The Edge of Extinction

What do snow leopards, African wild dogs, black rhinos, and the Arikara language of the North Dakotan indigenous people have in common? They are all endangered. Just as species’ extinctions threaten the food chain and thereby the ecosystem, language extinctions hurt cultural diversity and thereby our society. To best understand the harsh reality of language extinction, we should investigate some statistics. While differentiating between unique languages and dialects, or just variations of the same language, is very difficult, researchers agree there are between 5,000-7,000+ languages alive today. Studies project that up to 50% of these languages will die out by the end of the century. Some even say the figure is higher at 80%, That is one language dying every few months! This slow and steady leak of linguistic and cultural diversity must be plugged for the sake of our children gaining the exposure to different thoughts and ways of life- exposure that stimulates appreciation and innovation.

Admittedly, we, here at Little Pim, do not teach endangered languages, nor have we discussed them in prior blogs. We do, however, always hope to impart that a language is:

  • Powerful in the classroom, in the workplace, and on the street
  • Empowering in its ability to help cultivate creativity, cultural awareness, problem-solving skills, and pride in one’s roots
  • Effectively important to personal and societal growth

In spreading this message in the past (as we will continue to do in the future), we hopefully indirectly made the case for the preservation of dying languages. Additionally, in teaching what are currently actively used languages, we aim to prevent their downfall into the endangered category one day. Yet, today, in this article, we will take a firmer stand for endangered languages, giving them a voice that might otherwise soon be taken away. It is with this voice that endangered languages might return from the edge of extinction.

It is with power in numbers that we can spread the word and reach someone in a position to change an endangered language’s course, so share this if you like the rest of the article. I will explain how we classify levels of endangerment, expound on why you and your family should care, and share what YOU can do to create a better future in which we maintain cultural diversity and awareness.

How do we know when a language is dead?

There are two main measurements of a language’s vitality, the number of speakers and the number of avenues of use.

Number of Speakers

Many languages can be said to have few speakers, but the word “few” is loose and open to interpretation. Determining the exact number of speakers of a language, however, allows linguists to be specific in distinguishing between levels of endangerment. Arikara, which you may recall is in our backyard in North Dakota, is a critically endangered language, with only 3 speakers still alive while the Cherokee language spoken in Oklahoma is classified as a vulnerable language, with only 1,000 speakers.

Number of Functions

The number of functions a language takes on, whether that be in prayer, in scripture, in school, in ceremonies, etc. can quantitatively represent a language’s vitality, because the more sectors of life the language is involved in, the more spoken it must be, and the more it veers away from the edge of extinction.

Some other factors linguists consider with regards to a language’s vitality are the age range of speakers, the number of speakers adopting a second language, the population size of the ethnic group the language is connected to, and the rate of migration into and out of the epicenter of the language.

Why do we care?

In history, conquered civilizations have had to adopt the language of their conqueror in order to fit into their social structure and economy. This is the case because language is so integral to a culture. From writing literature, carrying out rituals and practicing religion to voting in elections, all the human interactions associated with a culture involve written or spoken word. Effectively when a language dies, the culture associated with it dwindles away as well. If 50%-90% of languages die within the century, 50%-90% of existing cultures will likely die as well.

Many of these cultures that will die out only possess oral histories, so we will lose out on the knowledge they have gained from years and years of experience. Even if some of the cultures whose languages die have been documented, without active speakers, their thoughts and practices will likely be left behind in favor of the ones possessed by the dominant cultures and languages. Accordingly, our future society will lack in a diversity of thought and practice due to a lack of cultural diversity. Not only do we lose diversity of culture and thereby thought when languages die, but also when people conform to speaking one language, as is the case with English in the business world. If we continue along this path, we will become a monolingual, culturally homogenous society. In such a society, people might communicate efficiently because they speak the same language, but creativity would be strangled and progress slowed.

What can we do about it?

To prevent the fate of becoming a uniform society, we must recognize that cultural exchange is a two-way street. People speaking endangered languages are learning other languages to be able to interact with members of their extended community. While it may be hard for us to learn endangered languages, we can educate ourselves on which ones are endangered and why, learn about the cultures the endangered languages are from, and encourage their preservation. For example, the Arikara people were originally a semi-nomadic community that expertly harvested corn and tobacco. This mastery of the land gave way to power over other groups living in the plains until smallpox hit. Would this knowledge of the land past on from generation to generation in their language be lost in translation if the language died? Time will unfortunately tell.

