With schools closed and students learning from home, a wide range of online language-learning resources are offering free or discounted courses to children of all ages. Resources like these, ranging from online tutors to video lessons to interactive games, can start your child on the path to advancing their skills in a foreign language or learning a new one from scratch!
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Online Sites and Services
Babbel is currently offering three months of free language-learning for students from “kindergarten through college.” Though easily accessible, the course interface isn’t tailored to young learners specifically. Babbel offers courses in 14 languages and is also available as an app for iPhone and tablet.
RosettaStone is another provider offering free courses for students over the next three months. Their “immersive learning experiences” are available in over 20 languages. Similarly to Babbel, RosettaStone’s free courses can be taken advantage of by students in kindergarten through college, but their lessons aren’t specifically focussed on engaging young learners.
Busuu is a service that offers live-streamed language lessons to children ages 5 to 14 through YouTube. Right now, they’re offering free student access to lessons taught by certified teachers in Chinese and Spanish, with more languages coming soon. On their website, you can access a time table showing the live-streaming schedule. Classes are organized by language, age group and experience, and if your child misses a lesson, they can rewatch it through Busuu’s “Keep Kids Learning” YouTube channel.
BBC Muzzy is a language-learning service that provides animated stories and lessons for children of all ages, preschool through high school, in Korean, Chinese, Italian, German, French and Spanish. Right now, they’re offering a 30-day money-back guarantee as well as discounted subscriptions. The courses’ 3-month subscriptions are $9.70 per month, and parents can take 50% off of a year-long subscription and 67% off of a two-year subscription.
PandaTree will set up your child with a private tutor in Spanish or Chinese. The one-on-one lessons, for ages 2 to 17, can be from 20 to 30 minutes in length and range from $25 to $45. Right now, PandaTree is offering one free trial lesson and a 7-day money-back guarantee. They’re also providing your child the option to attend their new Virtual Language Camp, a program allowing kids to take one 25-minute lesson per day for $15 per lesson, a significant discount off of their regular per-lesson cost.
Little Pim app, photo via Common Sense Education
Little Pim is a language-learning service geared toward young learners from ages 0 to 6. They offer the choice of 12 languages and teach through immersive 5-minute episodes. Little Pim currently has a 3-day free trial, costs $4.99 per month and gives you the option to download an app on iPhone and tablet.
PetraLingua offers lessons in Spanish, French, German, Russian and Chinese to children ages 3 to 10. Lessons will immerse your child in a new language through animated videos, songs, interactive games and downloadable activity books. By signing up, you’ll have access to a 15%-off code that is applicable site-wide, and you will also have the option to preview one free lesson before purchase.
Online Free Spanish is a free website that offers four levels of language-learning videos, games and interactive activities, as well as free printable coloring pages and worksheets.
BBC Bitesize is a website that provides free language-learning videos in French, German, Mandarin and Spanish to students of all ages. Video topics range from “Numbers” to “Stories and Poems,” often including games and songs.
FabuLingua is an app available on iPhone and tablet that provides interactive stories in Spanish for children from 2 to 10 years old. Due to the coronavirus, they’re temporarily suspending their subscription service and offering the full experience for free. On FabuLingua, your child can access a digital collection of stories that aims to effortlessly introduce young learners to a new language by subconsciously developing the child’s ear, comprehension and reading skills.
StudyCat offers four language-learning apps for ages 3 to 10: Fun German, Fun Spanish, Fun Mandarin and Fun French. The apps provide game-based learning within the context of structured language courses. The free limited download offers two lessons and one free “game of the day.” Right now, the app’s 7-day free trial has been extended into a 30-day free trial, through which you and your child can have unlimited access to all learning activities before deciding to subscribe.
Spanish School Bus, photo via Reviewed
Spanish School Bus for Kids is an app with a Montessori-based approach to learning. Aimed at children from ages 3 to 12, the free app includes 60+ levels of learning, four interactive modes of “game play” and an introduction to historical figures and landmarks alongside day-to-day vocabulary.
Stories by Gus on the Go is a collection of apps aimed at ages 3 to 7. Search for the Spanish, Hebrew, Greek or French language-learning options in the app store. The free download of the app includes two animated stories like “The Three Little Pigs” and “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” which are told with interactive, step-by-step language instruction.
Duolingo offers instruction in over 30 languages. The app’s game-like lessons develop reading, writing, speaking, listening and conversation skills, and all language-learning content is accessible through a free download. The app is recommended for ages 4 and up, though preschoolers and young learners might not be as engaged by the app’s relatively unadorned approach to learning.