Whether adults want it or not, modern children cannot imagine their life without videos. Various devices have become ingrained in our everyday lives, and they largely determine the way an entire generation perceives information. Currently, parents are not surprised that the first toy their children take in their hands is a tablet. But how does this phenomenon affect their learning processes?
- Firstly, children are visual learners.
- Secondly, such children are very pragmatic, and the most important question for them is “How to use the acquired knowledge in real-life situations?”
- Thirdly, if these children are interested in something, they will persist in achieving their goals. But it is not easy to interest them.
- Lastly, their thinking and perception are not focused on memorizing facts and details, but on where to find the necessary information and how to apply it in the future.
Thus, visibility plays a crucial role in the learning process. Things evoking vivid emotions and impressions are easier to remember. Acquiring knowledge is better during an interaction. Therefore, of course, video content such as YouTube videos, cartoons and educational videos dedicated to young students, play a significant role in building high-quality and effective learning. Especially when teaching a foreign language, videos are a great resource to learn English.
Learning English through video content – the role of videos in kids’ education
The use of videos in the process of learning a language is, firstly, an example of live conversation. However, these are not just audio recordings. In the videos, we see who is speaking. We see facial expressions and gestures, which help us understand the intonation and the situation in general.
These educational videos for kids learning English create a real-life language environment. Children begin to understand that they are the same girls and boys who have mums and dads, and they have the same life; they speak differently, yet they still understand one another.
Any visual sequence that accompanies speech makes the information closer to the viewer. Regional and cultural facts become not just a set of phrases but give rise to associations, thoughts, and a desire to learn more about the subject.
Visuals encourage you to go to the places in question, try the food (if the conversation is about the traditions of local cuisine), take part in a holiday or visit a museum. These country peculiarities become personally significant; they motivate people to learn English – to learn more, you need to know the language better.
How to choose the right videos in English for children
The right choice of videos in English for children plays an important role. Channels such as YouTube, for example, allow you to have access to a vast amount of videos, most of which are in English. They can be divided as follows:
- Authentic videos – English movies for kids, cartoons for learning English, video blogs, amateur video stories by native speakers.
- Educational authentic video – like video stories created, for example, for teaching English-speaking children (native speakers). These are informative videos on a variety of topics and fields of science. For example, videos about natural phenomena, historical events, geographical discoveries, space exploration, biographies of famous people, etc.
- English educational movies for language learners – educational videos that introduce various aspects of the language, cartoons to learn English, educational videos that aim to teach English.
Thus, videos in English can be divided into 2 large groups:
- Special-purpose videos. These are, for example, video lessons or educational video films for the formation or development of auditory-pronouncing or lexical-grammatical skills.
- Motivating videos. These are motivational videos to help children make sure they have already achieved success in learning English. They understand what the video series is about, they like it, so it encourages them to move on. Such videos are intended for discussion and so should have a communicative purpose.
When choosing a cartoon or movie in English for teaching children, several factors should be taken into account:
- the age of the child,
- the purpose of watching the video,
- the level of language proficiency.
15 best YouTube channels with English learning videos for kids
Teaching children English through YouTube videos can be a fun and interactive method. Also YouTube is easily accessible to anyone and totally free. Here are fifteen popular YouTube channels that focus on English learning for kids and education.
- Super Simple Songs: This channel offers catchy tunes that help kids remember new English words and phrases.
- Little Baby Bum: This channel is known for its nursery rhymes and kids’ songs. The songs are engaging and often help children learn vocabulary and basic English phrases.
- Peppa Pig – Official Channel: animated videos which introduce children to English grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Peppa lives with her mummy and daddy and her little brother, George. Her adventures are fun, sometimes involve a few tears, but always end happily.
- English Singsing: This channel offers videos on vocabulary, phrases, and basic grammar rules with fun animated characters.
- KidsTV123: Apart from English learning videos, they have songs about numbers, the alphabet, and more. They are great for teaching kids basic English words.
- The Singing Walrus: Their videos are colorful and fun, focusing on topics like numbers, the days of the week, and feelings.
- Pinkfong! Kids’ Songs & Stories: Though they’re most famous for the “Baby Shark” song, Pinkfong has many English songs and stories for kids that can aid in learning.
- Busy Beavers: Their videos introduce children to vocabulary, colors, numbers, and more through engaging animations and catchy tunes.
- Kids Vs Life: They produce a variety of video content that helps kids learn. For example for an adult mind, the water cycle concept is simple. But when we try to explain the concept to a 4-year-old, we are constantly met with the dreaded barrage of “why?”. The videos on this YouTube channel fix that issue for you.
- Novakid Kids – offers a practical and effective learning format that encourages our students to communicate using English confidently. Their CEFR based lessons and educational video content are specifically designed for remote learning that takes place in interactive virtual classrooms. Students from all around the world can learn English with Novakid while having fun.
- Learn English Kids – British Council: The British Council’s channel for kids is filled with games, songs, stories, and tips for primary learners of English.
- Netflix Jr.: here kids can learn, sing and play with their favorite Netflix characters – from StoryBots to Super Monsters and everyone in between. Learning English in a stress-free environment is a bonus!
