spanish

Learn a Language to the Beat of Your Favorite Song

You have all likely heard the song “Despacito” (lyric video below) recently, whether you know it or not, as it has been played on every radio station. Justin Bieber’s feature has helped the Spanish song rise to the top of the charts. Fascinatingly, a 2015 census confirmed that in certain Miami communities up to 90% of the population speaks Spanish, and 2016 data notes that nearly 70% of the county is Hispanic. Moreover, in 2015, half of New Yorkers were recorded to speak a language besides English at home. The success of the song coupled with these statistics demonstrate how culturally integrated our society has become. Whether or not you currently live in an urban metropolis, like Miami or New York, where cross-cultural interaction is extremely frequent, teaching your child foreign languages at a young age is not only fun but prepares them to thrive in an increasingly globalized world.

Knowing more than one language, which can start with learning a simple song, opens doors for your children in the classroom and in the workplace.

Let’s talk about some more boring statistics so that I can show you the value of turning on a song in a foreign language. Only 1.5% of the students enrolled in higher education in the 2014-2015 school year studied abroad. Each of these students, by immersing themselves in a different culture, often speaking a different language, propelled personal and future professional growth. The ability to recognize and appreciate cultural differences via an immersive experience motivates a certain respect that is often lacking among individuals in such a polarized political and social climate in the US. Additionally, the fluency in a language and understanding of cultural norms and traditions of a country brought about by a study-abroad also make an individual a greater asset to potential employers, as 95% of consumers across the globe live outside of the US. 95%! Learning the language of that culture prior to visiting maximizes the power of this experience to spur development. Afford your child the same personal and professional benefits as this mere 1.5% of students by teaching them a foreign language and exposing them to a different culture.

After being exposed to data that connotes language learning’s capacity to permit personal and professional growth, a parent is saddled with the question: how do I get my child excited about language learning?

You have likely subconsciously heard the answer to this question in listening to songs like “Despacito.” Kids respond very positively to music, and there are countless simple songs that can provide a perfect introduction to a foreign language. Little Pim, as a company dedicated to making language-learning fun and accessible, has compiled some of these songs into Spanish and French CD’s for kids. As the heat waves roll in and you and your family begin planning summer road trips or weekend getaways, these CD’s are the perfect in-car activity. If you are a bilingual family, you may be able to immediately pick up the lyrics and sing along with the CD as your child learns. If you are learning alongside your child, it can be a beautiful bonding experience.

Language learning doesn’t have to be extremely serious or scary. It can start with a single CD and turn into a worthwhile investment in your child’s future.

Spanish Bop album with lyrics. 15 fun children songs for children.
Spanish Bop album with lyrics. 15 fun children songs for children.
French Bop Album with 15 songs that your children can sing along to.
French Bop Album with 15 songs that your children can sing along to.

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month with Little Pim

Did you know that September 15 to October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month? Every year, Hispanic Americans celebrate the contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. September 15 marks the beginning of the month because it is the anniversary of the day Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua celebrated their independence. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days on September 16, September 18, and September 21, respectively.

The month culminates with a celebration on October 12, when Spain and Latin American countries celebrate their own version of Columbus Day, known as Hispanic Day (Día de la Hispanidad) to commemorate Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas on behalf of Spain in 1492. This is considered the National Day of Spain (Fiesta Nacional de España), and parades and festivals are held throughout the country.

Young kids may be familiar with the story of Christopher Columbus's voyage to the Americas for Spain, but as a Columbus Day nears, it's a great time to teach them there's more to the story than just the Niña, the Pinta and Santa María.

Your kids (or students) will love this interactive white board activity from Scholastic that features fun Hispanic facts, history and even a Piñata concetration game.

We also love this set of printables of famous Hispanic American role models from Nick Jr. And this Hispanic paper flower fiesta craft from Latinaish will have your house (or classroom) looking festive in no time.

Of course, it's also a great time to introduce kids to Spanish language and culture. Check out our Spanish Bop CD featuring fun 15 Spanish language songs for kids, our Spanish vocabulary flashcards, or our colorful English-Spanish books perfectly suited for young kids.

photo credit: zetgem via photopincc

Kids Cook! Frozen Delights for Summer: Mexican Paletas

Looking for ways to beat the heat this summer? Turn your freezer into a private popsicle stand – it’s a chilly, fun, tasty way to beat the summer heat. Oh, and did we mention economical, too?

Ice pops are popular around the world, especially in Mexico where paletas, ice pops made from unusual tropical flavors (think tamarind, mango lime, or watermelon and cucumber) are a super refreshing way to cool off on the tropical beaches. On the creamy side, there’s even arroz con leche (rice pudding) paletas, Mexican chocolate (cinnamon flavored), and avocado frozen treats as well.

Authentic Mexican paletas often combine a bit a savory, or even spicy, flavors together – pineapple and jalapeno or mango and chile, ice pops are even dipped in savory spices – we’ve decided to go with a sweeter version here though.

To make Paletas at home, think about whether you prefer an agua (water) based pop or one made with leche (milk) for a creamier treat.

Then the sky’s the limit as far as flavors – if you have lots of berries on hand, puree them in the blender or food processor. Then pour through a fine sieve to discard seeds. Add sugar (about 1 tbsp per ½ cup of fruit). Mix with milk, yogurt, juice, or water – then freeze.

To freeze paletas, you don’t need fancy equipment. Have a Dixie cup and a popsicle stick? You’re in business! Plastic ice pop trays can be picked up at the supermarket, dollar store, or even drugstores.

The trick, especially with small children, is patience – paletas, and all ice pops, need time to freeze. But if you start these in the morning, they should be ready after dinner. Or make the night before for the next afternoon.

For a fun summer activity, try setting up a paletas bar with a variety of juices, yogurt, plus assorted chopped up fruit and let the kids play ice chef!

We created two easy, tasty, fresh, and relatively healthy paletas combos below.

But use your imagination – Enjoy!

Orange and Blackberry Paletas

  • * 1 cup Orange juice
  • * ½ cup Pomegranate juice
  • * ½ cup Blackberries

Pour a layer of orange juice into pop mold. Freeze until firm.

Mash blackberries and combine with pomegranate juice (strain through a fine colander if mixture is too thick).

Fill molds rest of way with pom/blackberry combo

Freeze until hard.

Strawberry Lemonade

  • * Store bought lemonade
  • * Squeeze of lime juice
  • * Fresh strawberries

Mince or thinly slice strawberries. Combine with lemonade and lime juice.

Freeze in pop molds.

 Bonus Recipes

Mexican Chocolate Fudgicles: prepare instant chocolate pudding mix. Add ½ tsp of cinnamon and dash of vanilla. Pour into molds. Freeze.

Watermelon Paletas: Puree watermelon in the blender, add a squeeze of lime. Combine with a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, boiled, then cooled) to get desired consistency and sweetness (you may find you prefer the pops sugarless). Freeze.

Love these Mexican –influenced ice pops? Discover more Spanish language fun with our Spanish Discovery Set, here.

Spring Ahead With A Fantastic Family Road Trip Playlist

Spring flowers, sunny skies, and the hints of warm weather that come with the change of seasons practically call out for a family road trip. So pack up your kids and put everyone in the traveling mood with our playlist of recent hits and classic songs from around the globe. Actually, no matter if you’re spring day tripping, spring cleaning, or simply have a spring dance party in your living room, our playlist will make you want to get up and groove.

And if Spring makes you as “Happy” as a “house without a roof” (our pick for favorite spring song), check out this link to folks around the world doing their own “Happy” dance. It's a great way to let your kids get a glimpse of spots reaching from Aix to Zagreb, and literally everywhere in-between (96 countries have participated thus far!).

Want even more musical inspiration? Little Pim’s Spanish Bop and French Bop are perfect to keep the music going all the way into summer.

So what are you waiting for? Plug in some speakers and let the spring music start!

The Global Surprises of a Caribbean Getaway

If you’re anything like us, this winter’s arctic blasts, piles of snow, and ice coated roads have left you longing for a tropical break. To get you ready for a spring break warm-weather escape, we’ve rounded up great Caribbean getaways with an extra bonus: the chance for your family to practice their new-found language skills at islands throughout the Caribbean where bilingual culture shares the bill with sandy beaches. Enjoy our favorite Bilingual Islands of the Caribbean:

Trilingual Appeal

St Marten/St Maarten

Here’s a unique cultural experience beneath the palms: this little island is split in two by an imaginary line that creates Dutch-speaking St Maarten and French-speaking St. Martin. Rent a car and you can sample authentic croissants a la plage for breakfast and imported Gouda on the beach for lunch.

Where to Stay: On the Dutch side of the island, the Westin St Maarten is the place to stay with kids, with the largest fresh water pool on the island, Camp Scallywag for daytime escapades, as well as all the beach watersports fun they can handle.

French Flair

St Barthélemy

Petite “St Barths” feel like a slice of France on the Caribbean Sea with French cuisine and language infusing the beach scene here with a certain savoir faire. The French have laid claimed the island since 1877, but you’ll also hear English throughout your stay. Head to Lorient Beach for the friendliest family scene on the tres chic island.

Where to stay: The most kid-friendly spot on St. Bart's is the full-service resort, Hotel Guanahani & Spawhich features private suites and cottages (14 with private pools) and two separate kids’ programs.

