Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

JumpStart Languages

JumpStart Languages

Fall 2001 Software
Ages: 3 - 6 yrs.
Price: $29.99
Platform: Windows: Mac
An easy and fun way to let tykes dabble (or is that babble?) in four of the world's most dominant languages (French, English, Spanish and Japanese), this colorful program introduces young children to a variety of vocabulary, conversational phrases, listening skills and cultural experiences -- at a very basic level of learning.

After players select their own language so the host can talk to them intelligibly, the program takes kids into the colorfully animated JumpStart World Fair where each of four national pavilions -- those of France, Mexico, Japan and the United States -- focuses on its language and culture using simple games, naming puzzles and repeated words.

Inside the French Pavilion, for example, the English-speaking Pierre and the French-speaking Chloe guide kids through activities such as Phone Number Fun (teaches basic numbers in French), Painting (words for colors), Kitchen Hide-n-Seek (food and cooking utensils), and Traditional Songs (phrases and culture). All of the activities in the pavilions are similar except for the language used, which may bore older kids but is a plus for the youngest linguists who will get comfortable faster with the familiarity. The video voyages fill youngsters in on each country's food, sports, clothing, animals, holidays and landmarks. The Fairy Tale Favorites, two per pavilion, use immersion techniques in telling stories and provide plenty of repetition to teach vocabulary.

Even the printable craft projects -- costumes, recipes, decorations, etc. -- are culturally based and lots of fun. One problem: Some of the cartoon-like voices of the foreign characters are too high-pitched to grasp good pronunciation of words.

Don Oldenburg   ©2001 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

Look for this product at:
Knowledge Adventure
Specialty Stores
Major Retailers
Online Retailers

Share This