Bilingual is Better

You’ve told us you really like the giveaways we feature on SpanglishBabyFinds.  We love doing them –even if they are an insane amount of work — because this is our small way of constantly giving back for all that you give us every single day with your presence. Finding special items that enrich the life of your bilingual/bicultural child is one of the missions we take very, very seriously.

Today, we’re hosting our biggest, hugest, grandísimo, enorme giveaway ever! So big, we had to use a word such as “Extravaganza” for it.  We’ve put together close to $600 in prizes of some of the products that we think would look divinos under any kid’s Holiday tree.

The best part?  Only ONE person will take it all. Sí, ¡TODO! How’s that for holiday joy?

Wait!  There’s another best part.  We’re partnering up with Turning Leaves Foundation to encourage donations to their charity as an option to get additional entries to the giveaway. To learn more about the TLF mission and vision, please visit their brand new website.

I’ll stop right here, and just let the Extravaganza begin!

Barbie Toy Story 3 Made For Each Other Gift Set A close second to Spanish Buzz, or El Buzzo, as the funniest characters on Toy Story 3 are Barbie and Ken. Adding Ken to the Toy Story equation was close to genius and an ideal way to revive him through the mom´s memories of those all-day sagas we used to create featuring Barbie and Ken. Now, my girl sleeps with both of them in her bed. A classic couple that has come back as part of the cast of this year´s best film is sure to be a hot item on many kids wishlist this season. Find it in La Tiendita starting at $58.00 ~Ana L.

Disney Epic Mickey for Wii I have to admit it is a bit odd for us to have a game in the house that features Mickey and it’s being hidden away from our 3 year old girl. She’s definitely too young for the actual video game, and might be freaked out by the darker images of the Mouse who’s usually chirpy and in colorful Playhouses. As soon as she’s in bed, we’ve been sneaking out to grab the Wii controllers, turned magical paint brushes with the power to create or destroy, to get into this magical adventure of Epic proportions and artistic imagery. In Disney Epic Mickey for Nintendo Wii, Disney’s Interactive Studios take you in an adventure with a story that depends on completely on your actions. You will visit The Wasteland where you will run into characters from Disney’s early years, setting a tone of nostalgia to the game. All along, your magic paintbrush will set your game into play. Epic Mickey for Nintendo Wii is available via La Tiendita, starting at $43.99. ~Ana L.

Disney Sing It Family Hits I had no idea my family of three could throw such a rocking karaoke party by ourselves in our living room. Yet, that´s exactly what happens every time my 3 year old girl requests to play Disney Sing It Family Hits. The three of us end up singing and dancing up a storm. The video game, available for Wii and Playstation 3, comes with a microphone so your kid can instantly feel like a singing sensation. Your budding singer has a choice of songs from both classic and contemporary Disney hit movies, such as “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Little Mermaid,” “Cars,” “Toy Story,” “Aladdin,” and many more. We do have a wishlist of songs we would have loved to see here, but, nevertheless, it’s been a hit. Available at La Tiendita, starting at $38.99. ~Ana L.

Fisher Price iXL Learning System for Preschoolers My daughter’s just at the border of the recommended age of 3-7 for use of the iXL 6-in-1 Learning System from Fisher Price, and she’s been having a blast with it.  She will clearly be able to use and learn with it for years to come, thanks to how easy it is to customize the experience by uploading photos, songs, games and new software that transform the iXL into a new digital learning tool in my girl’s hands.  Since we received it, it has been Camila’s go-to entertainment in the car.  Because of the comfortable size and the use of a stylus pen for the touchscreen, she was able to quickly grasp how to use it on her own. Now, we love hearing her talk to it, giggle and sing when she’s playing with it.  It has surely freed up my smartphone in the car for more useful things like Google Maps to get us to our destination! Available in three colors: Pink, Blue and Silver. Find it in La Tiendita, starting at $112.41. ~Ana L.

