Expand Your Kids Horizons By Learning A New Language With These 6 New Apps

languageQuestion: Do you remember how to conjugate the verb “ir” in Spanish? Probably not because your teacher was boring and the cute quarterback sat next to you. That’s the same story for so many people – we all took a language in high school but very few of us actually remember it.

That’s because the way we take languages doesn’t allow us to really learn a language. Instead, we remember vocabulary rules or conjugation rules for a test and then forget it again until maybe the final.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We teach languages for a reason – in order for our children to compete, they need to learn at least a second language. It looks better on college applications (and makes liberal arts requirements a lot easier) and it helps with getting a job, especially in this more globalized economy.

So how can you foster a love of language learning into your children? You have to get on their level!

Using apps to teach languages combines learning and your child’s natural love of technology to create a system that can’t be overlooked. Try these apps for the best results:


One of the best ways to learn a language is to just talk it out. Unfortunately, many of us don’t live in an area where we have access to people who can speak over 100 languages. HelloTalk does offer that, however. HelloTalk connects you and your child to someone who is actually speaking the language that you want your child to learn.

This is how people have been learning language for centuries – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! Not only will your child be learning a new language, but because they’ll be interacting with live native speakers they will experience and learn about the culture first-hand in the process!

With features like grammar correction, speech to text, and transliteration (turning non-Roman symbols, like Chinese characters into letters), learning is easy.

HelloTalk is reliable as well, because it uses a proprietary global infrastructure that was set up by communications company Agora.io. With over 70 data centers spread around the world making unstable connections into stables ones, you can be sure that your child’s language learning experience will be seamless and unhampered by a poor signal, no matter where their teacher is.

Cost: Free

Where to Get it: iTunes  – Android


People have been learning languages off of flashcards for years. While it might not be the most technological approach, Brainscape takes the flashcards and actually makes them effective learning tools for language acquisition.

Instead of using a ton of options, Brainscape builds a list of flashcards and trains any brain with them.

It builds vocabulary by not only reinforcing the cards your child will know, but getting him/her familiar with cards that they struggle with – which is not what most people do with index cards. If they know a word right away and put it to the side, their brains will forget it. By bringing that flashcard up again, it will truly be cemented in their minds.

Flashcards might not seem the most fun, but especially used in collaboration with some of the other apps on the list, it is highly effective.

Cost: Free

Where to Get it: iTunes


When Busuu came out, many people got really excited really quickly. And why shouldn’t they? The app pooled 60 million native speakers to make lesson plans to work on vocabulary, grammar, reading, speaking, and listening skills.

If you have a child that might require some extra time, Busuu is great because he or she will be able to move as his or her own pace. This also goes the other way, if your child has a passing knowledge of a language but wants to get better, Busuu can work faster.

Busuu hides a lot of the learning and reinforcement of languages within games and puzzles, which might encourage your child to play.

For an added bonus, you can even use this app to help your child find out what language he or she likes best thanks to their list of 150 topics and 3,000 words that you should know in each language.

Cost: Free

Where to Get it: iTunesAndroid


Lingvist says that it can do a lot of work in only 200 hours – in fact, that’s exactly how long it says it will take your child to master a new language.

Using vocabulary, grammar lessons, and flashcards, the app remembers a lot of facts about your child to help them learn much more quickly.

Lingvist has a built in algorithm that matches your child’s learning pace so that he or she can be speaking a new language very quickly. In fact, after the first use your child might even be able to say basic sentences!

The app also puts things into a real-life perspective so that the language is useful. Currently the app is only available for English and French, but more languages are expected soon.

Cost: Free

Where to Get it: iTunesAndroid


Memrise, as you may guess from the name, helps your child learn over 100 languages by focusing on their memorization skills. They turn the process of remembering something into a game.

They claim that your child will be able to learn up to 44 new words per hour, but that he or she will be able to customize the pace.

All of the courses are created by users, so you might have to do some digging to find certain languages, but it is most likely there.

Cost: Free; $59/year for pro

Where to Get it: iTunesAndroid


One of the first language learning apps, Duolingo has been recreating itself to just get better and better. It breaks down language acquisition into bite size chunks so that your child can learn everything before moving on. It might even repeat questions or use games to ensure that everything has clicked.

The game is broken down into learning levels so that it feels like more of a game to your child.

However, Duolingo does not use speaking, which could put you at a disadvantage when your child actually goes to use the language.

Cost: Free

Where to Get it: iTunesAndroid

Get Your Child Started Today

Now that we have all of this technology, it is easier than ever to give your child an advantage from the time they are very young. Who know what doors you will open simply by downloading and using these apps.  What language(s) are your kids excited to learn?

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