A Love for Language: Oui and Si
It’s never too late, or too early, to learn something new. The mind of a young child is a sponge, soaking up information that lays a foundation for learning. The mind of a parent can feel drained by the task of coming up with new and engaging activities. The needs of both can be met with Oui and Sí!
While spending more time within their own four walls, Mindy Nix and Susanne Huffman discovered a world of learning could be shared in a box. Mother and daughter, both are language educators. Susanne began learning Spanish in Edmond Public Schools. Her love for the language blossomed when she studied abroad in Spain. Post college, Susanne studied French at University of Central Oklahoma. She now teaches at University of Central Oklahoma and preschools. Mindy teaches at Oklahoma Christian and Oklahoma City University. In the spirit of saying “yes” to new things, the two developed Oui and Sí.
Early Love for Language
Oui and Sí curates French and Spanish activity boxes that encourage learning through play and instill an early love for language. The boxes include trinkets, flashcards and letters that teach basic vocabulary. Each box has a theme like forest, city, bug, space, zoo, dinosaur, construction or holiday in French or Spanish. Parents can choose the box that will most interest their child or monthly subscriptions are available.
The boxes are 7 by 5 inches and have transitioned from plastic to wood. “It is important to us that they be aesthetically pleasing as well as fun and educational, so we are excited about this change,” Susanne says. Materials are sourced from all over, and the two are always on the hunt for unique and high-quality manipulatives.
Connection and Education
The boxes facilitate caregiver and child connection. Each themed box has a code that links to an interactive lesson which can be pulled up on a smartphone. Further, the boxes offer endless opportunity for creative and independent play. Susanne plunged into working from home during the pandemic. “I have a two-year-old son, so like every parent, I was trying to come up with activities to keep him entertained.” The boxes can easily be pulled out while parents work or prep for meals. Mindy started making the boxes for grandchildren, and they held the idea for a business in the back of their minds. They’ve been delighted by the response and interest, fulfilling orders from all over the country.
Language learning teaches empathy for and acceptance of those of differing cultures. Children’s brains effortlessly assimilate new information and concepts through play. Though designed with ages 2 to 7 in mind, the boxes spark a desire to learn that can inspire the whole family. Mindy and Susanne say, “Our love of travel and language is lifelong, though neither of us became fluent in a foreign language until adulthood.” The mother and daughter put their pursuit for lifelong learning in action by going back to school together. They hope to offer parents and children the opportunity to play together and expand their French and Spanish vocabulary along the way.
Learn more at www.ouiandsi.com.