Everyone knows how beneficial it is to children’s brain development when they learn a second language, and so if you are looking for some ways to help introduce French to your children, there are some great resources around. Here is a list of our favorite mp3s, DVDs, books, websites, learning systems, and apps that will help your children learn this beautiful language.
DVDs to help Kids Learn Kids
There are few DVDs around to help teach kids French, but there aren’t really as many as you would think, and the quality of the DVDs can be pretty hit and miss. Here are a few of the better quality DVDs (check your local library there is a good chance they will have at least one or two of these):
Bonjour Les Amis Vol. 1 is a simple 40 minute DVD that is good for kids ages 0-5. It introduces basic vocabulary that isn’t challenging, so it’s great for younger kids.
French for Kids DVD Set: Simple Words & Number and Colours is a newer DVD with nice modern graphics. The words it introduces are very basic but serves as a good introduction for small kids.
Little Pim French is a pretty good DVD for kids ages 0 to 5. There are six DVDs in the series that include topics “Eating and Drinking,” “Happy, Sad and Silly,” “In my Home,” Play,” “Wake up Smiling,” and “I Can Count.” The quality of the DVDs is high compared with other language DVDs we’ve come across. They have pleasant music, are engaging (our kids were very happy to watch the entire DVD), and there is the Panda Cartoon with silly segments mixed in with footage of kids performing everyday activities. The segments are arranged in five-minute episodes so you can watch the whole video or just a lesson or two depending on how your child is responding to it.
Professor Toto is a DVD that you might want to have a look at for a child who is aged 6-12. With these DVDs, you get an English version of the DVD and also a French version of the DVD, so you watch a segment in French, then you replay that same segment in English, so the child becomes familiarized with the story. You also get a full script of what is said in the videos in both languages. Professor Toto was released in 2004, so the graphics look modern enough to keep kids engaged. The material is presented clearly and pronounced correctly, and it also has a lot of repetition and pleasantly catchy songs.
An easy way to get kids used to a new language is to listen to a good CD or MP3. The more the kids hear a language, the more open they will be to the language as they get older. A couple of CDs that we have used and really like are Beth Manner’s Fun French for Kids and also the Beth Manners Magic French for Kids. These CDs (or downloads) are useful because they have a combination of lessons and super catchy songs.
Another good Audio CD/MP3 that you could try is French for Kids: Cha, Cha, Cha.This CD has fifteen songs about things like months of the year, numbers, vowels, etc. that are fun for kids. This CD is one of Dr. Toy’s top 10 educational toys for 2012.
Free Children’s Language Websites
For older kids, a great website to check out is DuoLingo. This is my new favorite language site. It is completely free, and there are no ads. It is a sort of gamified way of learning a language. You can set a daily goal that you want to achieve, and then you complete a lesson by mostly translating short phrases and answering questions. You can probably do this with a younger child if a parent is going to help the child with the lesson.
Since most kids love playing computer games, there is an excellent free game website for kids called French Games; it has topics, lessons, and games. Another fun site with games for kids is this Quia site. If you want even more games, you can always try these Play and Learn games.
A good site that has general activities and different lessons is this About page that is all about French education. It is very informative and has super useful tips and ideas on language education.
Radio Canada’s website has clips and short videos of some of its French-language programming, to help your kids get used to hearing spoken language.
Mama Lisa has a fantastic selection of French songs for kids, so if you need some free songs for kids, this is where you want to go.
For basic vocabulary lessons, an excellent site to try is Languages Online. Or another site with a similar setup is Language Guide. It lets kids practice their vocabulary, expressions, the alphabet, and numbers. You can listen to all the vocabulary aloud and then test your audio comprehension and speaking skills.
YouTube has a great selection of online lessons that your kids can watch, a series or channel that I like a lot for kids is this one from Frencheezee.
Kids who know a bit of the language already might like Du Plaisir à Lire. It has games and activities.
