Recently on Fox 5 NY, the International Academy of New York discussed the benefits of raising bilingual children, sharing that their students spend around 40% of their week functioning in either Mandarin or Spanish. Research shows that some of the benefits of raising bilingual children include:
Children are much more focused and less distracted
They are more able to switch tasks spontaneously
They have more flexible and nimble brains
By middle school, bilingual kids typically outperform their peers in both math and verbal standardized tests
The interview also explains that human contact is important when teaching children a new language. Singing, reading, and talking with your children in the new language and taking children to cultural events also help encourage language learning. At Little Pim, we believe introducing your child to a new language at an early age can give your child many advantages. The best time to learn a language is under the age of 6. Don’t miss the window of opportunity when it’s easy for them to learn. Invest in their future…A little language goes a long way.
We’ve scoured the web to find breaking news and information in the world of Bilingualism. Check out our 5 favorite stories, below:
1. Taking bilingualism to the bank: In the Economist, bilingualism comes down to dollars and cents in, What is a Foreign Language Worth? The article looks at actual ROI (return on investment) for bilingual employees. While these numbers are lower than others comparisons we’ve seen, we found it interesting that you can expect being bilingual in German to increase your lifetime additional earnings by nearly three times that of Spanish. Will Goethe become more popular with the preschool set now?
2.Little Pim in the News: Our own Julia Pimsleur Levine, founder and CEO of Little Pim, is featured on Forbes this week in How to Speak Entrepreneur Like a Native. If you’ve ever wondered how Little Pim started, this is a great read. If you’re interested in hearing from Julia first hand about her entrepreneurial endeavors, her personal Forbes blog is here.
4. “Hear and I forget, see and I remember” – National Geographic explores why it’s easier to remember new lessons, including a second language, when you use visual and tactile lessons—like Little Pim’s videos and books—and not just audible ones.
5. Say what? According to a New Zealand study, babies can actually make distinctions between words spoken in foreign languages.
Last week, Team Little Pim gathered at the Javits Center in New York City for four days of pure joy at Toy Fair 2014. Imagine a football field full of the latest toys from classic companies as well as some exciting newcomers. Now try to wrap your head around the fact that the Javits Center holds roughly 10 times the square footage of a football field. In other words, there were a LOT of toys to play with.
An emerging theme at this year’s Toy Fair was customizable toys: toys that kids could build and change themselves. As you might imagine, many of these toys had a digital component, but some of them were simply classic toys with a twist. Here are five of our favorites:
1. Potatoyz – It was only a matter of time before your kids would be able to design and order their own toys online, but who would have thought that it would be as simple as pressing “Print?” Potatoyz begin as little blob-like avatars in the Potatoyz app, where kids can add colors, patterns, facial features, and custom drawings. Within the app, the Potatoyz can play in a variety of different environments, and if your kids really fall in love with their custom characters, they can order a figurine to be 3D printed and shipped straight to your door!
2. DIWire – While 3D printers have yet to become a common household appliance, wire printers are just about to hit the market. A fellow Kickstarter success, DIWire can bend metal wire into complex, detailed sculptures that you design on your computer. It’s especially cool for older kids looking to expand their toy horizons. Check out this video of DIWire in action at Toy Fair.
3. Tiggly — Little kids love to play with iPads, but finding interactive games that teach at the same time they entertain is always a challenge, especially if you’re looking for a physical element that allows them to look up from their digital realms. This fun game is just the ticket: it lets kids play with shapes that they hold in their hands that combine with an iPad app where they learn and explore new concepts. We also love how portable it is; perfect for long car rides and other travel.
4. Stuffies – Who needs another stuffed animal? You can hardly get your kids to clean up all their toys as it is! Stuffies aren’t your typical stuffed animal, though. With up to seven hidden zip pockets, they provide a place for your kiddos to hide their favorite toys. Kids have a special spot to keep their things, while you have secretly won the clutter battle!
5. Ugly Doll – They might be less functional than Stuffies, but we don’t really care. Just look at that face. The latest “bad hair day” Ugly Doll sports a tuft of sculpt-able hair that your kids can style and restyle according to their mood. It’s a simple, but effective update of the classic troll doll. It’s also 100% less creepy than the classic troll doll (okay, maybe 99%).
Last week, our friend Ana Flores of SpanglishBaby made an appearance on NBC’s Today Show to talk about raising bilingual kids and the importance of starting early. #BilingualKids swiftly became a hot topic on twitter, and we want to keep the conversation going.
First, watch the video in which Ana and Columbia professor Erika Levy make the case for bilingual kids. Note, especially, how adamantly professor Levy dispels the myth that bilingual children start speaking later than monolingual children – good news for all!
