Sunday, February 27, 2011

Latino Nursery Art

Latin Baby is proud to announce that it is now carrying original nursery art paintings by self-taught artist, Lilia Estrada. Her beautiful paintings are created with acrylics on acid-free, heavy, cold press paper and measure 11" x 15". They are unframed to allow you the freedom to choose one that complements your nursery decor.

Lilia Estrada was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. Mother of three sons, Lilia found her style as a painter in 2003, while working on a colored pencil drawing of her youngest son Anthony and his cat Velcro. Lilia has participated in many art exhibits throughout Dallas including the Dallas Museum of Art. Her work has been featured in magazines, including the cover of the nationally known magazine, Latina. Lilias' native style is a reflection of her love of folk art.

For more information, visit the Latin Baby website.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Text4Baby Gives Pregnant and New Mothers Helpful Reminders

Mamis-to-be are getting some extra help with text4baby, a free mobile information service for pregnant and new moms. This educational program sends moms who sign up for their program, free weekly text messages that give helpful reminders and tips for your pregnancy and caring for your baby through his or her first year.

So far 135,000 women have signed up for this service, which celebrates its first anniversary this month. Managed by The National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Baby Coalition, text4baby has received support from hundreds of partners in both the private and public sector. The goal of the program is to provide women with resources and the information they need to deliver and raise healthy babies.

The program is available in English and Spanish. All you have to do to sign up is send the text message BABY for English, or BEBE for Spanish to 511411. Afterwards, you will be prompted to enter some information, like your baby's birthdate, so that your weekly messages will be customized to be relevant to your stage of pregnancy or baby's age.

For more information about text4baby, you can visit their website at The New York Times also ran a great in-depth article about the program, which I encourage you to read.

Con cariño...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010's Best Holiday Gifts: Línea Descubriendo

Here come the holidays and like most of you, I have been scouring the web for the perfect gifts for my children. This year, we are avoiding frivolous and mindless toys in favor of those that are beneficial to our kid's overall development. I am focusing on educational products that improve literacy, creativity, and/or other valuable skills.

At the top of my recommendation list is Línea Descubriendo by Witty Planet. This exceptional line of products for children was created in Argentina and has been embrace by many Latin American countries for its educational properties. And now, for the first time, it is available in the United States. (Yay!)

I had a chance to review some of their products, including one of their DVDs - Descubriendo mi Cuerpo - last month and they were an INSTANT hit with my children. The DVD, especially, quickly became my children's current favorite, and they have been singing and dancing to the songs ever since. The video is divided up into segments about the different body parts and how to care for them. The original songs are full of information about each topic along with images of real children preparing to take a bath, playing in the bubbles, brushing their hair, etc. The songs are separated by short skits involving the cast of puppets from Línea Descubriendo, including its host, Bubba (pronounced BOO-bah). This adorable monkey had my kids in stitches a number of times with his silly antics and facial expressions.

The DVD is more than just a video, though, and includes interactive games, which both of my kids really enjoy. I was really happy with this product, and the way that it supplemented my kid's Spanish curriculum perfectly.

A lot of thought has gone into this line of products - and it shows. Developed by professionals in childhood development, Línea Descubriendo invites children to learn through play, song, and dance. Their goal is to stimulate a child’s curiosity, interest in learning, and communication skills. The entire line was developed by keeping in mind children's visual preferences and pedagogical requirements for early childhood. Even the puppets were developed by Roberto Docampo, Director of the Puppetry School at the San Martin Theater, in Argentina.

You can see a sample of Descubriendo mi Cuerpo here.

If you are a fan of the Baby Einstein and Brainy Baby lines, and are trying to raise your children bilingually, then you will absolutely LOVE Línea Descubriendo. But though it is similar to these American products, that is only on the surface. As you explore the products you will discover a much richer Spanish-only line with songs that are original pieces, specific to the topic, with additional information about each subject.

