Around The World

Fall Holidays From Other Cultures to Promote Bilingualism

One of the most magical aspects of the last three months of the year is the many holidays observed around the world.

From the time of the fall equinox until the New Year begins, there is an added element of excitement and sense of the fantastic, especially when there are children around. Make the most of the holidays by expanding your child’s bilingual education to include learning about the customs, holidays and fun that are part of the culture of your child’s second language.

When learning a second language, observing traditions and understanding celebrations, helps a child’s vocabulary grow as his well as providing a connection to the culture.

Here are two celebrations that will help your bilingual child better relate to his or her adopted or first culture.

  • Día de Muertos — If your child is learning Spanish talk about Día de Muertos, a Mexican Holiday that coincides with All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints Day.  Some traditions include personal altars called ofrendas set up in homes. Visits to the graves of loved ones are featured. Gifts of sugar skulls and marigolds are presented along with personal items that once belonged to the loved one. To read more about Día de Muertos browse this informative article from Huffington Post.
  • Chongyang Festival ( 重阳节 ) — is celebrated in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, and Japan. This holiday, which began before the Han period, is still celebrated today. Also known as the Double Ninth Festival, this celebration has many traditions you can do with your family to learn more about the culture. One tradition is climbing a steep hill or mountain to symbolically defeat evil. The festival occurs on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese lunar calendar. It is believed that the day contains too much yang and so brings trouble. You can read about some of the traditions, myths, and ceremonies, and the reasons behind them in this article.

There are many holidays, celebrations and traditions to be explored. Take some time to browse the internet for information on these.

  • A good starting place for your search is to type into the search engine: _______ Holidays. (insert: Chinese, German, Portuguese, or the country of the language your child is studying).
  • Select one holiday or festival and enter that name in your search engine, e.g., Chongyang Festival, for more information about the holiday.

You will soon have a long list of holidays, traditions, and adventures to extend your child’s learning.

For more information on how Little Pim can support and contribute to your child’s bilingual education visit our website and browse our blog posts today.

Bilingualism: Benefits of Learning Arabic

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arabic-for-kids

There are many articles stating the benefits of being bilingual, but not many go into the benefits of being bilingual in a certain language. If you are teaching your child another language anyway, why not choose one that will improve their future career opportunities, such as Arabic? Here are a few ways that learning Arabic will enhance your child's future. Commonality

Arabic is the national language of 20 countries and is the fifth most spoken language in the world. By teaching your child Arabic, you will be giving her the ability to communicate with over 300 million people.  The majority of native speakers are concentrated in the Middle East, but with Arabic being the language of Quran, Muslims all over the world speak the language.

High Demand

With the increasing importance of the Middle East in international affairs, there is a growing demand for speakers of Arabic. Few Westerners ever attempt to learn the language, so there is little supply to meet the demand. Those who know the language are needed in many fields including journalism, translation, education, intelligence, and government service.

Financial Incentives

Arabic has been declared a language of strategic importance. Not only will many careers offer a hiring bonus or higher salary to those who speak it, but the National Strategic Language Initiative also offers scholarships and more learning opportunities, including study abroad programs.

Culture

The Middle East has a rich and fascinating culture. Be it the food, literature, music, or history, culture is a lot more interesting to explore in its native language. Arabic-speaking countries have also made significant contributions to medicine, science, and philosophy over the centuries. Much of this learning, along with that of the Roman, Greek, and Byzantine empires, has been preserved in Arab libraries.

Intercultural Understanding

Most of your child's exposure to Arabic culture is likely to be through negative media representations or one-sided stereotypes in films. These false representations can create feelings of mistrust towards Muslims and the Arabic people. With over 3.5 million people of Arab heritage residing in the U.S and over half of them reporting experiencing racial discrimination, teaching your child about their culture can potentially minimize conflict.

What are you waiting for? Get started teaching your child Arabic today! If you have any tips or experiences teaching your little ones Arabic, please comment below.

Differences Between Brazilian and European Portuguese

Portuguese is one of the most beautiful, romantic, Latin languages. As the sixth most spoken mother tongue in the world, Portuguese is an excellent choice for your toddler or preschooler.Speaking Portuguese, even if you have no ties to the language and culture, is a marketable skill that will serve your child well in the future.

