Learn French for Kids By Being Active

To learn French for kids, give your child opportunities -- several times a day -- to experience the French language and learn naturally using their five senses.

Under the age of seven -- which is prime time for language learning --most children are too young for traditional lessons. They can, however, learn vast amounts the same way they learn everything at a young age -- by watching, hearing and, most importantly, by doing.

Let them hear, touch, see, taste and smell (well maybe I'm pushing it a bit on this one) French.

Let's Start With Hearing

-- Play audio compact discs and videos created for teaching French. Such materials can help your child begin to develop an ear, and become comfortable with the different sounds of his or her focus language.

Just as when learning English, children will begin to understand French before they speak it. Do not be concerned if your child doesn't master every single word. Early language learning is largely a matter of figuring out what is going on in general, and then drawing conclusions from the context.

In fact, you may find that your child picks up more than you do! Although most adults need to see written text before they can comprehend foreign language, young children naturally decipher the sounds.

Repetition is the key. Your child will figure out the words little by little, so be sure to play the same tapes and videos, over and over again. Fortunately, young children love to hear things repeatedly, and will begin to request their favorites.

My kids love to listen to foreign language recordings during car rides and just before bedtime -- which is great because they are more focused on listening during quiet time. Encourage your children to sing along and to repeat the phrases they hear.

We recommend Magic French for Kids
And Fun French for Kids

Add Touching and Seeing

Visit the supermarket, something you probably do together anyway. At the store, pick up some apples and hand them one at a time to your child. As he or she puts each one into the plastic bag, say the word for "apple" - une pomme. Continue with other foods and add new items the following visit. Eventually you will be saying the words together.

Learn Through Doing

When your child is getting dressed, learn the words for clothes. When it is time for breakfast, learn the silverware, plates and breakfast foods. The next time you visit the zoo, learn the names of the animals. To learn French for kids, use familiar activities but do them in French. Play games that your child is familiar with, and sing familiar songs.Try teaching verbs by doing them -- walking, standing, sitting, running, singing and jumping. You can introduce conjugations by using stuffed animals and dolls. Keep a special set of toys that "only speak" French.

Have your child make "Teddy Bear" sit, and then ask him or her say "I sit" in the focus language. Then make "Bunny" sit and say "he sits" in French; you and your child can make Teddy and Bunny sit and say together, "we sit". Bunny can jump and your child can make Teddy say "he jumps". If you have a chance to travel with your children, go for it! It is the best way to learn. My children thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Europe and they were able to appreciate why they are learning languages.

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