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Language Learning Made Fun

Oklahoma Teachers Create Oui and Si French and Spanish Learning Boxes for Children

Mindy Nix of Oklahoma City knows her French. She not only taught French at the University of Central Oklahoma, but now serves as the head of the French Department of Oklahoma Christian University. 

Her daughter now teaches French at UCO and the two often work as tutors for children and adults leaning French and Spanish. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic meant quarantine, the mother/daughter duo had a "Viola!" moment.

"We asked ourselves how people can learn French and Spanish at home during the quarantine," said Nix. "We came up with the idea of language learning boxes. And, gosh, it's really taken off."

Oui and Si is a family business based in Oklahoma, focused on creating products that celebrate the importance of language, learning and open-ended play. The language boxes are designed by Nix and her daughter Suzanne Huffman, who are French and Spanish professors. And even though the company is only a month or so old, the language boxes are already in high demand.

"Plenty Mercantile and Learning Tree also carries the boxes, but most of our sales has been word of mouth," said Nix. "The real magic are the QR codes. When you place your phone over it, a lesson plan pops up and you get the entire lesson. We designed our educational boxes to give children a head-start in learning language, counting, sorting and spelling through play," said Nix.

Each box features a unique theme, ranging from pets to zoos to holidays. So far, Oui and Si offers 20 different themes.

"For instance, in the French Christmas box, one of the items may be counting pinecones in French or learning the French names for Christmas animals like deer," said Nix. "There are also flashcards, phrases, songs and games. We have a lot of adults who are learning along with their children."

The boxes are hand-curated by Nix and Huffman and come in small, medium and large. The Spanish Bug Box, for instance, is a bug and outdoor-themed activity box that focuses on learning through play with numbers, letters, shapes and language. It includes fun treasures, Spanish flashcards and endless opportunities for learning. Items in each box can be used to practice counting, sorting, spelling and language.

"I would say that our boxes are really beautiful," Nix said. "We have really pretty French blocks, we order French toys, and we choose things item by item. You won't find dollar store items in our boxes."

Oui and Si said that for each box sold, a box will be donated to an underserved school in the community as well.

"We believe that all children should enjoy learning which is why we are committed to donating a box to a child in need for every one that is sold," said Nix. 

For more information or to order a language learning box, visit ouiandsi.com

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