As with English, the country where the language is learned and spoken makes a lot of difference in words, pronunciation, and grammar. The Portuguese spoken in Brazil is so different from European Portuguese that it is often referred to as Brasileiro, according to the website Lexiophiles.

There are many reasons for these differences and here are two of the most obvious ones.

Cultural Influence

In Brazilian Portuguese American Indian tribal languages donated many of the words for local foods, plants, and animals, as well as other objects. These words are unknown to speakers of European Portuguese.

Italian, French, and African languages such as Yoruba, have also found their way into Brasileiro. These add a significant contribution to the vocabulary of Brazilian Portuguese that does not exist in European Portuguese.

Intonation and Cadence

Brasileiro is more musical or lyrical than European Portuguese. Vowels are more open than those in European Portuguese and to English speakers, European Portuguese can sound somewhat muffled.  Brasileiro is syllable-timed like Spanish with equal stress on all syllables. And European Portuguese is stress-timed, with stressed and unstressed syllables in words, which is more familiar to native English speakers.

Little Pim’s language courses for young children make learning Portuguese an exciting, playful, and educational experience for your child. She will learn 180 Portuguese words and phrases to start her on a lifelong path of bilingualism. Browse our website for more information on Portuguese language learning for your child.

Incorporating Language Learning into the 2016 Olympics

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Flash forward a couple weeks from today: It’s a sticky summer day, and to cool down and spend some quality time with your kiddos, you decide to go home, sprawl out on the couch, and watch the Olympic games. Your child becomes disengaged, or maybe your kid loves the games and is glued to the television. Either way, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to teach your children Portuguese and make them feel a deeper connection to Rio than the screen in your living room. We, here at Little Pim, recognize this language learning opportunity, and luckily, we offer lessons and flash cards in Portuguese that will make your son or daughter speak as well as Gabby Douglas flips in the time of a Usain Bolt 100 meter dash.

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Sports Vocabulary

The most obvious vocabulary to introduce to your child during the Olympic games would be basic sports vocabulary, like the words for: ball, referee, pool, court, and field. To try to cultivate the strongest correlation between the words you are teaching and an image, it is probably smart to introduce the vocab as its corresponding image appears on the television.

Additionally, since the words you will be teaching them are about being active, you can make the language learning active. Play a game of catch while watching the 2016 games. When you have the ball, say the English word, and have your child say the Portuguese translation upon catching the ball. They can learn more about how to discuss playtime in Portuguese with the Little Pim “Playtime” lesson, which is available for online purchase. This online accessibility means they can sit on the couch and learn Portuguese on any device with the Olympics on in the background.

Geography

The Olympics has a record number of countries competing this year, so now more than ever the Olympics is a melting pot of cultures. This presents you with the ability to expose your child to a plethora of different countries. With that, you can teach them how to say each country’s name, main languages, and prominent religions in Portuguese. You can pull out a map and point at the country in question as you go along! If your family has roots in a certain country, this is a great time to introduce a bit of that country’s language too; Little Pim lessons could probably help you do so!

Counting

The number system is critical to any language, so it is a good place to start when learning Portuguese. As the shot clock winds down or the race is about to begin, have your son or daughter count down in Portuguese. They will be ready by New Years to count down to 12 AM in Portuguese!

Start by counting numbers 1-10 in Portuguese, then go backwards to start the countdown:

10 – dez

5 – cinco

9 – nove

4 – quatro

8 – oito

3 – três

7 – sete

2 – dois

6 – seis

1 – um

Stats

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As each athlete’s statistics are plastered across your television screen, you can teach your little one the words for goal, assist, point, etc. This can be a particularly great exercise with little boys and girls who have already developed a passion for sports

(it is probably genetic) and enjoy memorizing statistics from player cards and a teams’ websites.

Personalize the Activity

If your son or daughter is especially fond of one sport that will be performed during the summer games, make sure to focus on the vocabulary relating to that sport. This will make the language learning of greater value in their eyes, and thereby more fun for them. For example:

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Get Involved As a Parent

If you are fluent in Portuguese or have never heard a word of it, speaking the language with your kid makes it a group activity as opposed to a chore. Additionally, if your whole family wants to extend your exposure to Brazilian culture beyond language learning, please refer to a post coming out soon about fun activities infused with Brazilian culture that you can do right at home.

