Tag Archives: German

Some sites for teenagers who want to learn (or improve) their German

When our tweens and teens start learning another language I’m sure they would benefit from reading texts on topics they like. Textbooks are usually on very conventional and not so updated arguments, which, in my opinion, makes language learning less appealing. If then the language is a bit more challenging as for its grammar, one can easily loose the interest in learning it.

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Online news sites for children

When children reach a certain age, parents want them to learn about what happens in the world. Many parents struggle with the way news are presented on TV. In fact, pictures and the way news are presented in the evening news can be quite traumatising. A great alternative are online news sites for children, where children and parents can choose the kind of news they think are appropriate and get more information about some topics in a child friendly way. What I personally like about online news is the choice to either read or watch the news.

Like in many multilingual families, my children like to have access to news in different languages. As I’m far from knowing about online news programms for children in other languages, asked some parents from the Multicultual Kid Blogs group to share news sites they recommend for children and am glad to share this here below.


Rita Rosenback recommends the Danish site Kidsnews. You have to subscribe to the magazine, but the news videos are for free.


The Dutch Jeugdjournaal is a news programm for children that goes live every day at 18:45 and can also be watched online. There is also a Jeugdjournaal app that permits you to access news in a child appropriate format on mobile devices.

English (British):

Amanda van Mulligen suggested the BBC site for news. This site is very interesting not only for news but also for general information about different topics.

Another site that my children like to visit is the First News Site.


Annabelle Humanes recommends the real paper newspaper that has also a news website. This website is, as far as I could see, without videos, therefore children need to be able to read to access the news.

Isabelle Barth points out that in France and in French-speaking countries, there is no News Channel just for children. But they have few channels just for childern an they have news in their programs. These channels are: Gulli, Tivi5mondeplus and canalj.


On the German tivi site, children can watch news and choose the topics they’re interested in.


The Italian site Bambininews offers news for children who already can read. In fact, there are no videos available (so far). Also, some Italian newspapers publish news sites for children, like Il Giorno. The TV channel RaiGulp offers also online access to some series and news, but, as far as I know, there is no video news programm online.


And on the Norwegian site nrksuper children can access the news that are also aired on TV online.


For Portuguese, Annabelle Humanes‘ husband recommends the Folinha de São Paulo, a website or supplement from an adult newspaper. It is Brazilian.


Anna Watt recommends two Russian websites, one for a younger audience and one for 10-16 year olds and older.


The Spanish site educatumundo is an educational site for children, parents and teachers. Under noticias you can find several topics, written for children. These news are not available on video, but maybe there is another site that offers news clips in Spanish?


Rita Rosenback recommends the Swedish site SVT, where children can watch the news.


Of course, these are only a few online news sites for children and I really would like to extend this list. Therefore, I would really be glad if you could recommend any further online news sites for children in the comments section here below (indicating your name and, if you have one, your website). – Thank you very much!

Body parts in different languages

When we teach our (young) children a new language, we often use rhymes and songs. Usually we start with naming their body parts:  when they are still babies we touch their nose, hands, feet etc.

When I asked some hints about body parts’ songs in other languages among the bloggers of the Multicultural Kid Blogs group, the song “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” seems to be the most famous song on this topic and has been translated into many different languages:

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

Knees and toes

Head, shoulders, knees and toes

And eyes and ears And mouth and nose

Head, shoulders, knees and toes, Knees and toes

I won’t list up all the languages here, but what I find interesting are some small variants like in the German and the Dutch versions of this song. In the German song, “toes” (pl) is translated with “Zeh” (sg) or “Fuß” (foot), and the Dutch version has, instead of “nose”, “puntje van je neus” (the point of your nose). Tina Chen pointed out that “in Indonesian, they have translated Head and Shoulders from English. Kepala, bahu, lutut, kaki, which is head, shoulders, knees, and feet.” The change from toes to feet can be found also in other languages like in Korean, pointed out by Carrie Embleton Pericola: “the Korean version is Head, Shoulders Knees and Feet” and the Polish version (by Olga Mecking).

We can find many resources online with songs and rhymes about the body parts. Here are two in English and one with the French translation:

Five fingers on one hand

and five fingers on other make ten.

A dear little nose,

and a mouth shaped like a rose.

Two cheeks so tiny and fat.

Two eyes, two ears

and ten little toes;

Thats the way my body goes.