Moreover, to avoid one major language from pushing out the others in the future, English-speaking people could learn other languages to communicate with non-English-speaking people, tapping into a whole wealth of knowledge they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. We cannot become complacent just because English is the “language of business.” Little Pim can open your child’s eyes to these other languages and vibrant cultures in the click of a button… literally. Check out our new iOS app!

Live in a Spanish-speaking community? Try our Spanish for Kids program.

Want to know more than the words for French foods on the bistro menu? Try our French for Kids program.


Works Cited:

https://www.linguisticsociety.org/content/what-endangered-language

https://www.ethnologue.com/endangered-languages

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_languages_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arikara

Featured Photo by Mark Rasmuson on Unsplash

Girls’ Day Festival in Japan

Hina_matsuri_Yasuda_residence_Tokyo

Girls’ Day or “Hinamatsuri” in Japan is celebrated annually on March 3rd for the health and wellbeing of young girls. This special day is also known as “Doll’s Day” as families who have girls display ornate dolls (hina dolls or hina-ningyō) atop a 7-tiered platform covered with red carpet starting in February until March 3rd. Each step represents a layer of society from the Heian period in Japan. The dolls are traditionally dressed in court attire according to the period and represent the Japanese Emperor, Empress, attendants, and musicians. In many cases, these dolls are passed down for generations from a grandmother to mother to daughter.  The origin of this festival dates back to over 1,000 years ago during the Heian period (794-1192).

Strawberry Daifuku Mochi recipe from Just One Cookbook
Strawberry Daifuku Mochi recipe from Just One Cookbook

In addition to displaying the dolls, the Japanese also celebrate by preparing and eating foods of the Spring season and of

pink color. For fun recipes to celebrate Girls’ Day at home, check out this post from Just One Cookbook. The website features recipes for the special foods prepared for the festival, such as chirashi sushi, clam soup, and strawberry daifuku.

 

The strawberry daifuku sounds delicious, especially for those with a sweet-tooth and a perfect recipe to celebrate springtime!

Other fun activities to do with your kids to celebrate and learn about Girls’ Day are origami crafts. Follow the steps on this website to create your own Origami Kusudama Flower or watch this YouTube video below to create your own Girls’ Day origami dolls!

Have fun introducing your little ones to world cultures and celebrations! If you’re celebrating today, share your creations with us using the hashtag #littlepim on Instagram, Twitter or tag us on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Japanese_Discovery-800x600

Teaching your child Japanese? Little Pim’s Japanese Complete Set opens the door to over 180 basic words and phrases.

Holiday Crafts for Kids: Christmas Around the World

christmas-crafts-kids

Looking for some fun holiday crafts for kids during Christmas Break? Christmas Around the World is always a fun theme to incorporate into your holidays. Kids love learning about other cultures and countries and how they celebrate the holidays this time of year. Not only are crafts from around the world fun, they’re educational as well. What more can you ask for?

Before you dig out the paper, glue, and scissors, do a little research. Decide with your children what countries you want to learn about and make crafts. There are all kinds of wonderful resources on the internet for you to use in your research. Once you decide on which countries you’d like to learn more about, you can get started on the crafts. Try some of these fun ideas.

Flags of the World Ornamentschristmas-ornaments

Use real ornaments or make paper ornaments with the countries flags on them. For this activity, you can also head on over to your local craft store such as Michaels Arts & Crafts to buy supplies to paint your own flag ornaments. They will have plain ornaments that you can paint on. For a image database of the world flags and countries, visit this website from the CIA.

 

 

Traditional Holiday Crafts

During your research, find traditional decor or a tradition the country enjoys during the holidays and recreate it with crafts. For example, The Nutcracker is a traditional ballet done in Russia. Design and create your own nutcracker using things from around the house like milk jugs or cartons, paper rolls, Legos, or wood pieces. For ideas, check out this great post from Multicultural Kids on DIY Christmas Ornaments Inspired by World Cultures.

