Italy is a fascinating country.
Thousands of tourists visit every year to see famous monuments like the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and Saint Mark’s Basilica.
Italian is taught in some school around the UK and there are plenty of Italians that currently live in the UK. Why not make the most of Italian tutorials and get your child to learn Italian?
In this article, we’ll show you the best way to teach your bambino... Andiamo!
When Should I Start Teaching my Child Italian?
Did you know that as early as 10 to 12 months, a baby can distinguish languages?
A child’s brain learns a lot of stuff before they reach age 6. This knowledge is imprinted on their brain forever. This means you should start teaching them about both music and language before this age.
Between 1 and 6 is the time to start teaching them Italian. They can also make stronger emotional bonds with family members who speak Italian, for example.
This will make them more willing to speak to their family by teaching them so basic Italian phrases!
- Why not say “hello” to them in Italian? (Buongiorno)
- Give them a cute Italian nickname like “amore mio”. (My love)?
- Or call them by the Italian version of their name? Alessandro instead of Alexander, for example.
This will help them become accustomed to hearing Italian.
You can then expand their vocabulary by adding more words and singing nursery rhymes of songs to them. You could even watch cartoons and learn Italian online or look for free lessons on Google.
Babies can start learning a 2nd language from the moment they’re born. While they might confuse the two languages at first, they’ll quickly learn how to distinguish them.
Furthermore, a child who learns to speak two languages at a young age will be better prepared when it comes to learning to read and write.
You can also look for books for kids on how to learn Italian online as well as specialised books on learning Italian through singing, etc.
These types of books often come with a CD with a variety of songs as well as a “karaoke” version. You can listen to the CD in the car, helping your child to learn Italian while keeping them entertained on long journeys.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sing along, too!
Apps for Children Learning Italian
These apps offer free Italian lessons and tutorials tend to be less formal than the language course they might follow at school. Young children can have fun while they learn Italian words and phrases.
Your child could learn about:
- Italian culture through Italian cooking
- Vocabulary, grammar, and conjugations
- How to speak Italian, preparing them for travelling to Italy later in their lives.
Here’s a short list of apps that you can use on your tablet, smartphone, or computer to teach your children Italian!
Learn while having fun with Tic Tic!
Tic Tic is a fun character for teaching Italian to very young children.
This app can help children discover 400 Italian words. It’s nothing like your normal language classes!
There are 24 different themes complete with different grammar and vocab points like the alphabet or clothing.
This app is free but you’ll have to pay if you’d like to unlock absolutely everything.
Immersion with Nemo Italian
This app will become your new Italian tutor.
Included in the lessons are:
- Essential Italian words and expressions
- Pronunciation guide
- Downloadable Italian lessons
This app offers full immersion and your children can learn to speak and write in Italian whenever they like.
With this free app, you can learn Italian while enjoying yourself.
Your kids will be able to:
- Discover Italian grammar, conjugations, and spelling.
- Learn Italian through fun mini-games.
- Build up the language and work on their pronunciation.
In addition to Italian, this app can teach also you Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, and Hungarian.
On-line Italian Courses for Children: Videos and Sites
Thanks to videos and educational games, you child could learn Italian on the internet.
Here’s a few sites that offer Italian lessons.
BBC Italian and Muzzy
Although the BBC’s website for Italian is no longer updated, there are a huge variety of different resources available. The units are organised well and the lessons are interesting.
You can learn Italian vocabulary for a number of everyday situations as well as work on your listening skills, reading comprehension, and pronunciation.
For very young children, there's the Muzzy series. This series was designed for very young children and it makes language learning fun and easy. However, it isn't free. You can opt for an online subscription to the website or buy the Italian language course in its entirety.
In fact, the whole BBC language website is a great way to learn a language and there are also sites for those who want to learn French, Portuguese, Arabic, and tonnes of other languages.
The alphabet, pronunciation, numbers, spelling, vocabulary... Bravissimi provides varied and interesting classes.
Thanks to their videos and audio, your child can learn more about Italian pronunciation, too.
There are exercises and quizzes to test what they know in Italian.
Every lesson is freely accessible.
Which Organisations Offer Italian Classes for Children?
There’s also the classic way to learn Italian: in the classroom.
Classes are available for children as young as those in nursery and are often taught by native speakers.
Children can learn to:
- Interact with other children
- Learn Italian quickly
- Learn from their mistakes
We’ve put together a short list of language centres where your child can learn Italian.
Just Speak Italian (London)
This centre aims to teach young children Italian. You can find the centre at Speak Up London, 139-143 Oxford Street, London.
The teachers are all qualified and all qualified native speakers. Native speakers are important since your children will be learning Italian in a less-conventional setting.
There are a variety of different types of Italian courses. There are options for both private classes and group classes in which your child can learn about:
- The Italian alphabet
- Italian vocabulary and grammar
- Italian culture through books and media
The lessons at this centre focus on ensuring that children have fun and learn basic Italian. When a child is having fun, they don't even notice that they're learning phrases in their new language. After 10 lessons, parents are also given an update on how well they can speak Italian.
The lessons take place on weekday afternoons or on Saturdays.
Whether your child’s never spoken Italian or they’ve already got the basics down, this language centre is open to everyone.
There are also group classes for children to learn Italian. Searching Italian classes London on Superprof will also help you find private tutors.
Bambini Lingo is a multilingual kids clubs with centres in various locations around the UK. In addition to teaching children to speak Italian, they also offer French, Spanish, German, and Mandarin. You can find their language learning centres in Chiselhurst, Weybridge, Devon, Ipswich, and Peterborough.
They offer courses in Italian for children as young as 18 months. Of course, this will be basic Italian, phrases, and everyday Italian words rather than intensively studying Italian grammar, verbs, conjugations, and adjectives. They'll be conversational in no time!
An Italian course for pre-schoolers starts at £7.50 per class.
La Dante in Cambridge
Rather than focusing solely on apps to teach your child Italian, why not send enrol them on Italian language courses in a foreign language centre? Since La Dante is Italy's cultural institute and language and culture are inseparable, it's hardly surprising they offer Italian language courses.
La Dante in Cambridge’s Young Italian Learners class is available for children aged between 5 and 10 years old and classes take place on Saturdays between 2 and 3 pm.
Children will be taught using a variety of different activities including role-playing, museum visits, gardening, and cooking.
They’ll also play games to help them learn the language while they have fun.
There are also classes offered for a variety of different ages and levels.
Would you like to take an Italian lesson, too? Don't worry, you can also learn to speak Italian there as they offer language lessons for all ages, including adults.
However, if you really want your child to become fluent in Italian, you should consider private tutoring. Check out Italian lessons specialising in teaching young children on Superprof today.