The other day my daughter asked me to play one of her "Hello, Kitty"** dvd's. I asked her if she wanted to hear it in Spanish or English (it has a French audio track too.)
This is what she said,
"Well, since I haven't watched "Hello, Kitty" in a long time, play it in English first so that I can learn the words again. Then play it in Spanish. That's how I learn Spanish."
I was very impressed with her answer.
From what I remember of my research, some language learning experts say that mere translation is not an effective way to teach/learn the second language. They say that immediately translating one language after the other causes the children to be lazy, and they're not motivated to learn the second language because it's being translated anyway.
I could see that as a valid point. But at the same time, I disagree because--look at my daughter, translation in one way that she learns Spanish. I think the teaching and learning methods used should vary and most of all be FUN. My daughter loves her "Hello, Kitty"** dvd's and it takes no time for her to have those lines memorized. When it's our Spanish Time and we play the dvd in Spanish, she already has prior knowledge of the story and what's being said. She enjoys making the connections in both languages.
So, here's my suggestion. When you purchase your favorite kid shows and movies on dvd's, make sure it has the Spanish audio track as well (Spanish subtitles are a great help too). Watch it in English a few times, then watch it in Spanish. After watching it in Spanish a couple of times, make a game out of it by listening out for the Spanish words and phrases you all recognize.
(**As an aside, I don't like to play the "Hello, Kitty" shows too much because the character Catnip is so mean and does too much name-calling. I was disappointed with the purchase because of that.)