Learning Spanish with Bilingual Toys – Contest & Review

by Melanie Edwards on November 16, 2009 · 58 comments

in Giveaways, reviews

Most of you already know that we are a bi-cultural family and I myself am bilingual. As such, my husband and I decided that we would make an effort to raise our children bilingually so they could learn both English and Spanish. So far, our daughter is doing a great job of acquiring both languages and most important of all, actually showing an interest in Spanish, which is the minority language.

It helps that my parents are a big part of her life, since they both speak Spanish more often than I do. Because I speak English to my husband, spoke English in the workplace, and speak English for 95% of each day, it gets a little difficult sometimes for me to “switch” my brain and speak Spanish to my daughter. I have to remind myself. So, any little help I can get is useful in not just exposing her to Spanish, but also reminding me to do so. Which is why I love bilingual books, TV programs, and other toys.

When I was contacted by Smart Play about their new bilingual toy line, Ingenio, I was highly interested in reviewing their products. As the email I received said, “there are very few affordable toys/games available for parents who want their children to be bilingual.” In my experience when shopping for baby girl, this has been true. Their products fill this need since 8 out of the 10 products they have so far cost less than $12.99. All ten products are designed for children 3-8 years old, which is perfect for my baby girl.

Bilingual Games from IngenioWe received the Animal Learning Puzzle and the Spellable Puzzle Card Game. I was looking forward to playing the Spellable game with baby girl because it allows you to spell 3 letter words in English and Spanish. I thought this would be a great way to step up her learning and go beyond just the alphabet and on to forming words and promoting word recognition. Like any preschooler, she was super excited at the beginning, but after about 10 words or so, her focus began to fade. Since I don’t want to be a drill sergeant and “force” learning on her, but rather have it be a natural part of her playing and surroundings, I followed her cue and put away the game for another time.

But, just in that short period of time, I saw a few things that I liked about this product:

  • Each letter is color coded; consonants are green & vowels are purple. I like this because you can add variety to the game by sorting the letters. Now she’s not just working on phonics, but also classifying items.
  • Every letter card has a picture on the back that doubles for a word in English AND Spanish. So, you have pictures of juice/jugo for J and lamp/lampara for L, etc. Even the hard letters like Q work; Q has a quesadilla on the back.
  • The spelling cards are also color coded; blue for English and red for Spanish. This helped my daughter know which language to use when trying to spell the word.

The animal puzzle was also fun to play with and has the name of each animal printed in both English and Spanish. It also displays the words for the surroundings in both languages. For example, tree/árbol and mountain/montaña. It’s a very cute puzzle and my daughter enjoyed teaching her dad the names of the animals in Spanish when they later put it together without me.


You too have a chance at trying out some Ingenio products! One of you can win a set of the Alphabet cards along with the Spellable Puzzle Card Game. The winner will receive both products.

Bilingual Toys from Ingenio

How to Enter

  1. If you’d like to enter this contest, simply leave a comment below and let me know if you already promote a bilingual home or why you would like to expose your child to another language.
  2. For an extra entry, you can tweet about this contest with a link back to this post and include @modernmami in your tweet. You must leave a separate comment with a link to your tweet for your entry to count.

All entries must be in by Sunday, November 22nd at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen using Random.org and will be notified via email. (Please be sure to provide a valid email address with your entry.)

Like what you see? Share with friends!
Laura November 20, 2009 at 3:07 pm

Hi there. I’m excited to hear about these toys. I saw in some of the comments a mention about bilingual books and wanted to share my new store: http://www.bububooks.com. I don’t mean for it to come across as a shameless plug. I know many parents trying to raise their children bilingually struggle to find these materials and so am just trying to help. Best of luck and I’m glad to hear about these toys!


sondra November 20, 2009 at 3:10 pm

We don’t have a bilingual home but My father and step father and one of her babysitters all speak fluent spanish so it is my hope that she would learn spanish since it is such a great thing!!!

