Celebrate Columbus Day with Little Pim

columbus day marinara sauce

columbus day marinara sauce“In fourteen hundred and ninety two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue….”

This childhood ditty is often what first comes to mind when you hear it’s Columbus Day. But there’s more to the day, which became a Federal holiday in 1934, than the basic facts of the catchy song. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate Columbus’ Italian roots, and the holiday is an important part of Italian-American heritage.  Many Italian Americans festeggiare (celebrate) the day by watching or participating in a parade (New York City’s is the largest in the world), enjoying traditional Italian foods, and of course, recounting the amazing tale of Christopher Columbus’ journey to discover the New World. (Kids especially love to hear about the voyage of Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria.)

It’s also a great excuse for any family to practice Italian and cook up a feast.

Get started by having kids, grandparents, parents — anyone who’s at home — whip up Marinara Sauce, which translates to “the sauce of the sailors” in Italian. It’s the perfect way to celebrate Columbus Day with your whole family. Have the kids help in the kitchen by adding seasonings to the pot and stirring the sauce (with adult supervision of course). Mangia! (Eat up!)


  1. In a large pot, sauté one chopped onion in three tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Add 3 cloves of chopped garlic, ½ a teaspoon of dried oregano and ½ a teaspoon of dried basil. Cook until garlic softens, 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Add 1 large can of diced tomatoes (29 oz) and 1 large can of tomato puree (29 oz), season with salt and pepper and 2 tablespoon of sugar. Stir frequently while sauce comes to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve over any pasta shape you like best.

(adapted from Around The World Cookbook by Abigail Johnson Dodge)

The Portuguese Complete Set is Finally Here!

Little Pim Portuguese for Kids


…but you won’t have to wait for it that much longer! Portuguese DVDs and flashcards are set to hit the warehouse any day now, and we’re as excited as you are. So, starting this week, Little Pim will be accepting pre-orders on the Portuguese Complete Set:

Little Pim Portuguese for Kids

Orders will start shipping on October 15th, but if you’ve been waiting for this day, why wait any longer? Before you know it, your kids could be asking, “Outra Vez!” Each Portuguese Complete Set includes the first volume of Little Pim DVDs (“eating and drinking,” “wake up smiling,” and “playtime”), the brand new Portuguese flashcards, a colorful multi-lingual poster, and the classic, soft Little Pim plush. To start a little smaller with your child’s learning, the Discovery Set is also available for pre-order in Portuguese.

This is a magical time for new products, so stay tuned for more exciting announcements!

Make a Peace Crane for International World Peace Day

world peace day paper crane

Learning a new language makes the world feel like a smaller place: being able to communicate in a foreign language helps kids make new friends both when they’re traveling and here at home while giving them insight into cultures around the globe. These basic principles are the heart of the International Day of Peace created by the United Nation and held every September 21, the fall equinox.

With “Education as Peace” as their motto, the United Nation’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says, “Education has to cultivate mutual respect for others and the world in which we live, and help people forge more just, inclusive and peaceful societies.”

A fun and easy way to participate in this World Peace Day is to create a “Peace Crane” with your children. Directions are below:

Make a Peace Crane Project

1. Find a piece of paper (any type of paper can work, but lighter weight ones will fold more easily)

2. Cut the paper into a perfect square.

3. Write words of peace on one side of the paper. Here are a few ways to say “peace” in Little Pim languages: Paz (Spanish), Paix (French), Frieden (German), Shalom (Hebrew), Pace (Italian), Salam (Arabic)

4. Create an image of peace on the other side of your paper square. (Markers, crayons, or colored pencils will work best, allowing the paper to be folded without smudging or cracking)

5. Fold your paper into an origami crane following the detailed folding instructions here.

6. Exchange your Peace Crane with friends, or give them to a member of your community. Or send a picture of Peace Crane to PeaceCraneProject.org and they’ll add you to their map.


(Instructions courtesy of PeaceCraneProject.org)

New School Year Resolutions: 5 Smart Ways to Start the School Year

September is the time to make New Year’s resolutions, new year of school resolutions that is. You’re starting with a clean slate, literally, so jump on the chance to start the semester off right with our 5 tips to a more productive year.

