Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics


Olympic_rings_without_rims.svgFlash forward a couple weeks from today: It’s a sticky summer day, and to cool down and spend some quality time with your kiddos, you decide to go home, sprawl out on the couch, and watch the Olympic games. Your child becomes disengaged, or maybe your kid loves the games and is glued to the television. Either way, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to teach your children Portuguese and make them feel a deeper connection to Rio than the screen in your living room. We, here at Little Pim, recognize this language learning opportunity, and luckily, we offer lessons and flash cards in Portuguese that will make your son or daughter speak as well as Gabby Douglas flips in the time of a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash.

olympic-games-kidsSports Vocabulary

The most obvious vocabulary to introduce to your child during the Olympic games would be basic sports vocabulary, like the words for: ball, referee, pool, court, and field. To try to cultivate the strongest correlation between the words you are teaching and an image, it is probably smart to introduce the vocab as its corresponding image appears on the television.

Additionally, since the words you will be teaching them are about being active, you can make the language learning active. Play a game of catch while watching the 2016 games. When you have the ball, say the English word, and have your child say the Portuguese translation upon catching the ball. They can learn more about how to discuss playtime in Portuguese with the Little Pim “Playtime” lesson, which is available for online purchase. This online accessibility means they can sit on the couch and learn Portuguese on any device with the Olympics on in the background.


The Olympics has a record number of countries competing this year, so now more than ever the Olympics is a melting pot of cultures. This presents you with the ability to expose your child to a plethora of different countries. With that, you can teach them how to say each country’s name, main languages, and prominent religions in Portuguese. You can pull out a map and point at the country in question as you go along! If your family has roots in a certain country, this is a great time to introduce a bit of that country’s language too; Little Pim lessons could probably help you do so!


The number system is critical to any language, so it is a good place to start when learning Portuguese. As the shot clock winds down or the race is about to begin, have your son or daughter count down in Portuguese. They will be ready by New Years to count down to 12 AM in Portuguese!

Start by counting numbers 1-10 in Portuguese, then go backwards to start the countdown:

10 – dez 5 – cinco
9 – nove 4 – quatro
8 – oito 3 – três
7 – sete 2 – dois
6 – seis 1 – um


As each athlete’s statistics are plastered across your television screen, you can teach your little one the words for goal, assist, point, etc. This can be a particularly great exercise with little boys and girls who have already developed a passion for sports

(it is probably genetic) and enjoy memorizing statistics from player cards and a teams’ websites.

sports-vocabulary-kidsPersonalize the Activity

If your son or daughter is especially fond of one sport that will be performed during the summer games, make sure to focus on the vocabulary relating to that sport. This will make the language learning of greater value in their eyes, and thereby more fun for them.
For example:

Basketball Soccer Tennis
Hoop = aro Cleats = chuteiras Tennis net = rede de tênis
Rebound = ricochete Corner kick = escanteio Volley = voleio
Foul line = linha de falta Header = cabeçada Advantage = vantagem

Get Involved As a Parent

If you are fluent in Portuguese or have never heard a word of it, speaking the language with your kid makes it a group activity as opposed to a chore. Additionally, if your whole family wants to extend your exposure to Brazilian culture beyond language learning, please refer to a post coming out soon about fun activities infused with Brazilian culture that you can do right at home.

Portuguese Flash Cards Volume 1Vocab Reinforcement

For the words to stick, a child needs to become familiar with them by hearing them a number of times. On your way to a mall or weekend get-away, you can review the Portuguese vocab in a fun trivia-like format. The Little Pim flash card set could serve this purpose really well!


Teach Love and Kindness

Sports have the power to transcend countries’ borders, racial divides, and social differences. That power is what makes the Olympics such a beautiful thing to watch, especially today when these issues run rampant in our society. Teaching your child the English words for unity, equality, fairness, and sportsmanship, for example, is a powerful action in it of itself. Imagine the power of teaching them these words in yet another language, like Portuguese.

By teaching your child another language at a young age, you accomplish many things. You make them smarter, you differentiate them from other children their age, and you ultimately make them more valuable to our society and a potential employer. Above all of those things, you make them sensitive to and connected to another country, culture, and way of life. In learning a new language, they are learning to respect differences instead of hate them, just as sportsmanship teaches. Language learning is powerful. Sports are powerful. Rio is the perfect opportunity to combine sports with language learning, an action that could have an amazingly powerful impact on your child.

P.S. It will also be fun!!

To get you started:

“Creating Peace” Vocab List
Unity = unidade
Fairness = justiça
Equality = igualdade
Sportsmanship = espírito desportivo

Free Brazilian Samba Beats for Little Feet

samba girl

samba girlLittle Pim is celebrating the rhythms of the  FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil with a FREE kid-friendly compilation of Samba-influenced tunes.