- Kid’s Learning Tube: an educational YouTube channel dedicated to creating engaging content for children of all ages. Through a mix of catchy songs, animated videos, and detailed explanations, the channel covers a wide range of topics, from geography and science to numbers and basic concepts. Its aim is to make learning fun and memorable for kids.
- Nat Geo Kids – Nat Geo Kids: makes it fun to explore the world with weird, wild, and wacky videos featuring awesome animals like sharks, tigers and lions, cool science, funny pets, and more! There are new videos every week. Nat Geo Kids is fueling kids’ curiosity and inspiring them.
- Learn English With TV Series: On this channel, students can practice and improve their listening comprehension, using favorite TV shows, movies, and talk shows, to learn to understand native English without getting lost, without missing the jokes, and without subtitles.
Psst… Parents! Always monitor your child’s YouTube usage and make sure to activate any safety features or parental controls when they’re online.
When to start watching movies in English with kids?
Introducing movies in English to kids can be beneficial for their language development, but the ideal time to start depends on various factors, including the child’s current language proficiency, their exposure to the language, and their interest. Here are some general guidelines for each of the age groups:
- Infants and Toddlers (0-3 years): At this age, children are soaking up language from their environment. While it’s essential to prioritize face-to-face interaction and direct communication, short, age-appropriate clips or songs in English can be introduced. Focus more on rhythm, melody, and repetition rather than expecting comprehension.
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): This is a good age to start introducing short movies or episodes of cartoons in English, especially those designed for language learners. With simple stories, repetitive phrases, and lots of visual aids, children can begin to understand the context and pick up vocabulary.
See such resources as English SingSing or LittleFox. Mini-stories in educational cartoons are also built around the clichéd and most frequently used phrases like: greetings, talking about the weather, asking what someone is doing, daily routines, what you like/don’t like. As a rule, the “control phrase” is repeated many times, but the setting changes all the time, making it recognizable in different contexts.
- Early Elementary (6-8 years): If they haven’t been exposed to English movies yet, now’s a good time. Kids at this age have a longer attention span and can follow more complex stories. Begin with movies designed for children, which often have clearer language and simpler sentence structures.
Specially created educational animated series will help increase interest in English and make the learning process fun. For example, many people love Gogo Loves English. The situations in which he finds himself are close to younger school children, and the main character cannot leave anyone indifferent. We also love another character, Muzzy, and the series about him is called Muzzy in Gondoland and Muzzy Comes Back.
- Late Elementary (9-12 years): By this age, children can handle movies with more intricate plots and dialogue. However, it might still be beneficial to use English subtitles to aid in comprehension. We can advise The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Finding Stuff Out or Science Max.
- Teenagers (13+ years): Teens can watch most movies meant for general audiences, and with English subtitles, they can both listen to the language and see the written form, reinforcing learning. Shrek, Harry Potter, Puss in Boots, Cold Heart, Toy Story, Moana, How to Train Your Dragon, etc. – watch them only in English! And you will learn to understand English by ear.
In addition, here are some tips when introducing English movies to kids:
- Choose movies that match their interests to keep them engaged.
- Watch with them and discuss the movie afterward. Ask questions about the plot, characters, and any unfamiliar English words or phrases they heard.
- Use subtitles, either in English or the child’s native language, to aid comprehension.
- If a child shows resistance or lack of interest, don’t push. The key is to make it a fun and engaging experience rather than a forced learning exercise.
Remember that every child is unique, thus they might have a different timeline for the English learning process. Some kids might develop an interest and understanding of English earlier or later than their peers. Adjust your approach based on your child’s individual pace and needs, always considering their interests.
Make the most of learning English through videos
Watching and understanding videos in English is great, but to speak English fluently, it is necessary to form and develop speaking skills as well. And watching videos alone is not enough. Additionally, you can practice techniques such as “stop-motion” or “voicing”:
- “Stop-motion” involves pauses when watching a particular video and a question-answer pattern about what has been seen. For example, you can specify the details of what is happening or describe the characters, or make a “prediction” – what is going to happen next.
- “Voicing” is a technique where you mute the video and ask students to give voices to the characters and act out the dialogs. Providing it is regular practice, such tasks significantly develop speaking skills.
Remember that successful completion of such tasks requires specific language knowledge and, consequently, systematic learning of the language.
Try English online lessons for children based on educational video content
English educational video lessons for children, which are becoming more and more popular, can help here. They are divided into two types.
The first is pre-recorded video lessons. Each lesson is dedicated to a specific topic, which is presented very clearly and visibly. To teach children, such videos feature a permanent character who introduces the topic. Good lessons of this kind are interactive; the character has a conversation with the students, asking questions with limited time to answer, for example: Little Pim, Tom, and Keri, Zippy and me.
The advantages of such video lessons are that they may be completely free or be available at a relatively low price. Usually, after payment, you get access to a large amount of content. The “cons” include a lack of feedback, answer checking, recommendations, homework, and progress control.
Therefore, the second type is preferred for teaching children – video lessons with live communication with the teacher. For example, video lessons in Novakid, which include songs, educational dialogs with a teacher, a lot of visual aids, and game techniques, that will allow your child to see their progress in language learning. Watching extra videos in English at home with parents after such lessons will only be a joy. Try it – the first lesson is free!
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Let us know in the comments section below, which movies and videos on YouTube are your kid’s favorite. Do you see your child making progress with speaking in English while watching English native-speaking videos and movies?