Kids who are between ages eight to ten years old are fun to buy for since you can get them some of the more interesting and advanced toys. There are a whole lot of very appealing toys, crafts, instruments, board games and books that will help them learn and make discoveries while having lots of fun doing it.
Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 8, 9 and 10 year old children.
Artistic or Creative
There is no shortage of arts and crafts kits for kids ages 8-10. Any kind of make your own craft kit is a safe bet, while design and sketching kits are also very popular. One kit that we came across and really like is the Spirograph Deluxe Design Set which lets kids draw really beautiful designs and pictures while encouraging fine motor skills, creativity and critical thinking.
If you are buying for a creative child who is into Star Wars you could get Star Wars® Thumb Doodles. This kit lets kids use their thumbprints to draw Star Wars characters by following step by step directions.
Another great kit for this age is the Master Kitz The Starry Night. This is such a neat set, it gives kids the supplies and instructions to recreate Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night. If you are interested in this idea there are eight sets in this series of Master Kitz that show kids how to recreate famous paintings including Paul Klee’s Flower Myth, Wassily Kandinsky’s Black Lines, Monet’s Water Lilies, Sunflowers in the style of van Gogh, The Great Wave of Kanagwa, and Matisse’s Red Studio.
If you are lucky enough to have a child who is musically inclined child you could get him or her this beautiful MINI Strat Electric Guitar. This is a great starter electric guitar for kids for a pretty reasonable price. The interesting thing about this guitar is the size, it is 3/4 size which just means it is 3/4 of a full sized guitar which makes it easier for kids to hold and to play. I would get this guitar over something you might pick up at a toy store because it is from the reputable brand Squier, which is basically Fender’s budget brand. You can’t really go wrong with anything that is made by Squier and the quality is so much better than a toy store brand.
If you are looking for an instrument for a child who might not be very musical but you want to help get them interested in learning music I would consider getting a Ukulele. They are very easy to learn to play and are just generally a lot of fun. Ukuleles are great because you can get a professional quality instrument for under $50, they easier to learn than a guitar, partly because they only have 4 strings instead of 6 and their small size make them comfortable for children to hold and to play
I love all the new robotic toys that have come out in the last few years, as the technology improves some of the stuff that toy companies are coming out with are just awesome. This MiP Robot is really fun and entertaining for kids. It has a bunch of different modes and can responds to your hand movements, sound or you can control it using an app (make sure your device is compatible with the app- it doesn’t run on older devices). It can dance, do tricks, play games, move around and do lots things that will keep your kids busy for hours.
Simon Swipe Game is an update of the old Simon Game so it has a great retro feel to it. The difference in the update is that you are swiping the light patterns rather than pressing them.
These Zing Bows are a lot of fun. They come with the bow and 3 arrows (2 Zonic Whistling Arrows and 1 Suction-Cup Zartz Arrow). The whistling arrows make a fantasitc sound when you shoot them and are lots of fun to play with, kids can’t keep their hands off them.
If you are looking for a gift with a bit of a challenge to it you could get a Perplexus Maze Game. It’s a game where players must move a small marble around barriers inside a transparent sphere. It’s fun and infuriating and helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.
If you are looking for a child who is into electronics or building things, an amazing gift would be Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit or any of the Snap Circuits kits. These kits are incredible, you build electronic devices using little pieces that snap together. Another good choice for kids who are into building things are any of the K’NEX Sets.
For kids who love being outdoors a great gift is a Ripstik Caster Board. You have probably seen kids riding around your neighbourhood on these things since they are super popular. They are kind of a skateboard snowboard hybrid and are good for ages 8 plus.
If you have a LEGO expert you can try a Lego Technic set. Technic sets are the more complicated sets for experienced LEGO builders – they can build advanced, real-life functions like gearboxes, working piston engines, steering systems, and working crane arms.
SmartLab Toys Squishy Human Body is an excellent kit to help kids learn about the human body. It has removable squishy organs as well as representative skeletal, vascular and muscular systems. It lets kids explore the complex inner workings of the human body and literally see how it all works.
A safe gift choice for this age would be a science or a science themed kit. A science kit that we came across and really like is the 4M Crystal Mining Kit. This kit lets kids excavate their own crystals and learn fun facts about the 8 natural crystals that they are digging out of a plaster block.
Another very fun and educational gift for kids who are ages 10 + is the OWI Robotic Arm Edge. This set lets kids build their own robotic arm that they can then learn to control from a computer.
