No doubt our children are growing up in a digital and connected world. Smartphones, computers and portable gaming devices are all around them since they are born. Rather than completely shielding them, I believe that teaching them the best use of technology and allowing them to explore and play with it within set boundaries can enhance their learning.
Since I completely believe that one of the best ways to teach a child language is through immersive play, I spend a lot of time checking out apps that keep my daughter entertained while learning basic language, reading and math skills. I’ve managed to download some great Spanish-language apps that range from stories, to games, to just plain fun.
Here’s a handpicked list of five of our favorite ones.
- Spanish Word Wizard: Spelling App – This is an ideal app for children learning to read and write in Spanish. Not only does it teach them the correct use of accents, it gives children an understanding of Spanish phonics and spelling. The app is also highly customizable because you can select the voice that you like the best, as well as create your own predefined spelling lists. The $2.99 price is amazing considering the skills your child – and you! – will be developing with this app. For now, it’s only available on iTunes.
- Peekaboo Barn–This is one of our favorites because the illustrations and animations are so well done. Your toddler will be engaged with tapping on the barn door to see which animal appears behind it. Once the door opens, she will see the cute animal and will hear his name in Spanish, English, or any of the other 8 available languages – or your recorded voice — as well as the sound it makes. There’s a paid ($1.99) version on Android and for iPad/iPhone, as well as a Lite one for free.
- Little Pim Spanish–Little Pim, is always on the forefront in developing multimedia platforms for language learning through their Pimsleur method. Their app, in association with PBS Kids, features the beloved Panda in Spanish. The games are meant for English language speakers who are being exposed to Spanish, and teaches a total of 60 words and phrases. It’s ideal for word recognition in younger children and for those who are starting to read. Available for $2.99 for the iPad.
- Barefoot Books World Atlas App – The perfect app to expose your kid to the beauty of our world and its cultures. It’s loaded with endless information regarding each country, including sound effects, animated icons and multimedia features, which allow kids to learn more about many particular features of each country. The written and spoken Spanish is flawless and the possibilities for learning are never ending. Available for the iPad, the iPhone and iPod touch for $4.99 at Apple’s iTunes store.
- Sara la Pequeña Hada — Simply a fantastic collection of stories turned into interactive apps and ebooks of the highest quality. Sanoen, a new digital publisher from Barcelona, has really raised the bar in terms of paying attention to detail in their creation of their first digital storybook, “¡La abuela se pierde!” from the collection which includes “interactive participation, surprises and games, but the main objective is always reading.” Both the iPad app narrative and the kindle eBook are available for $2.99 in five languages: English, Spanish, French, German and Catalan.
What are some of your favorite apps for exposing your child to Spanish or a second language?