9 Ways to Make Learning a Foreign Language Fun for Kids!
What a gift it is to be able to speak a second language! Studies even show us that children are in a super learning phase until around age 7. Here are some tips to capitalize on their theta brain waves and make the learning FUN!
YouTube is great for this, especially if you don’t know any songs yourself. However, do try to memorize a few so that you can keep it going throughout the day. Also, kids like to imitate adults, so if they hear you singing they will want to join in and will find it even more enjoyable.
All kids love games. These can be really simple! They also encourage your child to implement what they are learning by speaking rather than just memorizing or listening.
Make labels for different things in the house and have the kids run around sticking the labels on the objects. Make sure you have them say the words out loud as they stick them all over the house. You can also leave these labels everywhere so that you can refer to these objects in the foreign language of your choice often.
The ‘I Spy’ Game
This will reinforce the ‘I Spy’ phrase over and over, as well as getting them to retain the names of various items wherever you are. It also teaches them to use descriptive words as well. Playing this in different places will also broaden their vocabulary. If they are old enough, get them a small palm size dictionary. I recommend a dictionary instead of the phone because it is important for them to learn how to use one, and have less screen time of course. Also, I learned a lot of words and different ways to use certain words by flipping through my Italian dictionary.
The Color Game
We play this everywhere. It is such an easy and fun game. You just say "What is blue?" or, "Cos’é blu?" and they look around and respond with whatever blue objects they notice.
Flash Card Games
You can buy these on Amazon in many different languages and create your own game style with them. To make this even more fun I suggest prizes!
iPad Apps like Duolingo
I am not big on touch screens but I do have to say these apps, especially Duolingo for kids, are fun learning tools that seem like games that will teach and reinforce grammar and vocabulary. I would use this in conjunction with the above games so that they remember to use what they have learned.
Set Netflix or any TV to a Different Language
We did this with our daughter as soon as she turned two. Everything that she had been watching in English we switched to Italian. I always feel some mom guilt whenever the TV is on, however when it is in Italian I feel a little less guilty because I know she is learning and developing an ear for this other language. This is extremely important. If you study a language but do not hear it spoken on a daily basis, even with all your knowledge, it will be more difficult to communicate fluently.
You can buy books in other languages or books that have both the English and foreign language in one. There are also books, like our Little James’ Big Adventures Series that simply show kids using some foreign phrases while traveling. This doesn't fully teach but can help light the spark to ignite their interest in the first place.