There is a bounty of great games for this age group. Our favourites are:
- Carcassonne is a simple, tile laying game that is easy to learn, and where you need to use lots of strategy.
- Catan: Junior is the kid’s version of the insanely popular Settlers of Catan.
- HedBanz Game is a silly fun game where kids have to figure out the cartoon on their head that they cannot see by asking yes or no questions.
- Ticket To Ride is another great strategy game that is easy to learn and super fun.
- Forbidden Island has teams working together to find 4 treasures before the island sinks. It’s a fun and affordable board game.
Best Books for Kids Ages 8, 9 and 10
In this age range a lot of kids become deeply interested in reading, luckily there is an abundance of wonderful books for kids.
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn and Hall Iggulden
- Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
- Matilda by Roald Dahl
- The Ramona Series by Beverley Cleary
- Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
- Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
- TIME For Kids Big Book of How
- Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Skottie
- Goosebumps (series)
- Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
- Smile or the follow up Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 and 7, 11 and 12.
When shopping for a gift for an 11 or 12 year old, things start to get a bit tricky. Kids this age are saying goodbye to their childhood and hello to their teen years. For the most part they aren’t interested in ‘toys’ anymore, but there are some exceptions and we have found them for you.
Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 11 and 12 year old children.
If you have an eleven or twelve year old who claims to be too old for toys, have a look at some of the fun stuff that we found. It’s even hard for parents to keep their hands off some of these toys.
Ultra Stomp Rocket are a silly and fun outdoor activity that most kids will love. They are kind of pointless, but very fun to use.
Since almost every kid (that I know at least) loves Minecraft and LEGO, it’s pretty genius that someone thought to put them together to make LEGO Minecraft Sets. There are four sets in this series so far and you can’t go wrong with any one of them .There is a pretty good chance whoever gets this as a gift will be extremely happy.
Who doesn’t love remote control helicopter? It can be a bit hard getting one that is good quality and that doesn’t break down after a couple of uses. This one is pretty durable, just don’t get it caught in anyone’s long hair (trust me).
Five Crowns would make a great stocking stuffer for a child who is into card games. Five Crowns is really fun and easy to learn and to play so it’s a great family card game. It doesn’t take a lot of thought or expertise so it is perfect for when you are tired but still need something to do.
Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow is a cool gift for someone who is into the Hunger Games. I’ve had my eye on this bow for a year now and just can’t understand why no one has taken the hint and gotten it for me already. I think I’ll just have to buy it for myself under the pretence of getting it for the kids.
Artistic or Creative
For artistic kids an easy gift is a really good quality art set or a sketching set, these sets have everything a budding artist might need and they look very grown up and serious which is important for kids in this age range.
Another option is a good scrapbook kit that has lots fun projects that kids can do to help develop their creativity. Who doesn’t love to scrapbook?
Twelve is actually the perfect age to introduce a guitar to a child who is showing some interest in music. By age 12 kids are able to handle a full sized guitar either acoustic or electric and so you can pretty much get any type of guitar at any price range and aren’t limited to ‘Kid’ guitars anymore. If you aren’t sure where to start a guitar that is a great price by a reputable company is this Bullet Strat by Squier. It is a nice budget guitar that is perfect for kids.
If you want to spend a bit more and get a guitar that is a fantastic beginner electric guitar, have a look at the Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster. It will last for years, have great resale value and it is easy to play and maintain.
A lot of parents love to start their kids on an acoustic guitar because they don’t have to worry about getting an amp and a cable and it tends to be a little cheaper than electric. If you are looking to get a good quality starter guitar then check out the Jasmine S35 Acoustic Guitar. Its cheap, well made and great for beginners.
One thing that would make a good educational present for a child in this age range is a good quality microscope. My First Lab Duo-Scope Microscope is an authentic, scientist-grade, biological microscope that is solid entry level microscope (not a toy). It has real optical glass lenses that have 40x, 100x, and 400x magnification, to view slides or solid objects through a 10x eyepiece, which also functions as a magnifying glass when removed from the eyepiece tube and turned over.
LEGO Mindstorms would be an amazing gift to receive. If you aren’t familiar with LEGO Mindstorms it is basically a set where you build programmable robots using the LEGO build system. The robots that your kids will build are able to be programmed to walk, talk, think, and do lots of other stuff. If you want to get your kids into robotics and programming this is a great way to do it. Mindstorms isn’t cheap (around $350) but it is a very cool product that will teach your kids a lot about robotics, engineering and programming without them every realizing it.
