Best Spanish Apps for Young Kids
Updated: May 2, 2020
It's wonderful that there are so many Spanish language programs for kids to choose from. The hard part can be sorting through them to find out what's best for your children. In this post I am focusing on programs that are ideal for younger children, so these are all fun and easy. They are all immersion style apps, which means there are no English translations. Everything is in Spanish only which can help kids to think directly in another language. We have tried many programs, but have not loved them all. Here are the ones that made the cut:
1. Animal Friends
This is a super simple app that introduces basic vocabulary. I like this app because it isn't even a language app per se, it's simply a preschool vocabulary app that you can set to Spanish or English. You could effectively use this app like we did: in English when your children are toddlers and then in Spanish later on. What better way to learn a language than just like a native speaker?
2. Gus Spanish
This is a fun, well-crafted language app for kids. There are three ways to interact with each group of vocabulary words: they are introduced with cute animations, kids get a chance identify them correctly and then they are confirmed with a game. Apps like this have major advantages over pen and paper learning in that kids can hear the words aloud, the games are entertaining and interactive without being hyper-stimulating and they provide immediate feedback to promote fast learning. The major weakness is that they don't promote any speaking on the part of the child. This app introduces 90 basic words that form a good base for further Spanish learning. As another plus this game does not require a lot of parent involvement. Kids as young as four can interact with it fairly effectively themselves. Repeated practice and time with this app develops competent understanding of the given words.
3.Gus on the Go
A companion to Gus Spanish, Gus on the Go incorporates basic Spanish vocabulary into four familiar short stories. First the relevant vocabulary is introduced with fun animations, then students have a chance to confirm what they learned and afterward kids get to hear a story told with those words. I love that this app does not just show words, but actually uses them in context. It is simple enough for beginners and is entertaining with fun animations and short stories. I would love to see the Gus app producers add on to this program with additional stories!
Fun Spanish is an interactive language app that has many different games within it. These games are a little more complicated so they are suited to slightly older kids than the Gus apps in my opinion. Kids five and under would likely have trouble with the way the color mixing works in one of the games for example. The upside of this app is the variety of ways that kids can interact with the vocabulary, helping to keep things interesting and kids engaged with it for a long time. A weakness of this app is its scoring system. My kids seem to prefer programs with clear award systems, like animals they can collect or trophies to display. It is possible that other kids who are using this app at a much older age will find more value in the score keeping method they use which has the child compete against their previous performance and can be ignored.
Bonus Videos: MUZZY
MUZZY videos by the BBC have been teaching language for so long that I have fond memories of watching them during French class in high school! MUZZY follows the story of a lovable monster from outer space who interacts with the royal family of the fictitious kingdom of Gondoland. The words are spoken slowly and repeated often to make it easy for second language learners follow along. These language immersion style videos use words in context which so much more valuable than just isolated vocabulary.
The MUZZY videos have been updated for kids in the modern age by re-doing the same cartoons with digital technology so they look fresh today. The videos are appropriate for kids as young as two and continue to be entertaining for older kids as well. This can be particularly helpful when teaching kids of different ages at once. The character Norman provides repetitive vocabulary lessons at the end of each video. This can get boring and is not as effective as using apps where children can interact with the words so I usually prefer to skip these sections.
MUZZY is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime and Kanopy Kids.
YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmTvGCbZmyI
For further discussion and to hear Christopher's direct feedback you can watch our YouTube video on these programs: