PRODUCT REVIEW- Bin Bin's Magical Bubble Adventures: Learning Mandarin Through Stories

binbindvdWhat delicious giggles I heard from my two little girls Hudson (2) and Lousha (6) while watching Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventure! Perhaps it was because the show incorporates the two things my girls love best — flying and bubbles! Bin bin travels by bubble and flies to his magical adventures — you can’t get better than that! 

In Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventures, Bin Bin and his friends teach children about colors, foods and sleepy time through fully animated stories, catchy songs and fun “lessons” at the end of each show.  The characters explore Mandarin vocabulary through three engaging stories, Where Did All the Colors Go?, Magical Land of Food, and Sleepy Time Adventure. 

STORY 1: Where Did All the Colors Go?

In the first story, Where Did All the Colors Go?, Bin Bin rides a magical bubble to Color Land!  A storm has washed away all of Color Land’s colors. At first, the characters only want to add their favorite color to the landscape, but then they realize that a world with all of the colors is more beautiful.

ASPECTS I LOVE ABOUT THIS STORY:

  • The main colors red, blue and yellow are clearly reinforced during the beginning of the story when each character only wants their color used. My two year old knew those three colors down pat by the midpoint of the story.
  • I love bigger message about difference and acceptance —  that the characters realize that a world with only one color is no fun at all.  
  • The creators of this DVD incorporated a bit of science into this story by showing how two colors can mix together to form another color. While this element would probably go over the head of a younger viewer, the older child would find this idea appealing. 

STORY 2: Magical Land of Food

In the second story, Magical Land of Food, the Bin Bin’s friends are unable to find any food to eat so they go on a journey to the Magical Land of Food where funny food items grow on trees (hamburgers) and on the tops of flowers. My children loved the magical component of this story — hot dogs that you could grab on a bush. 

binbinbubbleNOT CRAZY ABOUT: 

  • Many of the food items chosen were very “American” (hot dogs, pizza and hamburgers.) I am sure those food items appeal to children, but I want my kids to learn about food items that they would encounter if they went to China as well as foods that they see here. While I know that China has these food items, I would prefer it if my children learned the names for other foods that might appear in Chinese dishes. 

STORY 3: Sleepy Time Adventure

The little bunny Max can’t wait to say good-night to his favorite things: stars. But when he looks up in the sky, Max is unable to find any! 

ASPECTS I LOVED ABOUT THIS STORY: 

  • After bubbles and the concept of flying, stars are right up there with things my kids love. The notion of engaging with the stars in this story was enough to keep them enthralled even though it is the last story in the series. 

binbinBIN BIN’S MAGICAL BUBBLE ADVENTURE PARTING THOUGHTS:

 OVERALL PRO:

  • MAIN MENU SCREEN CHOICES: Parents have a variety of choices when they get to the opening screen — they can either pick to watch all of the stories, just the lessons, just the songs or the whole shebang. If the parent only has 10 minutes or so to kill and would love to pop in a video — this DVD enables parents to quickly and easily present just one small segment. Anyone who is a parent would know that you can’t pop in a full feature-lenght show for your kids and expect them to be totally OK with you shutting it off after just 10 minutes! Also, my children really love the songs and so often I will just choose the song options as that is what they want to hear and I don’t have to fast forward through the story to get to the song. 
  • ENGAGING TESTING COMPONENT: I love the “testing component” sections at the end of each story. The “lessons” offer an opportunity for viewers to engage with Bin bin and his friends and answer questions. My children (even the 2 year old) loved answering the questions. Perhaps they were also compelled to answer because after a short pause, the answers are given by a group of happy sounding kids. That audio choice made my children want to play along with “the other kids”. 
  • INVITING STORYLINE: Even though my children have watched this DVD many times, they are still riveted by the content. Hudson, the two year old, always says “ut oh” when the storm approaches in one of the stories. 
  • IMMERSION WITHOUT ENGLISH AUDIO: So many of the DVDs out there for Mandarin only incorporate a few words of Chinese and then the rest of the DVD is in English. If you want to get an immersive DVD experience, you typically need to buy a special region free DVD player to play the disks from China. This disk plays on US players. 
  • CLEAR WORDING: It was hard not to pick up some Chinese while listening to the story as the characters repeat vocabulary (but not in a boring way) and say them very clearly. I watch a lot of Mandarin Disney DVDs with my kids and often because the dialogue goes by so quickly, I can’t catch anything! The audio in Bin Bin’s Magical Bubble Adventures is clear and well-paced. 
  • MEMORABLE SONGS: My kids sang right along almost from the very start! 
  • A MOMPRENEUR CREATED IT: I love supporting the “little guy”and not let Disney have all of the fun. The visionary behind this series is a mom from the Bay Area in California. She had an idea and went for it. 

OVERALL CON:

  • No subtitles. For a newbie to Chinese, I would love to have some help in figuring out the storyline. 
  • I could not get it to play in my car, but perhaps it is an issue with the kind of DVD player I have in my very swanky red Toyota minivan. 

For more information about this DVD and the company check out their website at: http://www.kakekids.com

Have fun! 

Michelle

michelle

 

Filed Under: Chinese, Cultural Experiences, Games to Learn a Second Language, Music to Learn a Second Language, Product Reviews, TV as a Tool

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