  1. Routine Rules – Kids thrive on routine— knowing when to get up, what time to do homework, when dinner is– helps them build a schedule that gets them through their day with ease. Be sure to include reading with your children (including looking at pictures and talking about them) as part of your routine. Children learn more vocabulary and do better in school when their parents read with them regularly (US Department of Education).
  2. Resolve to Learn a Foreign Language – It’s never too early to start teaching children a second language. Not only is it easier for babies and preschoolers to master accents and absorb foreign languages, but later in life, multilingual adults “are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas” (Time Magazine).
  3. Choose to win – With as many activities as there are Legos in a bin, the choice of how to spend after-school time can become overwhelming – when you’re stuck, childhood experts say choose quality over quantity: Limit young children to one or two after school classes a week, and choose what will make the most impact down the line and give your child the best start in life, such as a language they’ll be able to use for the rest of their lives.
  4. Get More Zzzzzs – The National Sleep Foundation recommends a minimum of 10 hours of sleep every night for grade schoolers, 11 hours for preschoolers, and 12 hours for 1 to 3 year olds. Plus, studies show that children who have consistent bed times scored better on cognitive tests throughout grade school. The old adage about “early to bed” making you “wise” really was right!
  5. Accentuate the positive – When you talk about school, make sure to make it sound like a treat — a special place where kids get to make new friends, have fun new experiences, and learn amazing new things – and they’ll think of it that way, too!

Who’s the Smartest Person in the Room? The Answer May Surprise You.

See those babies cooing in the corner? According to a recent Time Magazine article, they’re the best linguists in the room. Babies are born, Time’s Jeffrey Kluger says, with the inherent ability to speak and understand the world’s 6,800 languages, and that babies, and then children, are able to continue to easily learn multiple languages up into early grammar school.

Kluger goes on to say that later in life, having gained these language abilities as babies and children, multilingual adults “are better at reasoning, at multitasking, at grasping and reconciling conflicting ideas. They work faster and expend less energy doing so, and as they age, they retain their cognitive faculties longer, delaying the onset of dementia and even full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.”

Read the full, fascinating story, here.

Little Pim Receives 25th Award!


**The Series’ “Spanish Intro Gift Set with Book” Honored on

Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products Awards Program for 2012**


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Little Pim, the foreign language learning program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, has just earned its 25th award.  The “Spanish Intro Gift Set with Book” was just honored on Dr. Toy’s 100 Best Children’s Products Awards Program for 2012.


Little Pim’s Spanish, French and Chinese iPad Apps were also recently awarded the 2012 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval, which judges a variety of products introduced to the parent/child consumer market.  This is the series’ fourth win from the National Parenting Center.  The Little Pim language series has now earned a total of 25 consumer and educational awards from leading organizations such as the National Parenting Center and Dr. Toy.


About Little Pim:

Little Pim is an award-winning foreign language learning program for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. Between birth and the age of six, the human brain is hard-wired for language learning, and Little Pim helps families take advantage of this brief window, by making language learning easy, fun and effective. Little Pim’s unique Entertainment Immersion Method® provides total immersion in the language. The method engages a child’s love of play watching real kids and animation. Little Pim’s proven repetition technique helps children retain new vocabulary.  Founded on clinical research in early childhood development, Little Pim is available 11 languages including SpanishFrenchChinese and Italian

on videosmusicbooksflash cards, gift sets and more. Come see why Little Pim is the number one way to teach kids a foreign language at shop.littlepim.com.


For more info:

Aliza Rabinoff/DKC

212-981-5157 aliza_rabinoff@dkcnews.com


Little Pim on NBC’s Weekend Today Show Segment “Visiones”

Little Pim’s founder Julia Pimsleur Levine was on NBC’s Weekend Today (WNBC/NY) on Saturday!

Click the video below to watch Julia’s interview with Lynda Baquero, host of “Visiones”.

Julia and Lynda talk about Little Pim and discuss just how easy it is for young children to absorb new languages.

Hear what Julia has to say on bilingual kids, learning a new language and early childhood development, and see just how easy it is for your kids to learn a new language with Little Pim!

Little Pim on Today show

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Happy Cinco De Mayo!

Today commemorates the unexpected 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the French army in the battle over the city of Puebla. I’ve compiled some Spanish vocabulary words that follow the theme of today’s festivities.

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

Get the kids together and practice your espanol today! If you’re heading out to a party, I’ve included a guacamole recipe below that will entice even your pickiest eaters.

Yummy Guacamole


2 large ripe avocados
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely chopped
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cumin
1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

Cooking Instructions

Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and peel them. If they are ripe, the peel should come off easily. Dice the avocado flesh, and dump into a bowl.