So get ready for a dance party Brazilian style!

Brazilian music has a get-up-and-dance beat that kids love, with rhythms that make it hard to sit still. The most famous Brazil sound is the Samba, a mix of Afro-Jazz influences. Kids are drawn to it for the multiple percussion instruments — such as drums, whistles, and bells (very fun to play along with–DO try this at home!) — featured in the songs.

Your children may recognize some of the Portuguese lyrics and Brazilian beats from their Little Pim language lessons and the fun animated movies Rio and Rio2. We’ve delved a little deeper into the music of the “Samba Nation” and created a get-up-and-dance music compilation. Just click on the link below and then turn-it-up for family-friendly Samba and Brazilian beats — plus a special FIFA World Cup 2014 song by Shakira. We dare you stay in your seats!

World Cup 2014 Soccer Crafts for Kids (Perfect for Father’s Day!)

Does your family love soccer? Have they caught World Cup 2014 (currently being played in Portuguese speaking Brazil) fever yet? Are you all itching to find a way to show your love of the most popular game in the world?

If you answered yes to any of the above, we have great news for you: we’ve found fabulous, fun soccer crafts (or as they would be called in most of the world, “football crafts”) for kids, fun to make and also perfect for Father’s Day giving.

We think they’ll score a goal with your whole family!

Soccer Field Mouse Pad

soccer crafts - mousepadSupplies: Green craft foam square (you can also use green craft paper and glue it to Styrofoam or carboard), white paint markers, white crayon, or white acrylic paint and a small brush

  1. Cut green construction foam into a rectangle, approximately 6” x 8”
  2. Using a pencil, sketch the outline of a soccer pitch on the foam: circle in middle, rectangles for goals, line across the center. Hint: We used a small glass and our mobile phones to trace the shapes in pencil before we started coloring in.
  3. Then using whatever white art supplies you’ve chosen, fill in the lines on the field.


Check out these links for other great Soccer Projects for Father’s Day and beyond. Feliz dia dos pais!


Kids Cook: Gooooaaaal! Brazilian Treats For the World Cup

The World Cup 2014 is just around the corner – it starts June 12 – and is being held in host country Brazil. Here at Little Pim, we’re excited to share our love of both the Portuguese language and Brazilian culture with our friends.

To get you ready for some world class World Cup watching, we have two easy Brazilian recipes – one savory and one sweet – great for small hands to help create.

Vamos comer! (Let’s eat!)

Savory Treat: Pão de Queijo (cheese puffs)

Courtesy of Saveur
Courtesy of Saveur

These savory cheese puffs are crisp on the outside, rich and chewy on the inside. They’re a popular treat in Brazil for an afternoon snack or pre-meal nibble –although we think they’re also perfect for watching Futebol (soccer)!


  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 eggs


  1. Heat oven to 350°.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together tapioca starch, Parmesan, flour, salt, and yeast. Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until butter melts. Pour mixture into dry ingredients along with 1 egg and stir until dough forms; cover and let sit for 30 minutes.

Kids cook:

  1. Using a tablespoon, portion out dough and roll each into a ball. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spaced 2″ apart; beat remaining egg in a small bowl and brush balls with egg.
  2. Bake until browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

Makes 16

Sweet Treat: Brigadeiros (Chocolate fudge balls)

Courtesy of Saveur - world cup brigadeiros
Courtesy of Saveur

These fudgy truffles are a favorite dessert throughout Brazil. We say “Gooooaaallll” for the easy recipe and yummy sprinkles on top.


  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 (14 oz.) cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • 1 cup chocolate sprinkles


  1. Bring butter, cream, and milk to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add chocolate and cocoa powder, and reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is the consistency of dense, fudgy batter, about 16 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a bowl; let cool. Chill until set, at least 4 hours.

Kids Cook:

  1. Using a tablespoon, portion out fudge and roll into balls. Roll each ball in chocolate sprinkles until evenly coated.
  2. Chill until ready to serve.

Makes 2 dozen

All recipes courtesy of our friends at Saveur.

The Little Pim Kickstarter is Live!

Little Pim Kickstarter project

Little Pim Kickstarter

Aaaand we’re live! We’ve only got 30 days to make our goal, so let’s make ’em count. We can’t do this without your amazing support so click below to learn a little more about the Little Pim ebook Kickstarter, make your pledge, and share with your friends!

Here! Ici! Aquí! Click here!

What Is Kickstarter?

