5 German Kids’ Videos Your Family Can Stream Anytime
Did you know that German knowledge opens doors in science, technology and academia? Or that it’s the most-spoken language in Europe after English, creating many opportunities for personal and professional enrichment?
Did you also know that there are plenty of free online German learning resources, so you won’t need to shell out big bucks on German classes for your kids.
In this article, we’ll focus on German kids’ videos that teach the language through entertaining animated stories.
You’ll give the little ones in your life a running start on bilingualism—and you may even boost your own German while you’re at it!
- “Felix und Franzi” (“Felix and Franzi”)
- “Der erste Brunnen” (“The First Well”)
- “Rotkäppchen” (“Little Red Riding Hood”)
- Dino Lingo
- “Heidi” on DEUTOON
“Felix und Franzi” (“Felix and Franzi”)
This video is ideal for English-speaking kids who are starting German as complete beginners. It’s organized into neat chapters and was put together by GoetheUK, part of the Goethe Institut for German language and culture education.
The dialogue is a mixture of German and English, with important German phrases emphasized in speech bubbles. The main characters of the series are Felix, a frog, and Franzi, a duck. These two fun-loving animated figures drive German learning for children in an inspiring manner throughout the series.
There are more than 20 videos in this series, which you can explore in the righthand menu from the link above. The focus is on day-to-day communication such as basic greetings, shopping, getting to know neighbors and much more.
The series is also organized into different “bands” indicating levels—Band 1 is the beginner level, Band 2 is upper-beginner, etc.
“Der erste Brunnen” (“The First Well”)
This is a wonderful story on faith, will and determination. It’s great for kids who are at an upper-beginner German proficiency level.
Four generals are sent in search of water sources, as their village is suffering from severe drought. One of the generals returns with a “water seed,” which is a chip off an icicle (a long piece of ice formed by water dripping and freezing).
Planting this “water seed” with full faith and patience, the villagers eventually find a pool of water in its place.
This story is apt to instill values of perseverance and determination in children. They’ll also get lots of practice with important German language concepts.
For example, this story is told in the past tense so kids will hear how several common German words are used in the past tense. Some of the past tense verbs in this story include eilte (hurried), regnete (rained), sagten (said) and fragten (asked).
There are also some very helpful directional words in this story, such as:
in der mitte (in the middle)
in allen Richtungen (in all directions)
nach Osten, nach Westen, nach Süden, nach Norden (to the east, to the west, to the south, to the north)
dem Sonnenaufgang entgegen (towards the sunrise)
If you enjoy this story, there are many other German kids’ videos at the BookBox YouTube channel.
“Rotkäppchen” (“Little Red Riding Hood”)
This classic fairy tale is about a little girl who wears a red hood, who goes to deliver some food to her ailing grandmother. She encounters a big bad wolf along the way who wants to make her his next meal.
How Little Red Riding Hood deals with the wolf forms the rest of the story. This story is apt for drama and emotions. Kids will be all ears when they follow along with the video.
The above link is just a teaser, but you can get the full video and interactive exercises available by emailing them—just click “Show More” in the video description for instructions.
For a short, funny and modern version of the full tale, there’s another video on YouTube in English but with German subtitles. Make sure to click the “CC” icon before playing the video to see the subtitles.
My personal favorite version is the illustrated German audiobook, which kids are bound to love, too. You can see the German text and listen to the audio in German along with colorful drawings.
One key grammar takeaway from this video is the use of past tense irregular verbs. Remembering the irregular German verbs in the past tense can be quite a herculean task, but it gets a tad easier with this story. A few that we encounter are sprach (spoke), gab (gave), dachte (thought), ging (went), kam (came) and sprang (jumped).
Dino Lingo is a fun and interactive video series that helps kids begin with German. This is a project specifically dedicated to kids and helping them learn different foreign languages, German being one of them.
The videos focus on specific topics, like German numbers or the 200 most common German words and phrases.
Kids are taught concepts in a fun and interactive manner through songs, games and many other methods. They also have a useful website with lots of kid-friendly German learning material including songs, videos, resource sheets, cultural information and books.
The only glitch is that it’s a paid model but you can try a free lesson first to see how you and your kids like it.
“Heidi” on DEUTOON
Are you kids ready for some real-world German videos?
DEUTOON offers two German cartoons with subtitles. My personal favorite is “Heidi: Girl of the Alps,” as I grew up watching it! It’s actually originally a Japanese show, but it takes place in Switzerland and was translated into many languages including German.
Don’t forget to click on the CC button for the subtitles to be visible before playing the video.
Kids will probably require a basic level of German to understand what’s going on, but it’s nevertheless fun and entertaining! Since it’s a channel specifically dedicated to cartoons in German for children, it’s a prize catch and a treat to continuously watch.
And this list of videos isn’t exhaustive. In fact, you can find many more great learning materials online, if your kids are enjoying this way of learning.
FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)
You can also find many more videos on YouTube, though I recommend vetting every channel before showing it to your child. Family vlogging channels are some of the best content for kids to enjoy as they soak up the language. Check out Lulu and Leon, for example, for some silly fun with a German family.
As you can see, watching German kids’ videos can be a wonderful way for everyone in your family to boost their German skills. Are you ready to turn family fun time into fluency time, too?
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