Little Pim Unboxing with Shonduras

little-pim-language-products

We were so excited when Shaun McBride, aka Shonduras, a Snapchat celebrity and popular YouTube daily vlogger who was recently listed in Forbes Top 30 under 30 and his wife, Jenny McBride accepted our request to send Baby Adley (his adorable daughter) Little Pim language learning products in Spanish. Since Shaun spent some time in Honduras, hence his nickname of ‘Shonduras,’ and learned the Spanish language through immersion, we felt that he would want to the same for his child, and we were right on! Baby Adley already knows a few words in Spanish and is excited to learn more with the help of Little Pim.

Check out Baby Adley opening her custom Little Pim package in Shonduras’ daily vlog below:

The contents of her custom care package included:

  • Little Pim Spanish (Vol 1 and 2) on an Amazon Kindle Fire Kids Edition
  • Little Pim Trilingual Board Books
  • Little Pim Spanish Words and Phrases Flash Cards
  • Custom-printed Little Pim Coloring Book with Crayons
  • “Say Hello” Poster
  • Little Pim Plush Panda Bear

Order Your Spanish for Kids Complete Set to Start Learning Today!

spanish-complete-set

Bilingual Baby: When is the Best Time to Start?

raise-bilingual-baby

The benefits of introducing your baby to another language are well documented. In our rapidly globalizing society, knowing a second (or third) language provides an obvious edge over the competition in the job market.

But, what about its impact on childhood development? While some would suggest that over-exposure to foreign language may cause delay in speaking, this assumption is both unproven and outweighed by the benefits dual-language babies experience as they grow.

We know the many benefits, so the question soon becomes: “When do we start?”

The answer is surprising. According to an article by the Intercultural Development Research Association, it may be most beneficial to begin second language exposure before six months of age. In a study by psychologist Janet Werker, infants as young as four months of age successfully discriminated syllables spoken by adults in two different languages. Dr. Werker’s work also determined a possible decline in foreign language acquisition after 10 months of age. To give your child their best start, you must begin early.fun-language-learning

How is this so? The answer can be found in the complex world of the human brain. Our brains react uniquely to language learning at any age, even growing when stimulated by another language. While mankind can acquire a language at mostly any stage, it is exceptionally difficult to do so outside of childhood. From infancy to age five, the brain is capable of rapid language acquisition. Even so, there are varying degrees of acquisition, even for children. After six months of age, infants begin distinguishing the differing sounds of their native tongue and others. Beyond six months, exposing your little one to a brand new language will pose a challenge.

That is not to say that teaching your two year-old French is a bad idea! It is merely to say that the earlier you begin teaching your child, the better.

Though most babies wont utter their first words before eleven months of age, they develop complex mental vocabularies through the piecing together of “sound maps.” As they gather from what they are exposed to, an infant who hasn’t been immersed in another language during this delicate stage will not piece together adequate sound maps to differentiate another language.

The reason for this is rooted in the brain at birth. Children are born with 100 billion brain cells and the branching dendrites that connect them. The locations that these cells connect are called synapses; critical components in the development of the human brain. These synapses are thought to “fire” information from one cell to another in certain patterns that lead to information becoming “hardwired” in the brain. The synapses transmit information from the external senses to the brain via these patterns, thus causing the brain to interpret them, develop, and learn from them. From birth to age three, these complex synapses cause infants to develop 700 neural connections per second.

These synapses are critical in sound mapping, and at the age of six months, the infant brain has already begun to “lock in” these new patterns and has difficulty recognizing brand new ones. This is because although your baby is born with all of the neurons they’ll ever need, that doesn’t mean that they’ll “need” all 100 billion. Infancy to the age of three is filled not only with rapid neural expansion, but also with neural “pruning;” a process in which unnecessary connections are nixed and others are strengthened.

Exactly which connections are pruned and which are cultivated is partially influenced by a child’s environment. Synapses are cultivated or pruned in order of importance to ensure the easiest, most successful outcome possible for a functioning human being. If a function is not fostered during this stage, it is likely that the neural connections associated with it will fade. For the brain to see a skill as important, you must make it important.

To put it plainly, if you only speak to your child in English, the infant brain sees no reason to retain a neural pathway regarding the little Mandarin it has heard. Babies learn about their environment at every age and are internally motivated from birth to do so. Your baby wants to learn and does so by exploring and mimicking the world around them. They’re entirely capable of building a complex knowledge of Mandarin, Arabic, or Italian. So, why not feed their mind and start now?