Add all the remaining ingredients, and toss to combine without mashing. The ingredients should remain separate, and the salsa chunky.
Serve with tortilla chips for dipping, or as an accompaniment to tacos or burritos.

Servings: Makes about 2 cups (500 mL).

recipe from Kaboose.com

Seven ways to keep your kids excited about language learning

I haven’t written about my children’s language learning progress in a while, but with Thanksgiving coming I know it’s one of the things I’ll be grateful for this holiday.

Being able to introduce Emmett and Adrian to French is one of my greatest joys and privileges (and sometimes one of the biggest challenges). When I last blogged about language learning, I was ecstatic that my son had just read his first sentence in French.

We have actually have had a lot to celebrate since then – when we went to France this summer, Emmett spoke French to shopkeepers and kids his age, and he recently started working with his French tutor again and actually ENJOYS his French homework. Here he is doing a page of drawing sports activities while learning the difference between “à la” and “au”:

Emmett doing his French homework

Emmett turned seven in September and I am proud to say he can speak full French sentences, hold up his end of simple conversations and is curious about new words and expressions. He is also an avid reader (in English) which has opened up new teaching opportunities. I have been trying to keep it fun by getting him series he likes in French (Scooby Doo is a favorite right now).

My younger son Adrian, now 3 ½, started attending a French Immersion School this fall and has already made huge strides in just a few months. He and his best friend, Paul Camille (I just love saying that name, it’s so French), love to sing French nursery rhymes and Adrian now greets me in the mornings with a “Bonjour maman!” and thanks me with “Merci maman!”  which makes my day every time.

Adrian and his friend at French immersion school

While my children are not yet bilingual in French, I am so thrilled to see them with good accents (thanks to starting young with Little Pim and other resources) and a solid foundation to work from. I always tell parents that learning a second language is a life long journey and each child will move forward at his or her own pace. The important thing is to keep showing your child that language learning can be fun and that the rewards will be great if they can stick with it (not unlike playing a musical instrument).

Here are a few things that have worked with my boys to keep them interested and “on the journey” over the past few years:

    1. keep speaking French to them, even if it’s only a little here and there. Never let it disappear from their daily lives entirely even if they are “rebelling”. It’s not all or nothing with language learning….

    1. mix in one French book to the 2-3 books I read them at night. right now it’s Little Pim Colors or Feelings for Adrian and Asterix comics for Emmett

    1. make extra efforts to experience the fun parts of French culture with them (go to a French bakery for breakfast, attend a chocolate making workshop with a French chef, make crèpes with friends, etc.)

    1. play the “flash card game” with Little Pim flash cards (you get a treat for identifying 10 right in a row – this is a subway, car ride and restaurant waiting favorite!)

    1. always encourage, never nag or tell them they “said it wrong”

    1. bring in help in the form of tutors to supplement when needed

    1. find other families teaching their children the same second language so our kids can speak together and also just see they are not unique in learning two languages.

What will you be grateful for this Thanksgiving about your child’s language journey?  Write in with your successes and challenges and I’d be happy to answer any questions about raising kids with two languages.

Hearing Bilingual – the benefits of foreign language learning for young kids

The New York Times published an article entitled: “Hearing Bilingual: How Babies Tell Language Apart.”  The demand for foreign language education programs is growing among parents who realize both the cognitive and social benefits of their children growing up  multilingual.

In a new study, researchers at the University of Washington measured the electrical brain responses of “monolingual” infants (those from homes where one language is was being spoken) against those from bilingual households. The New York Times reported on the results:

“…the researchers found that at 6 months, the monolingual infants could discriminate between phonetic sounds, whether they were uttered in the language they were used to hearing or in another language not spoken in their homes. By 10 to 12 months, however, monolingual babies were no longer detecting sounds in the second language, only in the language they usually heard.”

Over the past decade, Dr Ellen Bialystok, a distinguished research Professor of Psychology at York University in Toronto, has shown that bilingual children develop crucial skills in addition to their double vocabularies, learning different ways to solve logic problems or to handle multitasking, skills that are often considered part of the brain’s so-called executive function.

These higher-level cognitive abilities are localized to the frontal and prefrontal cortex in the brain. “Overwhelmingly, children who are bilingual from early on have precocious development of executive function,” Dr. Bialystok said.

Little Pim allows families, even families who are not bilingual, to do this easily.

Read the entire article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/health/views/11klass.html?_r=1&smid=fb-nytimes

Were you exposed to multiple languages as a child? We’d love to hear your stories!