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.

Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics

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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.

Geography

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!

Counting

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

Stats

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

Pokémon Go Guide for Parents with Young Kids

pokemon-go-kids

pokémon go for kidsEveryone is going Pokémon crazy with the release of Nintendo’s new app, Pokémon Go. As a parent of little ones, it’s important to learn about the pros and cons of this app before letting your kids dive in on the fun. We’ve been playing for almost a week – for research purposes only, we promise 😉 – and have seen the big phenomenon hit the streets of Manhattan and across the country. You’ve probably heard the news regarding the potential dangers of playing the game or perhaps you’ve downloaded the app yourself and can’t get enough. We’ve compiled some great tips about how to make Pokémon Go a fun, safe, and educational game to play with your little ones.

Protect Your iTunes or Google Play Password from Your Kids

Pokémon Go is free to download, but there are in-app purchases to buy PokéCoins for different items in the “Shop.” These purchases require you to login to your iTunes or Google Play account, so be sure your kids are not able to do so by disabling in-app purchases or keeping your password safe to avoid getting a huge bill at the end of the month. You and your family can still have all the fun for free as long as you play wisely to collect more items from PokéStops.

This app requires cellular data

Like many mobile apps, playing Pokémon Go will require use of your cell phone’s data, so hopefully you have an unlimited data plan or else you’ll probably start receiving texts from your carrier warning you that you’ve used a majority of your data this month. If you’re hitting the max data allowed per month, you may need to have your data turned off until the cycle restarts. Also, this app will do a number on your battery life. Make sure you’re fully charged before you head out the door or carry a charger with you.

Kids Playing Pokémon Go
Photo courtesy of J House Vlogs on YouTube

Make it Fun AND Educational

Playing the app can be rather simple once you understand what to do. You’re playing as the Pokémon trainer who collects Pokémon (cute, little “pocket monsters” with unique traits and skills) outside. The app connects to your GPS to show you your location and the whereabouts of Pokémon in the wild, nearby PokéStops, and gyms where you can virtually battle other players. At the end of the day, you and your kids could be walking miles on this virtual scavenger hunt while discovering local landmarks and small businesses that you’d normally never visit. This provides a great opportunity for kids to get outside and explore, with your supervision of course.

When you get to a PokéStop and it’s a historical landmark, spend time with your little ones to read about the landmark and start discussions about the history. Playing Pokémon Go during summer vacation can be a fun way to teach your kids about your local surroundings and to provide incentives to take trips to the library or museum for more typical summer learning. You can even use family trips to a local gym or PokéStop as an incentive for finishing a desired task or summer reading.

Always Be Aware of Your Surroundings

According the the AppStore and Google Play store, the recommended age to play is 9+ years due to a warning for “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence.” Our biggest concern is having little kids roaming the streets while looking down at their device (“distracted walking”) or being “lured” into a dangerous area, which is why we recommend that a parent or guardian is always present to supervise your children, especially your young ones when playing this app. Recent reports mentioned that players are using the “lures” (a feature used to lure more Pokémon to a location) to plan a robbery or to lure children. Always look up when walking and hold onto your kids when crossing a street or intersection. We recommend playing this game at your local park or an area where there is little traffic.

Another part of the game involves eggs that hatch into new Pokémon. When you collect an egg, you can incubate it by walking a certain distance (2 km, 5km, 10km) to make it hatch. We love that this feature gets you and your whole family outdoors walking instead of indoors on the couch. Different types of locations have different varieties of Pokémon, so you will have plenty of opportunities to explore fun spots with your kids, for example, when you visit a body of water such as a lake or river, you will see more water Pokémon.

It’s a Great Way to Make new Friends

Parents playing the app with their little ones will quickly notice they aren’t the only ones. When walking to a PokéStop or local museum or library that put out a lure to gather people for an event, you will most likely make a connection with another family. Since school is out, now’s the perfect time to get out there and meet other parents and children who have similar interests. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with your local area’s small business owners and support them by buying the family ice cream or a delicious pizza pie!

