Speaking more than your native language is a highly valuable skill today. People who speak different languages have better professional opportunities, as well as social connections. It’s best to start language learning at an early age, when the brain acquires it more easily. This is why we should all strive to inspire our kids to learn a new language.
But what if they’re reluctant to learn or simply don’t find it amusing? If that’s the case, we just need to find creative ways of easing them into it. Below, we’ve prepared a list of 5 creative ideas that will help your child learn a new language, so keep reading.
Explore the Culture
Did you know that kids spend only 15% of their time in school? So much more is spent at home. This is why parents should take an active role in language learning. Here’s why culture exploration is a great activity.
Children often need context to be able to fully understand what a language is and why it’s so special speaking it. Exploring the culture of the people who speak this target language might do the trick to get your kids interested.
So, together, research to find out things like:
- where do these people live
- what do they look like
- what do they eat
- what’s their music like
- what’s the weather like in their country
- what are their cartoons like
You could watch YouTube videos, read encyclopedias, and watch documentaries or TV shows. All of this would guide you to the language that is the most specific cultural mark of all. If a child develops an interest in the country, people, and nation, they’ll be far more willing to learn the language and thus get closer to them.
Learn Tongue Twisters
Learning a new language should be made fun so why not use the good old tongue twisters? Children find them hilarious, especially if the parents give them a try as well.
However, tongue twisters are brilliant for more than just having fun:
- practicing correct pronunciation
- acquiring new vocabulary
- training your brain to think quickly
- developing language fluency
Together, you can use IsAccurate to translate the tongue twisters and make sure you understand them fully. This will make the game even more fun for the child and motivate them to keep on learning new ones.
Find a Penpal
Children are highly sociable and enjoy when they get to share things with their peers. If language learning is made into a strictly parent-child activity, it could soon become boring to them. So, it’s a great idea to introduce another child into the picture.
The traditional pen pal used to be the person you’d write letters to. Today, it’s someone you can talk to on social media, share videos, cartoons, and memes, or simply have video calls and talk.
Finding a pen pal that speaks the language you’re learning would be a great way to have the child more interested in improving their skills and mastering the language. To find one, you can:
- contact pen pal programs all over the globe
- join a pen pal forum
- connect with other parents through social media
- look for friends or family who have kids who’d like to be your kid’s pen pal
This strategy would certainly put an interesting twist into the language learning process.
Today’s children are born with technology and find it to be an important part of their lives. They use it to achieve a number of their daily goals, from finding entertainment to researching their interests.
Including technology in language learning would make the process more appealing to youngsters and potentially simplify things for them. Luckily, you have a ton of apps and online tools for them to try.
We suggest you start with Duolingo, a language-learning app that gamifies the entire process. It takes the student one level at a time, having them collect points, do bonus rounds, and win prizes.
Later, they can watch educational videos, use flashcard apps, or play interactive games to develop their skills further.
Make it Competitive
A little competition never killed nobody, and children tend to get highly motivated when there’s something at stake. This is why you could find some sort of competition they could enter to prove their second language skills.
This could be a number of things:
- spelling bee
- essay or poem writing competition
- poetry reciting
- language Olympiad
You can help them prepare using tools such as top essay writing, which helps improve writing skills. Make sure they’re interested in competing, and it’s not something you’re forcing on them.
If your child shows an interest in learning a new language, you should walk the extra mile to make this interest permanent. Learning a new language is challenging, so the creative and fun part needs to be a big part of the picture. This is the only way you’ll have them learning with eagerness and motivation.
Use our 5 creative ideas to promote language learning with your child and make sure they’re enjoying every step of the way.
Diane Sherron is a language teacher and a blogger. Her passion is providing every child with the best educational experience based on their needs. She writes to inspire teachers, parents, and educators to follow in her footsteps with unorthodox teaching methods.