Holiday Nature Craftspoinsetta-crafts

Many countries have “treasures” that come from nature that you can recreate at home. For example, Poinsettias come from Mexico. You can make paper or tissue paper Poinsettias after learning about Mexico. Christmas trees originally came from Germany. In the link above, there is a beautiful Mexican Felt Poinsettia you can make with the kids. Do you have any Christmas crafts that you do with your kids that you can share with the Little Pim community? There are tons of fun Christmas tree crafts to make! Share your traditions in the comments below.

 

Holiday Dress Crafts

Many countries have traditional clothing they wear during the holidays. Make paper dolls or clothes pin dolls with the traditional clothing worn from the country you researched.

Paper Crafts

Make crafts of the countries you researched out of paper and hang on a tree or decorate your home. Origami is a great idea for Japan, or make paper chains from Sweden. Let your imagination run wild!

Whatever crafts you decide to use for Christmas Around the World, you know your kids are having fun learning and creating great crafts! For more fun activities, print out our Winter Coloring Pages or fun Hanukkah Crafts for Kids.

Explore Winter in Ukraine with a Craft Based on this Clever Story

winter-stories-kids

The Holidays are easily the most magical time of year for a child. Make it even more magical by exposing them to another culture, like that of wintry Ukraine! In Eastern Europe, Christmas is not heavily celebrated. Instead, it is the coming of Father New Years that brings anticipation to children everywhere. That doesn’t mean that there’s any less winter wonder!

The Mitten is a common folktale for Ukrainian families to read to their little ones during the holidays. With such cold winters, it’s no wonder that the main feature of this tale is a group of animals trying to stay warm!

  • Explore Winter in Ukraine with this printable craft based on the classic Ukrainian children’s story, The Mitten.

The story starts with an old man in the forest losing one of his mittens. As animals in the forest find the mitten, they scurry inside to enjoy its warmth. The story begins with small animals, such as frogs and badgers, and works its way up all of the way to a bear. In the end, it’s a little mouse that “breaks the camel’s back,” so to speak; causing the bear to sneeze and all of the animals to fly out of the mitten.

Engaging your child with The Mitten:

 

 

  • Read the story with your children.
  • Ask them, “Why do you think the smaller animals let the bigger animals take up the room in the mitten, even when there were too many?” This will help connect your child’s mind to the abstract concepts of the reading.
  • Color and illustrate pictures using your kids’ imagination of the different animals mentioned in the story. Learn how to say the names of each animal in different languages.
  • Discuss Eastern Europe and its Holiday traditions; its climate, its animals, and the similarities and differences between our stories and theirs.

For more phenomenal winter crafts, stay tuned to the Little Pim blog! Happy Holidays!

Fall Holidays From Other Cultures to Promote Bilingualism

fall-holidays-kids

One of the most magical aspects of the last three months of the year is the many holidays observed around the world.

From the time of the fall equinox until the New Year begins, there is an added element of excitement and sense of the fantastic, especially when there are children around. Make the most of the holidays by expanding your child’s bilingual education to include learning about the customs, holidays and fun that are part of the culture of your child’s second language.

When learning a second language, observing traditions and understanding celebrations, helps a child’s vocabulary grow as his well as providing a connection to the culture.

Here are two celebrations that will help your bilingual child better relate to his or her adopted or first culture.

  • Día de Muertos — If your child is learning Spanish talk about Día de Muertos, a Mexican Holiday that coincides with All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day.  Some traditions include personal altars called ofrendas set up in homes. Visits to the graves of loved ones are featured. Gifts of sugar skulls and marigolds are presented along with personal items that once belonged to the loved one. To read more about Día de Muertos browse this informative article from Huffington Post.
  • Chongyang Festival ( 重阳节 ) — is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan. This holiday, which began before the Han period, is still celebrated today. Also known as the Double Ninth Festival, this celebration has many traditions you can do with your family to learn more about the culture. One tradition is climbing a steep hill or mountain to symbolically defeat evil. The festival occurs on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is believed that the day contains too much yang and so brings trouble. You can read about some of the traditions, myths, and ceremonies, and the reasons behind them in this article.

There are many holidays, celebrations and traditions to be explored. Take some time to browse the internet for information on these.

  • A good starting place for your search is to type into the search engine: _______ Holidays. (insert: Chinese, German, Portuguese, or the country of the language your child is studying).
  • Select one holiday or festival and enter that name in your search engine, e.g., Chongyang Festival, for more information about the holiday.

