In Pursuit of Spanish Products — Our Top Picks!
We're excited to launch our first-ever list of top product picks and Spanish language-learning tools.
In my pursuit to raise bilingual children, I’ve faced frustration many times. One of my recurring frustrations is finding quality products to help me in my Spanish speaking journey. Even as a bilingual, I’ve found it challenging to wade through the overwhelming amount of online content to figure out where to invest my time and money.
I can’t tell you how many apps I’ve downloaded and paid for just to be disappointed, and the number of books I’ve returned after discovering they didn’t measure up to my expectations. I just wanted someone to curate all of the available products for me and provide me with their top recommendations. (Is that asking so much?)
And since I couldn’t find that list of “must buy” products, I decided to create it myself!
So for all of you parents taking the challenge to teach Spanish to your children, this is for you: my “top picks” list (to date) to help you reduce the amount of time you spend searching for great apps, books, music, games and Spanish-language teaching and learning tools. I hope these recommendations reduce the amount of time you spend searching for great material, so that you can use that time learning alongside your kids instead!
In October 2016, we gave away these products as part of our MamaLingua Paquete raffle. Be sure to join our Facebook page for more product recommendations and giveaways!
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The MamaLingua Product Guide
LEARN : GUIDE : TEACH : LISTEN : PLAY : READ
Our top product picks (to date) for Spanish language-learning with your kids.
As a new (bilingual) mom, I wanted to raise my children bilingual, too. Other parents I met told me they wanted to give their children the same opportunity, but felt they weren’t able to because they didn’t have the Spanish fundamentals. For parents like these, we created MamaLingua — a tool to help parents speak Spanish with their kids, even without any Spanish background. We created a curated list of words and phrases we use with our children throughout our daily routines. With an easy-to-read phonetic system and audio in both Spanish and English, parents use MamaLingua to learn alongside their children using everyday language. And now you can, too!
Marianna Du Bosq is the creator of Bilingual Avenue. She is a great coach to have at the beginning and throughout your language-learning journey. Why do I love her? Marianna provides great insight on how to successfully raise bilingual children. Many times during this journey you may feel alone, frustrated and stuck. Marianna gives you the ability to learn from her experiences, and the advice of the experts she profiles, while answering questions along the way. Information is provided through instructive blog posts, insightful podcasts and a private community of like-minded parents. As part of the raffle, Marianna is giving away one of her e-books, The Essential Guide to Raising Happy Bilingual Children. In this book, Marianna will show you:
The benefits and common misconceptions of multilingualism
How young children learn best — and what you can do at home to get results
Speech and language milestones — and what you can expect at each stage
Language strategies — and how to choose the right one for your family
The key ingredients for successfully raising a multilingual child
A comprehensive list of activities and strategies that you can implement at home right away
Five tips every multilingual parent should know
A breakdown of the most common concerns for multilingual families and how to overcome each one
Family Subscription and DVD
Rockalingua was created by a group of Spanish teachers with many years of experience. It’s an online resource that teaches vocabulary and grammar through videos, songs, games and worksheets — essentially a one-stop shop for basic Spanish for children. It’s a fun and effective way for kids to learn Spanish, and kids enjoy it, which is why I love this product!
Rockalingua’s content covers everything from numbers and colors to prepositions. Because repetition is a key component to learning a language, Rockalingua presents the same material in multiple formats to promote retention. Rockalingua has been integrated into many school programs in the U.S. and abroad, and it’s increasingly popular with families. The winner of the MamaLingua Paquete will receive a family subscription, with access to all of the available digital content, as well as a DVD that includes all the Rockalingua songs on one disc!
Nathalia Palis-McLaughlin, known simply as Nathalia, is a bilingual singer and songwriter. Why do I love her? Nathalia incorporates Latin beats that just make you want to get up and dance.
Nathalia is originally from Colombia, and you can hear the influence in her work. Her music incorporates memories from her childhood in Colombia with memories she’s made with her own children here in the U.S. “Music has always been a part of my life,” Nathalia says. (Read more about Nathalia on the MamaLingua blog!)
“La Iguana Pepa” recalls a story of an iguana that took over her mom’s garden in Colombia, and her mom’s daily attempts to get Pepa to leave. “Que Llueva,” a title from her latest album, is a song about her desire for rain in Los Angeles, where she currently lives with her family. As part of today’s paquete, our winner will receive all three of Nathalia’s albums, which include a mix of Spanish, English and bilingual songs.
Mundo Lanugo book and calendar
The Mundo Lanugo Juega y Aprende app is one of our favorite Spanish-language apps in our home today. I love it because it creates an interactive medium in which children are engaged and learning at the same time. The app teaches children about Hispanic culture; it helps Latino children build their identity and self-esteem; and it teaches Spanish!
Mundo Lanugo is not just an app company — they are a children's entertainment property that helps connect kids to universal values through the lens of Hispanic culture. Each Lanugo character presents a facet of Latino culture, such as music, crafts, traditional games, cooking and storytelling. They use Spanish-language videos and live shows, and appear on Planeta U on Saturday mornings.
The company has created a wonderful formula to teach culture to children and to awaken their curiosity to learn more about themselves and Hispanic culture. And I know the content is effective, because my children sing the songs while they play, and often repeat the dichos, or common sayings, they’ve learned: “En boca cerrada, no entran moscas.” (Into a closed mouth, no flies will enter!)
Two paperback bilingual books:
Something Special by David McPhail
One Rainy Day by Valeri Gorbachev
Babl Books is wonderful. They take family-favorite books and translate them into a variety of languages, including Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, Gujarati, Tagalog and more. All books are bilingual, which makes them a great tool for the many bilingual families of MamaLingua.
Books are my favorite resource. Reading aloud creates a special bond between me and my kids; it gives me a tool to learn alongside my children; and it expands their creativity, attention span and vocabulary. In my book, reading is the most important activity when teaching a language. Babl Books celebrates a world of diversity in language by bringing quality books to children anywhere, in any language. At MamaLingua, we’re excited to partner with a company that’s bringing generations closer together through reading and language, helping teachers connect with their students, and giving children all over the world access to books in their own language.
Poster and e-book
I’ve struggled with finding a poster or wall decal that could provide me with a visual for my children to learn their ABC’s in Spanish. I don’t want to say “a” is for “apple.” I want to say “a” is for “avión!” When I found LoveYourLingo, I was ecstatic. Finally, I have a way to teach the alphabet in both Spanish and English with one poster.
LoveYourLingo was created by a mother raising bilingual children, who, like me, wanted to teach the alphabet in multiple languages without confusing her children. Thank you, Una, for creating something so useful for the many parents raising bilingual kids!
The Little Linguist's Alphabet poster from LoveYourLingo is a multilingual alphabet with 26 objects that all start with the same letter as their translations in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German and Dutch. With original illustrations, this print makes a beautiful addition to your child’s bedroom or playroom. In addition to the poster, LoveYourLingo will provide the winner of our paquete with a companion e-book that gives parents audio files for each letter and its corresponding word, plus a set of fun printables. Why stop at Spanish? With these materials, you can expose your kiddos to other languages as well and learn some new words together!
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