Best Foreign Language Apps for Kids
by Bev Bachel
I’m planning to spend a month in Paris next year, so I’ve been asking friends for the best way to go about learning French. Many recommended apps. I wasn’t surprised by that — but I was surprised that so many of the apps they recommended were for kids.
Here are three that will have your kids speaking a second — and even a third language — in no time:
Best for: Kids ages 2 to 6
Cost: Free, available on Google Play
Choose from English, Spanish, Chinese and Portuguese.
Kids then follow verbal instructions in the chosen language to do various activities, such as prepare for and celebrate a birthday or discover a magical world that includes everything from butterflies to camels and squids.
Best for: Kids 12+
This app (and your public library card) gives kids access to more than 60 languages, including Arabic, Japanese, Yiddish and even Pirate (can you say, Ahoy, matey?). It also includes 17 English courses taught in the native language of the user.
Each lesson incorporates four key components for successful communication: vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar and culture. Kids can record their speech to see how they sound compared to native speakers, and play timed memory-building exercises to help with retention.
Best for: It’s rated 4+
Both fun (and addictive), Duolingo features dozens of mini-games during which kids race against the clock to test their reading, writing and speaking skills in nine languages.
Kids can challenge themselves or compete against friends. Bite-size lessons and the opportunity to earn badges keep kids engaged. Parents will appreciate that there are no ads or hidden charges.
Freelance writer Bev Bachel lives in Minneapolis and uses her phone to talk, text and email friends and family around the world. She’s the author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go For It!
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