Due to the game’s diverse players, you’re probably going to meet a bunch of families who are also raising bilingual children. This gives your kids a great opportunity to practice speaking in their second language with other children their age.

Language Learning with Pokémon Go

Here at Little Pim, we’re all about making language learning fun, easy, and effective for young children. We thought of ways to tie in language learning into the game to keep their brains active all summer long.

Counting

You can have your kids count the number of steps to catch the Pokémon in the foreign language they are learning. If the Pokémon is further away, help them out with the bigger numbers and eventually they will learn all the numbers in the new language.

This app also forces you to learn the metric system as the distance to walk to hatch your eggs is in kilometers you can convert them to miles. A recent article by MentalFloss pointed out that according to Google Trends, searches for “how far is 2 km” and “how far is 5 km” spiked after July 6.

Vocabulary

Create your own flashcard set with a Pokémon Go theme. Choose vocabulary words that you encounter while playing the game, i.e. street, library, tree, ball, catch, throw, as well as all the related animal names you can think of. If you’re child is learning Japanese with Little Pim, teach them the 1st Generation Japanese and English Names:

[iframe id=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/8_gjbvAYhzw?rel=0″ align=”center” autoplay=”no”]

Explore New Cultures

NYC CulturesHere in New York City, we have an extraordinary mix of different cultures present within walking distance. For example, you can take a family trip over to Koreatown with your little language learns to get a glimpse of the Korean culture and enjoy the delicious cuisine at an authentic restaurant. Perhaps you’ll run into a nice family of native Korean speakers that are also playing the game to spark up a conversation so your child can practice speaking in Korean.

Head over to Little Italy to catch some Pokémon and practice your Italian by pronouncing the various food and restaurant names. Enjoy some delicious Italian cuisine when in the area.

Learn more about NYC’s ethnic neighborhoods from BusinessInsider to begin exploring this summer whether you’re a local or just visiting.

Have Fun and Be Safe

Outdoor play and social interactions for kids is great, but can also present risks. As a parent of little ones, we recommend you supervise your child’s cellphone use and play this fun game by their side. Make it a family activity and take the opportunity to teaKorean-For-Kidsch your kids about “stranger danger” and the risks of “distracted walking.” We hope you enjoyed reading this guide and wish you the best of luck in “catching them all!”

If you have any other tips for parents playing Pokémon Go with their kids, please comment below. Don’t forget that you can also take Little Pim with you during summer vacation with our digital downloads available in 12 languages. Your kids will be speaking a new language in no time with our unique approach. Learn more on our website or contact us during business hours. Enjoy the rest of your summer and stay safe!

 

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!

 

A Simple Guide: Which language is best for my child to learn?

languages-for-kids

Choice is an incredible gift. For parents, however, it is also paralyzing. When our choice regards our children’s education, we catalog every possible option, outcome, success, and worst-case result, don’t we? Little Pim applauds such parents who want desperately to choose what’s best for their child. We recognize how this deliberation is firmly rooted in love, so we not only gift you with choices, we also equip you with helpful tools to choose.

Seeing as multicultural awareness and the growing necessity for well-rounded children has never been as strong, we’re thankful for your interest in at least one of the 12 language programs we offer. You’ve likely had the thought: Which language is best for my child to learn? The following guide should help you confidently navigate your choice, as well as this important note.

Children aged 0-6 have brains best for learning up to three languages at once! If you can’t choose one, why not consider two or more? Your child will soon thank you for this choice between multiple languages learned. What a unique potential to influence our world!

Little Pim’s Twelve Language Programs:

Spanish

As the 2nd most common language in the United states, Spanish is one of the simplest languages for English-speaking children to learn and one of the most useful languages in the world for travel. There are over 414 million Spanish-speaking people in the world. Spanish lends well to learning other Latin-based languages in the future such as French and Italian. These languages all have Indo-European roots and share some characteristics that are present in Spanish but not English. Knowing Spanish can open up many job opportunities for your little ones, especially in the United States in healthcare or education industry.

