Better job prospects. More brain power. Academic success. Social and cultural awareness. These are all reasons parents want their children to learn a foreign language. But did you know that only about 25 percent of Americans can converse in a language other than English? Give your children an edge above the competition and create a road map for their success by getting them started with some of the top language learning apps on the market. And who knows, maybe you’ll learn some key words and phrases along the way.
Here are five we’ve gathered that will have your children saying “hola!” and “bonjour!” in no time:
1. LoopSkool Chinese
With LoopSkool Chinese, children learn Mandarin Chinese in approximately 10 minutes a day. Though only a short timeframe, the app maximizes every minute by using phrases, explaining their meanings, and then focusing on the inflections of each phrase. Having your child use the phrase in different ways further reinforces the 50 lessons and activities and tests offered by this app. Even better: Your child cannot level up until the previous one is completed and passed.
While this app only supports one user at a time, there are no social media links, no outside ads, and no in-app purchases are available.
Cost:$2.99 in the App Store and on Google Play
2. Juana la Iguana en la Granja
A winner of the Parents’ Choice Recommended Award, this Spanish-language app is ideal for kids 5 and under. Your children will use five activities to learn more than 50 vocabulary words—all narrated, reinforced, and instructed in Spanish. These lessons cover kindergarten readiness skills like colors, memory games, the alphabet, animals, numbers, fruits, and more.
The design is intuitive, and the game smoothly transitions from one level to the next. It is very safe for youngsters; this app has no social media links, no outside ads, and no in-app purchases are available. A special parent area can contain external links.
Cost:$.99 in the App Store and on Google Play
3. French Words for Kids
This immersive French app uses the Montessori method of teaching and is designed to build the vocabularies of children 5 and under. However, with the spelling lessons, older kids can also benefit. Words become progressively more difficult as the user goes through the app, creating a challenge for young, growing minds. It features three styles of letters, visual effects to play with when a word is completed, and a stand-alone alphabet to build their own words. Native French and American English speakers are used within the app so your child can easily make connections between the two languages.
Cost: $3.99 in the App Store and on Google Play
$8.99 when bundled with Cursive Writing Wizard and French Numbers for Kids
4. Momo’s Learning Japanese
Designed for kids, this app is actually enjoyed by teens and adults as well. Hiragana and Katakana are introduced, and letterforms are practiced on the touch screen. Tests allow users to see their progress. This app can be loud, as it cheers when gains are made. But perhaps this is why it’s so fun for children who thrive on positive reinforcement. Here’s a simple solution: have your child use headphones.
Cost:$2.99 in the App Store; $2.57 on Google Play
5. Korean Study Step I
Also known as “Writing Princess,” this app teaches children 5 and under the Korean alphabet—including the correct way to make the letters. The sounds are introduced as well. After the alphabet is mastered, the app moves on to listening and writing. Study Step II is currently in development and will be designed with students in mind.
Cost:$1.99 in App Store; $1.77 on Google Play. There is also a free version available, but be aware that it contains ads.
How Early Can Language Learning Begin?
Babies are born with the potential to learn any language, even multiple languages at once. But just as it took repetition to learn the English language, they will require the same consistency when it comes to the language you’d desire them to pick up. The earlier kids begin learning a second language, the more likely they are to speak with a native accent and absorb the systems of grammar, intonation, and rules.