Andrea November 20, 2009 at 6:19 pm

Yes we promote bilingual at home. We also incorporate sing language any learn is great

Amanda T November 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm

My daughter has Spanish class in preschool but we would love to work on it at home, too!

sandy perez November 20, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I’m in the process of teaching my kids spanish specially since there background is latin and I’m also teaching myself in the process

Jennifer T. November 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

We have taught a few words here and there to our daughter in a few languages. We haven’t really immersed her in a second language. I think it’s high time we tried harder. I feel it’s an important life skill and valuable to appreciate other cultures. Here in the U.S., we are one of the few cultures where we primarily speak only one language. It’s sorta a shame considering the beauty of other languages.

Elissa Pugh-Arguello November 21, 2009 at 11:28 am

We are a bilingual home. My husband is from Honduras so he speaks Spanish with our son.


Elissa Pugh-Arguello November 21, 2009 at 11:36 am
Karen Gonyea November 22, 2009 at 12:53 am

I’d love these for my son :)

Elizabeth N. November 22, 2009 at 12:59 am

I would definitely support children learning another language and using it whenever possible. I am so envious of people who are bilingual. I know my 4-year-old sister is in Spanish class several times a week. And my other sister has been living in Hungary and teaching English while she is now fluent in Hungarian!

Maggie M November 22, 2009 at 2:32 am

Yes, my husband and I try to incorporate spanish. We want our children to know both spanish and english.

ReggieMann November 22, 2009 at 2:43 am

I live in Southern California in the Los Angeles-Long Beach area. This area has a large hispanic population and it would only be beneficial for my niece to learn to speak spanish.

JosiahsMommy November 22, 2009 at 7:24 am

I would like to expose my son to another language early on so he can learn to communicate with people of different cultures. I don’t want him to be so one track minded that he can’t even ask where the bathroom is!

JosiahsMommy November 22, 2009 at 7:24 am
Debbie Pauley November 22, 2009 at 10:04 am

what a great giveaway.

Heather November 22, 2009 at 10:21 am

i would love for my children to be bilingual… however we moved to a small town that is not very diverse. my husband and i know a little spanish so we’ll just have to do what we can and try to expose our children to other languages as they grow up.

artsweet November 22, 2009 at 10:26 am

My son was adopted from Guatemala and although English is our dominant language, we try to keep Spanish alive around him through songs, stories and games – this would be a great help!

Susan November 22, 2009 at 2:40 pm

We don’t have a bilingual household, but our grand daughter is learning some Spanish at kindergarten. I’ve heard he telling her 2 year old brother Spanish words for thigs around the house.

Thsi would be a big help for us to help both of them learn some new words in English and Spanish.

Marie R November 22, 2009 at 4:07 pm

I would love for my son to learn spanish. My husband can speak spanish but he speaks only in english at home so I can understand. This would help alot and maybe I can pick up on some words too.

Melanie (ModernMami) November 24, 2009 at 10:16 am

Congratulations! You won the set of Alphabet cards and Spellable Puzzle Card Game.

Jessica McKelvie November 22, 2009 at 7:46 pm

well, at this point the adults in the house only know english. however, our son is learning some sign language and spanish at the school he is in. I feel being multilingual is very important and will help you go farther in life

lisa November 22, 2009 at 10:52 pm

We’re trying to provide exposure to Spanish to our children. My husband is Hispanic, however Spanish wasn’t spoken in his home as a child, so we’re learning along with the kids.

Freedom Martinez November 22, 2009 at 11:06 pm

My husband is Venezuelan. And he speaks only Spanish to the children. I am american and speak only English. This is how we were told to do it. Our kids are immersed in both languages, and I too, have had this issue you mentioned. Would love to win these products.

Andi November 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm

Our household is bilingual. Anything that can help us keep it that way is great!

Freedom Martinez November 22, 2009 at 11:21 pm

I’m on my iPhone and having a hard time pasting my Twitter link. But I tweeted about ur giveaway from my boutique FAWN’s twit account. @fawnonline. We (<3 ) u!

DanV November 23, 2009 at 12:42 am

I’d like them to learn another language because it’s so much easier to learn when they’re younger

Melanie (ModernMami) November 23, 2009 at 10:01 am

@DanV, Thanks for stopping by and entering the contest. I’m so glad that you have an interest in raising bilingual kids. Unfortunately, your entry cannot be counted as the contest rules state that all entries must have been submitted by Sunday, November 22nd at 11:59 pm EST. Please be sure to check in the future for more contests!

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