Check out LeapFrog’s blog to learn about 10 benefits of teaching your child Spanish.

Frenchlittle-pim-for-kids

Did you know that French is the most widely studied language in the world? As the official language of over 29 countries, French is highly utilized in the world of higher learning, literature, culinary arts, and fashion. It is also recognized as an official language of the United Nations. There are also many words in the English language that have French origins, such as “rendezvous” or “cinema.”

French is also one of the foreign languages our founder, Julia Pimsleur, chose for her two boys, Emmett and Adrian. Adrian speaks fluent French and Emmett speaks some Spanish, French and Hebrew.

Mandarin Chinese

It’s the most widely spoken language in the world! An increasing demand for Mandarin-speaking employees is just one reason to start your child early! Spoken by over 1 billion people worldwide, Mandarin is an official language of the United Nations. Mandarin Chinese is tonal, which means that pitch is used to distinguish its lexical or grammatical meanings. The earlier a child begins to learn this language, the easier it is for them to pick up on the differences in tone and begin employing them correctly.

The latest trends we’ve seen at Little Pim are new parents choosing to teach their child Mandarin alongside romance languages like Spanish and/or French.

Russian

russian-3-pak-digital-downloadAs the official language of the former Soviet Union, Russian is still spoken in 15 European and Asian countries. Russian is spoken by almost 280 million people worldwide, and is an official language of the United Nations. It is the fifth most frequently spoken language in the world. International political developments and growing business opportunities with multinational companies have led to increased demand and opportunities for Russian speakers.

The Russian alphabet is easy to learn and only has 33 letters. It is a Cyrillic script, which is a writing system used for alphabets across Eastern Europe, as well as North and Central Asia. The Russian alphabet is wonderfully phonetic, making it even easier than English as the letters have a consistent pronunciation.

Italian

Italian remains one of the top 5 languages studied in US colleges. Over 7,500 businesses correspond with Italy hosting over 1,000 US firms. If you’re child is a musician or music lover, he or she will love learning Italian. Did you know that Italian is the language with the highest number of words for naming food, restaurants, dishes, and produce? For more reasons to learn Italian, check out The Italian Academy’s article on the “Top 10 Reasons to Learn Italian.”

German

teaching-german-for-kidsAs the 10th most spoken language in the world, this language has English roots. Phew! There are thousands of words that are closely related known as “cognates.” Why not try this language long-associated with academia and science. Knowing German also increases business opportunities as Germany is the #1 export nation in the world.

Japanese

Almost every nation in the world includes some aspect of Japanese culture and commerce. Tourists flock to Japan annually, supping from its offerings and influence. Japanese is the 9th most spoken language in the world, with 128 million speakers. Japan has the 2nd largest economy in the world, which leads to increased demand for Japanese speaking experts. Learning Japanese may also inspire your child to learn the other Asian languages we offer such as Korean or Mandarin Chinese.

Arabic

As an official language of the United Nations, Arabic is the most widely spoken Semitic language. Arabic is spoken by roughly 300 million people. Many English words have Arabic roots; words like ‘candy,’ and ‘spinach.’ Yum! According to AmericanCounsels.org, “In the last 15 years, U.S. government agencies have expressed a much greater need for Arabic speakers to address the complex political, military, and economic questions surrounding U.S. engagement in the Middle East and North Africa.”

hebrew for young childrenHebrew

Over 10 million people speak Hebrew daily. Worldwide, millions more study Hebrew for both religious and cultural reasons. If you or your little ones plan to travel to Israel, learning Hebrew will definitely come in handy as it’s the national language. Israel is also one of one fastest-growing high-tech economies in the world. Learning Hebrew can be easy and fun, especially with Little Pim by your side.

