It’s more important than ever for children to learn a second language, but as anyone who has ever tried to do so can tell you, it isn’t easy. When I was in grade school, the main method of learning was repeating vocabulary words along with an instructor. This isn’t to say it wasn’t effective, but I remember being a first grader taking Spanish class, and finding it hair-pullingly dull.
If I only had access to Little Pim‘s language-learning programs at the time, would I be bilingual, maybe even quadrilingual today? Who knows? However, I will say that having demoed the company’s Discovery Sets, each of which includes three DVDs full of lessons, it seems like a fun and stimulating way for young kids under age 6 to learn new languages. While there is still a reliance on vocabulary, it isn’t so much repeating after a speaker as learning a word or simple phrase, and then receiving a prompt in the form of a video clip. Each snippet of video varies slightly from the one before—for example, a stationary shot of toy blocks is followed by children playing with them, etc. You say what you think the answer is, and a few seconds later, you find out if you’re right. In my opinion, this method, which was pioneered by Paul Pimsleur and carried on by his daughter, Julia Pimsleur, better simulates how language is actually used on a daily basis: never just the one word or phrase in isolation, but in context and with mild variations all the time.
Each set teaches 180 words or phrases for food, playtime, and other subjects that are of interest to the typical child. In addition, the videos are divided into lessons of roughly five or so minutes, and each lesson is framed by an adorable animated panda bear, who teaches simple phrases such as, “Hello,” and, “Goodbye.” While the videos offer an immersive educational experience overall, they also have English subtitles that can be turned on and off to meet each child’s language-learning level. Finally, a plush toy and poster are included with the DVDs, which in theory, help keep Little Pim on kids’ minds, even when lesson time is over.
Little Pim Discovery Sets are available in the most popular Romance languages (Spanish, Italian, French, etc.), as well as Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, and more.
This product and more from Little Pim will be on display at The Big Toy Book’s Sweet Suite 14 event in New York City on July 17. Part of Blogger Bash, a two-day conference connecting bloggers and brands nationwide, Sweet Suite will feature the hottest toys and games for the upcoming holiday season. Visit thebigtoybook.com for more info, and follow the conversation on Twitter!