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How I use Mindsnacks to get my Child Learning a Language
Fun and colorful games!
Play and learn
Here are the good news: There are ways to make your child learn vocabulary without complaining! The best App for that is called Mindsnacks. It comes in many language versions and they are just a delight to play and learn with. My son loves it, and sometimes we play the games together (tangling our fingers on the ipad screen...). I am not saying playing computer games should replace the traditional way of learning but it works well to keep the spirits high. I would even say that Mindsnacks helped a lot to make learning Spanish interesting for my son. In other words: Mindsnacks provides a fantastic complement to textbooks and audio and video materials. I wish I had that game at school already...
This is the game we use most of the time. The Spanish used in the game is the latin-american version. Although my son learns the European version the game is still a fantastic help, you just need to know in some cases in which country you would use which vocabulary. I think it is better to learn both anyway. The Spanish speaking people I meet here in England are maybe half of the time from Spain and half of the time from South America and I want to understand all of them!
Spanish come with the following three free games: Swell, Belly and Word Birds. To get an impression how the games look like there is a picture of Belly and Word Birds each on the right hand side of this text paragraph.
How does Mindsnacks Spanish work?
There are 50 lessons to learn, consisting of words and short phrases related to a specific topic. To finish one lesson you have to play the different games (chose one of three to nine games) until you collected enough points for each word or phrase. There are also quest popping up during your play. When you solved one quest another quest will pop up in a window. One example for a quest is: Make a dam 35 blocks High in Dam Builder!
Here are the first three games you got to play when you first start with Mindsnacks Spanish:
Swell is a game in which you have to select the correct translation of a word between a choice of two answers, and that within a short time, that even gets shorter and shorter as the game goes on. I found it very hard first and you need a lot of concentration and a quick eye. But that is what I like about it on the other hand. It definitely improves your child's concentration and reaction speed.
Belly, in my opinion is the easiest of all nine games. It is great as a starter or to relax in between. You hear a word or short sentence for it and you need to tap the symbol with the correct translation for it. But there is no time pressure.
Word Birds is the game to learn the spelling. Playing this one proves if you can remember the words correctly.
As you advance in the game you get the chance to play the other six games after they have been unlocked (and you have paid for the full game). Here is a description of the other games:
In Bubbler you have to pop the bubbles in which the words and phrases are written in a correct way before the bubbles hit the top of the screen. If you popped the right bubble a fish will come out of the bubble.
Totem is another matching game. You have to match the English expression, the Spanish expression and the picture or symbol by flipping around the different sections of the totem pole.
My rating couldn't be better!
How does Mindsnacks Japanese work?
The Mindsnacks Apps to learn the different languages are very similar. As in Mindsnacks Spanish you have the games Swell and Belly as well to start with, but instead of Word Birds you will have Chipper. But Chipper is very similar to Word Birds. In both games the animals are sitting on tree branches and you have to tap on the animal with the letter in the correct order to form the word.
In Mindsnacks Japanese you can play eight games altogether. The other ones are: Totem, Bloon, Stacks, Bubbler, Dam Builder.
Chose a lesson and then learn the words
How Bloon looks like
This is the perfect app to prepare your child for the SAT Tests at the end of primary school. Compared to Kids Vocab the words are much complicater and not part of your child's daily conversations. There are again 9 different games to master, known from the other Mindsnacks apps already. Altogether you and your children can learn 500 words and phrases.
Costs of the full versions
50 lessons/ 25 SAT lessons
All language pass
Japanese and other languages
Mindsnacks Kid's Vocab
This app is aimed at children aged 7-12 and was praised by The Guardian as one of the best apps in 2013 for children parents can trust. The vocabulary is much easier than the one in Mindsnacks SAT. Also everybody with kids should get it since it is absolutely free and brilliant.
What is your favorite Mindsnacks game?
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How Chipper looks like
Play around with the free versions!
Just test the app for a while before you decide to buy all lessons. I will download the free Mandarin version next to have a go ...and impress some friends ;)
If you also like something physical to learn with try this fun to read book!
Official Mindsnack Video
Other language learning apps I use
Here are some other Spanish learning apps I downloaded for me and my son:
- Duolingo (also see the new test center!)
- Intro Spanish (Brainscape)
- Busuu Kids
- Kids Language
- Play 2 learn
And here are some apps to exercise Japanese I downloaded:
- Learn Japanese Easily