This list includes ideas for supplements for fun activities in German so you can provide your student with many of the same language exposure and practice that bilingual speakers are exposed to in both languages – having fun and choosing your own activities is an important part of learning a language. Including these supplements can give your child a much more authentic and meaningful language experience. Add supplements from different categories to provide a well-rounded foreign language education. Finally, once your child is ready, try out the German Cross-Curricular Subjects and Other Fun Stuff.
GERMAN SUPPLEMENTS FOR FUN AND STUDENT CHOICE
Lingotopia is a new favorite game of my oldest child. The first day he played, he collected over 100 words (some new and some he already knew). Their official website description says that “Lingotopia is a language learning game about being lost in a city where you don’t speak the language.” I think the concept probably resonates with a lot of kids because my own kids have made up stories on their own about being lost in a city and having to learn the language to survive. At the time of this writing, it’s available in Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish, and seems to indicate that more languages are coming, including Greek.
Here is a little teaser trailer for the Lingotopia game:
These series are fun to watch.
German Advent Calendar. Free download. It’s in the format of a powerpoint file and downloadable from tes.com. https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/german-advent-calendar-quiz-6029743
This is an online, free course. Our library has subscription so we’re able to get the full course for free. It is said to be for grade school through high school. The website describes the course as such, “Mango prepares learners for realistic conversations and strengthens everyday communication skills in over 70 world languages, including English.”
Memrise is free, but you can purchase a subscription. Available on computer and app. The courses vary by language. It’s very similar to using flashcards or self-quizzing, but you don’t have to hold the cards for your child or pick out what to teach them. Everyone I know hates the speed task, just teach your kids to skip it if they hate it, it’s very frustrating. Many languages are available.
Duolingo is free, but you can purchase a subscription. Duolingo teaches vocabulary, similar to flashcards or self-quizzing, but adds more games than some other options, and includes more grammar. The vocabulary seems to be presented in a different order than other apps. It teaches beginning skills but does not have conversation practice. Available on computer and app.
Their website says, “TripLingo is the ultimate tool for international travelers. Learn essential phrases, instantly translate your voice or connect to a live translator, get a crash course on the local culture and so much more.” There is a language package that has audio, includes slang, and can translate images. Good for planning a real or pretend trip. There are culture notes, travel tools that help with currency conversion, and a tip calculator. You could make a really fun project out of this. Trip Lingo
HelloTalk’s website says that you can “Learn a language by chatting with native speakers from around the world.” This is an app. This app has many features, but are probably not appropriate for children. However, there is one feature that can encourage writing and is probably safe even for young children, with supervision. The text chat with a robot feature is a nice simulation for younger children to be able to join in with chatting, without letting them reveal information about themselves to strangers via an app. In our homeschool I’ve found that online chats really made a difference in motivating my children to be good spellers in English. In addition to text chats with a robot, there are text chats with real people in other countries, and also “classmates” who are learning the foreign language along with you. I would not let students use the chat feature with real people without adult supervision, but this could be a feature you decide will work for your student. The app also has lots of cultural info, very short posts by natives talking about current events, etc. However, it’s aimed at adults. There are also video links, but while I found some very good videos, there were also videos mixed in that were very adult-oriented. They covered dating topics and things like “How to Swear in German.” These would be important things for a fluent speaker to know, eventually, but I know parents want to use their judgment for when their child is ready for topics like this.
Easy Languages YouTube Channel and website. Has short videos, around 5 minutes or so, in series covering many languages. French, Spanish, Polish, German, Russian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Italian, Hindi, Mandarin (Chinese), Croatian, Cantonese, Thai, Ukrainian, Filipino (Tagalog), Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Swahili, Vietnamese, Malay, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, Mongolian, Miskito, and Serbian. https://www.easy-languages.org/
There are many activities at TES.com, many that are free, and you can filter them by age. The advent calendar listed above is just one of the fun things you can find there.
Pili Pop app. For younger children. These little cartoon monster alien thingies crash land on Earth, and then you play a lot of interactive games while you learn German. My kids like it a lot (they use the French version). There are some immersive books to go with the game but I can’t find them available in the US at the time of this writing.
Students can pick anything from the other categories – anything they enjoy.