If you’d like to continue to explore the topic of bilingual kids in the news, here are two informative articles from the last two weeks.
This Huffington Post piece by Dr. Gail Gross delves into the effects language can have on babies before they are born. Even in the womb, babies can begin to distinguish their mothers’ voices and languages!
And this recent article in TIME Magazine also reveals how different languages affect the way children process and analyze information. The more languages they learn how to balance, the more analytical tools they have!
“In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….”
This childhood ditty is often what first comes to mind when you hear it’s Columbus Day. But there’s more to the day, which became a Federal holiday in 1934, than the basic facts of the catchy song. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate Columbus’ Italian roots, and the holiday is an important part of Italian-American heritage. Many Italian Americans festeggiare (celebrate) the day by watching or participating in a parade (New York City’s is the largest in the world), enjoying traditional Italian foods, and of course, recounting the amazing tale of Christopher Columbus’ journey to discover the New World. (Kids especially love to hear about the voyage of Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.)
It’s also a great excuse for any family to practice Italian and cook up a feast.
Get started by having kids, grandparents, parents — anyone who’s at home — whip up Marinara Sauce, which translates to “the sauce of the sailors” in Italian. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Columbus Day with your whole family. Have the kids help in the kitchen by adding seasonings to the pot and stirring the sauce (with adult supervision of course). Mangia! (Eat up!)
COLUMBUS DAY MARINARA SAUCE
In a large pot, sauté one chopped onion in three tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ a teaspoon of dried oregano and ½ a teaspoon of dried basil. Cook until garlic softens, 1 to 2 minutes.
Add 1 large can of diced tomatoes (29 oz) and 1 large can of tomato puree (29 oz), season with salt and pepper and 2 tablespoon of sugar. Stir frequently while sauce comes to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Serve over any pasta shape you like best.
(adapted from Around The World Cookbook by Abigail Johnson Dodge)
Every week we find ourselves geeking out over all the amazing new information about foreign language learning that we find on the internet. If you’re like us (and we think you might be since… well… here you are), you might sometimes find this wealth of information a little overwhelming.
Not to worry, friends! Little Pim is here to help! Each week, we’ll cull the internet for our favorite language (and panda) related articles. This week, for your reading pleasure, four articles about the way language works inside the human brain:
Your Mind on Language: How Bilingualism Boosts Your Brain. The title of this HuffPo blog post might say it all, but it’s a great read for anyone who wants to read about the science of language without having to wade through all the science-ese. Dan Roitman defines common scientific vocabulary associated with the study of language and also breaks down the way the brain processes language.
September is the time to make New Year’s resolutions, new year of school resolutions that is. You’re starting with a clean slate, literally, so jump on the chance to start the semester off right with our 5 tips to a more productive year.
Routine Rules – Kids thrive on routine— knowing when to get up, what time to do homework, when dinner is– helps them build a schedule that gets them through their day with ease. Be sure to include reading with your children (including looking at pictures and talking about them) as part of your routine. Children learn more vocabulary and do better in school when their parents read with them regularly (US Department of Education).
Resolve to Learn a Foreign Language – It’s never too early to start teaching children a second language. Not only is it easier for babies and preschoolers to master accents and absorb foreign languages, but later in life, multilingual adults “are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas” (Time Magazine).
Choose to win – With as many activities as there are Legos in a bin, the choice of how to spend after-school time can become overwhelming – when you’re stuck, childhood experts say choose quality over quantity: Limit young children to one or two after school classes a week, and choose what will make the most impact down the line and give your child the best start in life, such as a language they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
Get More Zzzzzs – The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every night for grade schoolers, 11 hours for preschoolers, and 12 hours for 1 to 3 year olds. Plus, studies show that children who have consistent bed times scored better on cognitive tests throughout grade school. The old adage about “early to bed” making you “wise” really was right!
Accentuate the positive – When you talk about school, make sure to make it sound like a treat — a special place where kids get to make new friends, have fun new experiences, and learn amazing new things – and they’ll think of it that way, too!
We’re very fond of pandas here at Little Pim and always keep an eye out for news about our favorite bear. So it was especially exciting to hear about the new panda cub born at the National Zoo in Washington, DC, in August. And now, after a two week wait, we’ve just found out is a bouncing baby girl. Congrats to new parents Mei Xiang and Tian Tian! (In case you were wondering, their names mean “beautiful fragrance” and “more and more.”)
As far as the name of the baby panda, we’ll have to wait for now; the National Zoo folks haven’t found the perfect moniker quite yet.