I wrote a post recently talking about how parents who only speak one language can still raise bilingual children. First step: learn the language yourself, along with your child. Second step: use the language with the child and use movies, music, books and games to help. Passively watching a foreign language DVD alone doesn’t work, but if you’re there engaging… in that language… it goes from passive to active and it’s a good way to start out if you don’t speak a ton of the language.
I asked in a recent survey what languages people were teaching their kids (and thank you for responding!) and the five most popular second languages were (in this order): Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Mandarin.
I like to collect lots of kid-friendly language materials, but I tried to keep this list to bilingual (English subtitles or translations available) whenever possible. In the long run it’s better to get books/movies that were created in the native tongue originally, whether through traveling or speciality shops but I personally like having a way of translating it, especially if it’s over my head language-wise. We watch Mexican movies/cartoons in Netflix in Spanish with the Spanish subtitles turned on, for example, and we have bilingual books at home where I can quickly peek at the English as I’m reading to my son, so I can talk to him about it and answer questions as we go and use the right vocabulary. I still use lots of original language materials with him, but for this list I kept it more basic. So with that in mind, here are my gift ideas for families with bilingual children with an emphasis on things that include side-by-side bilingual translations or for movies, the subtitles and dubbing in both languages:
For many Disney/Pixar films they have Spanish dubbing and Spanish or English subtitles, and in Toy Story they even redid all the music in Spanish:
Not translated to English but so familiar you won’t need it:
This has French dubbing and subtitles, but also Spanish and English:
This is this Italian version, but it also includes German:
Okay this is a random one, a Japanese film with Italian dub and subtitles.
These two classics below are translated by the author who is a native German speaker (the English is not included):
From above, this is this Italian version, but it also includes German:
I really love these:
All of these movies below have the Mandarin dub and Chinese subtitles, as well as English subtitles:
This one actually has Korean and Thai too:
Curious about raising bilingual kids?
I think these two books are probably my favorite on the subject:
Obviously there are tons and tons more!