3 Ways to Make Bastille Day As Much Fun As the Fourth of July

French for Kids

Bastille Day for KidsBastille Day is upon us! This July 14th presents a perfect opportunity to get you and your young ones excited about language learning through some French culture. While the topic of the French Revolution may seem like a dry subject to your average 0-6 year old, (or even to you), here are some great tips about how to make this another fun-filled summer holiday:

1. Build A Fort

The French working class stormed the Bastille, the prison, to gather ammunition stored there. 

Grab your kids and build a fort with lots of blankets and cushions and voilà you have your own make-believe Bastille. Make the password to enter to the fort a French word to incorporate some vocabulary. If the kids are having fun, you can quickly grab some French-inspired snacks to munch on inside the fort, like Brie cheese and crackers or macaroons. If you have the time and want to try your hand at some more serious preparation and cooking, check this these French recipes via Betty Crocker. This is the perfect Bastille Day activity if it’s raining outside or if you want to escape the sweltering heat.

2. Go Down To the Tennis Courts (or Out to the Sidewalk)

Soon after the storming of the Bastille, the members of the Third Estate, (working class men), were locked out of the Estates General meeting, which was supposed to be an assembly of all the French classes. They retreated to the nearby indoor tennis court and took an oath that demanded a new constitution.

If your family is on vacation or has access to a tennis court, bring the kids with you and have them make up their own game with the balls and/or racquets. This game can act as their very own constitution for the “republic of the tennis court.” Even if there isn’t a tennis court around, you can use some chalk to draw a small court on the sidewalk. This would be a great time to introduce your kiddos to some French sports vocabulary. Also, if the game is more active, you can have your kids “warm up” with some hops and jumping jacks, counting out loud how many they are doing in French. The “I Can Count” lesson from our French for Kids program (Vol II, Video 6) can help refresh their French counting skills.

3. Have a Picnic and Mini ParadeFrench Macaroons

On Bastille Day in France, there is a huge parade along the Champs-Élysées.

Picnic in the park and have the walk back be a mock parade. You can get the little ones excited by breaking out the red, white, and blue attire from the fourth of July- luckily American and French national colors are the same. For some red, white, and blue food options to bring on the picnic, refer to the previous Fourth of July blog posting! As you are picking out the clothes or preparing the food, you have the perfect chance to teach the kids the French words for various colors. Additionally, the Little Pim flashcards or coloring sheets are a great post-picnic activity in the park.

What’s Happening in NYC?

Here in our home of NYC, there are some more official celebrations all around the city. For more information visit TimeOut’s”Bastille Day in NYC” guide.

We, here at Little Pim, hope you and your whole family make great memories this Bastille Day while also getting a taste of France’s lively culture. We hope we can join you in helping your children experience more of the world!

 

Spring Ahead With A Fantastic Family Road Trip Playlist

playlist baby

playlist baby

Spring flowers, sunny skies, and the hints of warm weather that come with the change of seasons practically call out for a family road trip. So pack up your kids and put everyone in the traveling mood with our playlist of recent hits and classic songs from around the globe. Actually, no matter if you’re spring day tripping, spring cleaning, or simply have a spring dance party in your living room, our playlist will make you want to get up and groove.

And if Spring makes you as “Happy” as a “house without a roof” (our pick for favorite spring song), check out this link to folks around the world doing their own “Happy” dance. It’s a great way to let your kids get a glimpse of spots reaching from Aix to Zagreb, and literally everywhere in-between (96 countries have participated thus far!).

Want even more musical inspiration? Little Pim’s Spanish Bop and French Bop are perfect to keep the music going all the way into summer.

So what are you waiting for? Plug in some speakers and let the spring music start!

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

The Holiday Ebook Is Here!

little pim holiday ebook cover

little pim holiday ebook on amazon

Yup, that’s our holiday ebook in the Kindle store! It’s hard to believe that a little over 2 months ago, Around the World with Little Pim was basically just an idea. We launched our Kickstarter campaign with crossed fingers, and now here we are: fully funded with our holiday ebook on Amazon just in time for the holidays.

But enough reminiscing…

little pim holiday ebook coverThe Little Pim holiday ebook is finally a reality and we really hope you enjoy it. We have sent Little Pim to France, Mexico, Brazil, and China to sample some tasty holiday treats and learn about how other countries and cultures celebrate the winter holidays. Join him on this delicious adventure and you might just pick up a few new words in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese!

If you could go on a holiday food tour like Little Pim, where would you go?

Allons Chanter! French Sing Along at the Brooklyn Library

Little Pim plays music

Come one, come all to Little Pim’s latest French Sing Along at the Brooklyn Library!