If you want to get your kids into robotics but don’t want to spend LEGO Mindstorm type money you could try OWI 14-in-1 Solar Robot. This is a very affordable solar powered robot that can be transformed into 14 different robot modes . The robot kit includes accessories and parts that make the robot move on land and water. Kids will also learn about solar energy and gears.
There are also lots of great science kits that would be good for an 11-12 year old (there are also lots of bad ones so read reviews before buying), you can get general science kits, chemistry kits, physics, kits, DNA testing kits one that we like is the Thames & Kosmos Crystal Growing Kit. This lets kids grow four chemically different crystals each with different properties, including potassium alum crystals that form regular octahedrons, rapidly growing sodium sulphate crystals, long needle-shaped sodium acetate crystals, and plaster which is made from gypsum crystals.
A really good choice for a gift for this age is a board game because kids at this age can get pretty competitive. It is also an age where children start becoming more independent and emotionally distant from parents, so a good board game is a nice family activity can be something that you do together. There are so many great board games available beyond the classic games of Monopoly and Scrabble. These are our favourite board games for ages 11 and 12:
- King of Tokyo is a fun, easy to learn, quick (usually around 30 minutes) dice and card game that is best described as Yahtzee with monsters. In the game you are basically one of 6 Monsters trying to take over Tokyo. There is a lot of luck (and some strategy) involved so anyone can win.
- Lords of Waterdeep: A Dungeons & Dragons Board Game is a Euro-style (less luck conflict and drama than American style games) that has a moderate length game play, (usually around an hour). Each player is a Lord of Waterdeep who is vying for control of the city by who hires adventurers to complete tasks on your behalf. The more quests your adventurers complete, the better you do.
- The Settlers of Catan by now I think almost everyone knows about Settlers, if you don’t you should. It is super fun and you will love playing it. The point of the game is that players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. I know it sounds kind of boring but it’s so fun to play. The board changes in each game so it makes all the games a little different from the next.
- 7 Wonders has a pretty short play time of around 30 minutes and the point of the game is that you are the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the Ancient World and you are trying to gather resources, develop commercial routes and build military supremacy.
Any series by Rick Riordan (The Kane Chronicles, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus)
Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Artemis Fowl (series) by Eoin Colfer
Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
The Merchant of Death (Pendragon) by D. J. MacHale
Coralline by Neil Gaiman
The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan
Divergent by Veronica Roth
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Almost anything from Basher Books
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6 and 7,
Buying a gift for a child who falls into the 5 to 7 range is generally not too hard. Kids of this age have definite interests and opinions on what they like and don’t like. This is also the age that they are most interested in toys. The biggest problem when shopping for this age range is that there is SO much selection that it is difficult to choose just one thing.
Here are our top picks for all the best holiday toy and gift ideas for 5, 6 and 7 year old children:
Kids ages 5 to 7 are getting more control over their fine motor skills so the types of crafts they can do can get a bit more interesting.
For the last few years Minecraft has probably been the biggest thing for kids to come along in a while. This year the Minecraft merchandise has really gotten rolling and has started to catch up with the demand for anything Minecraft related. This Minecraft Papercraft Overworld Deluxe Set is sort of neat it you know a child who just can’t get enough Minecraft but maybe you don’t want them spending so much time in front of a screen. It is basically paper blocks made out of card stock- stay with me here, I know it doesn’t sound that great- but your kids will spend hours assembling it and playing with it. It is really fun for this age.
The DohVinci Style & Store Vanity Design Kit is made by the Play Doh people (Doh Vinci get it?). It a vanity that you child can personalize to suit their own style. It uses a 3-D styling compound that let kids make cool designs on it and if they mess up they can just wipe it off and start again because it doesn’t dry right away.
Kinetic Sand – Sandbox & Molds Activity Set the sand art kits are kind of a big thing with kids over the last few years. They can be a bit messy so don’t buy this for a child who has clean freak parents or they won’t be too happy with you. Otherwise kids really like this stuff, it 98% sand, 2% Polymers and those Polymers really make this stuff great and fun to play with.