Muy Bueno Calendar Even if you’re like me and you lack culinary skills  - to put it nicely – (or maybe especially if you’re like me), you’ll want to get your hands on this delicioso calendar which gathers a sample of Yvette Marquez Sharpnack’s authentic Mexican recipes, all featured on her Muy Bueno Cookbook blog, that have been passed along for over three generations.This 12-month calendar features mouth-watering photographs by Jeanine Thurston and the recipes selected will be featured in Yvette’s upcoming Muy Bueno Cook Book. The best part is that a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the calendar (at $18.00 each) will be donated to The Denver Foundation.  Go here to stock up for those on your list. ~Roxana S.

Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure + Cookie’s Counting Carnival I don’t think I’ve ever met a child who doesn’t like Sesame Street. Now there’s two fun and educational videogames with awesome graphics too! There are seventeen different games to entertain and challenge your child in Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure videogame. The popular Sesame Street characters Elmo and Zoe give the directions and guide the play. I particularly liked the educational aspect of the games. The skills practiced range from letter identification, the learning of upper and lower case letters, the sounds of letters and even the formation of words. The games also targeted skills such as rhyming, color, and shape identification. You will have a chance to win both Elmo’s A to Zoo Adventure and Cookie’s Counting Carnival, in your choice of Wii, Nintendo DS or PC.  You can also find them at La Tiendita for $29.99 each. ~Susan S.

2010 Holiday Barbie Collector’s Doll em>Bellísima is what I thought when I first saw the 2010 Holiday Barbie Collector Doll. Her dress, a snowy white gown with a red and gold bodice, is absolutely stunning. She also comes dressed with a red wrap, a gorgeous headpiece and chandelier earrings! In other words, she’s ready para las fiestas!  Seeing her made me feel like playing with Barbies again, although I’m not too sure I’d actually play with this one. Whether you want to surprise your little girl with the most magnificent of dolls or you want to add this one to your collection – or maybe even get your collection started – this will surely make any doll-lover on your list incredibly happy!  Grab her at La Tiendita for $40.95. ~Roxana S.

Hallmark Recordable Storybooks I absolutely love this idea of Recordable Storybooks from Hallmark and I think it works especially well for those of you who don’t have your extended family nearby. My sister, who is also my daughter’s godmother, travels a whole lot so she’s barely ever in town – and when she is, she lives in the mountains so it’s not like she can come over and read my daughter a bedtime story any night of the week. So when we got the recordable storybook from Hallmark, I immediately thought of her. She came over, recorded the story (she actually translated the text to Spanish in keeping with our mL@H method) and then gave it to my daughter who couldn’t hide her surprise when she heard her Tata’s (that’s what she calls my sister) voice reading a beautiful personalized book about a princess to her! The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose one of the 15 stories in the collection, including “The Night Before Christmas,” “The Very First Christmas,” “Guess How Much I Love You,” amongst others.  At La Tiendita you’ll find them starting at $20.00. ~Roxana S.

Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics #2 100 award-winning and classic children’s stories are faithfully adapted and brought to rich life in The Scholastic Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics #2, a comprehensive 17-DVD collection, the follow-up to the original best-selling treasury.  There’s a story in here to match my daughter’s mood every day. The most-requested one has been Corduroy, followed by Giggle, Gigge Quack. Nine of the 100 stories come in Spanish, including Curious George Rides a Bike, Stone Soup and Where the Wild Things Are, a detail your bilingual niño will love because he will be able to understand every single story in the collection!  This is one of those holiday gifts that will instantly become a favorite and will stay around for a while.  The read-along feature helps these videos grow along with our kid´s abilities.  The retail price of the set is $99.99, but La Tiendita has them starting at $48.49.~Ana L.

Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook It had never occurred to me that a perfect way to get kids safely in the kitchen–with no open flames or burning stoves–was to use the slow cooker.  I recently discovered Fix-It and Forget-It Kids’ Cookbook: 50 Favorite Recipes to Make in a Slow Cooker by Phyllis Pellman Good.  This simple and colorful cookbook offers kids the direction and encouragement they need to prepare easy-to-make, tasty meals—everything from main courses to snacks and even desserts.  With full-page pictures to inspire your sight, and step-by-step format of the recipes, it is easy to be encourage to get together in the kitchen with the little ones.With recipes such as Easy Taco Filing , Tempting Tortilla Casserole and Gooey Chocolate Pudding Cake, the budding chef on your list will be back in the kitchen cooking up a storm.  Get it at La Tiendita for $13.59.~Ana L.

Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook I´ve been driving my friends crazy asking them for slow cooker recipes because I really need to learn to rely on the thing.  With the Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes, by Phyllis Pellman Good, I got what I asked for, and too much more! The book is packed with 600 holiday recipes, but lacks in the pictures department.  I always prefer my cookbooks to have good visuals, but what this one lacks in looks, it gives in content. Her Christmas recipes will fill your head with menu ideas, give you gentle guidance with each recipe, and deliver dishes that your friends and family will crave. The Fix-It and Forget It cookbooks have sold nearly 10 million copies. Fans credit the popularity of the cookbooks to their accessible recipes, geared to those with little time or confidence to cook….like me.  Only $10.85 at La Tiendita.~Ana L.

Piñata Party Music CD Moona Luna is one band I want to see perform live. Yes, I did say I want to see a kid’s band because I am sure I would enjoy this music and live performance as much as my girl will. In fact, I would be such the groupie since I’d probably be singing all the songs out loud.  I already do every time Moona Luna’s debut album “Piñata Party” is requested by my girl.  She calls it “La Vaca” because of the colorful cow on the album’s cover. Moona Luna is led by singer-songwriter Sandra Velasquez, who’s better known as the lead of Latin-alternative band, Pistolera.  Her bilingual CD for children, inspired after the birth of her daughter, has that alt-indie vibe to it but with a playfulness and energy level that instantly traps kids of any language or cultural heritage.  Moona Luna’s CD fits perfectly in any stocking and can be found at La Tiendita for $9.87.~Ana L.

Music With Sara: Canciones en Español is extra special to us. Sara Quintanar is a Los Angeles musician and mom of two bilingual girls who leads very popular children’s music classes in the L.A. area.  She’s also the bi-weekly music teacher at my daughter’s family daycare, where she takes her instruments and canciones en español for a preschooler rocking concert.  This year, Sara recorded a CD, “Canciones en Español. Music With Sara.” with the help of kids in the Franklin Elementary Spanish Dual Language Immersion program.  I can honestly say, it has been the most-played CD Camila has ever had. It got to the point where that was all she would let us play for her; even so, we never got bored of it. Sarah´s voice is captivating and her energy is released in every song. Go here to listen to the playlist and you will immediately recognize the talent the kids have no trouble adoring.~Ana L.

Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi Bilingual Book and CD Well-known and respected bilingual educator and children’s performer, Jose Luis Orozco, shares music that is meant to connect children with their heritage.  Rin, Rin, Rin, Do, Re, Mi is perfect for kids 2-7 years old and those just learning to read both words and music.  The book has gorgeous illustrations, the lyrics to the song, as well as a music sheet.  It is all meant to be used in conjunction for a rich learning-language-through-music experience.  Get both the book and the CD via La Tiendita.~Ana L.

World Christmas Party In classic Putumayo tradition, the World Christmas Party brings the sounds from around the globe to you in one CD.  These 12 tracks of traditional Christmas songs are injected with sabor thanks to the collaborations of stars such as Poncho Sanchez, Ed Calle with Arturo Sandoval, María de Baroos and José Conde, amongst others.  Picture yourself and your kids swaying hips and singing-out-loud while you blast these tunes and bring the fiesta to the Holiday celebrations.  With a $12.86 price tag at La Tiendita, you want to snatch it now!~Ana L.