I have so many parts to me

I have two hands to clap with,
one nose with which to smell.
I have one head to think with,
(tap head)
two lungs that work quite well.
(take a deep breath)
I have two eyes that let me see.
(point to eyes)
I have two legs that walk.
(walk in place)
I have two ears that help me hear,
(cup hands to ears)
a mouth with which to talk.
(point to mouth)


Bones, you must have them

You have two hands and two feet
You have two legs and a nose
You have a belly (stomach) and a back
And muscles underneath your skin

You have a head and a neck
Two ears and two knees
You have two eyes and two cheeks
And a mouth that eats everything and

Under your skin you have bones
Small bones and big ones
Bones, bones, you must have them
It’s because you have bones that … (repeat from top of the song)


Des os il en faut

Tu as deux mains et deux pieds
Tu as deux jambes et un nez
Tu as un ventre et un dos
Et des muscles sous la peau

Tu as une tête et un cou
Deux oreilles et deux genoux
Tu as deux yeux et deux joues
Et une bouche qui mange tout, et

Sous ta peau il y a des os
Des petits et des gros
Des os, des os, il en faut
C’est parce que tu as des os que …


Laura Pheneger mentioned the U.S. song “The Hokey Pokey”, “which is an action song that uses lots of body parts. You put your right arm in, you put your right arm out, you put your right arm in and you shake it all about, you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around, that’s what it’s all about…then you continue with various body parts.”

Aimee Schmitt Thompson’s “children (and husband!) also loved singing the “I’ve Got Two Eyes” song from Sesame Street” from 1970 with Susan and Bob singing about body parts that come in pairs.

Jennifer Brunk says that in Spanish there are lots of songs about body parts and refers to a post on her blog about “Saco una manita/manito (depending on the country)”, “Mi carita” etc. and there are “finger plays and four of them are traditional rhymes for body parts“.


I found a lovely song about the Körperteile (body parts) in German by Bobby and another one in English by Brendan Parker:



As this week it’s Halloween, I’ll top this post up with the lovely skeleton dance song from the U.S.:



If you know any song in your another language about body parts, please share it with me! I’d be very glad to add it to my list!


I’ve recently published a short article with a list of several body parts in English, German, Italian, French and Dutch on my “other” blog: go and check it out.

Which language to choose (part II)



Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein

Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein (Photo credit: tschoppi)

 (“Constant dripping wears the stone”)

Raising bilingual children is not only a commitment and demands lots of energy to provide the regular inputs, maintain the passion for the language throughout all the years, but also requires to be flexible.

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about the language choice we had to make within our family and how we managed to still keep up with the languages we didn’t talk on a regular basis.

When I stopped talking Italian to my son 7 years ago, I obviously hoped that some day he would ask to learn it. Among my children he is the one who started earlier with reading and writing, and he is  very talented in languages (and literature in general).

This year he had the opportunity to follow classes in Spanish and French and I was very pleased to see that he loved both of them. We had very long discussions about the similar vocabulary, the difference in orthography and, of course, the analogies with Italian. This exposure to related languages made him realize that talking Italian is valuable too. It wasn’t the first time he heard those languages, but learning about them at school, in a setting with peers, made them apparently more valuable for him. For me this was a very interesting aspect. I always thought that being exposed to a language in “real life”, i.e. during holidays and with friends would suffice to persuade somebody of the necessity to learn it. But apparently the peer-pressure and the formal setting was the trigger for my son at this stage (11 yo).


English: Chart of Romance languages based on s...

English: Chart of Romance languages based on structural and comparative criteria not on socio-functional ones. Based on the chart published in “Koryakov Y.B. Atlas of Romance languages. Moscow, 2001”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


And then something for me very pleasant happened: my son asked me to talk Italian with him. And he asked it in Italian! This “Vogliamo parlare in Italiano d’ora in poi?” was the greatest gift he could give me. – We now talk Italian in the weekends. Just he and I, when we have one-on-one time. And we both enjoy it very much.

So this is another phase of the multilingual journey in our family I’m really pleased to write about. My son is currently re-discovering books we already had, also those for younger children, but I’m sure this summer he will enjoy the ones his cousins kept for him too, from age 11 upwards.


Rita Rosenback just published a book called Bringing up a Bilingual Child, where she mentions the seven “C’s” of successful multilingual parenting: communication, confidence, commitment, consistency, creativity, culture and celebration.

When we “gave up” Italian and Swissgerman a few years ago, my husband and I were worried that this lack of consistency would affect the language acquisition of our children. We thought that they would not understand us talking German to them, that they would refuse talking back to us in German and that they would forget those languages and never be interested in talking them.

I think that the fact that those languages kept being important for my husband and me, that we would still use them also in the presence of our children – while talking to friends etc. – and that we regularly visited our relatives who talk those languages, kept them easily accessible for them.

I’m convinced that the consistent passive exposure to these other languages helped our son to still have “a good rapport” to them. Like if the door to access those languages was always open. This not only happened for Italian, but also for Swissgerman which he talks with great confidence and the right intonation while talking to his Siwssgerman family. The fact that our children would not actively use them on a regular basis does not prevent them to use and learn them at a later stage in their lives. – I know by my own experience that this can happen at any stage, even when you’re already adult.


Planting seeds of knowledge

Planting seeds of knowledge (Photo credit: CIMMYT)

 “We can plant different seeds, water them, expose them to sun, but can’t predict how fast they grow and when they will come to fruition.”