Books to Help Kids Learn
French for Children is a great book that has a mix of written and spoken language. Of all the books that we bought, this was the one that our kids enjoy looking at and listening to the most. It’s got fun lessons and quizzes as well the cd is another excellent option to bring along in the car.
The Everything Kids’ Learning French Book The Everything Kids series is always a good investment for most topics that may want to learn about. This book is no exception. It has a lot of fun activities that will keep your kids motivated and excited about learning.
Language Learning Systems
There are a lot of language systems around that are marketed toward teaching kids new languages, most of them are pretty old and not that great, you would be better off watching a few YouTube videos and looking at websites. Having said that there are a couple of newer language systems that are quite popular including:
PetraLingua is an online multimedia language course for kids aged 3-12. They have language lessons with videos. They have some free content as well as paid. You can do this course through DVDs or online.
Dino Lingo This is a bit of a pricey course (around $160), but the idea of it is that it is a fully immersive course, so it includes a lot of different materials. The system uses DVDs, books, flashcards, games, songs, and online lessons, so your child can have an immersive experience with lots of different options to help them learn.
Wink to Learn is a whole language system that uses flashcards, and DVDs or Streaming Video. You can try out a free trial or the sites streaming video or digital flashcards.
Learn French – MindSnacks is a fun educational app that uses mini-games to teach and re-enforce vocabulary. If you are getting this for a child, they will need to have some knowledge of French, and they will need to be able to read and write. Cost: Free for the first level. You can upgrade for $4.99 to get all 50 levels. For use on iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad Age: 10+
French Baby Flash Cards has Educational Baby Flash Cards features over 450 high-quality images with text and voiceovers. Cost: Free with in-app purchases available. For use on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad.
play2learn French HD COMPLETE lets kids explore words by tapping an item on the screen to hear its name pronounced by the speaker. Cost:$ 1.99 with additional content available as In-App purchase – 18 extra sets in 3 bundles. For use on iPad.
If you are a parent who wants to teach your children a bit of Vietnamese but aren’t sure where to start, we have found lots of great books, apps, language learning systems and some free games that will help your kids learn a bit of Vietnamese in a fun and stress-free way.
Since Vietnamese has six different tones it can be a bit difficult to learn, so the more material that you can expose your kids to, all the better. Unfortunately, there aren’t as many resources for Vietnamese as some of the other languages that we have covered, but there is still lots of great stuff that can help parents at home.
On the positive side, Vietnamese is based on the Roman alphabet (like English) so some people consider it one of the easier Asian languages to learn.
If you want a book that has both English and Vietnamese, and can teach children a little bit about Vietnam a very popular book is Vietnam A to Z. This book is great because it introduces Vietnamese culture in a fun and silly way.
Listening to songs in another language is an easy way to get kids to learn basic vocabulary and pronunciation. A good resource with songs in Vietnamese is Sing ‘n Learn Vietnamese Book with Audio CD. This set has 14 songs and melodies that children will enjoy listening to.
Another way to help children become familiar with a new language is to find stories or books that your child already knows and read them in another language. Language Lizard is a site that offers dual language books for popular titles like Dear Zoo or The Wheels on the Bus, which just means that each page of the book includes Vietnamese and English text on the page.
Free Online Lessons
You can’t go wrong with Duolingo.com. The site is often used in schools for French and Spanish but they have lessons for pretty much any language that you can think of.
Free Online Games to Help Teach Vietnamese
Digital Dialects has games for learning numbers, colors, and vocabulary in Vietnamese.
Hello World This site is a little confusing to use, but it does have some good material including conversations, songs, a dictionary, games, and lots of other things.
Vuontre is a cool Vietnamese children’s web site. Not for beginners.
Best Apps to Help Kids Learn Vietnamese
Apps are a fun and easy way to help kids learn a new language without them realizing they are learning something useful. Luckily there are some apps designed for kids that will teach them a bit of Vietnamese.
Vietnamese-English Language for Kids has interactive audio flashcards and games in categories such as animals, basic human anatomy, colors, all with pronunciation from a native speaker.
