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Posts tagged ‘French’

Les Histoires Farfelues

People have asked me why I don’t rate the apps that I blog about. Truth is, most of the apps aren’t for me…they are for my kids. To truly rate the apps my children use, I feel  I need to give the apps the test of longevity. My children may love a new app once, but then not seek it out ever again. To be honest, I have not been able to successfully predict which apps my children will like best. For example, when I purchased and tried out “Les Histoires Farfelues” I did not think the kids were going to like it. In fact, I thought I had just wasted another $3 on an app that would go untouched, along with dozens of others.

I was wrong.

This is one of the first and only French apps that the kids seek out even when they are allowed a few minutes of free-choice on the iPad. They think it’s hilarious. You get to choose the characters and backgrounds. The characters can have either matching heads and legs or unmatched. It has fun sound effects and the stories are short. During story time, I usually tell them they both can have two stories but they always ask for more and I usually want to create my own mix-up after their turns are over as well. It has become kind of addicting for all of us…in the best sense of the term!

One thing I’d love to see added to the app is subtitles. I always like seeing the written word in my children’s apps. It gets them used to seeing the text and it helps them start to associate the sounds with the words.

We are all learning more French with this app. It includes vocabulary that is even above my head! Sometimes this may be a hindrance, and I fear the kids aren’t truly understanding everything that is being said, but I am not going to worry too much about that because they are having fun with French!

Why, though, do they love this app so much? Especially when initially I thought it was another wasted purchase!?!


Now that I think about it, this app gives them something the others don’t. It gives them control over what the story becomes. They are the creators, so to speak, of their own story. As an educator, I understand the power of providing choices for learners. The smart people who created this app have very cleverly incorporated the users choices into every story. It is addicting and fun and I am sorry that I doubted its ingenuity!

If I had blogged and rated this app before giving it the test of time, I would have scored it low. Now that we have had it for several months, I see that the children are seeking it out ON THEIR OWN! (That is huge!) The rating has gone through the roof and I now recommend this app very highly to families learning French! The Sunny Earth kids love it! (Ages 4 and almost 6) Hope yours do, too!!!!!

Enjoy! C’est vraiment amusant!



Today’s French Freebie: Stella & Sam

Today’s freebie choice is called Backyard at Twilight: A Stella and Sam Adventure. It is available in English and French.

Take a look:

It’s free today. To learn how I find out about these great freebies, check out this previous blog post.

I think the kids are really going to enjoy this app. It’s interactive and fun. It will definitely peak their interest about the stars and constellations.

The only wish I had for this app on first sight is French subtitles. I prefer my children to see the written word along with the dialogue. They aren’t quite literate yet, but I still like them to get used to seeing the words as they listen. My favorite type of subtitles (or writing on a “page” in a story app) highlight the proper word as it is being read aloud. I wish there were more apps with this feature! It’d probably be even better if you could turn that feature on/off according to the level of learner.

At any rate, this app looks like a good freebie catch! Enjoy! 🙂

French Apps for Kids by Sylvia Duckworth

Whenever I’m searching for something new and exciting in French for my children (a.k.a. “The Sunny Earth Kids”), I start by checking Sylvia Duckworth‘s links. Sylvia has become a household name around here! Soleil and Géo have benefitted immensely from her generosity in sharing the amazing French resources she creates. If we had to pick just one household favorite, it’d probably have to be “Comment ça va?” by Juli Powers. We go around the house singing that song and both children use their knowledge of the song to respond in French when asked “Comment ça va?”!!! 🙂  A close second would have to be “Je suis une pizza” by Charlotte Diamond. The kids ask to sing that song in the car on trips! What fun we have had learning with these two, and many, many more songs on Sylvia’s YouTube Channel!

Sylvia has not only been an inspiration in our family life, but also in my professional life as a French and Spanish teacher. If you’d like to know more about how and why, please visit this blog post I wrote after a visit I made to her classroom.

french apps

Therefore, I am not at all surprised that Sylvia has once again created a blog worth following. It is called “French Apps for Kids” and it reviews apps for children in grades K-8 who’re learning French. Sylvia has done it again! A wonderful resource for all of us teaching and learning French. We cannot wait to see what other apps she recommends!!!!

Merci beaucoup, Sylvia!!!

Qui est-ce?

Both kids have been enjoying the free version of this game app in French. It’s called “Guess Who I Am?” in English and is easily changed to the French language on the home screen. To read a full review of this app, complete with instructions, please visit Sylvia Duckworth’s blog post.

guess who

I honestly wasn’t sure if my 5 and 4 year old would be ready for this app…however, since Sylvia rated it so high, I had to at least try! To my pleasant surprise, it is a winner! Both Soleil and Géo are enjoying this game in French! They have even both graduated from the “très facile” level to “facile”!!!

Thank you, Sylvia, for this great app suggestion!!! We are having so much fun with it! Soleil takes a turn, then Géo! They both watched each other play for several rounds…quite a rare occurrence chez nous! 🙂 It’s AWESOME!!!!

Le goûter de Miss Spider

Le goûter de Miss Spider is a wonderful French freebie! The language used is quite advanced, but my 4 and 5 year olds were able to sit tight and give a listen. I’m thinking that with time, this story will become more comprehensible for them, but in the meantime, the animation provided by the “regarder” button helps them for sure! You can choose to watch the animation, where the text is highlighted as it’s being read. The animation runs like a movie, so you can pause, rewind or fast forward. You cannot, however, interact with the “regarder” feature. When you choose the “lire” button, children have a chance to touch the pictures in order to make parts of them animate. There is also some fun to be had with the “Memory,” “Colorier,” and “Puzzle” buttons. I love the story and the lesson it teaches…don’t judge a book by its cover!

Miss Spider

Since the level of language being used in this story is so complex, I wouldn’t recommend this app for teachers with novice learners. I would, however, recommend it to parents raising their children bilingual children who have had previous exposure to the language for some time. The app is also available in English and Spanish. All versions are free. Here’s a video review of the English version. I’m looking forward to using this app again with my children soon!