We recently did an article on Helping Kids Learn a New Language. Here's a continuation of the same theme and our focus is on websites that help teach a new language to kids. We've covered websites to help kids learn Chinese, Spanish as well as Indian languages like Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil. We also found sites that teach French, Italian and German.These sites have material and tools that specifically appeal to kids and tap into the 'fun' element of learning a language. Some are specific to a single language whereas others teach more than one language. All the sites featured are free and have no registration requirements.
BBC Schools Primary Language - offers interactive learning tools for Mandarin, Spanish and French catering to 5-11 year olds. Within each language you have a vocabulary section where you can hear the pronunciation of a word with it being written in both local script and English. Videos, songs and games provide the interactive element. Games are primarily matching games where you match a picture with the word.
Chillola.com: Is a website that teaches multiple languages - Spanish, English, French, Italian and German for kids. It's a great starter website and has some basic points for beginners that cover different modules teaching letters, numbers, colors, shapes food, school, home, animals, months of the year and more.
Kidsone: This is very interactive site that teaches basic Hindi, Telegu and Tamil. There are a range of tools on the site. It has:
- Animated stories including popular Indian ones such as the foolish crow, the fox and grapes, the tortoise and hare etc.
- It also has mythological stories such as Ramayan and Mahabharat that kids can see and listen to.
- For each language you can click on the Levels tab to find games and activities in that language.For those looking to get their children to learn writing, the site also has worksheets that can be downloaded to practice the alphabet.
Certain sections of the website are still not fully developed yet so you might face some execution issues. Also, for Hindi, the spoken accent is not the purest but the grammar and language are fine. That apart, there is enough in the website to keep a child engaged and for any kid newly exposed to the language it makes it easy and fun to learn.
eChineseLearning.com: May not have the most user-friendly lay out but has some wonderful language learning tools largely centered around games, songs, rhymes and stories. Rhymes and songs are up in Mandarin Chinese with lyrics in English and Chinese. Videos of games like Rock, Paper Scissors provide a fun element along with the full script and words described in English below the video. (Note - you might have an ad before the video starts). There are other sections of the site such Chinese for Teens, Business Chinese etc. so make sure your child clicks on the Chinese for Kids tab to find material most suited for him/her. The site also offers 1-1 customized lessons for a fee.
123teachme.com: On the main site there is an option to take a placement test to determine level of knowledge in the language. For kids, there is a large amount of interactive material in the Spanish for Kids section such as:
- Popular songs with very engaging videos and lyrics in English and Spanish.
- 'Click and say' alphabets/numbers.
- Excellent vocabulary section with flashcards and quizzes to test what a student has learned across multiple categories from family to words to shapes and so on.
- Memory and matching games
A couple of games did not seem to be working but other than that, the site is a treasure trove of activity for a kid trying to learn Spanish.
Learning a language can be so much fun with all these new tools and applications. All it takes is a little time spent with your child to make sure you're steering them towards the right website and activities to start that process.