Is your kiddo at the perfect age to learn a new language, and you’ve chosen beautiful and complex Japanese? Great choice! Now get ready for an eclectic mix of ninja stars and sushi rolls, as we take a deep dive into the digital realm of the six best apps for learning Japanese for kids!
These apps combine both play and study—turning what could be the strenuous process of learning Japanese into an adventurous journey. However, it’s noteworthy that these apps will do more than merely keep your child engaged. In actuality, they’re designed to tickle their brain cells in all the right places and entice the natural process of language acquisition.
Keep in mind that these apps cannot guarantee fluency overnight. Patience, consistency, and interaction with native speakers are key. But let’s get to the exciting bit, shall we? Buckle up, because here are the 6 best apps for the task!
|The Ling App
|Free beginner lessons; premium version starts at $14.99/month.
|General vocabulary & grammar
|Free; Duolingo Plus available at $9.99 per month.
|Free; Premium subscription at $5.50 per month.
|$4.99 (One-time purchase)
|Plans start at $47.97 for 3 months.
|Learning via real-world videos
|Monthly subscription at $29.99
1. The Ling App – Best For Interactive Tasks
We’re going to start with one of the best language-learning apps out there. Ladies and gents, introducing: The Ling app! This versatile app teaches Japanese (and numerous other languages) through a diverse range of activities, tantalizing every learning taste bud your mini polyglot has. What sets it apart? It’s a bento box of variety! Conversations, quizzes, vocabulary flashcards, and even a chatbot that will have your child giggling to the rhythm of Japanese simulated conversations.
Ling takes the cake with its conversation simulations. Through this, children get an opportunity to test their growing language skills in safe, low-stress environments. The beauty lies in its ability to make children confident in their language abilities before they venture out into the real world. Weaving this feature with their diverse range of activities makes Ling a delightful, holistic endeavor for all young Japanese language explorers.
This app offers a comprehensive language package that turns even the most reluctant learner into a linguistic enthusiast. And it’s especially good with Eastern European and Asian languages! Children can hone their skills with listening and speaking exercises, conversation simulations, and challenging quizzes. The Ling app caters to the über-curious, eager-to-learn youngsters who won’t settle for less than supreme sushi-quality language lessons.
Reasonably priced with the quality of content and feature diversity it offers, Ling could well be worth breaking your piggy bank a little. It’s all about the right balance in the bento box, after all!
- Comprehensive lessons with a wide range of activities.
- Engaging interface with gamified content that’s ideal for kids.
- Interactive AI chatbot that lets children practice conversations and improve their pronunciation and listening skills.
- Free beginner lessons.
- Premium subscription at $14.99 USD per month.
- $79.99 USD for one year (7-day free trial).
- $149.99 USD for the lifetime subscription.
Devices: Android, iOS, web.
2. Duolingo – Best For General Vocabulary & Grammar
Duolingo brings an irreplaceable element of fun into the laborious task of language learning. The lessons are kept small, helping your child to learn about food, animals, numbers, etc., in Japanese with ease. Watch out for Duo the Owl’s nudges! Saa, hajimemashou! (Alright, let’s start!)
This app offers newcomers a stress-free and enjoyable portal into the world of Japanese with a skill-tree structure to track progress. Duolingo emphasizes reading, writing, and grammar practice, making it best for kids who are starting their linguistic journey. With pronunciation exercises introduced through a voice recognition feature, your child can perfect their new Samurai greeting! The only caveat is that it might not be enough for advanced learning, but it’s great for basics.
- Gamified lessons that give ‘XP’ (Experience Points) and other virtual rewards. This feeds into a child’s love for games and motivates them to learn without even realizing they’re studying.
- Helpful reminders via Duolingo’s affable owl mascot Duo.
- A friendly interface with bite-sized lessons.
- Most of this platform’s features are completely free.
- For an ad-free experience and to unlock bonus features like offline courses, the Duolingo Plus version clocks in at $9.99 per month.
- There’s also a yearly subscription for $83.99.
Devices: Android, iOS, Web.
3. Japanesepod101 – Best For Listening Skills
With Japanesepod101, learning Japanese might just become your child’s favorite activity. This audio and video podcast-style learning app takes a rather unconventional but effective route. Your kid won’t even realize they’re actually studying while they participate in engaging interactive games and quizzes.
Japanesepod101 has an extensive library of lessons and additional resources. This app is best for young learners who respond well to auditory and visual cues with lessons delivered by professionals. But it’s also perfect for adults, too, since they have lessons focused on the JLPT tests!
- Podcast-style lessons that combine visual and auditory learning in a fresh approach, which is advantageous for children whose learning style leans more towards listening and watching.