Little Pim French Sing AlongOn Saturday, October 5th, from 1-1:45pm, join Little Pim and friends for a French Sing Along at The Brooklyn Central Public Library! This free activity will be fun for French-speaking and non-French-speaking families alike. Your kids will be able to sing, dance, and shake maracas along to some of their favorite French Bop songs… and maybe even learn some new ones!

Singers and guitarists will be leading the performance of French Little Pim songs. Your kids will love the singing and dancing, and will learn some French too! We look forward to seeing you there!

Address: 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (Easily accessible to the 2 and 3 trains)

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.

New Release: A Second Set of Flash Cards!

little pim eating chocolate

You might notice something new when you shop Spanish, French, or Chinese today.

Okay, go down… up… a little to the right… there! Our second volume of flash cards is out! Do you see them?

This beautiful set of cards is chock-full of brand new images of Little Pim ready to teach kids some of the new words that appear in the second volume of Little Pim videos. They can be used on their own or along with the videos (“at home,” “feelings,” and “let’s count!”) to teach and reinforce words related to mealtime, playtime, and emotions.

The new illustrations are so cute, we couldn’t resist showing some of them off. These are a few of our staff favorites:

And by the way, the first volume of flash cards is coming soon in Arabic and Portuguese!

National Teacher Day Memoirs

Guest blogger Thea Hogarth currently works in product development in Little Pim, and today shares some of her experiences as an English teacher in France.  She taught in France during the 2011-2012 academic year.

Today is National Teacher Day, and it’s hard to imagine that almost exactly a year ago today, I was preparing to leave behind a year of teaching English in France.  This time last year, I was attempting to pack an entire bedroom’s worth of stuff into a suitcase.  I had spent the previous eight months assistant teaching English in three primary schools in the French city of Angers with the French Éducation Nationale’s TAPIF program… and I was exhausted.  Mind you, I had no reasonable excuse: I worked 12 hours a week and got two weeks of vacation for six weeks of school (totaling a whopping two full months!).  Plus I was living smack in the middle of a wine region in the Loire Valley; I was living, by definition, the good life.

A student-drawn portrait of meBut many of my students weren’t.  Two out of my three schools were officially classified as being in the ZEP (Zone d’Education Prioritaire), the French classification for high poverty schools – the kind of environment that can really wear a teacher down.  I entered the school year expecting my students to be little French angels, enchanted by the idea of meeting an American straight from New York.  And, indeed, my first few classes were peppered with adorable questions along the lines of, “Do you have to take an airplane home after school everyday?” but my novelty quickly wore off.  Many of my students were born outside of France and were already familiar enough with the experience of the foreigner.  Class time with me quickly became an opportunity to throw paper at the back of my head, imitate me to my face, and kick me in the shins (who knew how easily Simon Says could become a contact sport!).  By the beginning of my second week, I was taking breaks to secretly cry between classes.

Yes, I was basically living the first half of “Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit,” but with 8-year-olds… and in France.  And, yes, my story also has a reasonably happy ending.  By the end of the year, we had grown accustomed to each other; we had learned each other’s boundaries, but more importantly, we had learned to laugh together.  Teachers in the ZEP and in schools around the world work hard to create safe, supportive classroom environments – becoming masters of the alchemy of turning aggression and frustration into laughter and trust.

As I said goodbye to the kids who made me cry, one boy came up to me on the playground and pulled this note out of his sleeve (transcribed exactly as written): “Dear Théa, We miss you already, you are fantastic.  We were happy end when you were in our class room.  We wish you good holidays.  Hello Théa good bay thea!”  Undoubtedly, he and his classmates had put their heads together to compose this masterpiece (with outside help, I’m sure), and I was grateful.  Of course I was thrilled by this somewhat unexpected display of affection, but more than that, I was gratified that they had created something for me in English even though they knew I understood French.  They had reached across a gulf much larger than that between teacher and student.

Today, of all days, I’m thinking back not only on my year in France, but also on all the amazing teachers who made my experience in France possible.  My engaging, imaginative French teachers ultimately enabled me to apply (and be accepted) to this teaching program, and inspired me to smile through the tears.  Today, let’s all think about the amazing educators in this country and around the world who practice patience and compassion to create a classroom environment that is both supportive and inspiring.

Teach your child French – soccer, summer and sun!

“His name is Mouadh and he is from Tunisia but he lives in Rennes!” our seven year old Emmett reported breathlessly, fresh from a game of soccer on the beach with his new friend.

While on vacation in France this summer, I was reminded why it’s so important to us to take our kids abroad. Though international trips admittedly present greater challenges than vacationing in the U.S. – like the expense, jet lag, and unfamiliar foods – the chance for our kids to see how other people live, encounter other cultures, tastes and languages makes it high on our list of priorities. We feel traveling abroad gives them a sense of being world citizens that will broaden their opportunities and help them excel as human beings. I lived in France for seven years as an adult, and my husband lived in Israel for three years. We both feel those were some of our best life experiences, and want our kids to have a taste for seeing the world too.

