy of the Zimmer Museumphoto credit: courtesy of the Zimmer Museum

The Zimmer Museum
The Zimmer Museum in Mid-City offers language immersion and bilingual classes for preschoolers. Toddler Town is a language immersion program where teachers and students speak only in their chosen subject. Classes are offered in Spanish, Farsi and Japanese. Littles enter the world of language with an opening song, then break out into sensory, art and dramatic play stations where they can get hands on with items from the day’s theme all while being introduced to the vocabulary of their chosen language. ROCKeros Pequeños is a bilingual music class where kids are introduced to Spanish vocabulary and concepts through, song, movement, instruments and rhythm. After circle time, your little rocker can dress up in their best performance gear and sing a tune en Espanol at the Karaoke station. Sessions are 6 weeks and weekly classes are 45 minutes long. Check the website for dates and times.

The Zimmer Museum
6505 Wilshire Blvd.
Miracle Mile LA
Phone: 323-761-8984
Online: zimmermuseum.org

photo credit: Traci Green via The Green Beanphoto credit: Traci Green via The Green Bean

The Green Bean 
The Green Bean in Eagle Rock is a children’s resale store and community family resource in Eagle Rock. Owner Traci Green is not just dedicated to keeping your kids in cool and affordable clothing but also with providing them real stimulation. Every Thursday Jeannette Garcia, a professional librarian, hosts a bilingual story time right inside the store. Ms. Jeannette (as the kids call her) leads babes and toddlers through an opening song, reads several stories en Español and then rounds out the class with a craft. Story time is free, but gratuity is welcomed.

The Green Bean
5060 N. Eagle Rock Blvd.
Eagle Rock
Phone: 323-739-0870
Online: thegreenbeangoods.com

photo credit: Adriana Villarreal via Kidspace Studiophoto credit: Adriana Villarreal via Kidspace Studio

Kidspace Studio
Kidspace Studio in Whittier is a hub dedicated to play and learning—from everything to dance and yoga to language of course. Kidspace offers classes in both French and Spanish. Kids 2 1/2-5 years old can join a fully bilingual parent and child school prep class. Owner, Adriana Villarreal introduces kids to Spanish emphasizing play. A weekly theme is introduced and kids are encouraged to get up and move around the room to discover Spanish vocabulary through their surroundings. Language through play is also available in French. Spanish and French classes are also offered for kids up to 12 years where conversational skills and grammar are emphasized. And if your little one is a mini music maven, Kidspace hosts Fiesta Musical, a music class where toddlers can sing and dance to traditional and original songs in Spanish.

Kidspace Studio
13710 Whittier Blvd.
Whittier
Phone: 323-283-8490
Online: kidspacestudio.com

photo credit: Vox Box Artsphoto credit: Vox Box Arts

Summer Language Camps

Vox Box Arts Collective
If your family is looking for something with more of an arts focus, Vox Box Arts in Glendale is just the ticket. This summer the arts collective will be offering a two-week language immersion camp entitled Caja de Arte open to K-8th grade. Campers will practice visual arts, dance, theater and even make their own marionettes, all while speaking Spanish. And if language immersion sounds intimidating, don’t worry! Camp Vox Box director, Janice Markham says while teachers and students speak Spanish exclusively, kids are encouraged to help their peers. Besides, with the all of the creativity flowing through the space, most of those inhibitions melt away.

Vox Box Arts Collective
Phone: 323-258-2557
Online: voxboxarts.org

photo credit: Savoire Fairephoto credit: Savoire Faire

Savoire Faire Language Institution
Language immersion doesn’t stop at Spanish. Savoire Faire summer camps are available in Spanish, French, German and Mandarin for ages 5 & up. These one-week camps aim to fuse learning and fun. Campers will be introduced to themes and vocabulary for the day and then have the chance to use the language in the “real world” during daily field trips. Junior campers will learn through, song, dance, movement and cultural crafts while older kids will have structured lessons on top of hands on activities, games and art activities based on the cultural connections to their language. And for those always-hungry linguistic aficionados, daily cooking classes are available for all ages—they can learn a whole new side of the language while filling those bellies.

