Two reviews in one post? Yep! Sometimes it's just the right approach. These Latin resource books from Ascanius Youth Classics Institute seemed to scream for a joint review page. Not because they are interchangeable, but because both products complement each other beautifually.
A little about Ascanius YCI: They're a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the classics to children, and inspiring a life-long love of the languages and cultures of Ancient Rome and Greece. They offer a membership for $25 per year that helps them continue their mission and provides members with special benefits. You can find out more here: http://www.ascaniusyci.org/members/index.htm
Leap into Latin is Volume II of the Activitates Liberis series from Ascanius. It can be used as either an introduction to Latin or as a supplement to a study of Latin. It's full of activities that are easy to put together, and fun to do.
Most are a twist on games we already play in English, adapted for use in Latin. The first one we played was Vinco, a take on Bingo. That was a lot of fun, and using the words as a guide, we found we could improve upon our Latin vocabulary by making sure we defined the words as we went along! By using familiar games in a new and unexpected application, it was easy to incorporate into our study.
Each section of Leap into Latin (there are five) addresses a different part of Roman civilization and language through a variety of activities. Students can make a sundial, explore the parts of the body, or set up a Roman school in Latin. Everything is explained very clearly so that anyone can do it, even a newbie to Latin.
My fairly advanced ten-year old twins had no trouble with understanding any of the activities, and it's designed for elementary to middle school-aged children. Some of the activities may be a bit too much for kids younger than about seven (such as "Argumentum," a Latin version of "Clue"), but games like Vinco are easy peasy and a hoot for all ages.
There is a vocabulary list right at the beginning of each activity, and the companion site has printable versions of them all. You'll also find audio files, power point presentations, and videos to help deepen your kids' understanding of Latin.
If you're looking for enrichment or an easy introduction to the Latin language and Roman culture, Leap into Latin is a great choice, and reasonably priced - make sure you see use the coupon code LatinLivesOn (case sensitive) on Vocabula Picta and Leap into Latin, you'll save 10% through September 1st.
Exactly what it sounds like, Vocabula Picta is a book full of pictures - with the Latin word right along side each cartoon image. The beauty of a pictorial lexicon is that your kids can find the picture of what they want to say, and there it is: A new word in their vocabulary.
Vocabula is a terrific Latin resource book, especially for little ones who aren't quite reading yet, and visual learners. They can find the appropriate picture and ask for help (if they need it) in pronouncing the Latin word. The twins have had hours of fun finding just the right word for their next insult to each other. Yes, they insult each other in Latin; they also compliment each other, but the insults seem to bring more laughter so they do that more frequently.
It's organized according to theme, so foods are in one section, animals in another, and so on. The organization makes it easy to find what you're looking for, and come up with an appropriate word! I think we may be using this to help our Latin Scrabble games. The book also includes words for modern items like, "toaster" and "computer," so that they can use even more Latin in their day - taking ownership of their use of the language.
Which bring me to the next point, this is where Vocabula Picta and Leap into Latin are complementary. You have the vocab list in Leap into Latin's exercises, but sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words (or just one really good one). Keeping Vocabula Picta handy for all of our Leap into Latin activities makes our Latin work so much easier.
Vocabula Picta is also available through the Ascanius store at: http://www.ascaniusyci.org/store/vocabulapicta.htm. Be sure to use the discount code LatinLivesOn (case sensitive) to save 10% on Vocabula Picta and Leap into Latin through September 1st!
These products were given in exchange for our honest opinions, we have endeavored to be fully honest and thorough in the review. We are NOT required to give a positive review. See our full disclosure policy.