A wonderful gift for a 5-7 year old child is a musical instrument. There are lots of beginner instruments available at toy stores that are made for kids that aren’t very good quality, they don’t sound or look that good and will break or fall apart easily. For a bit more money you can get some really well-made Junior Drum Sets ,Mini Guitars or Mini Keyboards that are basically small versions of the real thing. These are so much better than what you buy in a toy store and will last much longer and will hopeful spark a lifelong interest in music for the lucky kids who get them as presents.
WowWee Tipster Toy would make a great first robot for any kid. It has 5 play modes (stacking, balancing, building, free play, or tricks) and a remote and a guide for the interactive activities that your kids can do with Tipster. You can stack things on Tipster before the music stops or you can watch it do tricks. It is pretty impressive for the price.
Zoomer Dino is an interactive dinosaur that moves like a real dinosaur, and can tell when you’re interacting with him. He will react to being stroked and touched. It’s a pretty cool toy because it can get angry, spin around, chomp and roar at you. It also performs tricks and will follow you around.
LEGO is an easy choice as a gift for most kids, the hard part is trying to figure out what set to get. For Lego Friends I like the LEGO Friends Jungle Tree Sanctuary. If you want more of a holiday theme to your gift you can try out the LEGO Advent Calendars. These are pretty cool, the most popular one is the LEGO City Advent Calendar but you can also get a LEGO Star Wars Advent Calendar or even a LEGO Friends calendar. The idea is that you countdown to Christmas by opening up the advent calendar each day of the month of December and you will find different LEGO mini figures, assorted accessories and mini builds.
Kids who love outdoor play will love the Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit that lets kids stomp on a rocket launcher to shoot a rocket into the sky.
If the child you are buying for loves butterflies or insects there is a super cool butterfly kit called Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden that gives kids the opportunity to observe butterflies through every stage of their lifecycle. Children ages four and up can observe five real caterpillars eat and grow to form their chrysalis and then emerge as Painted Lady butterflies. Children will love feeding the butterflies in their included observation habitat and then releasing them into the wild.
If you are looking for an educational and fun to play game that will help with addition and subtraction you could try the board game Sum Swamp Addition and Subtraction Game. This game gives a great introduction to addition and subtraction in a fun way.
For kids who are starting to get into science you can’t go wrong with a science kit. A kit that we have tried and really like is the POOF-Slinky 0SA221 Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit. This kit helps kids to explore and learn the basics of science from chemical reactions to the use of basic science tools.
Another educational toy that is pretty cool for this age is Roominate, which is a DIY wired dollhouse building kit for kids ages 6 and up. This kit lets kids wire up circuits to make parts of a room or a dollhouse move and light up. Roominate is part of the neat trend that includes Goldie Blox and littleBits that are products created by young female engineers who are trying to get girls interested in science, technology and engineering.
This is an age where you can start getting into board games that are a little more complex and that are fun for adults to play as well. Qwirkle is a super popular gift that anyone ages 6+ can play. It has one lots of awards and is great for helping kids develop strategy and critical thinking skills. Another classic game that is good to help kids develop problem solving and critical thinking skills is for this age is ThinkFun Rush Hour Jr.
If you are looking for something a little different try ThinkFun Zingo this game teaches image and vocabulary recognition, matching, memory, concentration, and social interaction.
Another game that is fun, quick and easy for kids this age to play is the strategy-building game Sequence for Kids.
Good Books for Kids Ages 5, 6, and 7
- Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg
- The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown and Macky Pamintuan
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
- Ivy and Bean Series Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 2, 3 and 4, 8, 9 and 10,
Preschoolers are so much fun to shop for. Since they aren’t super picky, you can’t really go wrong with almost anything that you choose. Here are our top picks for all the best toy and gift ideas for 2, 3 and 4 year old children.
At this age it is very easy to get a great gift for a creative child. Most kids are happy with some paper, crayons and their imagination, but if you are looking for something more to help inspire creativity you can get a good quality Art Easel that can grow with them for a few years. There is a huge range of easels that are great for kids, ones that have attachable trays to hold art supplies are especially handy. Another great idea for a creative child is an Art Desk. An art desk lets kids keep all their art supplies within easy reach and they have lots of storage for their art projects.
Play Visions Sands Alive! is indoor play sand that isn’t what you expect sand to be, it’s sort of hard to describe but what it reminds me of a is little bit like cookie dough. In the last year or so this stuff has gotten pretty big and it will keep your kids busy for a very long time. It’s hard to go near this stuff without wanting to touch it or play with it, it is kind of odd that way.
