In today’s globalised world, exposing young children to foreign languages is so important. It has many benefits on the brain as well as for your child’s future career. There’s a lot to learning a language, above all, it is crucial to keep the learning process fun and exciting for your children. It should never seem like a chore! It is the most effective way for your child to learn a language and it will also help your child to associate learning as a fun activity. Luckily there are a lot of fun methods and tools you can use to help children learn with enthusiasm.
Here are a few fun tools for your kids to use to learn a foreign language:
Doing an educational activity on a smart device can be a lot more fun than the traditional pen and paper method of learning. If your child usually gets set technology time, it can also seem like a sneaky way of getting more tech time to your child. Your children can use language apps to do structured lessons, track their progress, and refer back to what they have already learned. Use it as a supplemental language learning activity that is consistent, as you can use a language app whenever, wherever as long as you have a smart device. Babbel, for example, is an interactive almost gamified app that you can use to learn German online, as well as many other languages the app has available.
YouTube is a great free resource that you can use for language videos. You can find videos on topics that interest them, preferably by native speakers, and find language lessons that your kids can follow. Video lessons on YouTube can be incredibly informative and similar to an in-class experience.
TV in a foreign language
TV time can be educational and entertaining if your child watches it in a foreign language. Add some subtitles and put on their favourite show or movie so they are already familiar with the plot and characters. This will make it easier for them to pick up on new vocabulary and expressions as they watch. Hint: Start off with programs that have less complicated vocabulary so it is more encouraging.
Stories / read books to them
Reading is a big part of my life, and it was one of my favourite things to do with my kids. When your child is learning a language, reading stories and books on a topic that they love is a way to get them engaged and interested. Talk as you go, asking questions and having them give detailed answers, and have them note new words to come back to.
While grammar and educational books are a natural part of language learning, incorporating fun books too is a must! If you have a habit of reading a book together, try doing some nights or part of the night reading in the language your child is learning so it is a natural activity.
Riddles, jokes, tongue twisters
Silly phrases that your child can remember (and learn from) are a language lesson that doesn’t really feel like a lesson. The more they practice saying riddles, jokes and tongue twisters, the more natural it is to not only say it but also to speak in the language they are learning! Take it a step further and find some ways they can use the words from these phrases elsewhere too.
Games are an incredible way to learn. Pick up your child’s favourite game in the language they are learning, or if they are the very beginner stage of learning a language, incorporate a few words here and there. Keep the priority of playing the game fun and have language learning be second. There are always moments to learn, but keep learning lessons quick and keep it moving! The more you play games in the target language, the more natural new vocabulary and expressions will be.
Music can be an instant mood boost and a fun way to boost comprehension, speaking skills, and vocabulary. Put some music on while you do things around the house with your kids, dance, and have fun! If you want, you can also print our lyrics and learn the song together so you can sing along together.
Have you tried any of the above with your kids? Do you have any fun tools or methods to teach kids a foreign language?