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 are designed to tickle their brain cells in all the right places and entice the natural process of language acquisition. Naruhodo (that means “I see” or “Ah, I get it” in Japanese)!
Disclaimer: 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!
|Duolingo||Gamified language learning, General vocabulary & grammar||Free, with a premium version called Duolingo Plus available at $9.99 per month.|
|Japanesepod101||Listening skills, Cultural context, Varied lesson formats||Subscription-based, several plans available from monthly to lifetime access starting at from $3 per month.|
|Mindsnacks Japanese||Vocabulary building, Fun & engaging games||$4.99 (One-time purchase)|
|Rosetta Stone||Immersion-based learning, Comprehensive language structure||Subscription-based, monthly or yearly plans available starts at $11.99.|
|FluentU||Real-world videos like music videos, movie trailers, news, and inspiring talks with interactive subtitles||Monthly or yearly subscription plans starting at $29.99.|
|Ling||Interactive tasks, Vocabulary & grammar, Cultural insights||Free basic version, premium version available starting at $8.99/month.|
A fan-favorite, 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, and numbers in Japanese with ease. Watch out for Duo the Owl’s nudges! Saa, hajimemashou. (Alright, let’s start!)
Some call it the green mascot of language learning, and they’re not wrong. Duolingo 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!）
Pros: Great for bite-sized lessons, helpful reminders, and a friendly interface.
Cons: Might not be enough for advanced learning, but great for basics.
Being bitten by an owl would sting quite a lot, but getting nudged by Duolingo’s affable owl mascot Duo? It’s just the motivation your little language learner needs! The best feature of Duolingo could arguably be its gamified lessons that turns into ‘XP’ (Experience Points) and other virtual rewards. This feature feeds into a child’s love for games and motivates them to learn without even realising they’re studying—a key ingredient in fostering a love for learning new languages.
Can learning a new language be budget-friendly? Duolingo’s green owl says, Hai! (Yes!) Most of this platform’s features are completely free. However, for an ad-free experience and to unlock bonus features like offline courses, the Duolingo Plus version clocks in at an affordable $9.99 per month. If your child is highly engaged, this upgrade might be worth considering. Still, the free version offers enough goodies to keep your mini-Japanese enthusiasts busy!
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 comprehend they’re actually studying while they participate in engaging interactive games and quizzes.
Japanesepod101 goes above and beyond with 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. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and Japanesepod101 brings that village right to your fingertips! The best part? This one is perfect for adults too since they have lessons focused on the JLPT tests!
Pros: Completely immersive, comprehensive curriculum, and lots of supplemental materials.
Cons: Some content requires a paid account.
Japanesepod101’s greatest strength could arguably be its podcast-style lessons. These lessons combine visual and auditory learning in a fresh approach, advantageous for children whose learning style leans more towards listening and watching. The fun conversations and interactive content often feel like a favorite kids’ show episode, and can successfully make the complex Japanese language digestible and engaging for kids.
While there’s plenty of free content available on Japanesepod101, advancing into the deeper lessons requires a monthly subscription ranging from $3 to $14.87 per month, depending on the plan. An investment, yes, but the comprehensive resources and professional instruction could very well justify the expense for your budding language masters. Zeni ka, chishiki ka? (Money or knowledge? We’ll let you decide!)
3. Mindsnacks Japanese
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 nine different mini-games designed to boost vocabulary and grammar skills. Best for kids who crave variety and competition (leaderboards, anyone?), this app rewards progress with points, unlockable items, and the satisfaction of knowing their Japanese skills are on fire! So get ready for the hunger games of language excellence!
Pros: Visual, auditory, and interactive teachings, which are ideal for kids.
Cons: Limited to the iOS platform.
Mindsnacks Japanese brings an explosive feature to the table: its addictive, game-based learning. 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. For children, learning through play is impactful, organic, and above all enjoyable – and Mindsnacks serves just the right dish.
MindSnacks Japanese is a steal at a one-time cost of $4.99, and it’s a feast of fun and knowledge that never ends! Given the array of games and crafty grammar lessons, we’d say it’s well worth the trade of a tall caramel frappuccino for a year of language-learning fun. What’s a few dollars against a lifelong skill your child can brag about?
4. Rosetta Stone: Learn Japanese
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 best for paving their way towards achieving native-level reading skills.
Pros: Tried and true methodology, superb user interface, and progressive levels.
Cons: Requires subscription, might feel repetitive for some users.
Rosetta Stone’s star feature is undoubtedly its immersive, no-translation method of teaching. This method helps children draw connections between words and their meanings directly in Japanese, as opposed to translating from their native language. It’s like your child being at a fun-fair where they’re wrapped up in the action, the Japanese action!
Rosetta Stone comes with a price tag on the heavier side; monthly plans begin at $11.99. If you’re ready to play the long game, their lifetime access at $199 might appeal to you. Think of it as enrolling your child in a language learning institute. Still, though Rosetta Stone is a bit of a splurge, its innovative teaching methods and the potential for fluency make it worthy of consideration.
Your kiddo 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!
Pros: Uses real-life video content, tracks progress, and adjusts to personal learning speed.
Cons: Limited free access. Premium content is on the pricey side.
The star of FluentU’s show? Real-world videos! From music videos and movie trailers to TV commercials, FluentU turns everyday video content into language learning experiences. Kids adore videos, and integrating familiar visuals with foreign language learning can boost retention. Think of it as letting your kids watch TV, but with an educational twist – a win-win situation in the parenting handbook!
FluentU offers a limited free access plan, but to unfetter the complete language learning experience, it requires a monthly subscription of $29.99. Is your child a movie buff and quick to pick up language cues from videos? If so, FluentU could well be worth those extra dollars. Pricier than a Netflix subscription, but hey, you can’t negotiate with Uncle Linguistic Genius!
Just when you thought we had reached the final station in our language adventure, we have one more surprise in store to make this list even lucky. Ladies and gents, introducing: Ling!
This versatile language learning app teaches Japanese (and numerous other languages) through a diverse range of activities, tantalizing every learning taste bud your mini polyglot has to offer. 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.
This app offers a comprehensive language package that turns even the most reluctant learner into a linguistic enthusiast. Budding Japanese enthusiasts can hone their skills with listening and speaking exercises, conversation simulations, and challenging quizzes. Ling caters to the über-curious, eager-to-learn youngsters who won’t settle for less than supreme sushi-quality language lessons.
Cons: Some advanced lesson might be behind a paywall.
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.
With Ling App, you get the advantage of trying out the free version first and then deciding if you want to unlock more premium features for $8.99/month. Reasonably priced with the quality of content and feature diversity it offers, Ling could be worth breaking your piggy bank a little. It’s all about the right balance in the bento box, after all!
Which Apps For Learning Japanese For Kids Are Your Favorites?
Now that we’ve passed the origami crane of knowledge to you, we’re eagerly leaning in to hear what you think. 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 Ling 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.
So, it’s over to you! Discovering your child’s favorite app could be the first step toward their successful samurai-like conquest of Japanese. Let the echo of their enthusiastic “Nihongo ga suki!”(“I love Japanese!”) reverberate in your virtual classrooms. Share in the comments below which app has your little language maestro humming tunes in Japanese.