|Little Pim's "Entertainment Immersion Method" in action|
This review of the Little Pim Discovery Set is part of the Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide hosted by Natural Parents Network!
I am bringing you FIVE Gift Guide reviews over a span of several days — so read about these products I love, and then come back to enter the giveaways on November 6. I solicited the prizes I'm reviewing specifically because I knew my family already loved them or because they were right up my kids' alley. I'm so pleased to present them to you over the next five days!
And I'm not the only one who got to review amazing, eco-conscious, mindful, and natural products: A whole crew of our NPN volunteers did, too! If you need to complete your holiday shopping, find a birthday present for a friend, or just treat yourself to something special, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide has something for everyone. But what's even better, the NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to shop consciously and to support many naturally minded small businesses.
The 55 companies that have provided items for review and giveaway are almost exclusively made up of work-at-home shops or companies that are dedicated to supporting eco-conscious choices. I'm featuring one of those companies in my review below. When you get done reading my review, please click on over to the full Second Annual Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide, where you'll find information on 58 products. In total, we're giving away goodies worth more than $2,500!
Even if you don't win one of our fabulous prize packages, please consider spending part of your gift-giving budget at one of these small businesses. By supporting small businesses, you are helping families, boosting local economies, and supporting ethical practices of manufacturing, production and selling. Take advantage of coupon codes provided by many of the companies. You'll be able to find them at the full Gift Guide when it publishes November 6.
To make browsing easier, we've split the Gift Guide into sections with products that are Perfect for Kids and Perfect for Families. And you can find all 6 Rafflecopter widgets there, too, to make entering all the giveaways easy.
Review of Little Pim
|Volumes 1-3: Eating and Drinking, Wake Up Smiling, and Playtime|
This is a joint review and giveaway of the Discovery Set from Little Pim between Natural Parents Network and Hobo Mama.
About Little PimLittle Pim offers an Entertainment Immersion Method to make learning a foreign language fun for kids 0-6. Little Pim the panda guides kids through immersion DVDs in one of 11 languages, giving children useful vocabulary and simple, grammatically correct sentences for everyday living, on topics such as Eating and Drinking; Playtime; In My Home; Happy, Sad, and Silly; and more.
Little Pim was founded by Julia Pimsleur Levine, daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, who created the Pimsleur Method. Raised bilingually, she wanted to give her young son the same opportunity to learn a foreign language. Working with leading neuroscientist Dr. April Benasich, educators, and language experts, she spent several years developing the Little Pim language program for toddlers, one that can be used effectively by parents even if they don't speak a foreign language.
The Discovery Set that's part of the giveaway contains 3 DVDs featuring over 180 basic words in the winner's choice of language (Spanish, Chinese, French, English/ESL, German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese), a panda plush toy, and a Little Pim poster.
|Multilingual poster (Mikko had lost a tooth so was keeping his finger in his mouth all day.)||Little Pim himself|
So…I was excited when I found Little Pim. They title their system the "Entertainment Immersion Method," and I like that perspective. They've based their DVDs on proven methods of language acquisition, which I've confirmed through my own research and experience. For instance, this is complete language immersion. There are no English words spoken or written throughout the German DVD — it's all in German.
But: It doesn't leave anyone lost, even if a viewer is unfamiliar with German (or whatever language it is you're learning). That's because there are images and context clues, and the vocabulary repeats at an interval to reinforce learning. You don't need to be told "This is the German word for 'tree.'" You can see that the item is a tree, so your mind doesn't have to make that multi-step translational leap. Instead of learning it piecemeal: "item with branches and leaves = tree = der Baum," you learn it the way you learned your native language in the first place: "item with branches and leaves = der Baum."
The narrator is an engaging cartoon panda named Little Pim, who guides the kids through the DVD, along with his animal cartoon friends. He could be cloying with his high-pitched voice but somehow falls on the charming side. I've heard criticism that it would be better if there were lip movements to match the vocabulary, because children learn from seeing as well as hearing a language spoken. I'm going to guess that this has a lot to do with Little Pim saving on production costs and making sure these videos are all fully translatable from one language to another by simply changing the narration. I compensate for this by saying the words aloud after Little Pim says them so my children can hear and see a human saying them. In my view, it's best to watch educational DVDs like this along with your children in any case.