Soccer on the beach

 

Emmett speaks decent French and fluent soccer, the international language of boys. During our two weeks in France (and with a little prompting from us) he kicked soccer balls with a pair of Austrian boys at the Eiffel Tower, taught American football to Barnabé, a French kid who lives near Chartres, and held a regular soccer match on the beach with Mouadh, a Tunisian boy living in France. Emmett and Mouadh communicated in a mix of French and English; Mouadh spoke the best English of anyone in his family and loved learning English. We were very touched when he, his mother and two sisters came to the beach specially to find us to say goodbye. They were leaving for Rennes, heading back in time for Ramadan. That’s how Emmett learned what Ramadan is and we had a great conversation about Islam and Muslim practices.

kids park resized 600

As I write this at 2:30AM (up with jet lag!) and know our whole family will be tired for the next few days, it helps to remember Mouadh, the Austrian boys and Barnabé – and the reasons we choose going abroad over going local.

 

Halle Berry’s Bilingual Tot

I was recently forwarded a “thank you” note from Halle Berry for a Jewels & Pinstripes Birthday Bag her daughter Nahla received that contained a Little Pim Deluxe French Gift Set!

Halle Berry and her partner Gabriel Aubry are raising their daughter bilingual in both French and English.

Babycenter.com recently reported on how little Nahla’s language learning is going.

“While out for dinner last night at Malibu’s Nobu restaurant with her mom and dad, 18-month-old Nahla was overheard speaking en français. A worker at the restaurant says, ‘The little girl was pointing at the colourful drinks in the cooler and speaking French, like ‘Papa!’ and ‘Regard!'”

Trés bien,Nahla!


Little Pim French Word & Phrase Cards

$14.95 $12.95Special Introductory Price! [link removed]

Spanish Music CD for young children

 

This handsomely boxed set of sixty beautifully illustrated flash cards features Little Pim the panda and introduces basic words and phrases
This handsomely boxed set of sixty beautifully illustrated flash cards features Little Pim the panda and introduces basic words and phrases in Spanish (or in French). One side of each card includes a translation and phonetic transcription for adults; the other is the drawing alone. Each card indicates the Little Pim DVD on which the word or phrase is introduced.

The Little Prince: Growing Roots

Chapter 18 of The Little Prince is as rich with meaning as chapters one and three. My blog series featuring the iconic French children’s book has allowed me to explore the text with new eyes.

The passage below describes a melancholy exchange between the Little Prince and a flower. The Little Prince, always full of questions, wants to know where all the people are. The flower’s answer is simple: “The wind blows them away. They have no roots…”.

In 2007 the U.S. census reported that the average American will move 11.7 times in their lifetime. To most a passport full of colorful stamps is a most coveted possession. My children have both visited France with me and I look forward to more trips in the future.

Would the flower in The Little Prince look down on us? I think not. The roots that come to mind when the flower speaks are those of personal conviction. One’s truth. What are your values? What do you stand for? What truths do you hold dear? Those are our roots.

Thomas Kempis, a medival monk, once said, “Wherever you go, you will always bear yourself about with you, and so you will always find yourself.” Travel the world, learn languages, eat exotic foods but remember to do deeply rooted in who you are.

Le Petit Prince: Chapter 18 (en Français)

Le petit prince traversa le désert et ne rencontra qu’une fleur. Une fleur à trois pétales, une fleur de rien du tout…

“Bonjour,” dit le petit prince.

“Bonjour” dit la fleur.

“Où sont les hommes ?” demanda poliment le petit prince.

La fleur, un jour, avait vu passer une caravane:

“Les hommes ? Il en existe, je crois, six ou sept. Je les ai aperçus il y a des années. Mais on ne sait jamais où les trouver. Le vent les promène. Ils manquent de racines, ça les gêne beaucoup.”

“Adieu, fit le petit prince.”

“Adieu, dit la fleur.”

The Little Prince: Chapter 18 (in English)

The little prince crossed the desert and met with only one flower. It was a flower with three petals, a flower of no account at all.

“Good morning,” said the little prince.

“Good morning,” said the flower.

“Where are the men?” the little prince asked, politely.

The flower had once seen a caravan passing.

“Men?” she echoed. “I think there are six or seven of them in existence. I saw them, several years ago. But one never knows where to find them. The wind blows them away. They have no roots, and that makes their life very difficult.”

“Goodbye,” said the little prince.

“Goodbye,” said the flower.