CROSSWORD BLOCKS A favorito from awesome bilingual toy maker, Ingenio. This one is basically a combination of blocks and crossword puzzles. Each of the 20 blocks has two letters and things that start with those particular letters in both Spanish and English. The blocks are pretty sturdy, the images on them colorful and the letters simple and legible. The game comes with six bilingual crossword puzzles in the following categories: el transporte, los animales de la granja, las mascotas, las frutas, la casa and el cuerpo all of which you can hopefully use to start teaching your niños how to spell. The blocks can also be used for what they are: building towers, in this case, word towers. One of the best things about Ingenio toys is that they are intended to grow with our children. We’ve had our for over a year and Vanessa still likes to play with it – especially know that she recognizes almost every letter in the alphabet!  ind it at La Tiendita for $12.99. ~Roxana S.

MATH-O-MATIC Numbers are really not my thing, but my daughter – like most kids her age – seems to be intrigued by them. She’s been attracted to this particular bilingual game by Ingenio ever since we got it last year, but now that she recognizes the numbers, she likes it even more. The game comes with individual cards with the numbers from 1-20. They’re all two-sided and bilingual. On one side there’s just a large, colorful number. On the flip side is the word for that number in both English and Spanish as well as objects that correspond to each particular number.Once your child is ready to start learning basic math concepts you can introduce the 22 math cards which are basically a rectangle with an equation that’s missing one number or sign.  Your child needs to use her budding math skills to “fill in the blank.” In the process, she’ll be learning number sequencing, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. My 4-year-old daughter has already started with the addition and subtraction and she thinks it’s super fun! I hope she always feels like that. Find it at La Tiendita for $12.99. ~Roxana S.

Witty Planet DVD The Bubba interactive DVDs are ideal to fostering the little ones’ intellectual and sensory development and to expose non-spanish speaking children to the Spanish language in a  fun way.  All of Bubba’s DVDs, as well as the rest of the line, have been created by specialists in early childhood development.  What Línea Descubriendo gets right is that the best way to engage children into learning language or any concepts through the use of media is to get them involved with what they are watching and listening. The images, the puppets, the short sequences and the songs  make it all come to life and, in our case, got my girl dancing and repeating what she was hearing.  The winner will get to pick one of the five DVDs in the catalog.  A perfect gift to foster the love of Spanish on a child. Find it for $16.99 at the Witty Planet store.~Ana L.

Thomas the Tank Engine Party Package Thomas the Tank Engine has just been nominated for Toy Property of the Year. The 2011 winner will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held before the start of American International Toy Fair on Saturday, February 12, 2011 at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City.  This is the first time voting for TIA’s “Toy of the Year” categories will be open to the public. You can vote for Thomas the Tank Engine by visiting www.toyawards.org.

THE HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY EXTRAVAGANZA!

Update:  We have a winner!!! Congratulations to KALEN, who won with comment #99! We are excited that one of our most loyal readers won such a huge giveaway, and that her winning comment was from a donation to Turning Leaves Foundation. It all comes full circle. Thanks to all who participated!

We have one item of each of the products we reviewed on this post to give away to one winner. Yes, ONE person will take them ALL. A retail value of almost $600 of crazy, cool holiday gifts. To enter, please leave a comment telling us how you inject your culture and traditions into your Holiday celebrations.

That’s all you have to do to enter this giveaway. If you want to up your chances at winning, and support a charity this holiday season, then this is how you can get additional entries (only after you’ve completed the step above): **Please leave a separate comment for each so we can count them and avoid mistakes.

1.Donate a minimum of $5 to Turning Leaves Foundation and help give children and their families the educational and emotional group support needed to cope with the demands that chronic illness imposes.  Just click on the PayPal button below and it will take you to their donations page.  You will get THREE additional entries for the donation. You must leave three different comments saying you did so.

2. Follow us on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway including a link to the post and @SpanglishBaby. Copy the link to the tweet in an additional comment on the giveaway’s post.

This giveaway ends Sunday, December 12 at midnight EST and you must have a valid US address to enter.

Disclosure: We received a sample of the products to review.  All opinions reflected are our own.

Check out the Giveaway Rules.

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