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apps for kids (French)

The iPad apps in French that Griffin (age four) uses most often, plus a few more better suited to older learners, plus recommendations from French friends, plus some I'm considering downloading. See my detailed reviews of some of these at

French Vocabulary Training app -- 1000 most common words -- perhaps not ideal for young children -- 20+ other languages available -- recommended by The Language Educator (October 2013) $4.99

Vocabulary Trainer: English - French

Lire avec Bidule -- a series of 40 leveled 8-page books for emergent readers in French; written by teachers, the books progressively introduce more complex language. Each page includes a cheerful full-color illustration. Each book also addresses a specific challenge for emergent readers, like the hard G/soft G difference, verb conjugation, etc. You can sample 3 books (1 from each level) for free, then purchase sets of 5 for $2.99 or the full app (40 books) for $22.99. I'm very impressed!

  • Sarah @ Baby Bilingual

    "Niveau B" (10 books) introduces slightly longer sentences, plus more words on each page, with a less repetitive sentence structure and a bit of a plot.

  • Sarah @ Baby Bilingual

    "Niveau C" (10 books), then increases the length and complexity of the syntax, vocabulary, and plot.

  • Sarah @ Baby Bilingual

    What, if any, elements of French (or francophone) culture are highlighted in these books? I'm not positive--we will buy the whole set but haven't yet. These books were originally published in hard copy form and remind me of the leveled readers used in US elementary classrooms, but these are authentically French--not translated--and look as if they might hint at French culture (a giraffe named Sophie, for example), which is a big plus for me.

  • Jenn Campanella

    Merciiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!! :)

  • Sarah @ Baby Bilingual

    De rien! Let me know what you think of it. I'm thrilled that my five-year-old is reading the level A and B samples to me!!!

See all 6 comments

Princesses Learn French: Like this company's "Je m'amuse en...", this app uses fairy tales and short games to introduce new words in the target language (French, Spanish, German, Chinese). This one is designed specifically for children who don't already speak French (or the target language).

early languages: Learn French

Je m'amuse en ... A series of four apps which present fairy tales in French while introducing new words in another language (Spanish, German, Chinese, English). Several games (memory, coloring, stickers) reinforce the vocab. Currently three stories are offered, and I hope they'll add more, because this is a great way for me to help Griffin learn Spanish without having to speak to him in English to do so!

early languages: French Apps

T'choupi joue avec les lettres: learn letters while doing activities with everyone's favorite little French penguin; several other T'choupi apps exist (English, colors); recommended by Audrey

T’choupi - Joue avec les lettres

T'choupi joue avec les couleurs (Nathan): learn colors by doing activities with the beloved penguin; recommended by Audrey

T'choupi - Joue avec les couleurs

fairy tales and other classic stories in French by SO Chocolapps: recommended by Audrey and Delphine

Little Red Riding Hood HD - Chocolapps

Le petit chaperon rouge (Alexandre Minard): very well-done story that Griffin likes a lot; by the same developer of Pierre et le loup (but costs less)

Le petit chaperon rouge : livre interactif et éducatif

Pierre et le loup par Gerard Philipe: fantastic interactive version of the famous story of Prokofiev's music; Griffin wasn't interested in it at first but has been watching it every day lately!

Pierre et le loup par Gérard Philipe

Marlene Jobert's Bientot Je Lis (Editions Atlas Jeunesse): beloved original stories narrated by a beloved storyteller; first one free, the others as in-app purchases; the app synthesizes the "flashcards" from each story into a glossary in alphabetical order and then offers simple games like Memory using the cards; a song comes with each story; Griffin and Delphine highly recommend.

  • Seana Parker-Dalton

    I like this app a lot, but I'm not proficient enough to understand the subscription system--I didn't want to sign up for something I couldn't figure out how to cancel! Is the purchase per book?

  • Sarah @ Baby Bilingual

    You can purchase individual stories to read/play in the app (no subscription), and it looks like you can also sign up to have (hard copy) books sent to your home (probably only in France). Sneaky, that--they don't ask for money up front, so kids who aren't being supervised might end up joining a mail-order book club!

  • Seana Parker-Dalton

    I used to do that to my poor parents all the time! "Bill me later"?" No postage necessary"? Don't mind if I do!"

Les nouvelles histoires de Marlene Jobert (Editions Atlas): appears to be nonfiction (or at least informational/fact-based) original stories presented in the same manner as Marlene Jobert's Bientot Je Lis (story, song, synchronized cards, games, in-app purchases for additional stories); I'm interested in sharing these with Griffin because most of what we read in French is plot-and-character-based stories

Les nouvelles histoires de Marlène Jobert

Trouve-les tous: a la recherche des animaux (Knbmedia): learn about animals in their natural habitats with games and explanations (buy "areas of the world" via in-app purchases for additional sets of animals); available in French, English, German, and Spanish; I'm planning to download this one because I think Griffin would appreciate an animal-related game that isn't explicitly trying to teach him French words (like the spelling games and stories)

Coloriages Magiques CP (dev. by Emmanuel Crombez): color-by-letters activity, which Griffin really enjoys on the iPad; this app designed for preschoolers, with others from the same developer for older students (incorporating math, for example); I am considering purchasing this for him

Coloriages Magiques CP

Mes mots a moi (Anuman): looks similar to the other spell-simple-words-by-dragging-and-dropping-letters apps that we already have (and that Griffin adores), but this might be worthwhile because it would bring some new words into the mix! It's not that I want him to learn to spell in French at four years old, but rather that he just enjoys playing games where he hears (and understands) French.

Martine (developed by Casterman): beloved stories of a French girl; one story free (the rest available as in-app purchases); trilingual (French, English, Dutch); recommended by Delphine

Le coffre a histoires (from La Grande Recre): a trunk full of stories (some original, some fairy tales and fables), simply presented (not a lot of bells and whistles to make them interactive), several of which are free (others available via in-app purchases, with new stories added regularly)

Le coffre à histoires

abricot: interactive magazine by Fleurus; available in English, French, and German; highly recommended by Delphine

abricot on the App Store on iTunes

Quelle Histoire: series of bilingual apps (French-English) introducing a historical figure; this first one, Vauban (engineer/architect for Louis XIV) is free; others available to purchase range from Vercingetorix to Lincoln to Mandela (Delphine recommends)

Vauban - Quelle Histoire

Les Deskplorers (Happy Blue Fish developers): fun, interactive method to learn about history; available in French and in English; other episodes will follow; ages 7-11 (Delphine recommends)

Nathan Maternelle Grande section (5-6 ans): 24 (total) activities for reading, writing, and math (Delphine recommends with reservations due to the relatively small number of things to do); other versions of this app exist for different ages (Griffin has the preschool one but hasn't paid much attention to it)

Nathan maternelle — Grande section 5-6 ans

La petite poule rousse (Ana Lomba's Easy Immersion Classic Storybooks): quite long bilingual stories (others available as in-app purchases); Griffin really likes this one and listens to it in French and in English; this app exists for other languages like Chinese and Spanish as well

Jeux pour lire avec Sami et Julie (Hachette): putting syllables together to make words (recommended by Delphine)

Jeux pour lire avec Sami et Julie Lite, pour iPad

Passeport du CP au CE1 (Hachette): for when Griffin can read and is a couple of years older (recommended by Delphine)

Passeport du CP au CE1 : La créature mystérieuse

J'apprends les formes et les couleurs (Hachette): we like the others in this series, but haven't purchased this one because Griffin knows shapes and colors very well

J’apprends les formes et les couleurs Lite