Bilingual Toys Gaining Popularity In The US

2006_12_22t130653_450x336_us_xmas_toys1.jpgAccording to Yahoo news, toys that “promote dual language skills” like Dora the Explorer (both the Magic Hair Fairytale Princess Dora Doll and the Dora Knows Your Name Phone), her cousin Diego, and Tickle Me Elmo (who seems to speak either Spanish or English – not both) are hot this season, often selling out completely.

Is this simply due to what’s popular, or does it reflect the fact that parents might be acknowledging the benefits of their children learning a second language? It’s hard to say, but there’s no doubt that associating a second language with something fun rather than with extra classes and more homework is a step in the right direction.

Something that stands out to me is that the article draws a link between this trend and an increased portion of the US population being native Spanish speakers – so it appears that instead of focusing on learning a language in order to interact with the world at large, it is framed more as a response to inevitable developments “at home.”

In the end though, I’d say that whatever the reason, it’s a good thing that children are exposed to a second language – even if they never need to know how to say “more tickles please” in Spanish.