Portugueseportuguese-for-kids

Welcome to the language of the Southern Hemisphere! Because this language is rarely studied, speaking it is an incredibly marketable skill. Did you know that Portuguese is the 6th most spoken language in the world, with 215 million native speakers?

By learning Portuguese, your kids will have a much easier time picking up any of the other romance languages like Spanish, French, or Italian since they all have Latin roots.

Korean

Korean is currently growing in popularity due to South Korea’s powerful economy, geopolitical importance, art and culture. There are over 80 million Korean speakers in the world and the Korean culture is like no other. Many people choose to study Korean because they fell in love with the culture. Korea is famous for K-pop music and Korean dramas. For more reasons, check out our blog post on why your child should learn Korean.

English

Little Pim’s most popular language program outside the United States in our English/ESL program. After Chinese and Spanish, English is the world’s most spoken language with over 335 million speakers worldwide.

Learning a second language can be fun, easy, and effective with Little Pim. Language learning should always be a positive experience and cannot be rushed. Remember to praise your little ones for speaking in the second language. Teaching your child a foreign language can be a great way to give your child a head start and prepare him or her for the global economy.

For more extensive explanations, you can read further here. And of course, please do not hesitate to comment below contact us with any questions.

Why Bilingualism is Crucial to Your Child’s Future

bilingualism-child-future

The world is getting smaller and smaller. Jet liners, bullet trains, the internet and new international markets are blurring the lines on our old maps. Our future is changing. The world that our children grow into isn’t going to be the one of ours or our parents. That’s why it’s time to take the future seriously. Parents, grandparents and teachers need to put on their “game faces” and have a serious talk about bilingualism.

When a child is bilingual, their mind opens up to an entirely new world. We know that in this ever-changing global economy, those fluent in more than one language have better odds at a brighter future. The United States has seen a rapid change in language and culture over the last century that has facilitated the growth of professional bilingualism in the public and private sectors.

To put it into layman’s terms: bilingualism = jobs.

Translators have always been an important component at every level of government and business. But translating isn’t the only profession that requires the mastery of another language. Today, educators and medical professionals often find themselves in situations that require the use of a language other than their native tongue.

Complex global affairs have caused leaders to identify a need for bilingual talent within the government. Corporate outsourcing has increased the amount of multilingual interactions in the business world. Many nations around the world are rising as economic superpowers – such as Russia, China, and India – and to learn the languages of such nations increases the desirability of any potential hire.

You must be wondering…how are these things relevant to my child now? 

Foreign language careers are on the rise. When your bright-eyed three-year old graduates from college, she’ll enter into a job market in which multilingualism is a highly sought after skill. Research done by Korn/Ferry International stated that over 66% of North American recruiters felt that being bilingual would become extremely important over the next 10 years. Today, many HR departments require eligible candidates to be bilingual. If you look on any job posting website, you will likely see hundreds of jobs – even part-time work – that require bilingual candidates.

Language learning should start young. Adults can learn languages, but as our brains mature they tend to over-analyze. This makes it incredibly difficult for many adults to pick up a second language. Young children don’t have this problem. According to a study at MIT, children go through a “sensitive period” for language learning that lasts until puberty. Between birth and five years of age, the human brain is hard-wired for learning multiple languages*. After age five, this critical window begins to close and it gets much harder to acquire a new language and a good accent.*

Language learning is proven to “feed the mind.” Learning another language gives kids an educational edge over monolingual peers. Longitudinal studies at Harvard suggested that language learning “increases critical thinking skills, creativity, and flexibility in children.” Speaking more than one language can help kids with planning and problem solving. It also helps children with attention and cognition. According to Psychology Today, children in bilingual environments perform better on standardized tests and have better academic performance in general.

To give your kids a leg up in a competitive educational environment as well as the job market, it’s imperative that language immersion starts now.

