Kids and Spanish?
A perfect combination for language-learning success.
Add an excellent app—or two—and you’ve just increased the chances of reaching fluency exponentially!
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) ranks Spanish a category one language, which means it’s one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn.
Why? Because Spanish and English are closely related, with loads of similar words and even a ton of “borrowed” words and phrases. Also, it’s a phonetic language—how it sounds closely resembles how it’s written.
How Apps Help Kids Learn Spanish
Let’s face it—this is a technological age. A lot of kids already own phones and tablets, and they’re comfortable with online learning tools.
This makes language learning via apps is a logical move. And since there are so many apps that cater to different learning styles, you’ll have an abundance of choices for your young learner.
With content fully mobile and available at the touch of a finger, apps make learning Spanish faster and easier. The portable lessons make any time learning time, and that’s something a lot of other teaching tools just don’t offer.
9 Best Apps for Kids to Learn Spanish
Kids are diverse, with unique personalities and learning aptitudes. So it stands to reason that there’s no one-size-fits-all app that will cover all these young learners’ different needs.
An app’s effectiveness is dependent on a child’s learning style, as well as the content offered by the particular app. The good news? There are so many available, there’s sure to be a good fit for your young learner!
FluentU features awesome videos, songs and cartoons ideal for visual and auditory learners. Although some language or content may be inappropriate for younger children, much of it’s perfectly suitable and so entertaining that both young and old will enjoy watching together.
FluentU takes real-world videos, like music videos, commercials, news and inspiring talks, and turns them into Spanish learning experiences.
Other sites use scripted content. FluentU uses a natural approach that helps you ease into the Spanish language and culture over time. You’ll learn Spanish as it’s actually spoken by real people.
FluentU has a wide variety of videos—topics like soccer, TV shows, business, movies and even magical realism, as you can see here:
FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive transcripts. You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used.
Plus, if you see an interesting word you don’t know, you can add it to a vocab list.
Review a complete interactive transcript under the Dialogue tab, and find words and phrases listed under Vocab.
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with FluentU’s robust learning engine. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.
The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you’re learning, and recommends examples and videos for you based on the words you’ve already learned. Every learner has a truly personalized experience, even if they’re studying with the same video.
Peekaboo Barn is geared towards the youngest of learners—toddlers. A toddler is defined as a child between the ages of one and two years, so this app is very basic.
The language on this app can be set to English, Spanish or a number of other languages, so at $1.99 this is a decent investment with a lot of potential return.
Uncomplicated? Yes. Packed with lots of Spanish learning? Also yes. And it’s a boon for visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. (Which pretty much sums up most toddlers!)
Toddlers are introduced to Spanish vocabulary as they head inside an inviting bouncing barn. Animals appear from behind barn door through the use of friendly animation.
Anyone who knows a toddler realizes one of their favorite things is repeating an action or seeing something again and again. They never tire of hearing a favorite book or lose interest in a game that makes them giggle. In this instance, a toddler’s fondness for repetition reinforces the learned vocabulary. So let the little adventurer play again and again while practicing the sounds and vocabulary as many times as necessary.
Vocabulary and fun—what’s not to love? This app is sure to keep little ones learning and laughing!
Pim Track is geared toward raising bilingual children from an early age. Vocabulary and phrases are taught using the Little Pim videos that are also featured on YouTube, like this one called At the Park.
Little Pim is the brainchild of Julia Pimsleur Levine, the daughter of Dr. Paul Pimsleur, the creator of the Pimsleur language learning method for adult learners. Little Pim is the result of her wanting to raise bilingual children but not being able to find quality teaching materials. The result? Little Pim and the method that resembles the adult Pimsleur language program—with entertaining, immersive and integrated material.
This is a hit. The characters are adorable and the app pulls young learners right into the action. There’s a “child mode” to simplify the experience, so it’s a snap for young learners to flip through vocabulary in a flashcard-like fashion or check off boxes without distraction.
