Celebrating Hispanic Heritage for my family means an ongoing endeavor to raise my toddler with a connection to his Honduran roots. For us, this includes raising him bilingually. We speak Spanish at home as much as possible, aided by the fact that my husband is a native speaker. However, as a non-native Spanish speaker still growing my language skills, I am always looking for opportunities for more Spanish language exposure.
As a mom to a toddler, I’m also always looking for free activities close to home, since you never know when a toddler meltdown might disrupt the day’s plans. Fortunately, East Dallas offers several free bilingual opportunities close to home.
5 Free Bilingual Kids Activities in Dallas
1. Bilingual Toddler Story Time
I’m so glad the Dallas Public Library brought back free story time at all branches. We participate in weekly bilingual story time at Vickery Park Branch in East Dallas. We also like to check out Spanish board books, which are available at every Dallas library.
If you’re participating in the mayor’s SMART Summer 2022 reading program, you can even select Spanish and bilingual books as your prize!
TIP: Moms read, too! I love checking out Spanish-language versions of popular fiction books I’ve already read to help build and reinforce my own Spanish vocabulary.
2. Bilingual GrupoPLAY
The popular online resource Bilingüitos just launched a GrupoPLAY in Northeast Dallas! The free playgroup for children ages 0–12 offers monthly playdates that encourage Spanish conversation. Registration is free and gives you access to a WhatsApp group that shares all the details for each month’s playdate.
3. Spanish Mass
Our family is Catholic, so we try to alternate between attending Spanish and English Mass. Here are two East Dallas parishes that offer Mass in Spanish: St. Patrick in Lake Highlands and St. Bernard of Clairvaux in Casa Linda/Little Forest Hills.
TIP: Not Catholic? Check to see if your place of worship has services or activities in Spanish your family can join.
3. Latin American Grocery Stores
We shop at Fiesta to find cultural specialties not offered at typical American grocery stories. We’ve even found the same mantequilla my husband grew up with for making Honduran baleadas at home. We also use Spanish words for foods when shopping at other stores.
4. The Dallas Museum of Art
Though not technically East Dallas, the DMA sits on the eastern edge of downtown in the Arts District. (You can get there without crossing 75!) The museum is fully bilingual throughout the galleries. Look for art descriptions and family guides in Spanish when you visit. You can also explore a wide selection of Latin American art.
Arturo, the children’s mascot, is a bilingual parrot from Peru. Check out Arturo’s Nest (el nido de Arturo) for a fun toddler play area nestled at the back of the Center for Creative Connections.
During special family events like quarterly Toddler Tuesdays (Martes para pequeños), the museum even offers free exhibition tours in Spanish.
The best part about all of these activities is that they provide opportunities to meet and interact with other bilingual families! Community is so important for raising children, especially in multiple languages. We’ve met friends with a diverse range of Latin American heritage, including Colombia, Mexico, Panama, and Venezuela, to name a few.
If you’re looking for opportunities for older children, Dallas offers several great Spanish immersion preschools, dual-language programs through DISD and other bilingual school opportunities in Dallas.