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Things I Hate: Toys that Pretend to Teach My Child Another Language | Teeny Manolo

Things I Hate: Toys that Pretend to Teach My Child Another Language


Do I think it is a good idea for my children to learn another language? Emphatically, yes. I, along with almost every other parent I know, do not wish to see my child crushed in whatever future global competitive job market that is coming.  An acquaintance of mine has a child that is tri-lingual, speaking English, Arabic, and Spanish.  This, of course, makes me  feel anxiety that my kids are going to be left in the multi-cultural dust.

And that is why toy manufacturers have jumped on the bilingual bandwagon with toys like this, this and of course, this.

Of course you can buy them just for simple exposure to another language (and by extension, another culture), but if you are truly looking to teach your child another language, don’t fool yourself that these will do the trick. 

You might be better off getting some flashcards, but I would recommend a) having someone fluent in the language speak to your child on a regular basis or failing that, b) classes.  If your child is a bit older, something like this will probably do the trick, as second language courses in public elementary/middle schools have already gone the way of the dodo due to budget cuts, if they were ever there to begin with.

Let’s face it, your child is not going to become fluent in Spanish just because she presses a few buttons once or twice a day that sing “rojo” and “verde.” Trust me on this one.

2 Responses to “Things I Hate: Toys that Pretend to Teach My Child Another Language”

  1. marvel January 6, 2011 at 8:13 am #

    My toddler ADORES Dora. We’ve never had any illusions that either of our girls would actually learn Spanish from Dora (wouldn’t that be like expecting Baby Einstein to actually make your child smarter?) but it’s a wholesome show. I figure it’s a business’ job to advertise, and a parent’s job to ignore the advertisements.

  2. Glinda January 12, 2011 at 1:55 am #

    Ack, I had replied to this, but for some reason it got eaten. I do think that parents have this weird expectation that the toys (perhaps not necessarily Dora, but why not?) will teach their children another language. Why buy them then? And why market them so heavily as “bilingual” toys?