I’ve always been fascinated by languages. I’ve got a pretty good memory so that certainly helps learn new ones and might explain why I generally took so well to new languages.
I say “took” not “take” because now I’m over the hill and need to use all my memory cells for remembering the names of the zillions of different characters in Game of Thrones.
In high school, I took four years of Spanish, including AP Spanish in my senior year. That was one of the toughest classes I think I’ve ever taken, but I loved it. In college, I took a Spanish literature course my Freshman year and enjoyed it. I still remember a lot of my Spanish too, but haven’t really kept up with it.
After graduating college, I did the whole backpacking through Europe thing with my buddy Dave (but not our buddy Keith because he totally bailed on us and we will never ever let him live it down). Every country we went to meant a slew of new words to learn in a different language.
One day I really hope to learn Japanese too. I just love the culture and, of course, the food. Sushi FTW!
My kids are currently taking Spanish in Elementary School and I just think that’s muy bueno! I wish we started that early when I was a kid. I would’ve gotten an even better grasp of the language. They seem to enjoy learning it too. Jason seems to have a memory like me and Ryan’s really starting to take to it as well.
So when I was asked to review a new app that teaches kids how to speak other languages, well you don’t need a translator to guess what I said. Yes, I was compensated for writing this post, but I probably would’ve done it for nothing since I love languages so much. (Shhh… don’t tell them that.) In other words, all opinions in this post are purely mine and they weren’t influenced by anyone else or any dinero for that matter.
I’ll start this review by saying it’s a ridiculously cute app. I tested it out and actually found myself playing for a good 15 to 20 minutes straight. Not because I was researching it, but because I was having a ton of fun. I was brushing up on my Spanish, as well as learning some new words I never learned.
While Gus on the Go is available in 14 different languages (including Spanish, French, Mandarin, Polish, Croatian and Hebrew), I obviously tested out the Spanish version.
The basic setup is this: You first learn a number of Spanish words based on a specific category, such as animals. you’re taught in a fun, interactive way though. For starters, there was a colorful farm scene with a barn and a number of animals in the field. Click on the cow and you’ll hear the instructor say, “vaca,” followed by a “Mooo!” You can click on any of the animals and even click on the closed barn doors to see what animals are hiding there.
When you’re all done studying, you move on to the quiz phase where you see a picture of four different animals. The teacher will say the Spanish word for one of them and you have to click on the correct one. Get enough answers correct and you’ll unlock a mini-game where you can further test your knowledge.
The mini-games are actually pretty neat and not the typical boring types you find on most kid games. For one, you have to blow giant bubbles onto the correct animal and watch it float up and off the screen.
The app changes categories around to cover other things like vegetables or transportation, as you continue cruising through each new lesson. These guys have definitely put together an entertaining and educational app. Not an easy feat these days!
The funny thing is, about five minutes after I finished playing around with Gus, my kids walked into the room and started playing it themselves. It took them all of 5 seconds to understand what to do and like me, they were hooked instantly.
Normally, they’re at the age (8 and 10) where they like playing this type of stuff but enjoy making fun of it in a babyish way. Like watching Barney or Sesame Street at their age. But this time, they made a few funny jokes and then literally got sucked right in as they tried to see how much Spanish they really knew.
And the whole “unlocking a new level or mini game” is all they need to see to be a fan. I honestly think that’s how my kids view life… as one big unlockable video game.
If you’ve got young kids who you’d like to start early on the path to a foreign language (and want something a few steps up from Dora the Explorer, that is), I most definitely recommend Gus on the Go. Now that it’s available for Android and Apple products, you can pretty much take it anywhere you go.
Gus on the Go on Android is the latest edition of toojuice, LLC.’s popular Gus on the Go series of second language learning apps. Gus, an animated traveling owl, guides children on an interactive series of 10 vocabulary activities. After completing each lesson, Gus playfully encourages them to unlock the next adventure by reviewing what they have learned. Delightful animal noises, transportation sounds and vibrant animations motivate children to see, hear and touch objects in a simply creative way. Most importantly, Gus on the Go helps children improve their hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and basic vocabulary proficiency.
Gus on the Go features:
- New games, unlocked by completing lesson reviews
- Fun interactive animations and sounds
- Access to country and city maps
- Trophy room to track achievements
- Native language audio speaker
Can you speak a foreign language?
This is a sponsored post. While I was compensated for this post, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own and in no way were influenced by the company. Es verdad!