Bonus: If you have a group of friends interested in summer language camp, Savoire Faire will tailor a session to your needs.

Savoire Faire Language Institution
117 W. Torrance Blvd.
Redondo Beach
Phone: 310-379-1086
Online: sfli-ca.com

photo credit: Kallpachay Spanish Immersionphoto credit: Kallpachay Spanish Immersion

Kallpachay Spanish Immersion
Kallpachay means “to inspire” in the ancient Incan language and the organization’s summer camps inspire a sense of playfulness and ease while learning a new language. Kallpachay’s summer camps are full immersion taught by all native Spanish speakers who hold play in the highest regard. Kids open their day with a group circle, “ice-breaker” activities and chants and move onto group activities. Vocabulary and sentence structure is introduced through arts, crafting and gardening and even daily cooking classes to introduce Latin flavors—so kids learn through practice that language emerges from culture. Campers will also be introduced to variety of cultural connections to the Spanish language and participate in group activities and celebrations.

Bonus: Camps are held at several locations across the L.A. area to ease your summer commute. Also, families can choose to participate in 1-3 weeks, depending on your schedule.

Kallpachay Spanish Immersion
Phone:  323-309-8420
Online: kallpachay.com

photo credit: Lango Foothillsphoto credit: Lango Foothills

Lango Foothills
Based in La Canada, Lango Foothills is a great location for those who live north of downtown. Lango offers summer camps in Spanish, French Italian and German. After starting the day with an ice-breaking game of charades and songs, campers will split up and focus on the daily theme through songs, puppetry and storytelling. Kids explore the culture of their target language through art or cooking projects every day. And each week culminates with a Friday celebration where campers dance, sing or perform a play in their target language.

Lango Foothills
Phone: 818-281-6288
Online: langofoothills.com

photo credit: Alberto Vega via Twinkle Timephoto credit: Alberto Vega via Twinkle Time

Concerts

Twinkle Time
Twinkle Time isn’t just a bilingual concert, it is a parade of characters otherwise known as “Twinkle and Friends.” Twinkle concerts are energetic, colorful, pop shows that will temporarily transport the kids to the dimension of “Twinkle”—who needs a sugar rush? The bilingual songs are filled with catchy tunes, lessons for the littles and a reminder that all languages should be celebrated. Check Twinkle Time’s website for upcoming concert dates and venues.

Online: twinkleandfriends.com

photo credit: Nathalia Musicphoto credit: Nathalia Music

Nathalia Music
After taking the family to a Nathalia Music concert you won’t mind having one of her tunes stuck in your head. A trained music therapist and clinical psychologist, Nathalia began writing bilingual songs to introduce her kids to her Colombian heritage. Now she hopes her music serves to provide fun, rhythm and a positive outlook for kids (and their parents). Nathalia music draws inspiration from Rock, Cumbia, Reggeaton and everything in between. Nathalia Music songs are bilingual and each verse is translated directly—the family that grooves together, learns together. Check Nathalia Music’s website for upcoming concert dates and venues.

Online: nathaliamusic.com

photo credit: La Libreriaphoto credit: La Libreria

Something Extra

La Librería
There are other ways to immerse your little ones in the Spanish language. La Libreria is a Spanish language bookstore specializing in books for kids ages 1-15. The brick and mortar store was the dream of Chiara Arroyo and Celene Navarrete, two mothers who wanted to share the rich literature of their childhood and their countries with their own children and beyond. For years Arroyo and Navarrette visited Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and Spain and lugged suitcases of books home to share with their children and sell in local literary fair and schools. In February, La Librería put down roots mid-city. The two moms say their aim is to make the store a cultural hub where everyone feels welcome. Bring the family and discover worlds you never knew (or have sorely missed) through literature.

LA Librería
4732 ½ W. Washington Blvd
Los Angeles
Online: la-librería.net

Do you have a favorite place to learn Spanish with your kids?  We’d love to hear your bilingual secret spots!

—LeTania Kirkland