Whistlefritz; The Language of Fun

*FTC Disclosure: I was given free product in exchange for my honest and unbiased review in this post.

I was given the opportunity to check out Whitstlefritz Language program with my kids. As you know, I have 2 young boy ages 7 and 11, and they both have been introduced to Spanish in school. In my school district in New Jersey, children start with Spanish in Kindergarten. It is believed that the younger a child is introduced to a foreign language, the less foreign it will be to them and will come natural for them to understand and speak it.

Unfortunately, although that seems like it should be correct and they can identify some words in other languages, unless it is something they live and speak daily, it is really hard to retain the information. Myself, I went through 3 years of French in and 4 years of Spanish in my schooling, and although I can identify and understand some words, there is no way I could hold a full conversation or write it down.

Whistlefritz claims to making learning another language fun and feel natural for kids. Their claim:

Whistlefritz’s programs allow kids to join a group of lovable character including Fritz, the animated mouse Whistlefritz and friends on a journey to learn another language! The combination of live-action, animation, and lively music makes the programs as entertaining as they are educational! Children learn their second language through Whistlefritz the same way they learned their first language: through words used in context by live speakers in fun skits, games, catchy music, and dance!

With that being said, I wanted to see for myself. We received a DVD “Spanish for Kids Adentro y Afuera (Inside and Out) Ages 2-7” and a CD “Carnaval Spanish Learning Songs”. My boys were less than enthused to be watching what they called such a babyish cartoon, but agreed to check it out.

The first thing I noticed immediately is that the DVD is completely in Spanish. Aside from the initial main menu, every word is in Spanish.

There is a woman who is the main teacher, and you follow around a little mouse named Fritz. I guess that’s a play off of the brand name, but the mouse is really cute.

I was confused how this was teaching Spanish to someone who has no idea what they’re saying as they’re only speaking Spanish, but honestly, I found myself staring and listening as well.

My 11 year old is in 6th Grade and has now been in Spanish for 7 years. Although he’s had extensive Spanish teaching, he still cannot speak or understand it clearly. He wanted to see what it was all about and although he initially joked how “childish” the DVD was with the silly cartoon, he found himself trying to say what everything meant as it was pretty easy to follow along.

The mouse plays a big part in the DVD series as you follow him along. There is a scene that my kids particularly liked in the house where each room the little “Fritz” is in, it tells you the Spanish name so the kids can easily understand. Ahh, now I get it. They can identify the Bathroom the mouse is in, and as no reference is make to a “bathroom”, but only El Baño. I already know what El Baño means, but for living room, I already forget the word that was said. Possibly the kids can retain it more than I can, or through the repetition of the video, they’ll start to associate the word with the place.

They sat for a good 10 minutes before becoming bored with it, but I was surprised to even get that 10 out of them watching it. I think this DVD would be much been suited for a 2 or 3 year old, maybe even 4 as they love to watch more colorful basic shows like this and would easily soak in the information. I am excited to hand this DVD to people I know with younger children and would probably purchase more to give as a gift. It is amazing what young children can soak into their minds without even knowing it.

There are other levels of the language learning fun from Whistefritz that I assume are better for older children and similar to adult learning programs out there.

The CD on the other hand is fun for all ages. Although a bit childish in the songs as well, it is fun to play in the car even if on low. The repetition and catchiness is enough to make you know the words without even knowing what they are.

Overall do I think this program is worth the money? I think for the right age range is certainly is. I would make sure to check the recommended age range before purchasing but I do believe this specific DVD and CD combination is best for the earlier recommended ages of 2-4 (7 is pushing it a bit in this day in technology advances and what they’re already introduced to on youtube.)

Whistlefritz’s collections include DVDs, flashcards and worksheets that are available in Spanish and French.

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September to Remember Giveaway & BroadwayHD!

Love Broadway shows but find it hard to get to NYC during these busy school months? Broadway HD is bringing you a streaming service to help you out.

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Trading in those lazy summer days for the fast-paced, back-to-school routines can be rough.  But when you add a little family time into those busy schedules, it doesn’t have to be!  This September, BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for live theater, is helping to bring families together to experience the magic and thrill of theater with a family friendly playlist for everyone to enjoy.  Classics like The Sound of Music and Peter Pan to spellbinding productions like Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight will make for the most memorable family entertainment night.   Below is a rundown of some of the performances included in the playlist.  I wanted to see if you might be interested in learning more about BroadwayHD and covering the debut of this playlist as well as other family-friendly content in service.