Gus on the Go has Gus visiting the cities of Hanoi, Da Nang, Nha Trang, and Ho Chi Minh City and going over how to how to properly pronounce vocabulary words in the following categories: animals, food, transportation, clothes, numbers, colors, parts of the body, and shapes.
Let us know if you have any Vietnamese resources that you use with your own family, we would love to share them with others.
Brazilian Portuguese is a great language for kids to learn. Since Brazil is Latin America’s largest economy and it is the 5th largest country in the world by both land area and population, knowing Portuguese could potentially be a really good job skill for your kids in the future. Or if you or your kids love to travel, the climate in most of Brazil is tropical and the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics are being held in Brazil, so learning a bit of Portuguese could be a wonderful excuse for an upcoming trip.
With this in mind, we have gathered up the best language systems, free online games, apps, and books that can help parents teach their kids some Brazilian Portuguese.
Super Baby Music is a good choice if you are looking for a Baby Einstein type video, but in Portuguese, then this is a good one to try. It is a DVD that is in Spanish and Portuguese. There are other titles in this series including Super Baby Music, Super Baby Animals, Super Baby Colors, and Super Baby Shapes.
Little Pim Portuguese is a great option if you are looking for a video for kids ages 0-5. These videos each start with a short animated cartoon featuring a panda followed by live-action footage of children doing everyday activities. The videos are themed on “eating and drinking, “wake up smiling” and “playtime”. You can see a preview for it here or use their digital downloads.
Bilingual Baby is another DVD that is made for babies to help expose them to a second language. It has over 60 words, phrases, sentences, and manners. The child only hears the Portuguese language, but there is small on-screen text in English to help parents.
The Best Portuguese Language Learning Programs and Websites for Kids
Duolingo.com is the best website to help kids learn a different language. The site is often used in schools for French and Spanish but they have lessons for pretty much any language that you can think of.
Some good websites that can help kids learn Portuguese are:
Discovery Kids Brazil is a Brazilian TV station for kids. They have a great website that has lots of games and activities.
An easy way to expose children to a new language in a fun way is through online games. There isn’t a huge selection of Portuguese games for kids, but here is a couple that we like:
Digital Dialects has lots of simple games that will help kids learn Portuguese basics.
Tudo Bem Portuguese has free online language learning games like Whack- a-Word, Hangman, Wordsearch, and Memory
Learn Portuguese has 9 games designed to teach Portuguese vocabulary and conversation skills. You can download the first lesson for free and if you like it you can upgrade to access all 50 lessons and 40+ hours of content.
Gus on the Go: Portuguese for Kids helps kids learn basic vocabulary concepts with interactive visual and auditory lessons on numbers, colors, shapes, and more. Each lesson review unlocks a vocabulary game that reinforces what your child has learned.
Portuguese for Children contains over 400 commonly used Portuguese words including colors, numbers, food drink and animals, all illustrated and professionally recorded by a native Brazilian (Portuguese) speaker.
If you are a parent who is looking for resources to help teach your kids Portuguese you may have run into the problem of only being able to find materials for Brazilian rather than European Portuguese (as spoken in Portugal).
This can be a frustrating experience, especially if you buy a book or a video only to find out that it isn’t what you wanted. So in our quest to try to find the best teaching tools for kids, we have come up with what we hope is a definitive list of DVDs, books, apps and websites that you can use to help your kids learn (European) Portuguese.
You can’t go wrong with Duolingo.com. The site is often used in schools for French and Spanish but they have lessons for pretty much any language that you can think of.
There aren’t a lot of choices as far as language systems to teach kids European Portuguese. The only kid’s system that we are going to recommend is Dino Lingo’s European Portuguese for Kids. The Dino Lingo system is generally very well-reviewed and a good choice to help kids learn a second language. This kit has language learning DVDs, CDs, books, posters, and flashcards. You can watch a preview of the DVDs here.