Vocab Reinforcement

For the words to stick, a child needs to become familiar with them by hearing them a number of times. On your way to a mall or weekend get-away, you can review the Portuguese vocab in a fun trivia-like format. The Little Pim flash card set could serve this purpose really well!

Teach Love and Kindness

Sports have the power to transcend countries’ borders, racial divides, and social differences. That power is what makes the Olympics such a beautiful thing to watch, especially today when these issues run rampant in our society. Teaching your child the English words for unity, equality, fairness, and sportsmanship, for example, is a powerful action in it of itself. Imagine the power of teaching them these words in yet another language, like Portuguese.

By teaching your child another language at a young age, you accomplish many things. You make them smarter, you differentiate them from other children their age, and you ultimately make them more valuable to our society and a potential employer. Above all of those things, you make them sensitive to and connected to another country, culture, and way of life. In learning a new language, they are learning to respect differences instead of hate them, just as sportsmanship teaches. Language learning is powerful. Sports are powerful. Rio is the perfect opportunity to combine sports with language learning, an action that could have an amazingly powerful impact on your child.

P.S. It will also be fun!!

Portuguese Flash Cards Volume 1

3 Ways to Make Bastille Day As Much Fun As the Fourth of July

Bastille Day for Kids

Bastille Day is upon us! This July 14th presents a perfect opportunity to get you and your young ones excited about language learning through some French culture. While the topic of the French Revolution may seem like a dry subject to your average 0-6 year old, (or even to you), here are some great tips about how to make this another fun-filled summer holiday:

1. Build A Fort

The French working class stormed the Bastille, the prison, to gather ammunition stored there.

Grab your kids and build a fort with lots of blankets and cushions and voilà you have your own make-believe Bastille. Make the password to enter to the fort a French word to incorporate some vocabulary. If the kids are having fun, you can quickly grab some French-inspired snacks to munch on inside the fort, like Brie cheese and crackers or macaroons. If you have the time and want to try your hand at some more serious preparation and cooking, check this these French recipes via Betty Crocker. This is the perfect Bastille Day activity if it’s raining outside or if you want to escape the sweltering heat.

2. Go Down To the Tennis Courts (or Out to the Sidewalk)

Soon after the storming of the Bastille, the members of the Third Estate, (working class men), were locked out of the Estates General meeting, which was supposed to be an assembly of all the French classes. They retreated to the nearby indoor tennis court and took an oath that demanded a new constitution.

French Macaroons

If your family is on vacation or has access to a tennis court, bring the kids with you and have them make up their own game with the balls and/or racquets. This game can act as their very own constitution for the “republic of the tennis court.” Even if there isn’t a tennis court around, you can use some chalk to draw a small court on the sidewalk. This would be a great time to introduce your kiddos to some French sports vocabulary. Also, if the game is more active, you can have your kids “warm up” with some hops and jumping jacks, counting out loud how many they are doing in French. The “I Can Count” lesson from our French for Kids program (Vol II, Video 6) can help refresh their French counting skills.

3. Have a Picnic and Mini Parade

On Bastille Day in France, there is a huge parade along the Champs-Élysées.

Picnic in the park and have the walk back be a mock parade. You can get the little ones excited by breaking out the red, white, and blue attire from the fourth of July- luckily American and French national colors are the same. For some red, white, and blue food options to bring on the picnic, refer to the previous Fourth of July blog posting! As you are picking out the clothes or preparing the food, you have the perfect chance to teach the kids the French words for various colors. Additionally, the Little Pim flashcards or coloring sheets are a great post-picnic activity in the park.

What’s Happening in NYC?

Here in our home of NYC, there are some more official celebrations all around the city. For more information visit TimeOut's"Bastille Day in NYC" guide.

We, here at Little Pim, hope you and your whole family make great memories this Bastille Day while also getting a taste of France’s lively culture. We hope we can join you in helping your children experience more of the world!