  • Wind in the Willows – Join Ratty, Badger, Mole and the impulsive Toad as they embark on a series of riotous adventures spiraling from Toad’s insatiable need for speed!  Featuring eye-poppingly beautiful design, exuberant choreography and a gloriously British score, The Wind in the Willows recently brought comedy, heart and thrills to the world-famous London Palladium for a strictly limited summer season.
  • The Sound of Music – In this exciting production of the universally beloved musical which made its broadcast debut in the UK on ITV, the enchanting Kara Tointon (Mr Selfridge, EastEnders) delivers a “mesmerizing performance and incredible vocal talents” (Daily Mail) as Maria, an apprentice nun who is tasked with caring for the children of a retired naval officer (Julian Ovenden, Downton Abbey).  With Maria’s love for music and unwavering confidence, she brings a new zest for life back into the household.  The performance is supported by Katherine Kelly (Mr Selfridge, Coronation Street) as Baroness Elsa Schraeder and Alexander Armstrong (The Armstrong and Miller Show, Danger Mouse) as Max Detweiler, and also features two songs not in the original movie but part of the stage show since 1959, “How Can Love Survive,” and “No Way to Stop It.”  THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE also features showtune favorites like “The Sound of Music,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” “My Favorite Things” and many others.
  • The Woodsman – Based on the beloved writings of L. Frank Baum, The Woodsman, an imaginative retelling of the origins of Oz’s Tin Woodsman, is the story of the Tin Man, the woman he loved, and the witch that would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Through spectacular life-size puppetry and original music, the ensemble of Strangemen & Co. presents an inventive take on one of America’s original fairy tales.
  • Railway Children – The Railway Children tells the story of Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, three children whose lives change dramatically when their father is mysteriously taken away. They move from London to a cottage in rural Yorkshire with their mother, where they befriend the local railway porter, Perks, and embark on a magical journey of discovery, friendship and adventure. But the mystery remains – where is Father, and is he ever coming back?
  • Puffs – For seven years a certain boy wizard went to a certain Wizard School and conquered evil. This, however, is not his story. This is the story of the Puffs… who just happened to be there too. A tale for anyone who has never been destined to save the world.  The New York Times proclaims PUFFS, “A FAST-PACED ROMP through the ‘Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic.’
  • Prince and the Pauper – From BBC and based on the Mark Twain classic, Prince and the Pauper is a classic trope. The show captures a classic trope of two individuals switching places. You’ll feel the chill in the castle air and smell the foetid London streets in this richly atmospheric tale of Tudor England. Mark Twain’s story of mistaken identities stars Keith Michell, who re-creates the role that made him famous (King Henry in the classic BBC series The Six Wives of Henry VIII). Street urchin Tom Canty could be Prince Edward’s identical twin brother. When they get mixed up, no-one will believe their stories.
  • Peter Pan – A smash hit when it debuted in 1991, this production of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby toured the globe and continues to be beloved by theater goers.  The show was filmed in 2000 and features spectacular flying sequences as well as the tunes that everyone loves such as “I’m Flying” and “I Won’t Grow Up.”

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  • Hetty Feather – A BroadwayHD original production debuting for the first time exclusively on BroadwayHD. From the best-selling author Jacqueline Wilson, the tale of plucky Hetty Feather is brought thrillingly to life on stage by award-winning scriptwriter Emma Reeves (CBBC’s The Story of Tracy Beaker) and by Olivier Award-nominated director Sally Cookson, whose many five star productions include Peter Pan, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and Stick Man.  With an original musical score by Benji Bower, circus skills and a huge heart, Hetty Feather is a terrific adventure story! Starring BAFTA-nominated actress Phoebe Thomas in the title role, this production of Hetty Feather was filmed from the 2015 Olivier nominated production on the West End in London.
  • Cirque du Soleil: Toruk – The First Flight – Toruk – The First Flight is a live immersive multimedia spectacle that brings to the stage the breathtaking world of James Cameron’s Avatar like you have never seen it before. Through a riveting fusion of cutting edge visuals, puppetry and stagecraft buoyed by a soaring cinematic score, Cirque du Soleil applies its unique signature style to James Cameron’s imaginary world and “makes the bond” between two kindred artistic visions that capture the imagination. It is a living ode to the Na’vi’s symbiotic coexistence with nature and their belief in the basic interconnectedness of all living things. Narrated by a “Na’vi Storyteller” and populated by unforgettable characters, Toruk – The First Flight is a mythical tale set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film Avatar, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora.

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BroadwayHD introduces award-winning theater from all across the globe with both classic and modern productions. It’s a great way to introduce your family to  live theater.   In addition to the shows highlighted above, fans can expect to see the full works of Shakespeare, awe-inspiring performances from Cirque du Soleil and a selection of the world’s greatest musical including Kinky Boots,  42nd Street, The King and I, Sound of Music, An American in Paris, and Peter Pan.  All performances are adapted specifically for streaming audiences to maximize the entertainment experience.   To learn more, visit www.broadwayhd.com.

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