You will soon have a long list of holidays, traditions, and adventures to extend your child’s learning.

For more information on how Little Pim can support and contribute to your child’s bilingual education visit our website and browse our blog posts today.

Continue reading “Fall Holidays From Other Cultures to Promote Bilingualism”

Bonding With Your Child Through Your Native Language

multilingual-kids

raising-bilingual-kidsCreating bonds is a very important part of raising children. It allows them to feel nurtured and loved. Sharing your native language with your child is a great bonding experience that can have a life-long impact.

Family ties

Many parents that are raising bilingual children have ties to the language through family. The technology that we have today makes it so easy to communicate with family that is far away. Your child will have the great advantage of communicating and forming bonds with the extended family. Being able to communicate not only broadens social skills, it definitely expands the family tree.

For a fun craft, build a family tree with your little ones when they are old enough to recognize names and photos of relatives. Talk about the relationships between each family member and go over relevant vocabulary in your native language, i.e. words for mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, etc.

Cultural traditions

Languages are more than just words. There is a lot of tradition within them. Through the words of your native language, your child will learn about food and traditional dishes, they will learn about music and instruments. They will hear stories that have been told through generations and pick up books of great writers. They will be able to have an understanding and participate in these traditions. The bond between you, your child and family will have stronger roots.

gift-of-languageThe gift that keeps on giving

Sharing your native language with your child really is a gift. It will not only set up great advantages when he/she is an adult venturing out in the world, but it will instill a strong sense of self and an emotional connection to others. One day, your child will be in the position to pass down all of the great treasures that are wrapped inside the words of that second language.

Need some help introducing your child to a second language? Little Pim makes it fun and easy to learn a new language with resources your child will love! Comment below if you have any questions!

Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics

rio-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.

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!

 

Easter Celebrations in Russia

easter-in-russia

easter-in-russiaSpring is beginning to bring forth its many blooms, and children everywhere are enjoying more seasonal temperatures. We also just celebrated the holiday that marks the start of Spring – Easter. Americans who celebrate this special holiday may attend church services on Easter Sunday and participate in Easter egg hunts, decorating eggs, attending parades, and/or visiting the Easter bunny. But there is one country just getting ready to celebrate this big holiday. Russia’s Easter will be on May 1st.  Let’s take a look at Russian Easter celebrations.

Orthodox Easter Services

For the Russians, Easter is a highly religious celebration. A church service is held the evening before Easter that begins just prior to midnight and lasts into the wee hours of Sunday morning. The large churches are filled with church attendees who participate in the celebratory service. Thousands of candles are lit and fill the beautiful church.

russian-easterFood

The Russian people enjoy a scrumptious Easter breakfast when the church service is completed. Three popular Easter dishes include Kulich, Paska, and colored eggs. Kulich is a Russian sweet bread which looks like a vanilla cupcake with white frosting and sprinkles. Paska is a “rich and very sweet cheese pudding.” The great feast lasts for seven days as people visit family, friends, and neighbors.

Children’s Activitiesorthodox-easter

Russian children enjoy Easter with games and fun, just as American children do. One such game the Russian children play involves Easter eggs. Children try to crack each others eggs as they roll them down a hill. Candy is often used in the game, as well. The Easter eggs are beautifully decorated and painted. Easter morning begins with children visiting neighborhood homes handing out Easter eggs.

Social Activities

The Russian celebration of Easter involves some interesting social activities. One such custom begins the evening before Easter during the night service and lasts forty days; people recite a specific greeting to one another. The first person will say “Khristos voskres!”, meaning Christ is risen!  The next person is supposed to reply, “Voistinu voskres”, meaning truly He is risen! Traditional hugging and kissing three times will follow the greeting. This is called the “kiss of peace”.

Also, if following the older Russian customs, people will give gifts to the poor, orphaned, and those in hospitals or prisons.

Russian Complete SetLearning about how other countries celebrate major holidays is one way in which children can be more culturally aware; this inspires a love for learning the language of that culture. As you and your child embrace new cultural experiences and learning a new language, Little Pim is right alongside you with products to enhance immersion learning. Try a free demo video to teach your child Russian with Little Pim today!

 

4 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child Spanish

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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.