Since kids this age love to make noise, a couple of loud sturdy musical toys are a safe bet. Hohner Kids / Glockenspiel (Xylophone) with Songbook is a classic xylophone that doesn’t look too babyish so kids will be able to use it for years. They are fun to bang on even for adults. Another good choice would be a B. Parum Pum Pum Drum, this a cute set with a big drum, drumsticks, jingle bell, a maraca and clacker so there are lots of fun noise making items with that kids will really enjoy.
With the upcoming release of apple’s smart watch next year, you can expect lots of hype about smartwatches. Kids can get in on the hype with a smartwatch of their very own,Vtech has put out a really cool watch called the VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch. This watch does so much it’s crazy. It can take pictures and record video, and then add effects, frames and filters to the photos. It can also help teach kids how to tell the time with 50 clock face designs. This smartwatch has four learning games, and comes with a micro USB cable, which can be used to upload photos and videos as well as recharge the battery.
An easy and not very expensive gift for preschooler is a durable kids camera. Most children are fascinated with the process of taking pictures so it’s nice for them to have a camera that they can do what they want with. A good kid’s camera to have a look at is the VTech Kidizoom FFP Camera. This camera is a real 1.3 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom that has a 1.8″ color screen and easy-to-use viewfinder. You can also record video and voice, and it lets kids edit and add effects to photos. This camera is pretty cheap, very durable and kids love them.
Fisher-Price Little People City Skyway – This play set is over 3 feet tall so your kids will be able to stand up and send cars zooming down the ramp. This set will keep your kids busy for long time. It does take a bit of assembly, but it is worth it because your kids will really enjoying playing with it. This is on a number of ‘Hot Toy Lists for Christmas 2014″.
Almost any of the Fisher Price Imaginext sets are a fantastic choice that are great for creative play. This year I really like the Imaginext 2-in-1 Supernova Battle Rover. If you are looking for a big WOW toy this is one to check out. It’s not cheap, but you are getting quite a lot of toy for the price. I wouldn’t get this for a 2 or 3 year old but it would be quite a gift for a 4 year old.
You could also try Magna-Tiles® Clear Colors 32 Piece Set , it is a building set with tiles that your kids can use to make cubes, pyramids and different geometric shapes that is great for preschoolers. They are a bit expensive but children will get years of use out of them.
Another toy I like for this age group is the Radio Flyer Ziggle. Kids make it move by twisting the handle bars while also applying pressure with their feet on the cross bar in the front, there are no peddles so your kids don’t need to know how to peddle a bike, very easy to use. It is super fun and your kids will love it
Children this age are beginning to learn their shapes and how to share, so a really good toy that can help with this is the LeapFrog Shapes And Sharing Picnic Basket. This is a very popular toy that helps kids learn shapes, colors, and manners.
Another good educational toy is the Learning Resources Teaching Cash Register. This toy is a talking cash register that teaches kids about coin identification, addition, subtraction and place value as they play 4 featured games that increase in difficulty as players advance. The cash register is also good for imaginative play and learning basic calculator skills.
If you are looking for something that is fun and also educational you could try Gears! Gears! Gears!® Beginner’s Building Set, kids love these and they are a fun way to help kids learn about simple mechanics.
Everyone knows about the board game Candyland for this age range but there are a lot of other great options available. Educational Insights The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game is a fun game that is also helpful for kids to develop their matching, sorting, strategic thinking, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and pre-handwriting skills.
If you are looking for a simple board game for a child who is into superheroes you could try Chutes and Ladders Super Hero Squad
Another great game for this age range is Richard Scarry Busy Town, this game is a good co-operative game for kids who might not be so great at losing. If you already have the basic Busy Town game there is a follow up game called Richard Scarry Airport Game.
Good Books for Kids Ages 2, 3, and 4
- The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky is a great book for kids 2 years and younger.
- Press Here by Herve Tullet is a simple, fun, interactive book that kids love.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond is a very popular and classic book for this age range.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is another classic that is very sad but sweet.
- Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis is a nicely illustrated book that would be a good gift for kids who are into the Fancy Nancy series.
- Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
- National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers
- The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
- Steam Train, Dream Train Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
More great gift ideas for birthday and Christmas for kids ages: 5-7, 8-10, 11 and 12.