And although it’s only available for iOS devices, it’s free!
While being fun and fast-paced, Gus on the Go also wants to make sure students have a strong command of their new vocabulary with reviews after each lesson. And—the owl is adorable! The pictures are uncomplicated, the vocabulary provides everyday language skills and the whole interface is bright and friendly.
The wide variety of lessons are perfectly equipped to keep a young learner’s interest. There are over 90 Spanish words to learn, activities that call for navigating country and city maps and animations that make learning anything but dull!
Visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners will benefit from this app. Games allow kids to “go along” on adventures. As with other apps created with young learners in mind, the key to learning is repetition. When the child tires of a lesson, move on. Until then, let Gus do the job!
This isn’t a free app, but at $3.99 it delivers a lot of quality material.
Verb Challenge Spanish
Verb Challenge Spanish is aimed toward older kids who already have some language skills under their belt. It’s a little more advanced, with games to help conjugate the 100 most-common verbs.
There are many levels and larger-than-life quests to complete, so it’s not at all static. The goal is to help the Mayans build their pyramid by making sentences in Spanish. Watching the pyramid grow, clearing levels and racing against the sun show conjugation patterns and irregular verbs in a whole new light!
The content is engaging and challenging, with bright graphics. It’s a great addition to the language-learning routine for both visual and auditory learners. The app, priced at $4.99, also contains a verb conjugation chart for those must-know-now verb conjugations.
With multiple modes, this free app in one that almost all children can use. “Spanish Immersion” mode works best for native Spanish speakers and advanced learners. “Spanish with English Translation” is appropriate for most native English speakers, as well as less proficient learners.
Endless Spanish uses friendly monsters to introduce Spanish to young learners. Vocabulary is taught highlighting context and usage, and each new word is presented with an interactive word puzzle.
Content comes alive, and children can see what words mean by watching the illustrations come alive on the screen. For example, the Spanish words for growing and blooming become more than words when the actual process is shown along with the new vocabulary!
Noyo Spanish Vocabulary Builder
This app is good for learners of any age but especially practical for school-age children. And at less than a dollar, it’s a good deal.
It can be used either as part of a school curriculum or as a home study program. The focus is on increasing vocabulary, and it’s done by pairing words and phrases to interesting illustrations and fun audio clips. Scenes are filled with friendly characters, and the navigation system is simple to use.
There are 10 units in the app and the vocabulary is sectioned into themed lessons: food, restaurant, transportation, city, vacation, house and home, seasons, animals, school and sports. Children have over 1800 words to learn—more than enough to build conversational confidence!
SLWG Study! a Language Word Game
SLWG Study! Language Word Game is for older children as well as adults. If you enjoy puzzles or word games, this is one that’s going to give you something extra, with multiple levels of play.
There are actually five languages available, so if your student or child is a polyglot-in-the-making, let them also practice English, French, Japanese and Chinese!
There are special features that unlock as play progresses and with more than 80 different stages, this one is going to provide endless hours of learning fun. And it’s free!
If you just say the word game, you’ve got a child’s attention.
Okay, let’s admit it—lots of adults like games, too.
For young learners, Duolingo is game central. And the content is so engaging that adults won’t mind playing along with their young learners. Throw in the fact that it’s a free app, and it’s a win-win for everyone.
Material is presented in small, fun lessons with colorful pictures. And the green owl who shows up to coax learning is—let’s be honest here—just cute! The app focuses on vocabulary with a score tracker that highlights missed words, allows for review and keeps the focus on moving forward.
As learning progresses lessons get more challenging, so all learners will benefit from this app!
With so many Spanish apps available, there’s sure to be at least one that will encourage almost any kid to want to learn Spanish. They make learning entertaining, and we all know that kids—or adults—rarely refuse a chance to have some fun.
In the end, it’s a case of finding the app best suited for each child so try more than one to find the “best” app” for your “best” kid!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Spanish with real-world videos.