Our Favourite French Apps and Websites Designed for Children

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Our Favourite French Apps and Websites Designed for Children

It can be tough to sift through apps and websites to find interactive and engaging French resources designed for children. It’s a very popular question you may have noticed in your local Facebook group from parents looking for recommendations. That is why our online and in-person tutoring service has done some of the legwork for you to help find some of the best and current French resources available for families (many are free!). And of course, if you ever need more support in school, Teachers on Call’s online and in-person French tutors are here to help your child succeed with their French program (including in a French Immersion environment). Read on for our favourite kid-friendly French learning apps and websites.

So, you have made the choice to help your child learn French. Perhaps you’ve even decided to enroll your child in a French Immersion camp or school. That’s great! It’s a big decision to help your child become bilingual, which can set them up for some great advantages in life (including with future career opportunities). If you need support preparing your child to enter a French Immersion program for the first time, we have a helpful post about getting ready for this big move. One of the things we strongly recommend for parents preparing for French Immersion is to begin gathering educational resources you can use at home. French apps and websites designed for children of different ages can fill some of these academic needs!

It does not matter whether your child is in a core or intensive French language program, there is always room to support learning at home. Perhaps you are looking for some enrichment to get a head start, or notice your child is struggling and needs a boost learning French vocabulary, pronunciation, reading and writing. If your child is looking to practice math or science in French, this may present a need for additional resources. Good news! Many of the apps our online and in-person French tutors have rounded up below are aligned with Canadian curriculum!

While some of these French apps and websites below are geared towards young children, several of these are geared towards all ages. These are ones that are great to keep using for your child’s entire educational journey as their skills grow and change. You may have questions as you do your research, so our team will address this first. Feel free to look for more apps on your own and report back, but these recommendations will get you started!

What’s the Difference Between Canadian French and Metropolitan French?

One of the most intimidating problems parents looking for French apps face is the realization that many apps are not Canadian, which means that they follow Metropolitan French (France French).

There are a few distinct differences between the two types of French. Notably, the following:

  • Pronunciation: the vowel sound "oi" can vary between the two. Also, certain consonants may sound slightly different, such as the "r" sound, which can be more guttural in Canadian French.
  • Slang and other “Loanwords”: Both varieties of French borrow words (loanwords) from English and other languages, but the specific loanwords can differ. Canadian French has loanwords not only from English, but also from some of Canada’s Indigenous cultures, reflecting Canada's bilingual and multicultural environment.
  • Spelling: Canadian French tends to follow a more conservative approach in the use of hyphenation and compound words.
  • Formality: The use of politeness levels in Canadian French may differ from Metropolitan French in some contexts.

Do I Need to Look for Canadian French Apps or Websites?

Absolutely not! Canadian French and Metropolitan French are mutually intelligible to one another. The differences are more like regional accents and local slang. We don’t need to learn different kinds of English to talk to someone in the US or Canada, after all! (And even if they do use slang phrases we’ve never heard before, usually we get the gist.)

Exchange students going in either direction between Canada or France tend to fare just fine. The key is to learn French normally, however you can, and worry about those regional differences later.

It may be easier to find just any French app that suits your specific needs than a specifically Canadian one, so don’t worry about what kind of French when you’re setting out to learn. But, that said, we do have a few specific Canadian French apps we’ll point out.

French Apps and Websites to Get You Started

Mauril – All ages 🍁

Mauril focuses especially on English and French listening comprehension with audio and video content from CBC and Radio-Canada for every level. Listening comprehension is required for fluency! Mauril is a wonderful choice for Canadians because its French content is geared to Canadian pronunciation and vocabulary. You can progress at your own pace and use language challenges to test your skills. Mauril is available for free (financed and endorsed by the Government of Canada) and can be added to tablets and phones via Google Play and Apple's App Store or used online. Fun fact, the name was selected to pay tribute to the Honourable Mauril Bélanger, the former Ottawa-Vanier MP who championed the official languages in our country.

Gus on the Go – For ages under 6

Gus on the Go has two apps. The first is their original French vocabulary app which helps children with words spoken by a native Parisian. Once the basic vocabulary has been mastered, Stories by Gus on The Go reinforces those vocabulary lessons with classic stories made fun with an extra silly twist. Gus On the Go is available for both Android and Apple devices, however Stories by Gus on The Go currently can only be found at the Apple store. There is a fee involved. Fun fact, it’s also now available in Spanish, Greek and Hebrew!

Study Cat – For ages 3-8

Similar to Gus on The Go, Study Cat is an app designed to introduce children to French vocabulary. They take an approach of gamification to keep it fun. With over 200 words and phrases in 70 lessons, kids can learn to pronounce, spell, read, and understand the structures of French grammar in no time! Study Cat is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play, but there is a subscription fee involved. In addition to French, it can be utilized to learn English, Spanish, German and Mandarin Chinese.

TV5MONDE – All ages

Very similar in concept to Mauril, TV5MONDE offers free audiovisual content, exercises, educational sheets, and games to people learning French of all ages and ability. The content is designed to improve both oral and listening comprehension, and it can be accessed on iOS, Android, and via the web.

IDÉLLO – All ages 🍁

IDÉLLO (part of TFO) is a giant repository of useful French resources – videos, e-books, teaching guides, and more! The best part about IDÉLLO is that these resources are arranged to match with the Canadian curriculum, by grade and subject. If your child is in a French Immersion school already, they may be able to access IDÉLLO’s web content through their school subscription. Otherwise, it is very reasonably priced for individual users at $3.99 per month.

Boukili – For age 4 to early grades 🍁

Boukili is TFO's free reading app that offers an immersive, interactive, and educational experience. It is a Franco-Ontarian application which offers hundreds of illustrated books grouped by reading level, theme, and grade level. There are games and quizzes too, to test reading comprehension and to have fun! Boukili can be used via app for Apple or Google play in addition to reading online.

TFO Learn at Home – K – Grade 8 🍁

TFO Learn at Home has activities harmonized with the Ontario curriculum from K through Grade 8 in all subjects! These are designed as short online learning modules for students so that they can learn while having fun! And they are all available for free, without ads. The TFO is the only public French-language media entirely dedicated to the Ontario Francophiles and Francophones.

Duolingo – All ages

We could hardly not mention Duolingo, right? This app has been immensely popular with kids for years and is still going strong. Duolingo is good for encouraging kids to practice their language skills in a variety of ways – orally (if you have a microphone), listening comprehension, and reading comprehension. The user interface is possibly also one of the friendliest towards users of all ages, and it can be used online or via Apple Store or Google Play. It’s free, but there’s a fee to remove ads.

If looking for further French enrichment, feel free to check out our past blog on how to utilize Netflix to practice French. We hope this list of websites and French apps designed for children is helpful to our parent readers, and we wish you bonne chance in your family’s learning journey!

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