I have been on my bicycle a few times this spring, but yesterday I took my first serious ride (without the 9-year-old). It felt so great. I was absolutely in my "happy place." I am a busy person, often looking to "kill two birds with one stone," so it got me thinking... How can I work biking into the rest of the summer? I started to calculate how many days a week I could bike to work, which regular errands I could do by bike instead of by car, what routes I would like to explore, who I know that might want to bike with me. My thoughts were rolling with the tires, so soon I was on to thinking about any activities I could do outside, and what could be combined without sacrificing mindfulness.
Languages! I thought. Riding bike with a friend, I can talk. There's no reason I couldn't do it in French or Spanish instead of English. The same with taking walks, hanging out in parks, playing games outside with kids, and so on. A couple of summers ago I taught Spanish to a group of elementary girls, meeting weekly in a park. It was a lovely venue that, while it could be quite distracting (herding cats), also lent itself to using movement, music, and games with the language. You haven't lived until you've played, "Red light, green light" in Spanish! An intermediate learner would benefit from the unplanned learning opportunities that would arise, for instance, from taking a walk and observing nature, with a more advanced speaker, in the target language. There would be lots of opportunity for providing a narrative or a dialogue, and languages are acquired through "varied, meaningful, repetitive, comprehensible input."
Come to think of it, I think that, if she wants to ride bike with me, the 9-year-old will be learning some French this summer!