Easter Celebrations in Russia

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Spring is beginning to bring forth its many blooms, and children everywhere are enjoying more seasonal temperatures. We also just celebrated the holiday that marks the start of Spring – Easter. Americans who celebrate this special holiday may attend church services on Easter Sunday and participate in Easter egg hunts, decorating eggs, attending parades, and/or visiting the Easter bunny. But there is one country just getting ready to celebrate this big holiday. Russia’s Easter will be on May 1st.  Let’s take a look at Russian Easter celebrations. Orthodox Easter Services

For the Russians, Easter is a highly religious celebration. A church service is held the evening before Easter that begins just prior to midnight and lasts into the wee hours of Sunday morning. The large churches are filled with church attendees who participate in the celebratory service. Thousands of candles are lit and fill the beautiful church.

Food

The Russian people enjoy a scrumptious Easter breakfast when the church service is completed. Three popular Easter dishes include Kulich, Paska, and colored eggs. Kulich is a Russian sweet bread which looks like a vanilla cupcake with white frosting and sprinkles. Paska is a “rich and very sweet cheese pudding." The great feast lasts for seven days as people visit family, friends, and neighbors.

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Children’s Activities

Russian children enjoy Easter with games and fun, just as American children do. One such game the Russian children play involves Easter eggs. Children try to crack each others eggs as they roll them down a hill. Candy is often used in the game, as well. The Easter eggs are beautifully decorated and painted. Easter morning begins with children visiting neighborhood homes handing out Easter eggs.

Social Activities

The Russian celebration of Easter involves some interesting social activities. One such custom begins the evening before Easter during the night service and lasts forty days; people recite a specific greeting to one another. The first person will say “Khristos voskres!", meaning Christ is risen!  The next person is supposed to reply, "Voistinu voskres", meaning truly He is risen! Traditional hugging and kissing three times will follow the greeting. This is called the "kiss of peace".

Also, if following the older Russian customs, people will give gifts to the poor, orphaned, and those in hospitals or prisons.

Russian Complete Set

Learning about how other countries celebrate major holidays is one way in which children can be more culturally aware; this inspires a love for learning the language of that culture. As you and your child embrace new cultural experiences and learning a new language, Little Pim is right alongside you with products to enhance immersion learning. Try a free demo video to teach your child Russian with Little Pim today!

4 Fun Ways to Teach Your Child Spanish

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With Cinco de Mayo around the corner, it's the perfect time to start teaching your child Spanish! Cinco de Mayo commemorates the unlikely 1862 victory of the Mexican army over the French army in the Battle of Puebla. Celebrations around Mexico and the United States highlight Mexican culture, cuisine, and music. We've compiled a few Spanish vocabulary words that follow the theme of the festivities, as well as 4 fun ways to teach your child Spanish!

La batalla – battle La revolucion – revolution La bandera – flag El heroe – hero La independencia – independence La victoria – victory

Teaching your child Spanish has benefits that go beyond the obvious advantage of a bilingual child; the opportunity to strengthen your bond with your child as you work together learning a new language is invaluable. As you and your child begin the journey of learning Spanish, remember to have fun. According to research, learning actually takes place best when the child is having fun. Here are 4 fun ways to teach children Spanish:

Music

Music is an excellent way to aid in memory. John Hopkins University had this to report, “Music can also create a highly focused learning state in which vocabulary and reading material is absorbed at a great rate. When information is put to rhythm and rhyme these musical elements will provide a hook for recall.”

Spanish Bop album with lyrics. 15 fun children songs for children.

Little Pim's Spanish Bop will have your whole family singing while learning Spanish at the same time! And don’t worry if you don’t know Spanish–the album comes with a 16-page lyrics book that highlights vocabulary from our Spanish video series and includes an English translation of all the songs. Incorporating Spanish music in your lessons is definitely helpful for gaining your little one's attention and makes language learning fun!

Visuals

Research reveals that the mind is able to process visuals 60,000 times faster in the brain than textual information. Simply put, your child will learn more quickly and effectively when visuals are a big part of the learning model. By utilizing pictures, flashcards, videos, and board books, the information will solidify in his/her mind.

Games

Everyone loves a fun game. Furthermore, for the tactile learner (which is the child who learns through touching and doing), games are a tremendous way to connect positive experiences with the act of learning the language. Depending on the age of the child, you will have to modify the games. Here are a few suggestions for an older child.

