Young kids are most receptive to learning new languages. That’s one of the reasons why Julia Pimsleur Levine created the Little Pim series aimed at kids from birth through five years old. Levine is the daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur who is well-known for his language series for adults. The DVDs come in 10 different languages including Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, Arabic, and Russian. Each language has several DVDs that cover topic that are familiar to young kids. LadyBug and I recently checked out the “wake up smiling” Japanese DVD (I studied Japanese in college) from Little Pim.
At four years old, LadyBug loved the DVD. In fact, she insisted on watching it twice in a row. She was enamored by Little Pim, the animated panda bear that leads kids through the vignettes. Little Pim introduces each section by asking kids about their own daily habits. We then watched kids waking up, having breakfast, getting ready for school, taking naps, etc. Each scene was accompanied by a Japanese word, phrase or sentence that matched the video. Once the section was over, the video did a quick recap of the content covered. I’m not sure she entirely understood what was going on as she was often telling me what she was seeing in English right as the narrator was telling us in Japanese. I tried to counter it by repeating what the narrator was saying, while also telling her what it meant in English.
The challenge for adults is that the entire DVD is in the learning language. While this is important for immersion, it is difficult for non-speakers to follow along. Also, older children may have a harder time picking up the words. You can turn on English subtitles in the Main Menu and I strongly recommend that, especially for more challenging languages like Japanese. You can also download a script from the Little Pim website. That’s a great way to help nail down what they’re saying on the DVD, but also to use for practice with your kids.
Little Pim also has digital versions you can use on your iPad and I might pick up the last two for LadyBug. I think she’ll enjoy watching them. There is a Spanish Little Pim app, as well. I hope they’ll come out with a Japanese one soon!
Disclosure: We received a copy of the Little Pim “wake up smiling” Japanese DVD for review purposes. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are my own. Image courtesy of Little Pim.