PRODUCT REVIEWS – Vamos a Jugar – Let’s Play

Viewers seeking Spanish-language-immersion DVDs will be pleased with this entertaining and engaging program that has it all – animation, live-action footage, stills, puppets, multiethnic children and adults, and an encouraging host. Against a brightly colored, cartoon-like background, the female host introduces numbers, body parts, clothes, animals, and more with many vocabulary words (from face and foot to spider and sheep) captioned in Spanish onscreen. Children are also invited to sing and dance to various charming, simple, and clearly enunciated Spanish songs, accompanied by mariachi-type music. The enclosed trifold “Translation Guide,” which lists the words and phrases in Spanish and English, notes that “no prior language knowledge is required.” Los Animales (Animals), in which kids “explore the worlds of animals and sounds,” is also available for $19.99. Entertaining and educational — ¡excelente!

Booklist, published by the American Library Association

Bright graphics, live-action footage of children, an engaging young teacher, songs, and games present basic Spanish language terms such as parts of the body, numbers, colors, articles of clothing, and more. In a format reminiscent of Blues Clues the children and the teacher are shown against animated backgrounds, giving variety and visual appeal to the presentation. . . . [T]he well-structured DVD uses context and repetition to clarify meaning. The sense of playing a game is continuously maintained. The total immersion technique is consistent throughout and the use of repetition is excellent. Young children will be happy to join in and will pick up phrases and words easily. A short “Translation Guide” lists all the words and phrases used in the DVD in the order in which they appear….The program is definitely better in quality and execution than Kids Love Spanish and for a slightly older audience than the excellent Osmosis series. Though clearly aimed at the home market, the program is an excellent tool for beginning instruction in Spanish and will be useful in classrooms as well.

School Library Journal, December 2007

iParenting Media Hot Award[Spanish for Beginners: Vamos a Jugar (Let’s Play)] is very well done and would be a great addition to a family’s collection. What a great way to teach your children Spanish by making it fun and exciting! This video really keeps a child’s attention the whole time while watching.

There were many positive characteristics of this DVD: 1. Friendly and articulate narrator. 2. Friendly and engaging children. 3. Wonderful, bright and colorful images. Overall, the movie takes a fun and simple approach to teaching Spanish to children. While it doesn’t use any English translation, the pictures and illustrations are clear and simple to understand. The movie is quick moving and therefore works to keep younger attention spans engaged, which is difficult when they don’t understand the language.

There are many positive characteristics of this Spanish DVD. My 5-year old twins enjoyed watching this show and watched it many times throughout the review period. The main points that they enjoyed were the songs and characters. The songs were up beat and involved lots of action, therefore appealing to their attention span. Although they didn’t know what was being said as the whole DVD was in Spanish, they continued to enjoy the show. The characters and colors were vibrant and active. My kids loved the puppets and the children the most. It was great to hear them laugh at some of the characters.

The translation guide was helpful and I think after a few more times of watching the DVD, I’ll be able to use the guide more. The guide is set up to be user friendly and the user is able to quickly find the Spanish translation. The DVD was long enough for the kids to enjoy and learn Spanish, yet short enough that they didn’t get bored. There is an excellent balance of content and time. I liked that the DVD language was in Spanish and the idea of learning the language through immersion is an excellent idea. The simplicity of the characters and songs are amazing. I hope this DVD becomes a favorite in the household and that even I learn Spanish.

iParenting Media

Parent's Choice AwardFeaturing children from infants to age 9 or so, young viewers are introduced to the names of body parts in Spanish through a combination of play, song and dance. Our pre-K test group participated happily and repeatedly, and began to pick up on some of the frequently used words and phrases. The gentle and skilled presenter serves as a bridge between the abstract and real life examples. The printed translation guide is an added bonus.

Parents’ Choice Foundation

Charming animations, children’s involvement, interactivity coupled with playful association of words and the visual screen including music and puppet shows that make it very appealing. This title works well in a Spanish immersion format. Key character Maria, although not well known, is very engaging and has great charisma. She and the children are excellent role models, portraying good humor and fun. Helps build a child’s Spanish vocabulary through skits, dance, Spanish songs and play. Children learn the Spanish words for parts of the body, clothing and numbers. This program continues to reinforce Spanish words learned in its partner DVD, “Los Animales.

KIDS FIRST!

National Parenting Center AwardUsing a simple and straightforward approach to teaching young children a second language, Whistlefritz employs an easy to follow system. Bright colorful images to capture the child’s attention, a clearly spoken friendly narrator, and a good assortment of characters, skits, games and songs that kids already know in their native tongue, all serve to make this a standout bilingual program. When presented on this DVD exclusively in Spanish, parents found that their kids were able to follow the story lines and pick up the vocabulary quickly.

