Knowing a second language is very rewarding and a sought after skill to have.
In general, it's easier for children to learn another language as their brains are still developing, so it's really a great time to start. You don't have to be completely fluent to reap the benefits because even the process of learning the basics has many surprising health benefits, including improved memory and attention span.
Your kids could also find themselves many steps ahead when they go to their first compulsory French class at school making the classes a lot less demanding. Lots of people will associate learning a language with being quite a boring and lengthy activity but, even though the learning process requires perseverance and patience, nowadays there are a lot more resources that make the learning process much more fun and easy!
In this article, we give some ideas and learning resources for kids to make it easier and more enjoyable for your little one to learn a language at home. This includes Netflix shows, books, free learning apps and online courses to learn German, French, Spanish or Sign Language.
Which Language Should My Little One Learn?
Firstly though, you might be asking yourself what language should you choose, and although there's no right or wrong answer to this question, we wanted to give you some facts that might help you make your decision.
Languages come in different difficulties for English speakers. For example, languages like French, Spanish and German that are similar to English are easier to learn than Arabic, Cantonese and Mandarin. Though we certainly don't discourage learning these brilliant languages!
Then there's the matter of how many speak the language. The top most-spoken in order are Mandarin (Chinese), Spanish, English and Hindi.
You might also have personal reasons for learning a language such as a friend or a family member whose first language is not English. You might also choose to learn one if it is a part of your family heritage.
Whichever one you decide on, leaning a language is a fantastic thing to do!
Try The Brilliant Language Learning App Duolingo!
Language learning apps weren't around when we were at school, and we wish they were! Duolingo is probably the most popular of all the language learning apps and can be used to learn almost any well-known language including French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Hebrew, Korean and many more. If your little ones are Star Trek fans, they can even learn how to speak Klingon! The app starts you off as a beginner and you take fun tests to earn points and progress. You can track your progress and learn any topic you like, from greetings to animals. This app is perfect for learning the basics and would recommend for kids over the age of 10.
Stories By Gus On The Go
Another great language learning app tailored specifically for kids is 'Stories By Gus On The Go'. The difference to Duolingo is that this app is suited to younger children from age 3-7. It teaches you your chosen language by reading some classic stories such as The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
Netflix Shows Are Perfect For Your Little Ones
Netflix has lots of brilliant and educational shows for kids. One surprisingly useful method of learning a language is to, once in a while, watch some videos in another language. There's a setting on Netflix to change the language of a TV show which is a really useful feature. Netflix shows like Word Party are perfect for toddlers and beginners to learn a language and is available in Spanish, French, German, and Mandarin.
Flashcards Are Fab
Flashcards are also a great way to teach your children new languages. These can be hand made to tailor your own level so are great for all children, from toddlers and teens! All you need for this is some card and pens and on one side have some phrases and words in English and the other in French, German or Spanish. Use bright colours to really help the learning process.
Play Some Games
Whilst you're creating flashcards, you can also make some great games at the same time! These activities help you learn in a more fun way so your children are less likely to get bored. Similarly to the flashcards, you'll only need some card and pens. Create lots of cards with English words and phrases on and create matching cards with the French, German or Spanish translations. Then turn all the cards over and, just like the game Pairs, you have to match the English words and phrases to the French, German or Spanish. You can also use these cards to play other games like Snap!
YouTube Channels = Great Online Courses
There are some fantastic YouTube videos available to help your kids learn through games and activities. These completely free videos start at a beginner level and explore a whole range of topics from the alphabet to visiting the doctor's office. Your kids can use these videos as revision material to study for their GCSEs or just to learn for fun during lockdown. There are lots of different channels tailored for lots of different languages. So once your kids have chosen which language they want to learn, we recommend that you get onto YouTube and search for lessons in your chosen language as there are lots of useful videos for your kids to explore.
Books Are As Valuable As Ever
Although we are spoilt for choice in terms of online language learning resources, books are still invaluable resources for your kids to learn a language. There are endless language learning books for kids available for all ages; this can sometimes make it difficult to choose the right one for your little one. Online reviews and comments make it easier to distinguish the good from the bad but to make it even easier, we've listed some of our favourite language learning books below with an age it is more suited for.
- Usborne First Thousand Words Books - You might know these famous books as the 'find the duck books' as you have to find a small yellow duck on each page. These classics come in 70 different languages and are perfect for beginners. Suitable for 3-6-year-old children.
- The Everything Kids Learning Spanish Book - This Spanish exercise book allows kids to learn Spanish by completing fun puzzles! It is aimed at 7-12-year-old children and is a fun way to start learning Spanish. Exercise books are a perfect way to blend learning into fun games and activities so we definitely recommend these kinds of books.
- Am I small? Je suis petite, moi? - This highly rated picture book is a perfect way for children to start getting used to French grammar and phrases. There are no lessons, just a cute simple story to help teach your little one the basics of French. This book is perfect for children under 5.
At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents.
We try our very best, but cannot guarantee perfection. We will always aim to give you accurate information at the date of publication - however, information does change, so it's important you do your own research, double-check and make the decision that is right for your family.
Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.
Kidadl cannot accept liability for the execution of these ideas, and parental supervision is advised at all times, as safety is paramount. Anyone using the information provided by Kidadl does so at their own risk and we can not accept liability if things go wrong.
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