German for Kids: Language Resources for Little Learners

As some of you know, I’ve been looking for ways to help incorporate learning German into my family’s daily life. Both my husband and I speak the language, but we have come to rely on it as a language between the two of us, and not one that we use with our children. We want to change that! So, I’ve been scouring the web for some new German language resources for kids to help us in our education. These are some of the ones that look the best—some I’ve tried already, and some are on my list to try out. We are starting homeschooling this week, and my kids are excited that German will be part of our daily lessons. These resources are meant to supplement your regular language learning at home–whether you homeschool or not. These are great for children who are already bilingual and just need to maintain exposure to the language, or for children who are still learning the language and need access to more opportunities to improve. This is of course not an exhaustive list, I’ll try to add more German language resources as I come across them, but this is a start!

ONLINE LEARNING

Little Pim: We got these DVDs when my first son was just a baby, and we have enjoyed them. Now, Little Pim offers downloads and streaming videos, which is great for taking on car trips or having available on multiple devices. These videos are good for very young children because they use daily tasks to communicate basic vocabulary about food, parents, going and coming, bed, reading, etc. The music and the images make it easy to understand, and captivating for small children. There are also flash cards with German words that expand upon the vocabulary presented in the video. And, this video is available in many languages. (Cost: $34.99-$64.99)

Dino Lingo: This is probably the next step up for German learners after they’ve graduated from Little Pim. They offer a variety of sets that include DVD or online lessons, books, posters, flash cards, activity books, and more. The price tag is a bit steep (from $279 to $89 depending on the package) but it looks like a way to get a lot of resources in one package.

MUSIC

Uber 100 Kinderlieder: This is a German website that has over 100 German songs that you can listen to with your children.

BOOKS

Alphabet Garten: If you are looking to get physical books, music CDs, and DVDs in German, the Alphabet Garten shop based in Washington state in the U.S. Has a variety of good options. From board books to fairy tales to books for youth and other educational resources, you’ll find many resources to round out your language exposure at home.

NEW** I’ve just discovered a NEW resource for German books called KinderBooks. This is a subscription service that sends you a packet of different German books each month. It works like a library, so you return the books at the end of the month, and they send you new ones for the next month. This way, you have an endless supply of new books, without the hefty shipping costs from importing them overseas or buying online. I’m excited to try it out, and I’ll post more when I do! In the meantime, check out this interview with the founder over at Bilingual Kidspot. 

PRINTABLES

Enchanted Learning website: Once your children have some understanding of vocabulary, use the printables offered on this site to reinforce their word recognition. There are printables for numbers, holidays, days of the week, colors, and on and on.

PODCASTS

Podcasts: Both video and audio podcasts are easy to access through iTunes search. If you have a podcast app on your phone, simply type in some of these titles to get podcasts made by Germans for German kids. Once your kids know enough of the language, they’ll be able to follow along and get exposure to different voices. You can even set up an old iphone with headphones so your kids can listen to these in the car or during an afternoon quiet time. This list from Podcasts.de offers links to some of the favorites in Germany. Several schools in Germany have the children produce podcasts of news or special events, so your kids can hear other kids speaking the language. Klaro is one of those. Another great list is the 10 Besten Podcasts Fuer Kinder (10 Best Podcasts for Kids).

German language resources for kids

This post of German Language Resources is part of a series hosted by BilingualKidspot.com. Head there to find more featured language resources for your little ones.

CURRICULUM

Goethe Institut: The Goethe Institut is a great place to connect with German speakers, attend special events, or even take German classes. If there is one in your community, definitely take them time to check it out and visit. When I lived in Bangalore, India, I loved going their for German movie screenings and to the wonderful rooftop restaurant with traditional German food. The Goethe Institute United Kingdom website has German curriculum available for download. “German for Children/German with Felix and Franzi” is the name of the program, and it includes two volumes for free! You probably need to have some knowledge of German to use this curriculum, and you will want to adjust it to your needs, since it was made for a classroom setting. Still, I plan on printing some of the lesson plans out to use with my own kids.

 VIDEOS

Netflix: Don’t overlook this simple way to get more German language into your kids day. Make a rule that the only videos watched will be in German, or that you’ll watch at least one video in German for every one you watch in your native language. Puffin Rock is one of my kids’ favorites in German, as well as MOUK. Just change the audio to German in the audio and subtitles menu. That’s using the speech bubble on the right side of the bottom bar.

Here’s how to find other German movies in Netflix:

1. Log in to your Netflix account.

2. Click on Browse > Subtitles and Captions.

3. Select the “German” option under the Subtitles.

You’ll see all the options there, and then when you choose them, you’ll still need to change the audio and or subtitles in the menu.

Mouk/ German Resources for Kids

(*Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSHefHYSODI)

YouTube: There are of course tons of German videos on YouTube, but sorting through them to find appropriate ones for your children might be a challenge. I found several websites that do the work for you, and liked this one best: 12 German Cartoon Series for German Learners. This article gives links to the cartoons on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. Also, the KidsTV Deutschland Channel is full of short, fun videos for kids, and the Janosch’s Traum Stunde channel shares videos of the beloved comics. If you want to learn more German songs, try the Sing mit Mir channel, with German folk songs.

German TV Shows:Many German television stations have shows that you can stream from outside of the country. Here’s a complete guide on how to live stream.  One favorite German TV show for kids is Sendung mit der Maus. It has a entire website that show past episodes as well as has other games and videos that are fun for kids to interact with and learn.

These German language resources are easily accessible, almost all free, and offer a huge amount of variety for children. Through audio, visual, and written resources, children can develop language skills, improve vocabulary, hear accurate accents, and connect with stories from around the world. Many of the resources listed here are also available in other languages.

What are some of your favorite German language resources–or ANY language resources–for kids? I’d love to hear how you keep the language fresh and engaging for your own kids.

This post is part of group of posts put together by Bilingual Kidspot. You can find links to the main post and all the other posts here.

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Mary Grace Otis
Mary Grace is a wife, a mom of three boys, a former expat and development worker, and a freelance writer for nonprofits and businesses. She's lived in Germany and India, and traveled lots of places besides that, but she currently makes her home in the U.S., where one of her goals is to stay connected with a global view of life. She's the host of The Global Mom Show Podcast and the founder of The Global Mom website.

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