Getting your child started in language learning can give them the skills they need for a secure future. At Little Pim, we’re here to help you through that journey by giving you the tools that you need. If you have questions about how Little Pim could benefit your child, or about the benefits of language learning, don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below today.

Ways to Sneak Language Learning in Family Summer Fun

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summer-games-kids

In the days before air conditioning and electronics, outdoor family games were a staple of summer evenings. Many times these activities involved both the adults and children, but more often the kids played while the grownups chat and relax. Often the whole neighborhood was involved. Depending on where you lived, you could hear happy voices calling out in Spanish, English, French, and many other languages as well.

Fireflies twinkled in the gathering dark, cool breezes offered relief from the heat of the day, and everyone was ready to unwind and enjoy good company, and good fun, in the late summer evenings. Music rang out, with one adult playing guitar while others sang favorite songs from their cultures.

You can readily update this time-honored tradition, bring in some nostalgia, and further your child’s bilingual education. Following are some family favorites, along with suggestions on ways to help your kids learn a second language.

Badminton – Look for a set at your local sports shop or discount store to bring back Badminton for a fun family outdoor activity. Try keeping score in the second language.

Volleyball – Use your Badminton net for dual purpose and enjoy some fun while teaching the children new skills. Call out vocabulary words and instructions in a second language as the family plays Volleyball together. If you have little ones, use a balloon and try not to let it hit the ground by gently tapping it up and counting to practice your numbers.

Horseshoes – All you need is a stake in the ground and some used horseshoes, or you can buy a set. What is the word for horse in the second language? Practice animal and nature vocabulary in the second language while playing the fun yard game.

Frisbee – Toss around a frisbee and let the family dog join in. Each time someone catches the frisbee they must say a word or phrase from a chosen them in the second language. For younger children, you can say the word in the second language and have your child repeat after you on every throw.

Sidewalk Chalk – There are so many possibilities with sidewalk chalk. Your kiddos will love drawing on the driveway! Get creative and add in language learning activities by playing ‘pictionary’ outdoors with chalk so your little ones can guess the drawing in the second language. Another fun activity would be to draw the map of the language’s country of origin or have the kids draw and color in the country’s flag.

roasting-marshmallowCampfire – Make a fire in a fire pit or other safe area and sing camp songs or tell stories while roasting marshmallows. Bring out the guitar or maracas for even more fun. What songs can you introduce in a second language? Check our Little Pim Spanish Bop and French Bop on our website. You can download your copy instantly to make summer travel a lot more fun!

Now, look back to when you were a child and recreate some of your best summer fun with your kids. How can you involve your children in the culture, memories, and the language of your childhood or the language and culture your kids and family are learning? Time together is how we make lasting memories that children will cherish.

Current brain research and best educational practices show that active, hands-on learning and parental involvement is an unbeatable combination to help further a child’s ability to grasp and retain knowledge. Comment below for more information on Little Pim’s award-winning language learning program for kids ages 0-6.

To make summer travel a lot easier and fun for the little ones, check out our post on Summer Travel Tips with Kids.

8 Do’s and Don’ts of Raising a Multilingual Baby

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kids-language-learningThe benefits of raising a multilingual child are plenteous. From improved cognitive performance to increased marketability in the future workforce, the multilingual child has the advantage over his/her peers and in life.

Parents can begin the process of teaching their child languages from infancy! Research done by Dr. April Benasich, Little Pim Advisor and Director of the Infancy Studies Laboratory at the Center for Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers University has revealed babies learn languages in a different manner than a person who already knows a language. Those individuals learn a new language primarily through memorization, studying what letters make what sounds, and so on. On the contrary, a baby’s brain unconsciously follows sound patterns, changes in pitch, stress, or tone, and identifies slight changes.