The National Parenting Center, 2007 Fall Report

Vamos a Jugar is an extremely welcome addition to the set of (surprisingly limited) tools available for parents who wish to teach their kids Spanish. While efforts by some television shows to include Spanish language content are positive, the occasional word or phrase does little beyond letting kids know that other languages exist. The immersion philosophy behind the Whistlefritz videos is a quantum leap forward. The genius is in the simplicity of the concept – take characters, skits, games and songs largely familiar to kids and present them purely in Spanish rather than English, guessing (correctly) that kids will be able to follow the storylines and pick up the vocabulary quickly. Perhaps just as importantly, the entertainment, novelty and challenge levels are more than high enough to keep our 3- and 5-year-olds fully engaged. Los Animales (the first DVD) has been part of the permanent rotation in our DVD player for months with no signs of displacement anytime soon. Very happy to see a second video added to the mix and looking forward to more!

S. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Mom
Montgomery County, MD

Review of Spanish for Beginners: Los Animales (Animals) and Spanish for Beginners: Vamos a Jugar (Let’s Play)

When you get to know Maria, your Whistlefritz host, as my children and I have done, you will be hooked! Learning Spanish with someone as engaging as Maria will inspire even the youngest at heart! A better host for a children’s DVD would be hard to find.

Whistlefritz DVDs don’t bore you with tons of vocabulary and exhausting lessons. The learning comes automatically as you experience the world of Spanish language with your lively and beautiful host Maria. Set against the backdrop of colorful rooms and landscapes, Spanish language learning is captivating and engaging. Youthful friends and puppets join Maria to help explain the different subject sequences and are having at least as much fun as she is, if not a whole lot more.

I was amazed as my children sat spellbound watching every moment of the Whistlefritz DVDs and then asked to see them both again – especially my two and a half year old daughter. When Maria puts a pair of toddler’s pants on her head to help explain the Spanish word for head, I knew these DVDs were a winner. The uncontrolled laughter of my children emanating from the sofa said it all!

Whistlefritz offers two fabulous Spanish for Beginners DVDs: “Let’s Play – Vamos a Jugar” and “Los Animales – Animals.” The DVDs are aimed at ages 2-5 and are sure to captivate children within that age group. A Translation Guide is included inside the DVD covers so that you can learn along with your children. As stated in the Translation Guide: “No prior language knowledge is required. Whistlefritz programs are designed for beginners. You can help your child learn by watching the programs together and practicing words whenever possible.” And boy will you have fun!

Multilingual Living Magazine

Review of Spanish for Beginners: Los Animales (Animals) and Spanish for Beginners: Vamos a Jugar (Let’s Play)

Los Animales and Vamos a Jugar are by far the best Spanish immersion DVDs I’ve seen! My grandson loves them so much that he wants to see them every day! Every student who wants to learn Spanish should have these DVDs, and Spanish-speaking children can also benefit from watching them. I highly recommend them!

A. Duran
Spanish Language Teacher
Montgomery County, MD

I am so excited to review one of my favorite Spanish language products for kids! I highly recommend their products! They are wonderful! I normally don’t go on and on about products, but I really must when talking about these DVD’s and CD.

Whistlefritz has 3 DVD’s and 1 CD out that are completely in Spanish. It’s complete immersion, but even children who have not been exposed to any Spanish can understand it! I love how they have plenty of repetition, sing songs that gets the kids dancing and show silly skits that get the kids giggling.

My kids love the DVD’s! They remember what they watched and even try to re-enact what happens in the pictures. In Vamos a Jugar, they cover parts of the body and clothing. There is a cute scene where Maria tries to put something on her head. After putting on a sock, a skirt, and pants, she finally realizes she needs a sombrero. Without fail, my girls giggle when they see this part. I caught my daughter repeating what Maria did while she was getting dressed the other day. I love how it gets them talking!

Los Animales DVD covers much more than animals. They learn how to say “Que dice el perro?” and other phrases. They count dogs, see dogs chasing cats and much more! They also integrate in traditional songs like Los Pollitos and Vegan a Ver Mi Granja. I love the burro skit when the donkey is kicking things and Maria doesn’t know what is happenning. The kids love it and it catches their attention.

I had already purchased the first DVD’s and Whistlefritz sent me the newest DVD to review: Adentro y Afuera. It covers rooms in the house and where something is while trying to find a cute little mouse. It covers yummy food and even getting ready for the day. My favorite part is a skit where Maria counts cookies, but then some are missing as the kids take them away. They count multiple times- what a great way to practice counting!

I also received the wonderful A Bailar CD by Jorge Anaya. Someone asked what music I liked to use with my children and in my immersion classes the most. We use this CD probably the most. They are wonderful and are lively enough to dance to. The clear, easy-to-understand singing reminds me of Jose-Luis Orozco, except the accompaniment is more lively and fun! I love El Baile de Las Manos with its simple wording. All the kids in my class love this song!

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