Everyone knows that exposing kids to foreign languages as early as possible makes it easier for them to pick them up, but kids like to have fun, too. So unless you are fluent enough to work foreign languages into every day conversation, most people have to make do with a few words here and there. Foreign language videos can help.
As I learned with the Little Pim DVDs (Set 1 and Set 2), kids actually do become engaged in a video that is done entirely in Spanish. I recently was given a copy of Spanish for Kids: Las Estaciones (The Seasons) to review. Shot in HD (though none of our old CRT televisions could tell) and 30 minutes long, it is intended for kids ages 2 to 7, but older kids will benefit from the language exposure as well. Whistlefritz has put together a series of Spanish language videos that immerse kids into the language. All of the words, speech, and songs are in Spanish; these videos contain no English.
In Spanish for Kids: Las Estaciones, kids will join a mouse named Fritzi and her friend Maria as they learn about the seasons of the year. Listen to and repeat the Spanish words, and sing and dance along to the music. No prior Spanish knowledge is required. A helpful guide is included that contains the song lyrics as well as English translations of many of the words in the video.
The main menu lets you play the video, play the video on repeat (for those times when you need a lot of babysitting repetitious learning), or play a series of songs from the video. The songs are catchy and fun to sing along with.
The video itself starts with an introductory song and then shows Fritzi the mouse at a friend’s birthday party. She is quickly joined by her friend Maria, a grown up, live action person. Other live action kids show up to help practice vocabulary words. Fritzi is the subject of the story, but Maria does the talking. She speaks slowly and clearly enough for viewers to follow along, but even if they can’t keep up, kids will benefit from just listening. There are parts where Maria asks kids to repeat back, as the kids in the video demonstrate. She says, “Niños, repitan <word or phrase>,” and the kids repeat it.
Throughout the story, Spanish vocabulary words are shown on the screen as they are introduced. Maria takes viewers through the four seasons of the year, with songs interspersed between sections. The songs have a traditional Latin feel that will get everyone moving. The video also goes into detail about what happens in each of the four seasons with plenty of vocabulary words. The seasons are covered one by one, in order. At the beginning, Fritzi is a bit upset because her birthday is in the fall, and it is currently winter. But by the end of the video it is fall again and tomorrow is Fritzi’s birthday. It ends with her happily dreaming of her birthday party.
Spanish for Kids: Las Estaciones retails for $19.99. The video is filled with clear, Spanish speaking with basic words and vocabulary. Kids will learn plenty of words, and older kids who already have a beginning knowledge of Spanish will pick up even more. The video is well done, and kids will enjoy watching it repeatedly. Whistlefritz makes other videos in the series, as well as music CDs that help teach Spanish to kids.
Note: I received a copy of the video for review purposes.