If you aren’t interested in the Dino Lingo system, you can try the Muzzy language learning system, but the Muzzy system has very mixed reviews, so you should probably read some of the reviews and watch the previews of it if you are thinking of purchasing it.
If you are looking for a fun website for kids, try Disney’s Portugal Site it has games and clips of shows and movies with favorite Disney characters.
Free Online Games
An easy way to expose children to a new language in a fun way is through online games. There isn’t a huge selection of European Portuguese games for kids, but a good site for games is Digital Dialects. It has lots of simple games that will help kids learn the basics. Another great site to check out is Jogos Didaticos. It also has some fun and easy games for kids.
Another great way to help children reinforce second language skills is by making it fun with an app. Here are a couple of language apps that are great for kids.
Kids learn languages by Mondly lets kids learn the most common words and phrases in Portuguese, it enriches children’s vocabulary and makes language learning a fun and interactive experience.
Learn Portuguese for Kids teaches children from 0-5 how to correctly pronounce the most important words in using images, colors, animals, music, and voices. It has more than 40 minutes of video with topics including family, fruits/vegetables, animals, colors, food, nature, face/body, baby items, and transportation.
First Thousand Words in Portuguese by Heather Amery and Mairi MacKinnon is a picture dictionary that has 1,000 everyday words combined with pictures. It also gives a link that contains an online pronunciation guide through the Usborne Quicklinks website.
Salpicos is basically a student textbook that teachers can use to teach Portuguese to kids. If you get the student’s book (rather than the teacher book) it has a CD that contains children’s songs. The level one student book is aimed at 4 to 5-year-olds and focuses on listening to stories, singing songs, looking at images, etc. “Salpicos” 2 and 3 are for children who have started reading and writing (6 to 10-year-olds).
Falas Português? is another textbook for teachers who are teaching kids, but it can also be used by parents as well. It has 10 units that include exercises and activities (stickers, grammar notes, pages on culture and traditions, etc…). The student book also contains an audio CD.
There are lots of books that you can use to that are available with translations, although you will need to confirm that it is European Portuguese rather than Brazilian. Language Lizard has bilingual books that are all European Portuguese.
Workbooks and Flashcards
If you are looking for flashcards that are a good way to re-enforce a new language, you can try Usborne’s Everyday Words Flashcards.
This is a pack of illustrated cards with fifty simple words. Each card shows an everyday object with accompanying word on one side and just the word on its own on the other to aid revision. The cards can be used to play games, for self-testing, or simply propped up around the house or classroom as useful reminders.
German is an excellent language for kids to learn since English is a Germanic language, so some words are similar to English, which can make it one of the more accessible languages for kids to pick up. It is also a good language for kids because it is the most widely spoken first language in the EU and Germany has the fourth most robust economy (based on GDP) in the world, so having some knowledge of German may be a beneficial job skill for your kids later in life.
It might seem like a big undertaking to teach your kids a new language, but there are lots of products available that can help parents. We have found some amazing online videos, DVDs, books, apps, and online games that will help children learn to speak German in a fun way.
The Best German Language Learning Programs and Websites for Kids
Petra Lingua is an online language course that is designed for children between the ages of 3 and 10 years that uses a multimedia approach of text, audio and video, pictures, and interactive exercises.
Blinde-kuh is a German search engine that only brings up kid-friendly information.
Lingonetz is an interactive website that helps children from ages 6 to 12 learn the German language.
Tivi has German TV shows from a German children’s station.
Chillola is a free foreign language website for children. Kids learn German through games and activities.
Dino Lingo’s German for Kids is a DVD based learning system that includes CDs, books, posters, and flashcards for children who are learning German. It isn’t cheap ($100+), but it is generally very well-reviewed. You can see a preview of it here.
Duolingo is a newer site and app that is a lot of fun to use, especially for kids. The site uses a lot of the same ideas as video games to help kids learn a new language.
