Spanish in a Basket is an introductory Spanish course
for children ages 3-8. The author indicates that this is the best
age to learn Spanish with a good accent. This is an adorable method
for learning Spanish (or any language, for that matter!). The kit
comes with a picnic basket full of finger puppets, picnic toys
and utensils, stuffed animals, 4 CDs, and a DVD. There are 20 audio
lessons contained on either the 4 CDs or the DVD. Each lesson is
15-20 minutes long on average. The DVD, in addition to having all
of the audio lessons, contains pictures for the stories that accompany
each lesson. Otherwise, there is no video.
The Spanish lessons in this kit are very interactive, with songs,
actions, stories, games, activities, Simon Says, etc. There are
many sound effects on the video that reinforce the vocabulary being
taught. The children are asked to repeat all of the vocabulary.
With the DVD, there are sometimes picture prompts with the illustrated
stories. For the most part, however, the children just have to
listen and repeat. The teacher uses a multi-sensory approach with
the children to help solidify the words, such as having them use
gross muscle movements while repeating vocabulary. This method
is known to increase retention.
The "props" that come with the kit are really cute; they engaged
my 7 and 13-year-olds immediately. Before I had time to look through
the kit, they had taken the whole thing, found a CD player, and
begun going through the lessons. I can't imagine that you'd have
difficulty getting a child to work through all the lessons, and
they'd have a very firm grasp of many Spanish words and phrases
at the end. The conclusion of each lesson tells the children, "Put
everything back in the basket so it's ready for next time!"
I would highly recommend this kit to any homeschooler (or even
classroom teacher) looking for a fun Spanish introduction for younger
children. (Your older children will probably get a kick out of
it too. Just don't tell them what the recommended age is!) This
would also be a great kit for a family taking children to a Spanish-speaking
mission field. It would give them a head start before they get
there! The kit retails for $99, although it was on sale at the
website for $69 through the holidays.