If you'd like to examine the line a little more thoroughly, take a look at their adorable, interactive site, El Mundo de Bubba, for additional games, art, and much, much more. You won't be disappointed.

To go ahead and order your own Línea Descubriendo products, visit Witty Planet. Their website is available in both English and Spanish. Don't forget to type in the promo code LATINBABY for an additional 10% off your purchase!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this review. However, the opinions expressed in this post are sincere and true. Mi Cielito Lindo will not endorse products that it does not approve of or that we feel will not interest our readers.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A New Adventure

Things have been very quiet here on this blog. I have been busy focusing on our sister blog, the Latin Baby Book Club. But what has taken up most of my time lately, has been a new adventure with my children: homeschooling.

The decision to homeschool was a difficult one for me because I had no desire to teach. Unfortunately, the county in which we live has been officially labeled a "failed school district". So for now, because our children's education is so terribly important to us, I have chosen to go the route that seems best for them at this time.

When I began this journey last year, I was frustrated to discover a limited amount of materials and resources available for bilingual or bicultural families. Occasionally, I stumble upon some great resources through my work on the LBBC, but it really has taken a lot of digging to find good information.

As you know from reading this blog, the education of our Latino children is very important to me. I firmly believe in supporting other familias who are dedicated to helping their children excel in school. As I've stated before, parents must take an active role in their child's learning in order for that child to succeed.

So as a result, my latest gift to share with all of you is my new blog, Mommy Maestra, which I officially launch today. The goal of this blog is not how to teach your children Spanish (there are already plenty of blogs and websites for that), but rather to share with you ideas and educational resources in English and Spanish that are available for those of you raising bilingual children.

Regardless of whether or not you are homeschooling your children, I hope that you will find information and ideas that help you to encourage their love of learning or to supplement their education. No one will care more for your children than you will. So take their futures seriously and get involved now!

I hope you will visit me over at Mommy Maestra and share your thoughts and ideas.

Con mucho cariño,


Friday, June 11, 2010

Call to Action! Support an Author

Attention, Amigos:

Author José-Luis Orozco needs your help! His wonderful music CD (and book), "Diez Deditos", has been nominated for a Nickelodeon Parents' Picks Award in the Best Kids' Music CD category. In order to make it to the finals, we need as many votes as possible to support his nomination.

Diez Deditos was a Latin Baby Book Club Libro del Mes/Book of the Month back in March of 2009. To read the review, click here. You can also visit his web site for more information.

Orozco is the author of many books and CDs, including: Diez Deditos and Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs, Fiestas A Year of Latin American Songs and Celebrations, Navidad y Pancho Claus, and Arrullos: Lullabies in Spanish, but he has SO many more.

We need to get the most votes possible by Sunday, June 13. Corre la voz!!

Please go here to vote and share this with all of your friends and family.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Sea World Helps Familias reConnect with $5 Kid Tickets

Summer is almost here and many familias are looking for fun and educational things to do together.  Here's a little tip for those of you wanting to try something different - and do a good deed at the same time! SeaWorld parks are rolling out an offer that comes at the perfect time for vacations and allows families the chance to make a real difference for wildlife conservation.

Now through December 31, with each full-paid, SeaWorld Orlando, San Diego or San Antonio single-day, adult admission purchased online, any child age 12 and under gets a $5.00 admission (a savings of $65-$75!!), all of which goes to fund non-profit organizations that are working right now on wildlife conservation projects. Families can even choose which wildlife conservation effort receives their donation.

"This offer makes it easy for families and friends to reconnect during a vacation, a getaway or even just a day trip to one of our parks," said Jim Atchison, President and Chief Executive Officer for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. "At SeaWorld, families experience amazing up-close animal connections that can't be found any place else. And we believe a greater respect for the world we share follows a visit to one of our parks."

And with so much new to do at all of the SeaWorld parks, there's never been a better time to visit.

In Orlando, SeaWorld fans can brave Manta, an all-new flying roller coaster and the only one of its kind in the world. It's a seamless blend of up-close animal encounters with a head-first, face-down thrill ride that's sure to top the must-see lists again this summer.

