Snow has fallen and the cold weather is here, and Camp Tournesol can guarantee a happy holiday season sprinkled with la Francophonie!
What’s better than spending time with your family, drinking hot chocolate, creating memorable moments around a book, a movie, or an activity!
Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean that your children have to stop improving their French and learning skills. In fact, the holiday season is a perfect time to show them how easy and fun it can be to continue practising their French skills even outside of school.
Of course, the key to effectively learning a language is to bring it outside of the classroom so kids don’t associate the language strictly with school but also with the fun and entertaining aspects of life.
Here are some suggestions from the Camp Tournesol team to entertain your family in French during your well-deserved winter break.
#1: French Holiday Karaoke Songs
Singing holiday music is a must this season! So why not do it in French!
Here is a great playlist of YouTube videos of Christmas carols and other holiday music, all complete with French lyrics so that your child can sing along!
#2 Educational French Youtube Channels
Another great way to keep your youngsters practicing and interested in their French learning during the busy and distracting holiday times is to check out one of the many educational French YouTube channels that are available to you! We’ve hand-picked a couple of our favourites save you some time!
Learn French Through Music is a similar channel to TFM, and based on the animation, we’re not so sure they’re not run by the same group. But either way, this is another awesome way to make learning and practicing language fun: setting it to music. Children respond strongly to music and rhythm, so mixing those with French themes is sure to boost your child’s learning! Click here to check it out!
Rock’N’Learn is mostly a general learning channel in the English language, but they have recently expanded to include language learning videos, including French for beginners, which you can check out by clicking here!
#3: French Holiday/Winter Books
Nothing better to warm your heart during the cold winter than a good book! This winter break, take advantage of all the opportunities that rough Canadian winter weather gives us to stay inside and read. It’s an excellent opportunity to practice reading in French with your child! Our expert librarian compiled a list just for our parents:
For children in Grade 1:
- Joyeux Noël, Ollie – Oliver Dunrea
- Fafounet: Alerte au pays du père Noël – Louise D’Aoust
For children in grades 2 and 3
- Un Noël Hanoukka – Sharon Jennings (a beautiful story of children learning each other’s traditions)
- Tous les Noël du monde – Audrey Guiller
- Une grande joie – Kate DiCamillo
- Quel est le secret du Pere Noel – Marla Frazee
- La lettre au père Noël – Christine Palluy/Thomas Baas
- Pas de jouets pour Noël – Kim Norman
- Plume et les cadeaux de Noël–Rebecca Harry
- Le Noël du Hérisson – M. Christina Butler
- Labougeotte apprend à partager – Howard Binkow
- Le Noël du petit Gnouf – Dominique Demers/Gabrielle Grimard
- Les bêtises du père Noël–Louise Tondreau-Levert/Pascale Bourguignon
You can also find them at your local library, where we’re certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the wide variety of books in French! If you’re still unsure, we’ve also published a list of French Books Your Child Will Want to Read so check that out for even more ideas!
In 2019 we’ve also had the good fortune of a new Astérix comic book! The Astérix comic series has been one of the most popular francophone comic books over the course of its nearly 60-year run out of France. The newest edition, Astérix et La Fille de Vercingétorix, follows our lovable heroes but also features a unique young female heroine that your young daughter will certainly relate to. We’ve written up a little blog to help you decide whether your children would be interested in and capable of enjoying this entertaining and hilarious comic series, check it out here!
#4: Listen to French Radio
Many people would be surprised to know that you can find French-language radio right here in the GTA! We’ve found a few stations to toggle onto to practice your French this holiday season, whether you’re relaxing at home or driving through a storm to make it there.
One of these is CHOQFM 105.1, a francophone radio station that’s been servicing French Torontonians since 2006. The station features a variety of engaging French programs, check it out online and choose one!
Radio Canada has always been one of the leaders in French-language programming in Canada, and for good reason. They are known for informative and entertaining quality programs and the Radio Canada Toronto station is no different. They offer programming all day long in French on their channel La Première Chaîne.
If you have teenagers, they might be interested in CKOI 96.9, one of the most popular and hip French radio stations in Montreal.
#5: French Holiday TV and Films
Sometimes your kids just want to watch TV though, and that’s okay! You can still help them on their French journey by introducing them to some terrific francophone holiday TV shows and movies.
Télé-Québec is a great option with lots of different shows to choose from. Your child can join Tintin on one of his wild cases or enjoy one of many other fun French shows. No need to brood, there is a program for every mood!
If you decided the Asterix comic series was right for your children, then you’re in luck because Télé-Québec often screens Asterix films during the holiday season! Click here to check out their full programming.
Want more French TV?
TFO has a huge repertoire of family-friendly French films, music videos, comedies, cartoons, and much more!
Tou TV is also a fabulous channel where you can catch all the quality French shows they’re enjoying in Quebec! They have a special section just for children as well as special programming for the holidays as well!
For French-learners in their teens, the Rogers channel Unis or unis.ca on the web has an incredible selection of popular TV programs. If your child is between 7-12 years of age, we would also suggest trying their app, Francolab.
If it’s films your FI student is looking for, check out the ONF website to take your pick of French animated movies, educational films or documentaries. Need more help choosing? Refer back to our list of the top 35 French films for kids, we promise we won’t steer you wrong!