Your Baby CAN be Bilingual

bilingualism

bilingual-babyExperts around the globe agree that language learning begins at a young age. Adults that attempt to learn a new language often struggle, whereas small children have the unique ability to latch on to multiple languages at a time. However, many parents face a dilemma when it comes to the decision of exactly when a child’s exposure to another language should begin. It’s a topic that poses many valid questions among parents and educators:

When should I begin teaching my child a second (or third) language?”

“Should I wait until they can talk?”

“Should I wait until they’ve mastered English?”

“Will exposing them to too many languages at once cause communication difficulties later on?”

Science has shown us the answer, and it’s groundbreaking. Babies can learn multiple languages at a time and have no delay in language development as a result. In fact, beginning multilingual exposure in infancy may give your child an edge over their peers later on. Oral vocabulary is critical for children as they achieve literacy in any language, which doubles when a child is fluent in more than one language.

A University of Washington study determined that children exposed to other languages during the first year of life fared better in preschool due in part to the fact that their vocabularies were greatly increased. The bilingual children in the study were shown to understand written language at an earlier age than their peers.

Children should be exposed to multilingualism as early as possible. 6-month-old babies can understand spoken language with great clarity. Infants as young as 7 months can understand and keep their languages separate. As children reach a verbal age, they commonly mix languages together, but this is not at all a bad thing. It is a common occurrence in young and old bilinguals alike, called “code switching.” Code switching is an almost universal step for children as they learn to verbalize multiple languages correctly. Children that mix their languages do so only temporarily, whereas adults that learn later in life commonly struggle with it.

You can teach your child several languages at once without “damaging” them in any way. Considering that over 60% of the world population is multilingual in some way, it’s easy to see that human beings are hardwired to know more than one from the start.

Here at Little Pim, we have many products that encourage language immersion from an early age. Do you have any little polygots running around? If so, let us know in the comments below!

Outstanding Information on Teaching Your Child Another Language

back-to-school-language-learning

back-to-school-language-learningTeaching your child a second, or even third language, is exciting, stimulating, and fun, not to mention an experience that will bring you and your child closer. Moreover, the best part is you will be doing a great service for your child. Approximately, two-thirds of the world is bilingual and in the United States alone, the number of children who speak a language other than English has increased to 21 percent. The benefits of learning another language are well documented; a few of the benefits include:

  • – Increased intelligence
  • – More fluent verbal skills
  • – Greater memory ability
  • – Problem-solving savvy
  • – Improved cognitive skills
  • – Better reading/writing skills
  • – Larger worldview

As a parent, you may have a lot of questions about how, where, or when to begin the journey of introducing your child to a new language. Let’s look at a few of the questions parents have.

When is the best time to teach my child?

Research shows that babies and toddlers are prime age for teaching a second language. As astonishing as it sounds, the brain of the baby is wired for learning a language. The sounds of the language are as a pattern to the brain, which acts in ways similar to a computer – coding and decoding the symbols of sound and storing it into the memory. Before the age of six years old is ideal.

How can I possibly teach my child another language when I don’t know the language?

This is probably the biggest concern and hold back for a lot of parents, but with immersion-style videos, books, and entertaining material, your baby can begin learning the language whether you know it or not. Actually, you will learn right along with your child. Engaging videos are a must to attract the attention of the small child. Our Entertainment Immersion Method® engages a child’s natural love of play and learning through repetition. Colorful books to touch, upbeat music, and flashcards all work to reinforce the language.

early-learningWhere can I find a program that will effectively teach my child another language?

At Little Pim, we have developed a highly-visual, language-learning program that children fall in love with. One reason our program is effective is children can relate to their “teacher,” which happens to be the delightful, animated Little Pim panda bear. The books and videos host the adorable panda so children come to know and love the little bear. They will look forward to learning. One child’s parent is quoted as saying her son “loves the animations of Little Pim and often asks to watch them over and over again. He loves to yell the words he knows…”

Teaching your child a second language has never been more fun. Choose from our 12 language sets to watch a free preview of Little Pim today!

Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese

brazilian-portuguese-vs-portuguese

Portuguese is one of the most beautiful, romantic, Latin languages. As the sixth most spoken mother tongue in the world, Portuguese is an excellent choice for your toddler or preschooler.
Speaking Portuguese, even if you have no ties to the language and culture, is a marketable skill that will serve your child well in the future.

As with English, the country where the language is learned and spoken makes a lot of difference in words, pronunciation, and grammar. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is so different from European Portuguese that it is often referred to as Brasileiro, according to the website Lexiophiles.

There are many reasons for these differences and here are two of the most obvious ones.

Cultural Influence

In Brazilian Portuguese American Indian tribal languages donated many of the words for local foods, plants, and animals, as well as other objects. These words are unknown to speakers of European Portuguese.

Italian, French, and African languages such as Yoruba, have also found their way into Brasileiro. These add a significant contribution to the vocabulary of Brazilian Portuguese that does not exist in European Portuguese.

Intonation and Cadence

Brasileiro is more musical or lyrical than European Portuguese. Vowels are more open than those in European Portuguese and to English speakers, European Portuguese can sound somewhat muffled.  Brasileiro is syllable-timed like Spanish with equal stress on all syllables. And European Portuguese is stress-timed, with stressed and unstressed syllables in words, which is more familiar to native English speakers.

Little Pim’s language courses for young children make learning Portuguese an exciting, playful, and educational experience for your child. She will learn 180 Portuguese words and phrases to start her on a lifelong path of bilingualism. Browse our website for more information on Portuguese language learning for your child.

New Brain Studies Indicate Early Childhood is the Best Time to Learn a New Language

brain-studies-babies

It’s proven that the best time to learn a new language is under the age of 6. New studies from the University of Washington’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences indicate “the notion that not only are very young children capable of learning multiple languages, but that early childhood is the optimum time for them to begin.”

In the video below, research scientist and the study’s lead author, Naja Ferjan Ramirez summarizes the results from the brain studies performed on sixteen 11-month-old babies, half raised in bilingual homes and the other half in monolingual homes:

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/TAYhj-gekqw” align=”center” autoplay=”no”]

Our results suggest that before they even start talking, babies raised in bilingual households are getting practice at tasks related to executive function. This suggests that bilingualism shapes not only language development, but also cognitive development more generally, said Ramirez.

It’s amazing to see the results from the brain-recording technique used in the study called magnetoencephalography. “The brains of bilingual babies were specialized to process the sounds of both languages, Spanish and English. The brains of babies from monolingual families were specialized to process the sounds of English and were not sensitive to Spanish,” says Ramirez. No surprise there!

What’s more interesting is that as early as 11 months old, we’re able to see that the bilingual brains showed increased activity in areas related to executive functioning. According to The Center on The Developing Child at Harvard University, when children have the opportunity to develop cognitive skills early on, individuals and society experience lifelong benefits.

Executive function and self-regulation skills are the mental processes that enable us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully….Providing the support that children need to build these skills at home, in early care and education programs, and in other settings they experience regularly is one of society’s most important responsibilities.

Are you ready to teach your little ones a new language? Check out the research behind our method to learn more about how we integrate scientific studies like these to help kids effectively learn languages, both native and foreign.

Foreign Languages for Kids Limited Time Offer! Save 20% on Little Pim with code KIDS

What’s Trending in Bilingualism

bilingualism baby

bilingualism baby

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.

3. Kids bop to bilingual pop: It was only a matter of time before pop songs embraced the budding bilingual kids’ market. From the same producer who created the earwig “Friday” song by Rebecca Black, comes a Chinese/English song, “Get in My Car” sung by 10-yr-old Grace Liu. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/5930503/10-year-old-grace-liu-wants-you-to-get-in-my-car-watch

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.

The Global Surprises of a Caribbean Getaway

caribbean vacation

caribbean vacationIf you’re anything like us, this winter’s arctic blasts, piles of snow, and ice coated roads have left you longing for a tropical break. To get you ready for a spring break warm-weather escape, we’ve rounded up great Caribbean getaways with an extra bonus: the chance for your family to practice their new-found language skills at islands throughout the Caribbean where bilingual culture shares the bill with sandy beaches. Enjoy our favorite Bilingual Islands of the Caribbean:

Trilingual Appeal

St Marten/St Maarten

Here’s a unique cultural experience beneath the palms: this little island is split in two by an imaginary line that creates Dutch-speaking St Maarten and French-speaking St. Martin. Rent a car and you can sample authentic croissants a la plage for breakfast and imported Gouda on the beach for lunch.