At SeaWorld San Antonio, the park takes animal and human interaction to a new level with the premier of "Azul: Lure of the Sea," a spectacular new show featuring high divers, synchronized swimmers, aerialists,
bungee artists, animal trainers and, of course, acrobatic Pacific white-sided dolphins and graceful beluga whales.

There's also something new on the horizon at SeaWorld San Diego: a breakthrough theatrical spectacular that unites sea and sky as it showcases majestic animals and spirited performers. "Blue Horizons" -- featuring energetic bottlenose dolphins, majestic pilot whales, a colorful array of exotic birds and amazing human performers. It is scheduled to open May 29, 2010.

"We know the economy's been tough for everyone, but more than ever before, everyone needs to spend time together," Atchison said. "We think families also will have fun deciding which wildlife conservation project gets their donation, too. It's a wonderful way for kids to learn about the work that goes on to save animals in the wild."

For important details on this offer and to buy tickets, go to

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Celebrate Día with the LBBC

All this month, our sister site, the Latin Baby Book Club will be celebrating El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Day of the Child, Book Day with daily posts on literacy and diversity within the Latino culture.

In addition to their regular reviews of bilingual and bicultural books like those seen here, they have and will be discussing many resources for Spanish and English-speaking parents and educators. These resources are great for developing a child's or student's literacy skills.

Various professionals in the Latino children's literature field have also contributed, including authors Pat Mora, Samantha R Vamos, René Colato Laínez, and Amy Costales.

Parents and teachers will also enjoy the many giveaways scheduled for this month. Educational videos and toys like the bilingual alphabet puzzle by Ingenio Toys, as well as bilingual and bicultural books like A Gift of Gracias by Julia Alvarez will be given away throughout the month.

Don't miss out on all the fun!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quality Educational Preschool Spanish!

It is good to know that all the discussion over the Latino drop-out rate and the paucity of Latinos going to college is beginning to result in some serious focus on Latino children and early education. A trumpet has been sounded and bilingual schools, while still fighting discrimination and misunderstanding, are starting to be recognized for their many benefits. Bilingual teachers are being recognized for their important role and some are even being treated as heroes. More and more companies are turning their attention to creating products and services for bilingual and Spanish-speaking families... and new ones are emerging with overwhelming success.

One of these is V-me, the largest and most widely distributed block of world-class educational pre-school content in Spanish TV from international leaders in quality, including Sesame Workshop, Thirteen/WNET, LazyTown Entertainment and Cromosoma.

This month, V-me began airing PEEP and the Big Wide World, on the Spanish-language network Monday through Friday from 9:15-9:30am. The Emmy Award-winning animated science series, bring its animated stories, science, and the wonders of everyday life for the first time to Spanish-speaking and bilingual preschoolers.

It is produced by WGBH and 9 Story Entertainment in association with TVOntario and Discovery Kids. Given WGBH Boston’s pioneering legacy in the production of children’s programming, this new partnership strengthens V-me’s commitment to education, information and quality entertainment for Latino families.

Young viewers join Peep, a newly-hatched chicken, Chirp, a smart and sassy robin, and an endearingly, egotistical duck named Quack on all their wide-eyed adventures—from discovering shadows, to investigating mysterious tracks, to learning about gravity. Underlying the series is a comprehensive science curriculum that uses humor, entertaining plotlines, and lovable characters to engage viewers in a way that allows them to learn about science without even realizing it. Each episode contains one animated PEEP story that highlights a specific science concept and one live-action video that presents real kids playing and experimenting with this same concept in their own “big wide worlds.”

“PEEP is a wonderful vehicle for fostering early science exploration and understanding, presenting science in a way that tickles the fancy and funny bones of our young preschool audience. We are thrilled that V-me—which represents the best educational preschool programming on Spanish TV—is adding PEEP to their children’s lineup and introducing the characters and real world science concepts of the series to Latino families,” says executive producer, Kate Taylor.

