Have you heard of the Chameleon Reader? It is a kit to turn ANY book into an audio book in your voice or those of family and friends. You simply stick a sticker on each page of the book and record the text with the pen. You can record up to 4 versions in different languages per sticker (or have 4 different people read the same story). It's a great tool for fostering children's love of reading and raising multilingual children.
But there is so much more you can do with it, it doesn’t end with recording the text in a book. This is how we love to use the reader:
1. Treasure hunt through the house
I might as well start this list with the most loved way to use our pen – A treasure hunt! Make a set of little notes, with a sticker on each note. Each sticker has a riddle or clue which leads to a spot in the house where the next note is waiting for them.
The last note will lead to a gift or treat. The build-up to find the gifts is often more fun than the gift itself! We use these treasure hunts for special celebrations such as Easter, Birthdays and Christmas, but obviously you can use them any day of the year.
2. Write your own book
The fact they can’t write yet is no reason to not write a book. We love creating our own books, both fiction and non-fiction. We created non-fiction books by cutting pictures out of magazines and researching fact online. I love the stories where Benji creates his own pictures though. They are something I will cherish forever. The process is simple. Get a little notepad, or simply staple a few pieces of paper together, let them create the graphics, and then use a sticker on each page to tell the story out loud.
3. Invitation to play with recorded message
This one is a wonderful way to start the day when you have an early riser. Set up an invitation to play and leave an instruction on a card for them. The invitation can be anything. A few ideas are:
Can you build a zoo for these animals (leaving out blocks and animals)?
Can you find a way for the people to cross the river? (leaving figurines, loose parts and play dough out)
Can you create a family portrait using these crayons and wrap it to give to your Grandmother?
You can even add additional messages with hints for the more complex set ups. You could also include an inspiring good morning message practising positive affirmations.
4. Stick stickers on items in the house in various languages
This is definitely the easiest of the list. Just stick stickers on various items throughout the house. (or use little cards with stickers on it) and record the name of the item. We love doing this in multiple languages. Chair in Dutch is called ‘stoel’ and ‘uija’ in Korean. Your child can just walk around the house and randomly practise the names of all different items. Or you can ask them – Can you find ‘de stoel’ and make a little game out of it.
5. Create your own board game
This one is fabulous to do as a whole family. Draw your board game on a large piece of paper or cardboard and paint or colour it in. Then you can create a set of cards with different challenges or questions. (the funnier the better!) If you don’t want separate game cards you can stick the stickers straight onto the board. Don’t forget to record the rules of your game too, we want to make sure everyone is at the same page!
6. Let the animals/Christmas elf talk
It doesn’t need too much explanation. For those who are participating in the Elf on the Shelf it is a really fun idea to let the Elf talk. The adults can go all out with fun voices too! If you don’t include the Elf into your celebrations you can also choose another toy who leaves lovely messages for their owners.
7. Create an interactive globe
By adding stickers to your globe, you enrich the learning significantly. The stickers can provide not just the name of the country and their capital city, but so much more. Depending on the child’s interests you can include information about the food they eat, the animals that live there, or even what cars are most seen. The sky is the limit!
8. Letter, word or sound matching
This is a wonderful matching activity. Stick stickers to some coins or cardboard discs. Record an animal sounds to each coin. Then let your little one try to match the right sound to the right animal. If you want to make it self correcting, you can either draw the matching animal on the back. Or you can add another sticker which says the name of the animal. Of course, it doesn’t have to have animal sounds, you can be as creative as you want. Just choose a well loved book and see how you can include a matching activity to it.
9. Add them to flashcards/memory game
Adding stickers to flashcards helps young kids grow their vocabulary, and you don’t have to answer the question “what does this say?" a million times a day! If you have two of each flashcard you can play memory with it too. If you’re bilingual you can record the word in each language on the cards.
10. Create a memory box
Does your child love it when you tell stories about your pregnancy or when they were little? Do they like to hear the adventures of when you were their age? You can create a beautiful memory box by collecting photos and cards and those tiny outfits and telling the stories by adding the stickers. It is a wonderful activity to learn about each other, and the collection can continue to grow.