The Best DVDs to Teach Kids German
There are a few good DVDs for kids under 5, but not much for older kids. If you are looking for a DVD for an older child who would like to learn German, you could try Watch & Learn German with Professor Toto or German for Kids: Learn German Beginner by Language Tree. The reviews for both DVDs are a little mixed, so we don’t want to recommend them, but check them out to see if they are your kind of thing (they might be available at your local library). The DVDs that are a good option for kids ages 0-5 to help them learn German are:
Early Lingo Colors and Shapes at The Park DVD (Part 1 German) or a 6-DVD Box Set. If you are looking for a total immersion DVD, Early Lingo is a good choice. This DVD for children ages six months to 6 years has cartoon characters Jojo and Lulu learning all about colors and shapes and words for things found in the park in German. The single episode DVD is around 32 minutes of running time and has over 90 German words and phrases. You can watch a preview for it here.
German for Kids: Language Box Set (Vol. I) Another decent DVD for the under 5’s is the Little Pim German series. Each episode uses an animated panda bear and real kids and teaches simple words and phrases for everyday activities. This DVD set introduces over 180 words and phrases for daily activities. You can watch a preview of it here.
Bilingual Baby: Teach Baby German has over 60 words and phrases about everyday objects that children can recognize and are a part of their world, such as puppies, toys, etc.
Free Online Games to Help Teach German
An easy way to expose children to a new language in a fun way is through online games. There isn’t a vast selection of German -English games for kids, but one that is worth checking out is Digital Dialects. It has lots of simple games that will help kids learn German basics.
Best German Apps for Kids
Kinderapp is an app designed for toddlers to help them learn their first words. This app has a German language option on it, so it would be helpful for very young kids who are just beginning to speak. Kids get to know essential objects from their immediate environment at home, in an interactive and fun way.
Learn German – Baby FlashCards is a flashcard app for kids ages 1-4. It has over 450 images with text and voiceovers. There are additional real sounds where applicable to enhance visual and auditory learning and memory simultaneously. Parents have the option to turn voiceovers off during parent-child learning sessions and turn voiceovers on when the child is self-learning.
Learn German by MindSnacks has nine games designed to teach German vocabulary and conversation skills. You can download the first lesson for free, and if you like it, you can upgrade to access all 50 lessons and 40+ hours of content.
Smart Speller German Learning has 80 pictures in 7 categories (numbers and colors, fruit & veg, vehicles, farm animals, shapes, body parts). The game is played by tapping a moving object and then completing a word puzzle. The word selection features basic and most common words from each category.
Learn German Kids helps kids learn essential German words in a child-friendly way. There are six categories, including the alphabet, colors, numbers, months, days, and fruits.
German Learning Books for Kids
Let’s Learn German Picture Dictionary by Marlene Goodman introduces beginning language learners to more than 1,550 commonly taught essential German words displayed in 30 two-page spreads that illustrate the meanings of words. The images focus on scenes familiar to children aged three through eight, such as home life, the classroom, city life, sports, the zoo, etc. This picture Dictionary also includes an index and glossary of all the illustrated words in the book.
German for Children with Two Audio CDs by Catherine Bruzzone has a full-color illustrated guidebook that features cartoons, characters, and fun facts. It also includes two audio CDs that guide your child through the course and teach language through a combination of German-language songs, games, and activities.
Lightning-Fast German for Kids and Families by Carolyn Woods is a good option for parents who want to teach their kids German but don’t speak German themselves. This book shows parents ways to incorporate German into everyday activities, so children can learn German while doing the things that are common at home.
52 Weeks of Family German Eileen Mc Aree is a book that is similar to Lightning-Fast German for Kids and Families in that it is a family approach to getting kids speaking German. This book has 52 small, weekly lessons that will get you and your family speaking and understanding German right away. All of the weekly activities are integrated into modern family life. Games and fun activities are included to help you with your language learning journey.
Free Online German Lessons for Kids
If you have any fantastic resources that you have used to help your kids learn German, let us know in the comments below!