Introduce your child to another language while she plays.
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The benefits of teaching a child a foreign language are truly increíble! Studies show that children who are exposed to a second language have increased cognitive ability, greater social flexibility, improved listening skills, higher memory retention, and improved problem-solving skills.
There is no doubt that raising a child to be bilingual is muy bien and will have lasting benefits. Pair one of the best tablets for kids with any of our 10 favorite apps and websites to help your niños y niñas learn español.
Designed by teachers, this app is great for beginners ages 3 to 10. It claims to focus on the concept of “making language-learning a playground” and you can certainly see why—this app has over 70 games that teach kids over 200 words and 35 useful sentence patterns through play. Even grammar is touched on in this entertaining and incredibly intuitive app, making for a great language-learning basis. Fun Spanish offers two free lessons and more can be purchased to keep the learning going. The free version include colors and animals, while the paid version includes additional themes like the house, school, numbers, food, vehicles, actions, and more.
Ages: 3 to 10
Cost: Free with in-app purchase; paid version is $39.99 per year
Get Fun Spanish by StudyCat on iTunes or Amazon
That little monster Pinkerton is at it again. The intro to this app is a raucous piñata party, and it pretty much maintains that tone throughout. Parents may be familiar with Endless Alphabet, Endless Reader, and Endless Numbers and the monster crew that likes to garble and grunt their way through teaching; Endless Spanish follows that fun and humorous approach to learning. The most visually appealing of learning apps, the excellent graphics and sound quality make this one of the more compelling apps out there. It also uses a playful sense of humor to keep kids’ minds engaged. This app has children identify the letters that make up vocabulary words, as well as the words themselves—independently and in context. While there is a paid version, the free version is excellent and provides plenty of hours of learning and play.
Ages: 4 & up
Cost: Free with in-app purchases of $5.99 and $11.99
Get Endless Spanish on iTunes, Google Play or Amazon
Definitely for the older kids in the bunch, Duolingo is a close, free cousin to Rosetta Stone and works cross-platform on your tablet, phone, and with an accompanying website. It motivates learners through a social media aspect, where you can track the progress of your friends and family. Great for the over 10 set and an excellent tool to get the whole family on board with learning by using a bit of a competitive edge. It also has a great voice feature to help you fine-tune your accent. A good app for brushing up on grammar and sentence structure, the website says it’s geared for users four and up, but we’d recommend it for kids aged eight and older.
Ages: 8 & Up
Get Duolingo on iTunes and Google Play
Unuhi is a storybook app that reads aloud in a child’s first language to get your little linguist familiar with the content of a story, and then lets them go back and read the story again in Spanish. Both languages are written out on the page, so curious learners can toggle back and forth between languages, seeing how sentences correspond. The pictures are vibrant and are a perfect visual accompaniment to the story so that comprehension is consistent. The app has two free stories, and each story is paid after that—some with musical accompaniment.
Ages: 2 to 10
Cost: Free for the first story. In app purchases.
Get Unuhi on iTunes and Google Play
Millions of Swedes and Danes can’t be wrong! This is the official language learning program for Sweden and Denmark, and it’s easy to see why. It’s one of the most comprehensive learning programs out there. An online subscription gives access to an animated series that uses the natural immersion method where each lesson serves as the foundation for the next with repetitive reinforcement of concepts across numerous learning platforms. A video series, songs, printables, parent resources, an online recording studio, 400 games, and more are all part of the paid, online subscription of $89 for one year or $99 for two years.
Ages: 2 to 14
Cost: Subscriptions of $29 for three months, $49 for six months, $89 for one year or $99 for two years
Get Muzzy BBC
This robust website focuses on a music-based approach to learning, with games, videos, songs, and worksheets that are all colorful and richly produced. The videos are excellent, with really fun and catchy tunes that take kids through simple subjects like morning routines, and the games are intuitive and exciting to play. There are plenty of free videos and games to get started, but the paid subscription allows you to go deeper into language learning with more content and support. It can get pricey, with a $199 version that includes individual Skype tutoring lessons, but it can go as low as $59 a year for a pretty impressive array of offerings.
Ages: 3 to 12
Cost: Free for some content, but can be as expensive as $199 a year.
Get RockaLingua at Rockalingua.com
Spanish School Bus was created by a teacher who developed the app with a Montessori-based approach to learning in mind. The free version includes the basics, like numbers, colors, and shapes, as well as some songs. The paid app focuses on teaching 300 common words and there are over 60 levels based on themes such as verbs, travel, colors, and more. What sets Spanish School Bus apart is its achievement levels: Learners collect completion badges; each of which teaches a history lesson and has cultural significance to Spain. There are also achievements users can unlock for a greater sense of accomplishment.
Ages: 3 to 10
Cost: The basic download is free. In-app purchases unlock additional content.
Get Spanish School Bus on iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon
Stories by Gus on the Go is the free companion app to the critically acclaimed Gus on the Go. While the two are an excellent complement to each other, the free story app is fun even for kids who aren’t familiar with Gus the Traveling Owl. For kids who have a bit of familiarity with Spanish, it takes language learning to the next level by using classic stories such as the Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears and giving them zany endings. This app will take learners from single vocabulary words to basic grammar and short sentences, offering three options for each story: an introduction to the basic phrases, a quiz to practice, and the full text in story format, taking a step-by-step approach to developing audio/listening and reading skills. Two stories are available for free and the rest are paid; they offer an accompanying website with colorful printables.
Ages: 3 to 7
Cost: 2 Free Stories, $1.99 per additional story.
Get Stories by Gus on the Go on iTunes
A storyline that novice English to Spanish learners can relate to! In his grandmother's neighborhood, no one speaks English. Noah and his friend Nell navigate through their bilingual city as they try to learn and communicate in Spanish—making lots of humorous and relatable mistakes along the way. There is a host of videos, and the supporting video games take learners on fun adventures as Noah and Nell try to understand their Spanish speaking friends and help them through their daily activities. Kids enjoy the relatability of characters who all have different levels of ability: Noah and Nell who do not speak Spanish; Noah’s loyal pet mouse Pequeño who understands but can’t speak it; and Brisa, their bilingual friend who helps them out.
Ages: 5 to 12
Get Oh, Noah! at PBS Kids
A sweet starter for the littlest learners. Little Pim follows an adorable little panda bear and focuses on teaching preschoolers the essential building blocks of Spanish, using the “Entertainment Immersion Method” based on how young children naturally acquire languages. Their app features a cute flashcard-based curriculum and you can upgrade with in-app purchases to watch their videos. At $19.99 a pop their video packages are pricey, but they are extensive and one video will have over 30 mins of content. They also have smaller segments of each video on their LittlePimCo YouTube channel, so you can see if they are a good fit for your child before purchasing. Their videos are segmented into 5-minute episodes to accommodate a young child’s attention span, and their games makes language learning fun & easy for kids ages 0-6. The series has a collection of apps which help track a child’s progress through the program as well as support and reinforce what was taught.
Ages: 6 & Under
Cost: Free with in-app purchases
Get Little Pim on iTunes and Amazon
Prices are accurate at the time of publication, but may change over time.