- Comprehensive curriculum with lots of supplemental materials.
- The fun conversations and interactive content often feel like a kids’ show episode, and can successfully make the complex Japanese language digestible and engaging for kids.
- Plenty of free content available.
- Premium subscription at $5.50 per month.
- Premium Plus at $12.58 per month.
Devices: Android, iOS, web.
4. Mindsnacks Japanese – Best For Vocabulary Building
What kid doesn’t love snacks, right? Mindsnacks uses addictive games to help your child memorize essential words, phrases, and proper pronunciation. This virtual “snack” of knowledge leaves your budding linguist craving for more lessons to complete.
Mindsnacks Japanese delivers a whopping 8 different mini-games designed to boost vocabulary and grammar skills. This proves crucial in holding a child’s wavering attention. Combining learning with fun-filled missions and colorful cartoons, the app subtly embeds new Japanese words and phrases into your child’s growing lexicon.
- Visual, auditory, and interactive teachings, which are ideal for kids.
- Game-based learning that makes the process enjoyable.
- Kids can learn 800+ words and phrases in the Japanese language through 50 lessons designed by experts.
- Free first lesson.
- Premium upgrade for $4.99.
- All languages for $19.99
5. Rosetta Stone: Learn Japanese – Best For Immersion-Based Learning
A veteran in language learning tools, Rosetta Stone provides an immersive environment for your child – no translations, just intuition-based learning. This app relies on repetition and interactive touch-based tasks to solidify memory recall. A touch pricey, perhaps, but you get what you pay for!
Rosetta Stone focuses on contextual and immersive learning that’s great for kids who need crystal-clear examples. With adjustable settings to accurately gauge your child’s progress, this app adapts to their needs. Is your future word warrior an avid manga (Japanese comics) reader? This app is great for paving their way towards achieving native-level reading skills.
- Tried and true methodology with progressive levels.
- Well-designed and easy-to-use interface.
- Immersive, no-translation method of teaching. This helps children draw connections between words and their meanings directly in Japanese, as opposed to translating from their native language.
- 3 months for $47.97 ($15.99 per month).
- One year for $126 ($10.50 per month).
- Lifetime access for $199.
Devices: IOS, Android, and Web.
6. FluentU – Best For Learning Via Real-World Videos
Your kiddo’s favorite animation, music video, or movie now comes with a language lesson. FluentU uses actual Japanese videos and gives them a learning twist with interactive captions in both languages.
Utilizing the power of popular videos and Japanese culture, this app excels in making language learning an enjoyable experience for kids. With multiple quizzes and exercises that adapt to the learner’s progress, FluentU is ideal for kids who are highly tech-savvy. Who would have thought that watching a video of Pikachu dancing could teach your child Japanese? Welcome to the 21st century, dear parents!
- From music videos and movie trailers to TV commercials, FluentU turns everyday video content into language learning experiences.
- Integrates familiar visuals with foreign language learning, which can boost retention.
- Tracks progress and adjusts to personal learning speed.
- Free 14-day trial.
- Monthly subscription: $29.99
- Yearly subscription: $143.99
Devices: Android, iOS, web.
Why Should Kids Learn Japanese?
Learning new languages at a young age has many proven benefits. And young minds are especially good at language learning due to their brain’s neuroplasticity, so it’s always a good idea to start early.
The Japanese language can be a door to many opportunities for children in the future. Job hunting can be easier for bilingual people, and Japan can be a great place for doing business. Furthermore, learning Japanese can be easier than picking up other Asian languages, as it’s not a tonal language and has a relatively simpler writing system.
And thinking about children’s interests, wouldn’t it be great if they could watch their favorite anime or read their favorite manga directly in Japanese?
Which App For Learning Japanese For Kids Should You Choose?
Just as there are many paths to the top of Mount Fuji, there’s a multitude of ways for kids to master Japanese. Each path, or in our case, each app, offers something unique and perfectly tailored to different learning styles and preferences.
Is your child the champion of the Ling app for mastering Hiragana characters faster than a Shinkansen train? Or perhaps they’re cozying up with the friendly owl on Duolingo, racking up ‘XP’ while your heart racks up with pride. Maybe the film clips on FluentU have entranced them, making every arigatou sound as magical as a Ghibli movie.
Here at Ling, we think the best approach to learning languages is a holistic one. That’s why the Ling app focuses on all language skills at once, improving vocabulary, listening, pronunciation, and writing. There’s even an AI chatbot to practice conversations with! Furthermore, Asian and Eastern European languages are our specialty, so your children’s learning (or yours!) will certainly be in good hands.