According to various studies, teaching your child new languages between the ages of birth and five years old is the best time to accomplish this goal. Here are our 8 do’s and don’ts of raising a multilingual baby:

Do’s

  • – Make learning languages fun and creative, implementing multilingual videos, flashcards, storybooks, songs, and games (the latter as is appropriate for the age).
  • – Use the immersion technique. Since young children are able to differentiate between phonemes, which are the “sound elements or building blocks of language,” it makes sense that immersing them into an environment where they are continually hearing the language, teaches them effectively.
  • – Create a routine that you and the whole family can consistently stick with. Language learning videos, storybooks, and singing can be weaved into a routine for your child, making the whole concept of learning languages familiar and fun.
  • – Help your older (speaking) child to find opportunities to use his or her newly developed skills in the acquired language. This will build confidence, as well as give practice.

Don’ts

  • – Don’t judge the progress of your child’s advancement by what you see now. Even if your child is not speaking yet, the brain is absorbing the sound patterns, and it is creating new pathways that some day will be evident.
  • – Don’t make learning stressful with either a lot of rigorous-looking “work” or stressful because of your attitude as a parent. Although, you may have the routine you want to be consistent with, keep things light and fun. The whole process should be viewed positively. This is accomplished by using interesting, colorful foreign language materials.
  • – Don’t push your child too hard or too fast. As stated in the Do’s section, using the immersion technique with good quality material will acclimate your child to the language naturally.
  • – Don’t worry if you notice your child is mixing up languages – this is normal when learning another language. Over time, your child will get it straightened out.

multilingual-kidsLearning a second or third language is so much easier for a child, and in today’s world it is fast becoming a necessity to know more than one language. Many parents are taking the step to introduce their child to the wonderful world of language(s).

Little Pim’s award-winning language learning program has successfully helped many children on their journey. Parents are amazed at how wonderful the program works with their child. “Entertaining and engaging” are just some of the words used to express the learning materials. If you would like to learn more about this program, please comment below or contact us today!

Need Summer Travel Tips with Kids? Little Pim to the Rescue!

summer-travel

Tell a parent there’s an unanticipated three-hour car ride or plane trip in the near future, and in five minutes flat you’ll find a lined bag busting with tissue, snacks, coloring utensils, and the child’s comfort item of choice. Relief, however, will be not be found. Why? It takes this bag just to get to the grocery store!

If there’s one thing capable of infusing fear, hesitancy, and anxiety into an upcoming summer adventure, it’s traveling with kids. What we hope is an exciting and restful experience, can often become a melting pot of opposites. Fortunately, Little Pim has come to the rescue!

Not only has Little Pim created learning tools proven to plant seeds of exploration, joy, and an expanded worldview into the youngest of children, the tools offered are as transferable to travel as to an afternoon at home. If you’re looking for tips for Summer travel with kids, the following products will do the trick.

Colorful flashcards

Use these flashcards to familiarize your kids with sights and sounds discovered along your way. Play a guessing game or have your children quiz each other. To play, point to a flashcard and your child has to say the word in the language he or she is learning. If your child is having trouble remembering the word, you can say the word language-learning-for-kidsand he or she can point out the card. Before starting, read through the flashcards, pointing to each as your child repeats after you so it sinks into his or her memory.

Reward your child when they get 5 correct with a small treat like a gummy bear for example. Little Pim flashcards are really easy to travel with and make long trips with kids fun & educational for the whole family!

italian-for-kidsEngaging videos

Thank you, technology! Rest assured your kids are learning while you’re resting, enjoying while you’re planning, and engaging while you’re focusing on what’s next. Each of our videos has a unique child friendly theme, such as eating, playtime and feelings. Our Entertainment Immersion Method® is based on how children naturally acquire language.

The videos are segmented into 5-minute episodes to accommodate a young child’s attention span. The more your child watches, the more they learn. Simple sentences are broken down and are reinforced through repetition by native speakers.

 

Vocabulary scripts

Whether traveling to a foreign country where shopping and touring elicits perfect opportunities to put new languages into practice, or just a state away to visit family, these scripts and companion guides will help your family enjoy not only the vacation, but the book-ending miles. Memorize a conversation and pretend you are in the nation where the language is native. Discuss fun facts about the place.