Once the child knows a few basic words (learned from the Little Pim videos or flashcards), set flashcards on the floor in a path leading to a surprise, treat, or just a big hug. The object of the game is the child says either the word in Spanish or tells you the translation (what it means in English). As they advance along the path, they pick up the cards and if they get the right answer, they move on to the next card until they win by reaching the end.

A variation of the game above is to use the flashcards, but for each one that the child gets right, he or she can put a stuffed animal in the “zoo” (a sectioned off area you designate to be a zoo) to be with all its friends. When she gets all the animals in the zoo, then the game is over.

Play a Spanish song that your child knows pretty well, then periodically pause the CD for your child to fill in the missing word. To add some child fitness exercises to the mix, you could make learning new words into an action game. For each word your little one is able to say, they get to do a jumping jack, hop like a bunny, or some other fun action your child enjoys!

You can also try this free online game from Scholastic: Spanish Heritage – Piñata Game

Multicultural Events

Learning about the Spanish culture, experimenting with Mexican foods, and even taking a trip to Mexico are also wonderful ways to immerse your child in the experience of the Mexican culture. As the child identifies with and learns about the culture, he or she will have a more well-rounded educational experience.

Learning the Spanish language is an asset for children. Making it enjoyable goes a long way in making it stick in the child’s mind. At Little Pim, we produced the #1 language learning program for kids ages 0-6 and products such as flashcard sets and board books to make language learning fun for little ones.

Celebrate "Kodomo no Hi" - Children's Day in Japan

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When children are learning new languages, introducing them to multicultural activities that relate to the new language is a fantastic way for them to get involved. If you are teaching your child Japanese, they'll love learning about "Kodomo no Hi" (Koh-doh-moh noh Hee) or "Children's Day" in Japan, which falls on "the fifth day of the fifth month," or May 5th. Kodomo no Hi was initially known as "Boys Day" in contrast to a "Girls Day" that is held in March. In 1948, though, the government moved to change it to "Children's Day" to celebrate, respect and honor all children. Children in Japan enjoy the day off from school on Children's Day. Below are some traditional ways families celebrate this special holiday and some fun activities to engage your little ones!

Japanese Folklore

Japanese children often listen to the story of "Kintarō" or "Golden Boy" on Children's Day. This famous legend tells the story of a young boy who was very strong and rode a bear rather than a horse. It's custom for families with boys to decorate their home with a Kintarō doll in hopes that their boys will grow into brave, strong men. You can find a version of this story in English in "Kintaro's Adventures and Other Japanese Children's Favorite Stories" by Florence Sakade on Amazon.

Children's Day Crafts

Japanese families often fly a "koinobori" flag outside their home to bring in good luck and fortune. This flag consists of a large black koi or carp fish to represent the father, a smaller red one to represent the mother, and smaller fish of different colors to represent each child. The koi fish symbolize strength and determination in Japanese culture as these fish are known for swimming upstream through strong currents. To celebrate Children's Day in your home, you could make a similar koinobori flag to represent your family following these directions from the Asia Kids Society.

Get out the crayons - your kids will love this coloring page from Activity Village that showcases two children dressed in traditional Japanese dress. While they choose their colors, teach them how to say each color in Japanese to make language learning fun!

  • Red - aka
  • Orange - daidaiiro
  • Yellow - kiiro
  • Green - midori
  • Blue - ao
  • Purple - murasaki
  • Pink - momoiro
  • Black - kuro
  • Brown - chairo
  • Gray - haiiro
  • White - shiro

Children's Day Treats

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The traditional food for Children's Day is mochi, a pounded-down rice cake. If you have a Japanese or Asian grocery nearby, you might be able to buy pre-made mochi made with a sweet bean filling. Alternatively, purchase mochi powder to make your own. Kids will love rolling their own mochi balls.

For more ideas on how to celebrate the Japanese holiday, Children's Day in your home, visit The Japan Society for photos and other fun activities for kids. If you're interested in teaching your child Japanese, Little Pim can help. Learning a second language is a real brain booster for young kids. The Japanese Complete Set introduces 180 fundamental words and phrases your kids will want to repeat again and again. Watch a free trial of Japanese for kids.

