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Language learning for kids and adults

Language learning for kids and adults

Our favourite language learning app for kids, Gus on the Go, has free language printables.

We’re counting down the weeks until the big move to Germany, and I’ll answer the third most often asked question: do you speak German?

Um, not yet?

Our nearly seven year old has been in French immersion, so his reading and writing education has been entirely in French so far. He speaks quite well, and understands loads, and though it might seem a bit crazy to pile on another language now, he’s been taking it in like a sponge. Thankfully French and German have quite a few parallels.

We’re not pushing hard on the German with our son quite yet as he will be attending a bilingual German English school, and I suspect he’ll be better than we are a few months in. However, just to get him going, we downloaded our favourite language app for kids, Gus on the Go, in German. They also have a terrific set of free printables on their site as well – fortune tellers, flash cards, and more.

Look at my 9% fluency! Whee!

My husband and I have been spending about an hour a day on Duolingo, and for a free app, it’s incredible. We have access to an earlier version of Rosetta Stone, and while it’s helpful and a bit pickier when it comes to translation, we’ve both found we spend the most time on Duolingo. My husband also likes using Busuu, it focuses more on conversational German.

Our favourite complement to Duolingo, however, is German Pod 101. Their audio lessons are hilarious, and I’ve learned a few basic rules that make it so much easier to get through intermediate Duolingo lessons. The Accent Improvement lessons are excellent, and having transcriptions of everything readily available has been a lifesaver. The little cultural tips are invaluable to us, as we’ll be making Germany our home for the next few years. They have a free option where you can get access to the audio lessons, but it doesn’t cost much to get a membership that includes transcripts. They have an app as well. The Newbie series of audio lessons have been a big hit in the car on the way to school too.


Camp stove charging station. Seriously.

Camp stove charging station. Seriously.

biolite campstove biolite campstove with grill

I don’t know if there’s a more Vancouveresque piece of camping kit than the BioLite CampStove System. What? You say it was developed in Brooklyn? Oh well. I think they all should move here, don’t you?

This sleek little unit is a portable wood-burning stove with optional kettle or folding grill, that can also charge your phone.

What I love about this whole project is it’s not just a neato 1% camping gadget, the people behind BioLite also develop the HomeStove, a properly useful stove for the half of the planet that still does most of their cooking over open fires. The HomeStove uses fuel more efficiently, reduces smoke and the related health problems, and allows for charging mobile phones and LED lights. This is critical in countries like Africa where the main access to the Internet services, and in some countries banking, is via mobile phones.

When we buy a CampStove (and we will), we’ll be helping BioLite build and refine HomeStoves.

And if you’re super quick, you can get one of their BaseCamp giant CampStoves through their Kickstarter campaign.

All images courtesy of BioLite.