Little Pim Plushlanguages-for-kids

Whether this panda is involved in a learning activity, or your child just needs some comforting to fend off travel-sickness and tears, this plush friend delights to come along.

For more fun tips, products, answers and ideas, please contact us. We look forward to hearing how Little Pim helped replace your stress with rest this Summer!

 

4 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child Spanish

spanish-for-babies

spanish for kidsWith Cinco de Mayo around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start teaching your child Spanish! Cinco de Mayo commemorates the unlikely 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the French army in the Battle of Puebla. Celebrations around Mexico and the United States highlight Mexican culture, cuisine, and music.

We’ve compiled a few Spanish vocabulary words that follow the theme of the festivities, as well as 4 fun ways to teach your child Spanish!

La batalla – battle
La revolucion – revolution
La bandera – flag
El heroe – hero
La independencia – independence
La victoria – victory

Teaching your child Spanish has benefits that go beyond the obvious advantage of a bilingual child; the opportunity to strengthen your bond with your child as you work together learning a new language is invaluable. As you and your child begin the journey of learning Spanish, remember to have fun. According to research, learning actually takes place best when the child is having fun. Here are 4 fun ways to teach children Spanish:

Music

Music is an excellent way to aid in memory. John Hopkins University had this to report, “Music can also create a highly focused learning state in which vocabulary and reading material is absorbed at a great rate. When information is put to rhythm and rhyme these musical elements will provide a hook for recall.”

Spanish Bop album with lyrics. 15 fun children songs for children.Little Pim’s Spanish Bop will have your whole family singing while learning Spanish at the same time! And don’t worry if you don’t know Spanish–the album comes with a 16-page lyrics book that highlights vocabulary from our Spanish video series and includes an English translation of all the songs. Incorporating Spanish music in your lessons is definitely helpful for gaining your little one’s attention and makes language learning fun!

Visuals

Research reveals that the mind is able to process visuals 60,000 times faster in the brain than textual information. Simply put, your child will learn more quickly and effectively when visuals are a big part of the learning model. By utilizing pictures, flashcards, videos, and board books, the information will solidify in his/her mind.

Games

Everyone loves a fun game. Furthermore, for the tactile learner (which is the child who learns through touching and doing), games are a tremendous way to connect positive experiences with the act of learning the language. Depending on the age of the child, you will have to modify the games. Here are a few suggestions for an older child.

Once the child knows a few basic words (learned from the Little Pim videos or flashcards), set flashcards on the floor in a path leading to a surprise, treat, or just a big hug. The object of the game is the child says either the word in Spanish or tells you the translation (what it means in English). As they advance along the path, they pick up the cards and if they get the right answer, they move on to the next card until they win by reaching the end.

A variation of the game above is to use the flashcards, but for each one that the child gets right, he or she can put a stuffed animal in the “zoo” (a sectioned off area you designate to be a zoo) to be with all its friends. When she gets all the animals in the zoo, then the game is over.

Play a Spanish song that your child knows pretty well, then periodically pause the CD for your child to fill in the missing word.
To add some child fitness exercises to the mix, you could make learning new words into an action game. For each word your little one is able to say, they get to do a jumping jack, hop like a bunny, or some other fun action your child enjoys!

You can also try this free online game from Scholastic: Spanish Heritage – Piñata Game

Multicultural Events

Learning about the Spanish culture, experimenting with Mexican foods, and even taking a trip to Mexico are also wonderful ways to immerse your child in the experience of the Mexican culture. As the child identifies with and learns about the culture, he or she will have a more well-rounded educational experience.

Learning the Spanish language is an asset for children. Making it enjoyable goes a long way in making it stick in the child’s mind. At Little Pim, we produced the #1 language learning program for kids ages 0-6 and products such as flashcard sets and board books to make language learning fun for little ones.