Bringing Culture Up Close: 5 Multicultural Activities for Kids

To best incorporate language, culture, and an expanded worldview into a child's day, it's wise to use what is already set in place: a weekly schedule! Repeat these 5 multicultural activities for kids on a weekly basis, and your son or daughter will begin thinking outside-the-ordinary. Have fun!

Start by choosing a different culture every week. Use these weekday suggestions as parameters to build upon. Then, as a pattern develops, watch your child eagerly anticipate the ways new cultures come alive in your home.

Monday Meals:

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Spell new language words using alphabet cereals, carrots, or noodles. Make pancakes into Chinese letters, for example. Count healthy food pieces using the culture's language, or make a cultural dish, together, as you discuss other common foods of the region. While you're in the kitchen, review your food vocabulary with the kids with the help of Little Pim videos or flashcards. You can also learn and teach the kids about the variety of eating utensils from other cultures.

If you have family members who have a different cultural background than you do, invite them over to teach you and your kids about their cuisine and you can even prepare a meal together. Your family can pick up on new words and ethnic ingredients you've never tried which can be fun and tasty!

Tuesday Topics:

Tuesdays are about learning the traditions of a culture. Find pictures which display these traditions and common hobbies most popular there. Review parenting traditions and how life events are celebrated differently, for example, have you heard of the "baby grab" tradition celebrated in Korea? The parents give their baby a basket of items associated with a career, i.e. a book for scholars, ball for athletes, food for chefs, toy stethoscope for doctors, etc. Tradition says that the item the baby reaches for first will have some bearing on his or her future.

How do children from these cultures spend their day? Is family important? What is same or different from who we are?

Wednesday Wardrobe:

What do children, moms, and dads wear in China (for example)? Does this culture dress special for occasions or holidays? Find articles of clothing or hit the thrift shop to role play with your child as though you live in the area of study. Put on a play or skit to show what you've learned. Alternatively, you can find pictures of cultural attire to share with the kids.

Thursday Thinker:

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Using story books, articles, and Little Pim, engage in activities suitable to your child's comprehension. Have young children color a picture of a significant holiday, symbol, or food item from the culture you're studying. Start discussions with older children, for example, you might discuss the culture's schooling system or the country's flag. Ask, "What do you think?"

Visit your local library to find books about the culture of the week and take turns reading. You can find children's books that introduce kids to different cultures around the world, focused on cuisine, holidays, and traditions.

Friday Flick:

Find a movie, short, or some kind of visual representation of the events, foods, and cultural differences discussed this week. What are some famous children's characters from each culture? Learn a native song or cultural dance important to the people.

Go out and explore!

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Discover local events within your community to expose your young children to different cultures in your very own neighborhood. For example, if you're living in the NYC-area, here are some fun upcoming events you can attend with your kids:

For further ways to develop your child's awareness of cultures and new languages, start teaching them a second language with Little Pim. If you have any suggestions or upcoming multicultural events in your area, please share them in the comments below. We look forward to growing with you and your child!

International Mother Language Day

Today is International Mother Language Day which is a day proclaimed by UNESCO to celebrate the languages spoken around the world and to promote cultural diversity and multilingualism. IMLD honors the day in 1952 when “language martyr” students demonstrated for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of what is now Bangladesh.

INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY
INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY
Mother languages in a multilingual approach are essential components of quality education, which is itself the foundation for empowering women and men and their societies.

-Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director General

Celebrate this special day with your little ones by attending local multicultural festivals or by bringing language learning into your home with Little Pim. Now you can stream Little Pim on Hulu and Roku or you can instantly download your choice of our 12 languages for kids on our website.

At Little Pim, we believe that all children deserve to learn a second language. Our program makes learning a foreign language easy and accessible to all kids–at the age they learn best, from 0 to 6 years. Our videos, books, flashcards, and CDs keep kids entertained while inspiring in them a lifelong love of language learning.

We live in an increasingly global world – one where bilingualism carries many benefits. Research shows that bilinguals, especially those who have learned a second language before age six, demonstrate superior reading and writing skills, as well as advanced analytical and social skills. Bilingualism has also been shown to improve vocabulary in a child’s native tongue.

Learning a foreign language can open a whole new world up for your child. Little Pim gives children the ticket to this world–by making it fun and easy for kids to learn a second language.