“On the educational landscape, there are tremendous gaps for Latinos and science, and research has demonstrated that PEEP effectively brings meaningful science experiences to preschoolers,” said Guillermo Sierra, Vice President of Programming at V-me. “By bringing Peep to V-me, we are able to expose our young viewers to science exploration early and foster an understanding that lasts them a lifetime.”

A Spanish section of the PEEP and the Big Wide World Web site is also being launched at Here, families can access numerous animated PEEP stories and their related live-action videos featuring real kids playing at home and outdoors. Additional online resources in Spanish provide Latino parents and caregivers with ideas for fun, educational hands-on activities that extend their child’s science learning beyond the show.

Our amigas over at Spanglish Baby are giving away SIX baskets full of PEEP Goodies. So head on over and throw in your comments for a chance to win!

Who knows, by introducing your child to science early, you may be molding the next José Moreno Hernández or Elsa Salazar Cade.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Literacy Developing Products for Babies and Toddlers

As we’ve mentioned, literacy begins at birth. Babies are full of wonder and are carefully exploring the world around them from the moment that they open their eyes. Shapes and sounds are being absorbed and categorized, filed away to help them begin speaking, learning, and - eventually - reading. Play is essential to a child’s development. Babies and children learn about concepts and relationships through play.

I’ve listed below some products that are very useful for Latino parents looking to develop their child’s love of learning and literacy. Not only do these products develop letter recognition, but they also develop fine motor skills. I’ve already mentioned a few of these on this blog, but it is nice to have them all in one post related to this topic. To purchase any of these products, simply click on the name of the product to be directed to the appropriate website.

A Spanish language set comprised of 28 blocks that provide 4 complete alphabets, 3 sets of numerals, and 28 different animal pictures. The set includes the Spanish letters "CH", "Ñ", and "LL". Made from Michigan basswood, brightly colored with child-safe inks, and handcrafted with attention to detail. The blocks are a generous1 ¾” (44mm) cubed a perfect size for small hands!

Spanish ABC Puzzle Blocks

From Learning Resources. "Help children learn the Spanish alphabet (A through Z, plus ch, ll and n) with these two-piece wooden puzzles. Each kid-friendly puzzle features a fun picture of something beginning with a given letter and unique die cuts that match the shape of that letter. The wooden storage box with a plastic lid contains 29 two-piece solid wood puzzle blocks measuring 2" x 3.75" each. Box measures approximately 12" x 4.5"." To purchase your set, click here.

Easy Alphabet/¡Abecedario fácil!

This set is SO MUCH FUN! Packaged in a sturdy keepsake box with a magnetic closure, Easy Alphabet is made up of 27 cards plus a guide for parents. The guide is in both English and Spanish and describes different ways in which to use the cards with your child. An excellent product for developing your child’s early literacy skills, this set is geared for children ages 1 year and older. Even better, it grows with your child as you’ll see by the different activities listed in the parent’s guide. Like the board books described above, these cards are nice and thick with rounded corners. As an additional bonus, parents can visit to find free audio files and extra activities to supplement these products.

Entertaining, educational book introduces Spanish-speaking preschoolers and English-speaking youngsters to the 28 letters of the Spanish alphabet and almost 225 everyday Spanish words. Each letter is accompanied by illustrations of common objects whose names begin with that letter. A low-priced, entertaining and effective introduction to Spanish language skills.

29 Spanish Alphabet Mini-books

Easy-to-make reproducible books that promote literacy build letter and sound recognition. Just reproduce, fold, and snip! Students practice handwriting, begin letter collections, and make personalized Spanish word banks.

Spanish Alphabet Big Book

PreK and up. Reinforce letter recognition, spelling, sounds, and beginning words with this unique pocket chart that uses color coded letters and pictures. Easy-to-clean nylon chart features three clear pocket rows for card displays. Measures 28 1/4"W x 37 3/4"H.
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