Little animated scenes are interspersed with live-action tableaus of children and parents setting the spoken vocabulary to action. For instance, in Playtime, children paint large shapes of different colors on an easel, giving Little Pim the opportunity to point out the words for those colors and shapes.
|My boys have found the DVDs are best viewed without pants.|
The suggested age range is up to age 6, and I agree that it's geared toward younger, preschool or toddler viewers. As the website says, you only need 500 words to be considered "conversational" in a language. The Discovery Set's three DVDs will introduce about 180 words and phrases, providing the essential building blocks for language learning, particularly if you follow up with other resources and further language exposure.
It's important to remember that no DVD — not even a full DVD collection — is going to make a child bilingual on its own. And this is definitely a very beginning resource. But these DVDs can certainly give basic vocabulary to interested children and be successfully incorporated into a language-learning plan for more serious students and families.
I would love to see some intermediate and advanced resources in the future as well — perhaps a set geared at older children in the same sort of engaging style (rather than the drill-drill-homework style that can turn off language learners of any age!).
Other highlights of the series: The pronunciation is native, so children are not learning English-flavored German. It's not just vocabulary parroting — the grammar presented can be quite complex (which I think is a good thing; see caption below). Particularly for German (but common in many languages), it's very important to include the genders of nouns, and the DVDs give integrated information about how words are used both separately and in context.
|She puts on a dress while the voiceover and captions describe the action.|
For those playing along at home, this gives us a lot of clues
about the language in one seemingly simple sentence:
how to use a gender pronoun, how to conjugate a verb, where to place a separable prefix, what article to use for the word "Kleid" in the accusative, what words to capitalize when writing such a sentence, and how to pronounce the whole lot — phew! Imagine trying to explain that to a preschooler — but then imagine the ease of just letting them hear and see it, repeatedly.
I love that the children are a very diverse bunch! I also appreciate the wide selection of languages they already have available (Spanish, Chinese, French, English/ESL, German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, and Hebrew) and trust they'll continue adding to the resources in each, and perhaps adding new languages over time.
So if you or your young kids are interested in taking the first steps in learning a new language, or reinforcing one you're already learning as a family, I'd recommend checking out Little Pim!
Connect with Little Pim
BUY IT!You can purchase your own Discovery Set at LittlePim.com for $34.99 for the digital download or $59.99 for the DVD set. The Discovery Set includes Volumes 1-3 (Eating and Drinking; Wake Up Smiling; Playtime), a plush Little Pim panda, and a poster, and is available in Spanish, Chinese, French, English (ESL), German, Italian, Arabic, and Portuguese. Besides these languages, Little Pim offers resources in Russian, Japanese, and Hebrew. You can buy DVDs or digital downloads of titles individually or in sets, up to full Immersion Sets (all DVDs) and Complete Sets (all DVDs plus the other resources) in certain languages. Highly popular languages like Spanish, Chinese, French, and ESL have a large range of resources available, from flashcards to children's books to music albums, but all the languages have at least Volumes 1-3 (on DVD or digital download) and the plushie available.
Little Pim Spanish, French, and Chinese Discovery Sets are available in Toys R Us stores nationwide.
These DVDs and sets would be a welcome gift for a family interested in learning a language — perhaps a family where the parents are multilingual themselves, or a homeschooling family wanting to add a fun foreign-language element to the curriculum.
Just for Hobo Mama & NPN readers, Little Pim is offering a sweet discount for the holidays on their site:
Use coupon code LPHOLIDAY for 20% off any product on the website!
For your own chance to win a Discovery Set in your choice of language (pick from Spanish, Chinese, French, English/ESL, German, Italian, Arabic, Portuguese) from Little Pim, or one of the 26 huge prize packages we're giving away, come back to this post on November 6 when our Rafflecopter widgets will go live for your chance to enter! Or you can visit the NPN Holiday Gift Guide post from November 6 on to see and enter to win all of our fantastic prize packages at once!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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