Where to Stay: On the Dutch side of the island, the Westin St Maarten is the place to stay with kids, with the largest fresh water pool on the island, Camp Scallywag for daytime escapades, as well as all the beach watersports fun they can handle.

French Flair

St Barthélemy

Petite “St Barths” feel like a slice of France on the Caribbean Sea with French cuisine and language infusing the beach scene here with a certain savoir faire. The French have laid claimed the island since 1877, but you’ll also hear English throughout your stay. Head to Lorient Beach for the friendliest family scene on the tres chic island.

Where to stay: The most kid-friendly spot on St. Bart’s is the full-service resort, Hotel Guanahani & Spa which features private suites and cottages (14 with private pools) and two separate kids’ programs.

Dutch Wonderlands

Curaçao

The largest of the Netherlands Antilles, known as the ABC islands (Aruba and Bonaire are the other two), the island’s capital, Willemstad, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a colorful trip through colonial history and architecture.

Where to stay: Sunscape Curaçao takes the family resort prize as the only all-inclusive property on the island, meaning not only all of your food and drinks are taken care of with one-stop shopping, but also that the excellent Explorer’s kids club and Core teen center are included in the price as well.

 Aruba

Another option to hear Dutch is on this sunny, wind-swept island, an independent entity of the Netherlands. Although you’ll see Dutch architecture in the capital city of Oranjestad, listen closely while you’re here and you’ll also hear Arawak, Spanish, and the local lingo, Papiamentu. Global Caribbean indeed!

Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino is popular for it’s kids’s program and numerous family-friendly amenities and activities including a three-level pool complex with a cascading waterfall and two-story water-slide.

Spanish Caribbean

Puerto Rico

Rich in Spanish language culture and heritage, yet a Commonwealth of the United States, which means you get a salsa beat and the rich historic atmosphere of Old San Juan, without having to exchange your US dollars or even bring a passport. Kids will love the old Spanish fort of El Morro and it’s grassy slopes where kite-flying is a must.

Where to Stay: In addition to six pools and 500 landscaped acres on a cliff overlooking the turquoise sea, the family-friendly El Conquistador Resort also features Coquí Water Park and Palomino Island, the resort’s private island which offers everything from snorkeling to horseback riding.

Dominican Republic

This Latin Caribbean nation is a great place to practice your Spanish while enjoying beautiful beaches and the all-inclusive resorts the island is known for (since the DR, as it’s referred to, has the most resort hotel rooms of any island in the Carribbean, you can also expect to hear English spoke in most hotels, too). Head to Santo Domingo’s cobblestone streets to walk in the historic footsteps of explorers such as Columbus and Ponce de Leon.

Where to Stay: At Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, pint-size pirates can tame the high seas at Pirate’s Cove – a waterpark complete with a themed pool, swashbuckling pirate ship with water slides, and a one-of-a-kind wave pool.  There’s also a teen nightclub and an 18-hole mini golf course. Plus, the opportunity to soak up the sun on a beautiful white sand beach, por supuesto.  

–Melissa Klurman

Empowering Language Tips for Parents

baby language tips for parents
baby language tips for parents
Flickr: Chewy Chua

SheKnows recently published an article on raising bilingual kids featuring our very own Julia Pimsleur Levine! The article encourages parents to “Fill Your Baby’s Brain with Language” and includes some incredible case studies and language tips for parents who want to raise multilingual children.

The take home message is this: all parents are capable of giving their children the gift of a second language. Different families take different strategies: from One Parent One Language (where each parent picks a different language and sticks to it) to simply learning a new language along with your kids. The is no one right way to do it, and each family provides a bevy of useful language tips for parents who are thinking about introducing a new language. There is a style for every family.

Elsewhere on the internet, our friend Ana Flores of SpanglishBaby reminds us not to “underestimate how important commitment and consistency are in successfully raising a bilingual child.” In her piece, she runs through some general Do and Don’t language tips for parents to keep in mind as they begin to incorporate another language into their family’s lives.

Both pieces are must reads for families who are just starting to speak in new languages and for parents who are looking for ways to expand on what they are already doing!

  1. Fill Your Baby’s Brain with Language
  2. 7 Do’s and Don’ts of Raising a Bilingual Child