There are a lot of good reasons to spend time teaching your children how to speak Russian. It is a language that is spoken by roughly 300 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken Slavic language in the world. Russia is also one of the ten strongest economies in the world and is continuing to grow at a rapid rate, so if your children are able learn the language they will have increased job and business opportunities when they enter into the job market. If you happen to have a child who is dreaming of becoming an astronaut, you might be interested to learn that in order to graduate from NASA’s Astronaut Candidate Program you need to be fluent in Russian as well as English.
Russia also has an incredible history, rich in culture and traditions, so it is a wonderful opportunity for children to learn about a new country or discover their own family history and culture.
Russian is considered a moderately hard language to learn, so luckily it’s not the most difficult language around, although it isn’t one of the simplest either. It won’t be easy, but with a lot of perseverance and practice your children will be opening themselves up to a world of opportunity.
Where to Start
A good place to start is with the alphabet, the Russian alphabet is known as the Cyrillic alphabet or Cyrllic script. It is actually easier to learn than the English alphabet because the letters only have one letter to one sound, while the English alphabet can have more than one sound.
Digital Dialects has a great section on their site that goes over the alphabet with sound files to help children with their pronunciation. It is a free site with language learning games in Russian (as well as 60 other languages). The Cyrillic script might be a little intimidating for a small child so you will need to be patient with your child as they begin to learn.
Once you child is familiar with the alphabet you can begin to introduce basic words like colors, animals, family, things you find around the house. A couple of books that are very helpful with introducing basic words are Usborne’s First Thousand Words In Russian: With Internet-Linked Pronunciation Guide and a series from Milet Publishing called My First Bilingual Book that has wonderful picture books with images for common Russian words that will help get kids started.
As with all language learning, repetition is very important. Depending on their age and ability, your child will probably not remember words that you teach them on the first try, so it is very important to use repetition until they are able to remember an item or words. This will take time and patience. Different types of word games (either online or a game that you play with your child at home) can be useful at this stage. Here are a few free online games that you can try out to help reinforce repletion of simple words:
- Raskraska24 is a fun site with activities for kids.
- Enchanted Learning is an educational website that has games to help learn.
- Russian Flashcards offer a free account or a premium subscription where you can learn from home with their Flashcard System.
Phrases and Conversation
As your child begins to build up their vocabulary, you can start to teach them phrases. It is also a good idea to introduce reading the language at this point. Start with simple phrases and once mastered you can move onto more complex phrasing.
If you know anyone who speaks Russian try to have your child interact with them, this will help absorb the language much more quickly.
It is important your kids are hearing the language on a regular basis. One of best ways for a child to learn a new language is for him to hear people speaking it fluently. Through conversation children can begin to get used to the sounds and accents of a language. If you don’t speak the language yourself or have someone in your community or family who they can converse with you can always expose them to the language through music and DVD or online videos.
Here are a few very popular DVDs that can help parents expose their children to the language.
- The always reliable Little Pim DVD’s in are a good place to start for children ages 0-5 or check out their digital downloads .
- For slightly older kids you can try Russian for Kids. This is a 5 DVD set that also includes flash cards and a poster.
- Another DVD you can have a look at is Bilingual Baby, although we hesitate to recommend this DVD because the reviews for it are a bit mixed.
Games and Fun
The best results when teaching a child often come when you can make the subject matter fun and your kids are motivated and excited to learn. Obviously this isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but if you can manage to make it an enjoyable experience for your child they will want to learn and will stick with it. If you need a bit of help trying to make the learning process fun for your child you can always try out a few different apps. Here are a few popular apps for kids:
- Learn Russian. Basics is an app that teaches kids the basics and fundamentals of the language. This app contains interactive lessons for the alphabet, numbers, seasons, weekdays, months, animals, and colours.
- Russian Baby Flash Cards is a flashcard app with categories for food, animals, transportation, numbers, colours & shapes, clothing, household items, body parts, outdoor items, music instruments/arts & learning.
- My First Bilingual App this iPad app features 26 mini-games all with a feature word. You can try the first 10 words for free and then use the in-app purchase to unlock the complete version. This app can best be described as a fully interactive, bilingual board book.
- Smart Speller Russian HD Full Version helps kids learn to spell by hearing the sound each letter makes, and the proper pronunciation of the words.
- 123 Count With Me in Russian! was developed for kids (ages 2+) and aimed at teaching them to count by having the child move graphics of toys and shape puzzles.
Remember that teaching a new language to a child is a process, and will take a long time so don’t expect immediate results. The more you can expose your child to the language the easier it will be for them to learn.
photo credit: smcgee via photopincc