Are there any moms and dads who have heard of Little Pim DVDs? I know I didn’t until they contacted me about a month ago. According to their web site, Little Pim is a foreign language immersion DVD series for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. [Note to dads and moms: it’s not a good idea to let your kids watch TV before they are at least two years old. Ignoring this daddy advice will cause the innocent looking Zhu Zhu pets to mutate into Tiger Woods.]
Little Pim currently offer three theme-based DVDs (Eating and Drinking, Wake Up Smiling, and Playtime). The DVDs are offered in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, Japanese, Hebrew, English (ESL), German, Arabic, and Russian. The DVDs feature what Little Pim call Entertainment Immersion Method, which combines animation and real kids to teach simple words and phrases for everyday activities.
I checked out the Eating and Drinking (Mandarin Chinese) DVD from the library and watched it with the Little Monkey (age four). I was expecting something like Dora or Kai-lan, but it’s more like Baby Einstein. The Little Monkey liked the DVD and giggled like a little girl at times. Did she learn any Chinese words after watching Little Pim? I don’t think so. She was able to repeat some of the words when she was watching, but she couldn’t repeat any of the Chinese words after the DVD was over. The people over at Little Pim recommend viewing their DVDs two to three times a week for the new vocabulary words to sink in. I think that would help, but I think parents will be disappointed if they think the DVDs will teach their kids a foreign language. That’s an unrealistic expectation. No 35-minute DVD will do that. The best way to learn, in this dad’s opinion, is to have someone around who can converse with your child in a foreign language.
So, what are the DVDs good for? I think the Little Pim series is good for teaching kids a few words or phrases in a foreign language. I also think the DVDs are useful for immersing your child in a foreign language (I don’t recall a single word spoken in English). My two oldest kids (ages six and nine) goes to Chinese school on Saturdays and would probably have benefited from Little Pim when they first started Chinese school. BTW, the DVDs sell for about $16 each on Amazon.
Hint: if you don’t speak the language, turn on the English subtitles in the DVD start menu. For Chinese, Japanese, and Hebrew, you can download a free Companion Guide in Little Pim’s Parent Guides section.
[Disclosure: I received a Spanish version of Little Pim’s Eating and Drinking DVD. I did not watched it and checked out the Chinese version from the library instead. I will donate the Spanish version to our local library.]