Luna y Cielo Play: Berwyn mom creates bilingual playroom to help millennial parents teach their kids Spanish

CHICAGO– Raised in Logan Square, Vanessa Avalos didn’t learn Spanish as a child. However, Vanessa and her brother have made it their mission to learn the language of their ancestors when they grow up. When Avalos had children of her own, she decided to take a different approach than her parents.

“When we started having children, I realized that unless I made an effort to make them bilingual, they would lose our culture and our language,” Avalos said.

To help her children become bilingual, Avalos took them to various events in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood and participated in activities such as Spanish reading lessons in libraries.

“I realized that there were a lot of people in my network who were in the same boat, a lot of Latino mothers who wanted to raise their kids bilingually but didn’t have the support,” Avalos said. “Then it just grew into a business.”

Jessica Cevas, creator of the Viva La Mami blog, drives almost an hour to Luna y Cielo classes so her son Diego can attend.

“I consider myself first generation in the US, so Spanish was my first language back home,” Cevas said. “It’s something I want to pass on to my son. That way he can really leverage the language and culture.”

Luna y Cielo Play is a playroom and learning center where kids of all ages can learn Spanish and celebrate diverse Latinx cultures.

According to Avalos, the long-term goal is to open a physical store to host bilingual games and Spanish classes. The Berwyn mother is hoping to secure a spot in Logan Square, where she grew up.

“There were a lot of Latinos in this neighborhood in the ’90s, and now they’re moving out,” Avalos said. “But it’s great to say I can return to Logan Square and put down roots for Luna y Cielo.”

Once Avalos has secured retail space, she plans to create four components for Luna y Cielo Play: Spanish classes, culturally relevant play, a gift shop, and a cafe selling products from local Latino vendors.

Learn more at the Luna y Cielo Play website. Luna y Cielo Play: Berwyn mom creates bilingual playroom to help millennial parents teach their kids Spanish

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