Whether you believe the hype of futuristic science fiction movies where the entire world somehow knows Mandarin or you just want your child to be as well-rounded as possible, learning a second language is never a bad idea. But considering how busy this modern world can be and how the attention span of youngsters seems to dwindle with each year, technology just might be your best bet in this endeavor. And that's why you should consider downloading and utilizing one of the many apps that will help your kid learn a second language.
That's the magic of apps, after all. It's the promise of ease, efficiency, and accelerated education at the touch of your fingertip (or stylus). Besides, the perks of learning a second language are already great incentives. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the benefits of learning and speaking a second language include improved cognitive abilities, better appreciation of different cultures, and statistically scoring higher in academic pursuits.
So regardless of what age or level your little linguistic learner is, there seems to be an app out there to fit everyone's specific speed. Bonus: some of them are free, too. Check them out.
1. Rosetta Stone Kids
Perhaps one of the most well-known language learning systems out there (you've probably stumbled upon a display if you've been to any major airport), it's also one of the most expensive. The difference with Rosetta Stone Kids (Free) is that it's tailored specifically to your child's skill level and grows with them as their fluency flourishes. Though the basic app is free for both Apple and Android users, the full reading program is about $70 for a one-year subscription or $20 for three months.
Fairly new to the scene, PimTrack (Free) was designed for children ages birth to 6 years old, according to their site. This app can be used by your child even if you don't have any background with a second language. To expand their learning, the Complete Learning Set (for Spanish) runs about $120, which may seem like a lot, but this means you have it permanently not just for a yearly subscription.
3. Baby Sign And Learn
Though you might not typically think of this when talking about foreign languages, sign language is a wonderful option for plenty of reasons. Baby Sign and Learn (Free) has a free trial version and also options to purchase the full version and specific language add-ons for under $5 for both Apple and Android devices. Using videos, animation, and music, this app is ideal for young children who love being entertained at a fast and colorful pace.
4. Gus On The Go
Gus on the Go ($3.99) is an app about an owl named Gus who learns about new languages on his travel adventures. Available for both Apple and Android devices, Gus on the Go provides interactive story-telling features that will have your child learning a new language without even knowing it.
Though it seems geared to adults, Duolingo's (Free) self-explanatory graphics, achievement unlocking set-up, and simple structure are suitable for any age. Though it might not have all the bells and whistles that a kids' app usually would, the fun challenges should be enough to keep your kid engaged.
The approach of the Memrise (Free) app is pretty much right there in the name. It uses memorization, flash cards, and competitive games to help students quickly learn a second language. Available for both Apple and Android devices, Memrise has been touted by teachers and language experts for its straightforward approach, as the site noted. The adaptive style, interactive features, and ease of use makes this a solid choice.
7. Kids Learn Mandarin
If you want to immerse your child in a specific language, then Kids Learn Mandarin (Free) is right up your alley. Perfect for tots and kids alike, this app teaches Mandarin through fun storybook adventures with Pei Pei the Panda.
Sticking to the specific language route, KinderApp ($1.99) focuses primarily on German and Hungarian for youngsters. Aimed mostly at younger children and toddlers, this app doesn't really have a lot of frills. But that could be a good thing since little ones can get distracted with too much audio or visual stimulation. Simple? Yes. Still fun? Definitely.