One of the cooler options we’ve found is the Little Pim series of foreign languge DVDs. Their creator, Julia Pimsleur-Levine is both a documentary filmmaker and the daughter of an acclaimed language professor and it’s clear from the quality that she knows her stuff. When my daughter said, "Mommy, panda video again!" after the first watching I knew this was a cool thing.
Essentially the videos teach kids foreign words simply by using them in the same way that Sesame Street teaches English words. So you’ll see kids (nicely shot!) playing with an apple, eating an apple, peeling an apple, and the little animated panda–with the sweetest voice ever–will say pomme. Easy. And fun. There are French, Spanish and Mandarin currently available on each of three different DVDs
My daughter isn’t exactly reciting Moliére after three watchings, but she is enjoying seeing the kids on the videos and thinks it’s funny when I say bonjour to her in the morning now. Soon, she might even point to an apple and say pomme.
Or say fart. You know, two year-olds. –Liz