I was excited to get this DVD in the mail from The Bilingual Fun Company. What great work Jennifer Manriquez and her husband Mark are doing teaching Spanish to children! This DVD, Volume 1 of Spanish for Children, is a wonderful place to start for parents and educators who want to expose children to the language. The DVD is designed as an introduction to Spanish for young children (ages 1-10) who have had little contact with the language.
These are a few of the features of this DVD that I really like:
- The video makes the language very accessible, even for parents and teachers who do not speak much Spanish.
- The number of words related to each theme is appropriate for beginners.
- The themes are divided into several short scenes to hold the attention of young children.
- There is lots of repetition of vocabulary with visual support to make the meaning clear.
- The pace is perfect for repeating words, counting along and singing with the songs.
- The insert has all of the vocabulary and the words to the songs.
- Parents and educators can easily do a variety of activities with children as they watch.
The video begins with The Hola Song, a song that greets each child by name. The kids in this video are great! There is a nice mix of ages, and they are obviously comfortable and having fun with the language.
The first chapter introduces colors and includes four different segments: a visual of each color as you hear the word, a color song, children showing and saying the colors, and a segment of objects of different colors. The Spanish words are always repeated clearly, there is lots of repetition, and children will certainly learn the vocabulary as they watch.
The next chapter presents the numbers 1-10 in six short scenes. You will see children count together on their fingers, slide down a slide, and sing the song Diez deditos. These scenes and others provide plenty of repetition and the pacing is perfect for counting along.
The final chapter introduces words for animals in Spanish. To present the vocabulary, there is excellent video of animals as the words are clearly pronounced. Then, the children identify pictures and show toy animals that they are holding. Finally, they recite La araña pequeñita (The Itsy, Bitsy Spider). This is an excellent language learning activity because the actions match the Spanish so exactly.
In the introduction to the DVD, Jennifer and Mark Manriquez encourage parents to interact with their children as they watch the video by repeating the words and singing along. This is a great suggestion. By listening and repeating, your child will become familiar with the sounds of Spanish and remember the new words she is learning. Although the focus of the DVD is specific vocabulary, children will also hear common phrases like Vamos a cantar…(We’re going to sing), ¿Quién tiene? (Who has…) and ¿Dónde está? (Where is…) used in a natural way. Parents and teachers will have an easy time using these phrases in settings similar to those modeled on the video.
One of the strengths of this material is that it lends itself to doing activities as you watch with your child. After your child has seen the DVD once, you can reinforce what she is hearing and learning with actions. For example, gather different colored objects and put them into a box as you hear the colors. As you hear each color, jump to different colored squares of paper or cloth. Stack ten blocks as you count, or act out the animal you see in the video as you repeat the words. The pace of the DVD allows you to be creative and reinforce what your child is seeing and hearing in different ways. The more actively you involve your child with the language, the more she will learn. Because the material in this video is focused, with sufficient time and repetition, it can be enhanced and individualized at home or in class. There are many possibilities and a variety of activities will make children want to watch the video over and over.
The Bilingual Fun Company’s Spanish for Children is a great way to introduce children to Spanish. The material, pacing and repetition are designed to put beginners at ease and inspire confidence with the language. It is an excellent choice for parents or educators who want to take the first step in teaching children Spanish.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.