Getting the toddler set interested in learning a new language can be tough. They learn so much by seeing and doing. Interacting with other kids their age and exploring their language with you are primary ways they are figuring out how to communicate. If all they hear is English than that is what they will know.
I have tried to introduce Dek to another language in many ways. Most have not worked or he has lost interest almost immediately. I run back and forth from the library as I pull different materials to get him engaged and excited about learning with me.
Finally, after weeks of searching, I found a language program that Dek actually likes and asks for by name. Maybe you have heard of the main character.
His name is Muzzy.
This video language program, developed by the BBC, tells the story of a beautiful princess in love with the gardener. Of course the evil villain Corvax is also in love with the princess and he causes all kinds of mischief. Muzzy is the lovable alien who enjoys eating clocks and helps the gardener win his true love.
The animation and music are reminiscent of 1980s cartoons, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. If anything it makes me nostalgic for the goofy cartoons I loved as a kid (Thundercats anyone?).
Dek is so excited to be watching TV he doesn’t even realize he is learning another language. After watching the first episode twice he was singing “Buongiorno. Sono Carlo” and “Buonasera.” I was shocked.
He loves the songs. He asks me to play just the songs over and over again, an element of the program that is encouraged, as children learn songs more quickly than straight dialog just like we, the adults, do.
An audio disc of the entire episode comes with the program. Dek and I sing along to it in the car on our way to swim class in between my own language program I am working through. I have to throw the kid a bone every now and then I figure.
Warning: The songs will be stuck in your head. You WILL wake up singing them.
The way I like to think of this program is Sesame Street in Italian. There are no puppets, but just like Sesame Street has short clips interspersed throughout a larger story, so does Muzzy. Dek isn’t able to get bored because he keeps learning something new.
What I find even more exciting is that I am learning right along with him. I put on either the English or the Italian subtitles so I can learn a little more and follow along. We have watched the first episodes a lot. I can easily switch back and forth between subtitles to see how much I am picking up.
Would I recommend this program? Definitely. Keep in mind that it is expensive. It will cost you about $200 for Level 1. If you can find it at your local library I highly recommend you do that. I plan on checking it out over and over again. At least until one of you put in a request for it.
- Muzzy is distributed in the USA by Early-Advantage.com
- Programs can be ordered directly from their site
Note: I was not asked to review this product. I found it at our local library. This is my family’s personal experience.
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