Dutch Wonderlands

Curaçao

The largest of the Netherlands Antilles, known as the ABC islands (Aruba and Bonaire are the other two), the island's capital, Willemstad, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a colorful trip through colonial history and architecture.

Where to stay:Sunscape Curaçao takes the family resort prize as the only all-inclusive property on the island, meaning not only all of your food and drinks are taken care of with one-stop shopping, but also that the excellent Explorer’s kids club and Core teen center are included in the price as well.

 Aruba

Another option to hear Dutch is on this sunny, wind-swept island, an independent entity of the Netherlands. Although you’ll see Dutch architecture in the capital city of Oranjestad, listen closely while you're here and you’ll also hear Arawak, Spanish, and the local lingo, Papiamentu. Global Caribbean indeed!

Where to stay:Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino is popular for it’s kids’s program and numerous family-friendly amenities and activities including a three-level pool complex with a cascading waterfall and two-story water-slide.

Spanish Caribbean

Puerto Rico

Rich in Spanish language culture and heritage, yet a Commonwealth of the United States, which means you get a salsa beat and the rich historic atmosphere of Old San Juan, without having to exchange your US dollars or even bring a passport. Kids will love the old Spanish fort of El Morro and it’s grassy slopes where kite-flying is a must.

Where to Stay: In addition to six pools and 500 landscaped acres on a cliff overlooking the turquoise sea, the family-friendly El Conquistador Resort also features Coquí Water Park and Palomino Island, the resort's private island which offers everything from snorkeling to horseback riding.

Dominican Republic

This Latin Caribbean nation is a great place to practice your Spanish while enjoying beautiful beaches and the all-inclusive resorts the island is known for (since the DR, as it’s referred to, has the most resort hotel rooms of any island in the Carribbean, you can also expect to hear English spoke in most hotels, too). Head to Santo Domingo’s cobblestone streets to walk in the historic footsteps of explorers such as Columbus and Ponce de Leon.

Where to Stay: At Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe, pint-size pirates can tame the high seas at Pirate’s Cove – a waterpark complete with a themed pool, swashbuckling pirate ship with water slides, and a one-of-a-kind wave pool.  There’s also a teen nightclub and an 18-hole mini golf course. Plus, the opportunity to soak up the sun on a beautiful white sand beach, por supuesto.  

--Melissa Klurman

The Holiday Ebook Is Here!

Yup, that's our holiday ebook in the Kindle store! It's hard to believe that a little over 2 months ago, Around the World with Little Pim was basically just an idea. We launched our Kickstarter campaign with crossed fingers, and now here we are: fully funded with our holiday ebook on Amazon just in time for the holidays.

But enough reminiscing...

The Little Pim holiday ebook is finally a reality and we really hope you enjoy it. We have sent Little Pim to France, Mexico, Brazil, and China to sample some tasty holiday treats and learn about how other countries and cultures celebrate the winter holidays. Join him on this delicious adventure and you might just pick up a few new words in French, Spanish, Portuguese, and Chinese!

If you could go on a holiday food tour like Little Pim, where would you go?

The Little Pim Kickstarter is Live!

Aaaand we're live! We've only got 30 days to make our goal, so let's make 'em count. We can't do this without your amazing support so click below to learn a little more about the Little Pim ebook Kickstarter, make your pledge, and share with your friends!

Here! Ici! Aquí! Click here!

What Is Kickstarter?

  1. It’s a website where anyone can pitch a creative project. So we’re pitching our ebook!
  2. If you think it’s a good idea, you can back the project. Donations of ALL sizes are welcome
  3. If you back a project with a donation, you get a reward! Our rewards, which would make great holiday gifts, include pre-orders of the ebook, getting your child drawn in as a character, and lots of other surprises in between…
  4. If we reach our goal, we get the funds we need to make the ebook and you get your rewards!
  5. If we don’t make our goal, we get nothing and you don’t get a reward. You also won’t be charged. It’s all or nothing on Kickstarter.

New Release: A Second Set of Flash Cards!

You might notice something new when you shop Spanish, French, or Chinese today. Okay, go down… up… a little to the right… there! Our second volume of flash cards is out! Do you see them?

This beautiful set of cards is chock-full of brand new images of Little Pim ready to teach kids some of the new words that appear in the second volume of Little Pim videos. They can be used on their own or along with the videos ("at home," "feelings," and "let's count!") to teach and reinforce words related to mealtime, playtime, and emotions.

And by the way, the first volume of flash cards is coming soon in Arabic and Portuguese!

Industries are struggling to find bilingual experts. Speaking a Spanish is becoming a big advantage.

The Huffington Post wrote this article on why speaking English is no longer enough.  The article is about how "industries are adapting to the growing Spanish speaking population in the US. Did you know there were more than 31,000 job oportunities that needed bilingual expertise as a core competancy. Huffington Post Article "Why Learning English is No Longer Enough"