  1. It’s a website where anyone can pitch a creative project. So we’re pitching our ebook!
  2. If you think it’s a good idea, you can back the project. Donations of ALL sizes are welcome
  3. If you back a project with a donation, you get a reward! Our rewards, which would make great holiday gifts, include pre-orders of the ebook, getting your child drawn in as a character, and lots of other surprises in between…
  4. If we reach our goal, we get the funds we need to make the ebook and you get your rewards!
  5. If we don’t make our goal, we get nothing and you don’t get a reward. You also won’t be charged. It’s all or nothing on Kickstarter.

Little Pim Is Making an Ebook!

Little Pim goes around the world

pim-plane_cropLeaves may be starting to fall, but it’s still somehow hard to believe that the holiday season is nearly upon us again. As you know, giving your kids the gift of a foreign language early will have a positive impact for years to come… and so will introducing your kids to the cultures and countries that speak those languages. This holiday season Little Pim is making an ebook that will feature beautiful illustrations of our favorite panda visiting his friends in Mexico, France, Brazil, and China!


Unfortunately, airfare for pandas can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why we’ve decided to launch a Kickstarter to produce our first ever holiday ebook! The amazing rewards make perfect holiday gifts. Here’s a sneak peek at a few of our favorites:

  1. Pre-orders of the ebook! (Delivered in time for the holidays, naturally.)
  2. A special thank you included in every copy of the book!
  3. A copy of the ebook plus your child gets drawn in as a character! Wow!
  4. And lots of other surprises…

The campaign should be going live next week, so please keep your eyes peeled for updates… and tell your friends! We’ll be sharing more links and information in the coming weeks.

Looking back at some of our old blog posts, you can see that Little Pim has grown tremendously over the last few years, and your continued support will help us make our next big leap… over the ocean!

Brazilian Fun and My Boys’ Lemonade Stand MBA

young entrepreneurs and their business in action

The boys and their local business Emmett (8 yrs old): Mom, I want to go to Brazil for the World Cup next year.

Me: Well, that’s not going to happen. But here’s an idea… why don’t we save up for a bigger screen TV so we can watch it here and invite all your friends over?

Emmett: Great idea!

Me: Let’s also give part of the money to charity. We can send it to kids in Brazil via Save the Children.

Emmett: Awesome! When do we start?

Thus began my kids’ first lesson in entrepreneurship. Emmett and his little brother Adrian (5 1/2) ran their first lemonade stand outside our apartment for two weekends. And it also became a valuable lesson in geography, focusing on Brazil (the largest country in South American and the only one there that speaks Portuguese), and on charity, researching and donating to Save the Children.

We set a goal of earning $100 — they squeezed over 50 lemons and it took three lemonade stand outings to get there. We sold chocolate chip cookies, too, because when Emmett did the math, he realized he’d have to sell 100 cups of lemonade (or limonada as it’s called in Portuguese) at $1 to hit $100, but if only 40 of the customers bought cookies at the same time, we’d get to our goal twice as fast.

5 Business Take-Aways from the Lemonade Stand

  1. Starting with Why. Engage potential customers with your mission statement. People were more likely to buy when told that part of the proceeds were going to help kids in Brazil via Save the Children. Emmett and Adrian compared notes on their favorite Brazilian soccer players with their customers.
  2. The Human Factor. To run a business, you need to beef up your management skills. On the second day of the lemonade stand, Emmett’s little brother Adrian got upset because he was fired from his “loudspeaker” position (Emmett said Adrian’s constant “Lemonade! lemonade! lemonade!” was irritating). Adrian pouted and refused to participate for the rest of the day, so Emmett was down half his operation.
  3. Opportunity Cost. Save money if you can, but not at any cost. The boys created an estimated budget (cookie dough was estimated at a whopping $10!). But the day before the first lemonade stand, Emmett chose not to buy cups for $3 at Lot Less because he wanted to keep looking for cheaper. He was pleased with his thrifty decision until he was running out of time. In order to open on schedule, he had to buy cups from Gristedes for $5.
  4. Re-Branding. Know how to reel in your customers. After three days of gathering customer feedback, Emmett added farm-to-table flare to his “Lemonade” sign, changing it to “Fresh Squeezed Lemonade and Homemade Cookies.” His successful rebrand doubled the number of people who stopped by.
  5. Delivering Happiness. When you say, “Thank you for coming over” to your customers before they even buy anything, they are apt to buy more. And sometimes they give you $5 for a $1 cup of lemonade and say “keep the change!” Now THAT is sweet.

I don’t know if my boys will become entrepreneurs like their mom, but learning how to start a project, see it through, tweak it along the way for success, and the power of please and thank you (por favor and obrigado) are great lessons for kids at any age and for any career. Plus, the chance to explore other cultures and customs is always welcome in our home. And an added bonus: soon I’ll be able to watch the new season of GIRLS on a bigger screen TV.