We’ve also got you covered with a great list of French holiday movies from the good people at Parents Momes that are perfect for children of any age!
#6: French Online Holiday Activities
Pleasure and laughter guaranteed from the comfort of your home! Since kids already spend so much time online, why don’t we try to make that time both educational and fun? There are plenty of great websites that are full of fun French games. Here are some of our favourite holiday-themed sites:
Kids and their phones and tablets these days! If you can’t get that device out of your child’s hands, you might as well take a look at our list of awesome apps that will help your child learn and have fun in French!
Of course, how could we forget the infamous Norad Santa Tracker? The website’s also available in French and includes a bunch of fun activities as well! Just select “French” as the language in the top right corner.
#7: French Holiday Treats
If there’s any time of the year to treat yourself to some sweet delicacies… it’s definitely the holidays! Of course, kids are always hungry for cookies, pastries, and cakes, so satisfy your sweet tooth during the holidays!
One of our favourite Winter or Holiday time treats is the famous ‘Pudding Chomeur.’ You’re unlikely to meet someone from southern Quebec who doesn’t know a little something about this local delicacy, and while its name comically translates to ‘homeless man’s pudding’ it has become a food in which all social classes will happily indulge!
Pudding chomeur (aka Maple pudding) used to be something poor Quebecois families—more specifically, female factory workers during the Great Depression—threw together to make good use of all the ingredients they had lying around, but they in turn created one of the great French-Canadian desserts!
It’s a basic cake batter (though in the Great Depression, it was created because stale bread could be used in lieu of batter) onto which you pour hot syrup or caramel (it’s almost always the former in Quebec) before baking. The cake then rises and the liquid nestles at the bottom of the pan, mixing beautifully with the cake and creating a unique bottom layer.
Another classic French holiday food is the tasty Tourtiere! While not quite a treat, this savoury meal, which is similar to a meat pie, will have all of your little ones clamoring for more thanks to its unique mix of flavour and spices! From experience, it’s smart to have a little ketchup handy for your kids as well!
Featured Holiday Breakfast!!
We know you saw that crepe cooking up in the above picture, and just imagine that nice, warm, toasty crepe wrapped around your favourite topping or spread, whether it be brown sugar (or cassonade, as us Frenchies say), Nutella, chocolate syrup, butter, or fruit, this French staple is bound to satisfy and intrigue your little budding francophones! To help give you a jump-start, here’s a classic crepe recipe that is good with whatever toppings your little ones want, and don’t be afraid to get creative with the spread!
#8: Holiday Crafts
A great way to spend the time during the holidays is to get crafty and create some arts-and-crafts!
To keep the holiday spirit, our awesome camp staff has created a fun holiday-themed craft for your child to complete during their school break. Our Crafty Egg-Carton Penguin is easy and festive, and will be a great addition to your child’s holiday activity list!
For this craft, you’ll need:
- Egg cups
- Black paint
- White paper
- Orange construction paper
- Black marker
- Cut out the egg cups from an empty egg carton.
- Paint each one of your egg cups with black paint. Let the egg cup dry before proceeding.
- Grab your white paper and cut out a half-circle shape to give the penguin it’s belly!
- Once the egg cup is dry, attach the white half-circle to the egg using glue.
- Grab orange construction paper and cut out a small triangle and two ovals. The triangle will be the penguin’s nose and the ovals will be its feet.
- Using glue, attach the orange triangle to the egg cup upside down just above the white half-oval.
- Paste the two ovals at the bottom of the egg cup to give your penguin its feet.
- Using the white paper, cut out two circles and with your black marker, color in a small circle in the center of each to create the penguin’s eyes.
- Attach the eyes to the egg cup above the penguin’s nose.
Prefer visuals? Our camp counsellor, Ashpreet, has created a short video tutorial on the egg-carton penguin to help guide you through the craft!
#9: FREE French Holidays Activity Workbook and Colouring Booklet:
As a special Christmas bonus for you, we’re also including 2 of our very own French worksheet to help your child learn the seasons, colours, and more all in French! We also have a new mini-colouring book with four adorable holiday-themed characters and a little bit of French noun and colour vocabulary practice!
Click here for even more fun and easy French holiday games you can play with your children at home with minimal supplies!
We hope you will find our suggestions useful in helping you enjoy this Holiday season in French.
What French activities will you plan with your child this holiday season? Share your ideas in the comments below.
And don’t forget to tweet this to help out other parents looking for French activities to do with their children this holiday season:
If your child is learning #French – check out this list of family-friendly French activities you can do this holiday season: http://camptl.ca/2AlakK7 @CampTournesol #frenchlearning (click here to tweet)
About Alex Murray: A recent graduate of Ryerson’s prestigious RTA Media program, Alex Murray is a passionate young writer with a variety of topic interests. He also spent four years as a camp counselor for Camp Tournesol and has performed various other duties for the camp as it has grown over the years. A lifelong French immersion student from a French home, he is now a contributing blog writer for the Camp and serves as a Social Media Marketer for the team, among other freelance work. To learn more about Camp Tournesol visit www.campt.ca
Contact Alex Murray at email@example.com