So first, in the interest of full disclosure, I want to mention that Dino Lingo provided me with their product for free in exchange for a review. I went into this to do an honest review, trying to maintain the perspective of a paying customer.
I’ve never done a sponsored post before. But this product was so perfectly suited to our family (and to my blog audience) that I had to give it a try. Also, the links to Dino Lingo on this page are affiliate links.
Dino Lingo is a language learning program for children. I had never heard of it, but the first thing that impressed me when the company contacted me was the excellent customer service. Every other time that I’ve gotten a message from someone asking me to review something, it has come as a generic form email (which is a lot of the reason why I’ve never followed up before). In contrast, Kathryn from Dino Lingo had done her homework — she had read my blog, and understood why this would be a good fit for us. And the excellent communication and customer service didn’t stop there. Once I decided to give it a try, we had several thoughtful conversations about which language program to choose. We decided against German, since my boys are already pretty experienced with it, and the Dino Lingo program is intended for beginners. I eliminated Spanish for the same reason, and French because, though the kids don’t speak it, I know enough that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to gauge the effectiveness of the teaching in the program myself. We decided to try something completely new to the whole family — we went with Russian. (I was impressed by the range of options available. I expected a fairly standard French/Spanish/German/Italian/Mandarin selection. It is much more extensive than that. They have over 40 options. Our final choice came down to Gaelic and Russian. We went with Russian because the boys often encounter Russian children on the playground, and they can’t communicate with them, which is always a bummer.)
So, our choice was made and we waited. We didn’t wait long, though — our package arrived just 8 business days later, which is impressive for an international shipment. The boys didn’t know what was in the package, but they were so excited to find out! (Dino Lingo very kindly included a second stuffed dinosaur toy, which kept the opening of the package from spurring a fight, earning them even more bonus points for me.)
Our set included 5 DVDs, a set of flashcards, a coloring book, a vocabulary book, posters, a progress chart (with stickers), a music CD and 2 dinosaur toys. The kids were immediately intrigued, and, after running around for 5 minutes with the dinosaurs, wanted to put on the first DVD. So we did.
We put the first DVD on . . . and I was initially a little concerned. My kids are so used to interactive apps on the iPad and the iPhone, and TV shows with really slick presentations. This is a DVD based program, so it isn’t interactive. The graphics are cute, but I wasn’t sure they’d capture the boys’ attention. I was worried that they’d get bored with it quickly and lose interest.
I was wrong.
Not only were they completely captivated by the characters and the graphics, they were totally wrapped up in learning the language. They were sitting on the floor, talking back to the video, right from the start. And when it was over, they asked to watch it again. And again. By the end of that first night, we were all talking about the Russian we’d learned already.
Liam loves the flash cards. He doesn’t play with them in the conventional way (which is probably good, because he’s learned more than I have, so I couldn’t quiz him). Instead, he spreads them out on the floor, picks up the ones he knows, and tells me the words. In Russian! His favorite is “monkey” (обезьяна). The flash cards would be more useful if I were doing a better job of learning Russian myself (or if we had a native speaker we could work with). But he’s figured out a way to be quite entertained. (And hey, he’s 3, and basically teaching himself Russian, so I can’t criticize.)
We received our program about 6 weeks ago, and with the end of the school year this week, and all the craziness that leads up to that, we haven’t used it all that much in the past couple of weeks. But the kids are STILL talking about it. They still remember what they’ve learned. Remarkably, their interest in learning Russian outlasted their interest in the stuffed toys that came with the set. I honestly didn’t expect that. They want to learn more, and they’re so proud of what they know already. We only recently got in to looking at the printed materials (aside from the flash cards) — most of our use has come from the DVDs. But the kids are starting to get interested in the posters, too. (They’re quizzing each other on the words associated with the pictures.)
(Actually, after our time with the program, I have only one criticism. On the first DVD, there is one graphic of a happy face turning around and showing its backside while giggling. It’s not egregious, but slightly rude, and it’s one thing I wish my kids hadn’t learned from the DVD!)
We didn’t buy the set, so we’re extra lucky — it came to us as a gift. But, I can honestly say that I *would* buy it. I wish that we’d had something like the Dino Lingo set in German before we’d moved here. It would have been a leg up, and a great start to our overseas adventure . . . for all of us. I’m truly impressed by how much my kids have learned, and how much they’re enjoying it. It’s been more effective than I expected it to be. Way to go, Dino Lingo, and thanks for sharing your product with us!