It's no secret by now that there are numerous benefits to children learning a second language. There have been numerous studies documenting how learning another language correlates with higher academic achievement, improved cognitive abilities, increased attention and concentration, exposure and acceptance of different cultures, and increased empathy and understanding of others. What's more is that children do not have to be fluent in multiple languages to reap these benefits, but rather just have exposure to differing languages.
For all of these reasons and more, introducing a new language to our children was important to my husband and I. Evan, our oldest, has been exposed to some form of formal Spanish teaching since he was three years old. At first, this was just whatever was offered within his preschool which was typically limited to colors, the numbers 1-10 and casual greetings like "Hello", "Good Morning", etc. This year, however, we started him in an immersion "school" that meets once a week after his regular school day. He's picked up a lot, but one hour a week simply isn't enough to learn a new language. It is definitely better than nothing, but I knew we could offer him more. Enter Jamma Jango.
When Jamma Jango contacted me about doing a review of their kids' foreign language education program we had already tried a couple of resources with varying success. We have downloaded apps, watched television programs, completed worksheets and scoured Pinterest. All of those things have definitely helped and they will continue to be supplements that we utilize often, but Jamma Jango offers a complete language learning kit in one box.
Here's the deal: Jamma Jango offers boxes in either Spanish or Chinese and is specifically for kids ages 0-7 (although older kids could definitely benefit from the program as well). You pick your language and then order their Introductory Kit which includes: a DVD, flash cards, bingo game, stickers and sticker board, an activity booklet, and parent-child discussion cards.
I started the kids off with watching the video a couple of times over the course of a week before introducing the other activities to them. The video, which runs for 29 minutes, is broken into 3 segments with each segment covering one of the three themes of the box: Beach, Farm and Fruit Stand. This means you can watch the video straight through, which is what we did, or break it up into 3 different mini-videos, whichever your child seems to prefer. Within the movie the characters, Kaylo (a pink bunny), Ippy (a yellow duck) and Van Go Go (a blue dog) lead children through an exploration of each theme, transitioning easily between Spanish and English so that every sentence spoken is done so in both languages. When a new Spanish word is taught, the characters show a picture of the word and the word is displayed on the screen in both English and Spanish. For example, when teaching "Playa" a scene of the beach is depicted and the words "Beach" and "Playa" are displayed on the screen. The words are repeated several times throughout the segment to reinforce the teaching.
The kids' favorite part: Since the video is separated into 3 segments, there are 2 little intermissions on the video where the characters do the "Jamma Jango" a little dance where the characters instruct viewers to "stomp your feet, pat your belly, spin one time." Every time we watched it, both kids jumped up to join in on the dance. It's a great transition from one theme/segment to the next and perfect for keeping kids engaged in the video.
The Flash Cards
Once the kids had watched the video a handful of times, we introduced the flash cards. There is a flash card for each of the words introduced within the video (a total of 30) and each card is double sided. On one side is an illustration depicting the word and the word written in English. On the opposite side is the same illustration and the word written in Spanish along with the pronunciation. This is great for making sure that we are all pronouncing the word correctly.
The kids' favorite part: Both kids loved seeing items depicted that they are interested in. Farm animals, favorite fruits, and beach toys are things all kids love so having these words within the first box helped to keep them interested and has made practicing while we are out and about super easy.
We've watched the movie and we've practiced the words with the flash cards, now it's time to test our knowledge and reinforce what we've learned with a couple of fun activities. I love that Jamma Jango includes both a bingo game and a sticker pack. Having the option of the two is great for using the program with children at different ages and with different styles of learning. The bingo game is played just like regular bingo: the first player to cover all the spaces on the board wins. In this version, however, learning is reinforced by having the players call out the Spanish word that matches the illustration on the game piece before using it to cover up the game board.
For the stickers, there is one removable sticker for each Spanish word taught (total of 30) and three sticker boards for each theme: a beach, a farm, and a farm stand. The Spanish words are written on the appropriate sticker board and when children match the illustrated sticker to the printed word on the board they create a scene depicting the theme (genius, huh?).
Also included in the kit is an activity book and several discussion guides. These are great for providing your children with even more opportunities to reinforce what they have learned. The activity book includes worksheets, matching activities, pattern work, mazes, complete the word, spot the difference, connect the dots, puzzles and more. The discussion guides give you prompts for continuing the learning outside of the kit, questions to ask your child about the movie and tips for getting the best results out of the kit.
The kids' favorite part: Right now the stickers are definitely their favorite part but as they get older and more familiar with the words, I'm sure the bingo game will take over. My favorite part is the activity book just because it is packed with activities. I plan to make copies of the pages and let the kids use those over and over again rather than let them write on the original.
We loved Jamma Jango! As a parent, I found the activities easy to set-up and do with the kids and the kids loved the movie and the games. We think this will be a great introduction into Spanish for Hadley and the perfect supplement for Evan. The best part is that the makers of Jamma Jango plan to expand on the product. This box is the introductory box and there are plans to publish more soon. The next box will be numbers, colors, and shapes!
Photography by Paiges of Gray
Disclaimer: Paiges of Gray was gifted this product by Jamma Jango in exchange for an honest review, but, as always, all of the opinions expressed are my own.
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