Gadgets for Learning Languages
Learning to master languages can be a tricky pursuit for children, and as well as learning to read and write the traditional way, technology has provided many different ways of enhancing children’s language skills.
Reading Can Be Even More FunA gadget designed to make the art of reading just that little bit more hi-tech is the “Tag” Reading System toy from Leapfrog. This gadget is designed to encourage children to read by using its clever pen-like “reader”.
It only works with specially designed matching books, so could prove to be expensive overall, and certainly costs more than a trip to the library, but the Tag reader can be used with children to read out just selected words - or an entire story. It contains a tiny infrared camera which allows words and pictures in the books to trigger words and sound effects.
Educational Learning ToysOne of the big players in the electronic toys market is V-Tech. They offer a whole range of language based toys, which includes baby ranges – teaching the very basics of phonetics and speech, through to early developmental toys and toddler versions of laptop computers, notebooks and ‘touch tablets’ designed for older children.
Most of the real language learning toys tend to be very basic – electronic speak and spell letter boards for example - and aimed at very young children, and it’s mostly the adult-themed toys like laptops that suit older children who want to develop their existing skills rather than learn how to speak and spell in the first place.
Fisher Price is a well respected educational toys brand, and they are another good choice for a selection of educational toys that will enhance your child’s language and vocabulary. They also have their versions of laptops for kids, but for younger children there’s interactive alphabet games that children can slot cards into to learn their alphabet and the difference between upper and lower case letters.
Leapfrog also offers many different toy options for ‘learning systems’ which include Dora the Explorer ‘learning adventure’ gadgets that teach many skills from letters to Spanish vocabulary! These type of language games come in other cartoon character varieties too – Wall-e, Disney Princesses, The Cat in the Hat and even Kung Fu Panda. Something for everyone!
Learning Other LanguagesYou’ll probably be surprised to know that you can start teaching your child to be bilingual from as early as one year old! Mothercare have a bilingual language toy which teaches baby his or her first words in both English and French, with pictures and easy to learn words and phrases...even nursery rhymes. This one’s definitely for gifted children, or for parents who would dearly love their children to be gifted.
For older children, there are educational foreign language teaching games for most handheld games consoles such as Nintendo DS. These help children to pick up a new language – French, Spanish and even Japanese are on offer if your child is feeling particularly adventurous.
There are so many gadgets and toys on the market to help your little ones learn their own language – or another one, that you can make literacy and language learning fun from a very early age.