Babel Book Bag: Hello Lil'Ollo
Our Babel Book Bag is full of a fantastic new range of language-learning resources by Lil'Ollo.
Christmas came early to Babel Babies HQ when we received a package of gorgeous language-learning resources from Alex at Lil’Ollo. We’ve spent the first month of 2017 playing with them and would like to tell you what we think, but before we start, I have a confession: I’m not actually a big fan of flash cards. Shock! Horror! I know, it’s not something language teachers are supposed to admit but I’ve just never really got into them. It’s my own fault. I think I just didn’t have very many ideas of what to do, other than turn them over and see if I could remember the vocabulary. How embarrassing.
Thankfully, Lil’Ollo has a fantastic online games guide to help us parents when we get stuck in a rut. We particularly loved ‘feeding’ our flashcard animals different foods and, whilst I felt concerned that the flashcards would get ruined by the toddler’s sticky fingers I needn’t have worried: the card they are printed on is nicely robust and a damp cloth wiped them all down so they looked like new again. Phew. My inner perfectionist couldn’t have asked for more! The pictures were immediately attractive to the children as well as appealing to mummy. The individual drawstring bags are part of this attraction: who doesn’t love opening such a well-presented mini parcel and discovering the precious contents? And the cards feel nice to touch: there’s a silky quality to them that means they are right up there with our favourite wooden toys and hardback books - something we will keep appreciating for years to come and be proud to have on display.
As well as the flashcards, Alex sent us a selection of posters: a German counting pyramid, an Italian colouring page with all the animals in Noah’s Ark, a Welsh animal colouring sheet, and Spanish colours poster. The variety of resources available would allow us to decorate several bedroom walls and turn every corner into a little learning zone. We especially love the colouring pages because the paper can withstand some enthusiastic preschool colouring with felt tips - it’s nice thick paper stock that is obviously designed by someone thoughtful of how it will be used and by whom, rather than just whether it looks nice.
And yes, Alex Nicoletti, the founder of Lil’Ollo, is a mum of two trilingual (English-Italian-Spanish) little ones who has a wonderful grasp of what the family will enjoy together and how to make products that appeal to us all, as well as becoming part of our home decor. She’s really thought about the process of playing with them as well as how they look and the language content. These are resources that we will keep using over and over again, and put up on the wall and refer to for a long time.
There are seven languages available already (English with German, Italian, French, Spanish, Welsh, Dutch, or Polish) with more languages and combinations planned for future release. We particularly loved the Welsh animal counting poster, for example, because it meant that we sang our Welsh counting song and could have a go at learning some of the animal names too...it opened up a new way of exploring our Babel Babies song for us. It just shows the power of learning through play, as the children really led this activity and wanted to explore more, which is at the heart of what Lil’Ollo is doing as well.
So, not only has Alex converted me to using flashcards as part of our daily play routines, she’s got our family’s whole-hearted approval for her brightly coloured, delightfully illustrated language-learning resources, and we can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Could we have some Portuguese, Norwegian, Arabic and Japanese per favore?
Grazie, shukran, merci!
Cate & the 3 Bambinos xx