How to teach children German and German teaching materials

How to teach children German

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1 Get fairy tales and storybooks in German on Amazon or from your local library

Children love shared reading time and regardless of language acquisition they will always remember the time they spent with you reading books.Try to find books with good illustrations. Look at the pictures with your child, point to things they already know in German.

As you come across new words ask the child what they think it is. If it is illustrated, have them point it out on the page.Use different voices for different characters.If your child has a favorite German story encourage him/her to play different characters making up the words from memory. Help your child to use his/her imagination to change the story or change the ending.

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2 Use puppets or turn your child’s favorite plush toy into a puppet that talks in German

Kids love puppets and puppet play is great for motor skills. You can tell much loved stories through puppet play, either using the whole body or make a puppet theatre from a box and use hand or finger puppets. Finger puppets are also fun when singing songs.

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3 Go to the zoo and call the name of the animals together in German

If you have any, look at some animal books together, then go to the zoo for the day. Ask your child the names of the animals he/she has learned and point out the new ones. This is a great place to add in adjectives and colours. When you come home, encourage your child to draw pictures of what he/she saw and talk about them together using German.

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4 Play hide and seek by counting in German

Hide and seek is a great game for practicing numbers. You could start with 1 to 10 and gradually increase. When your child knows them well you could count down backwards. When ‘seeking’ your child it’s a good opportunity to repeat words without it sounding repetitive.

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5 Play board games in German e.g.: snakes and ladders, board games, family games

Dice games are always good for counting and also simple addition. Board games played with the whole family can be a time for relaxed learning. Just playing a simple board game such as snakes and ladders teaches a young child so much more than just language. They also learn rules of play, understanding goals and of course, that family games equal FUN!

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6 Play games by using flashcard games e.g.: Go fish, memory game

Flashcards are one of your most valuable resources in teaching language to young children. With multiples of the same cards you can play well-known games such as Go Fish or the ‘memory game’.

Very small children may struggle to hold too many cards, so play games that have the child match one card to another. Match a sound with a picture, or two cards that have the same sound, or two pictures that match, any way you choose.

Lay cards out on the floor or table and have your child touch the card as you call out words/sounds. Encourage your child to be the caller and you touch the cards. Keep it playful and fun.

 

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7 Have a progress chart that tracks the words and phrases your child mastered

A simple progress chart teaches your child clear goals and kids love stickers. Let your child know when he/she is approaching a goal, make a big deal of reaching the goals, be excited to getting the stickers out. Praise him/her for their achievement with a ‘great job’, a hug or a ‘high five’ (or all three).

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8 Listen to children’s songs in German together or reward your child for memorizing a short one

Listen to children’s songs in the 2nd language whenever and wherever you can. Keep CDs in the car or put a CD on quietly in the background when you are doing something else. Add actions to the songs, this helps kids remember the words. If it suits your child’s personality, encourage them to ‘perform’ songs for you. You could have a special ‘song night’.

Here is a playlist of German children’s songs

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9 Listen to pop songs in German together or reward your child for memorizing a short one

Teach your child some catchy pop songs that you both like. Something with suitable lyrics and a good chorus are easiest to remember. Sing it around the house as you do other things, when your child tries to join in, model the language and encourage them to sing with you.

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10 Find cartoons in the 2nd language on Youtube or Amazon

Cartoons are a great way to engage kids in the 2nd language. Kids can figure out the story visually without worrying about not understanding every word. It’s easy to buy DVDs from Amazon in almost any language or, alternatively, look for them on YouTube. Let your child guide you to which cartoons they like best. Watch them together and you will know which language to reinforce.

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11 Have an annual/monthly goal check list

Make a checklist of goals or ideas of where you want to be with the language learning over a year. Break it down into monthly mini-goals.

It will be help you stay focused on where you are going and also a great way to look back and see how far you and your child have come.

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12 Create youtube playlists or find playlists suitable for your child’s level

YouTube is a super resource. You can create playlists of German teaching videos, these days people post from all over the world.

They might be short tutorials, or craft ideas you can incorporate into your language learning, or children’s songs you can sing together. Look for playlists already put together by others with the same goal.

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13 Join online support groups (forums, facebook pages, twitter lists, multicultural blog groups etc.)

Join some online groups to exchange ideas and information. Support is invaluable too. Teaching German can hit some hurdles, it is important to be able to connect with people who are having the same difficulties or have successfully navigated these hurdles. Facebook and Twitter are great for immediate connections. Online chat groups or forums can give you a sense of community and common goals.

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14 Visit the website of Germany’s ministry of culture

Have a look at the website and find interesting information about Germany. Read about traditional food, dances and costumes. Look at statistics such as population. Find some fun facts about the climate, holidays and customs. Talk about them with your child and follow their lead on which parts they are interested in. You can also get all this information and more here

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15 Go to public libraries and check all the available resources in German

Libraries are an excellent resource. If they don’t have things things in German ask the librarian if it is possible to order them. Also check out the noticeboard and see if there are any kids groups speaking German in the area. You might make some new friends too.

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16 Make use of language learning DVDs for kids

Language DVDs come handy , especially fro busy parents, as they repeat useful words and phrases in a fun and interesting way Check them out, Look for something that is specifically for kids, that uses games and songs and has well-structured levels.

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17 Play CDs when driving your child to school

Always play CDs in German when you are in the car. It could be songs or a kids’ language learning CD, whatever your child likes. Do it consistently so your child comes to expect the 2nd language in the car.

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18 Play streaming radio in the background at home or make use of Spotify, Lastfm, etc.

Nowadays, there are a lot of resources that help you play streaming radio through personal electronic devices and laptops, etc. All you need is tuning into one of the local radio stations and have the radio or the song list play in the background all day long. Even if your child does not understand what has been spoken or the lyrics of the songs he/she will get used to the new sounds and intonation patterns.

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19 Make use of worksheets for beginners

There are a great many websites offering worksheets for beginners. Many are free and some you can pay monthly or a yearly fee. Kids love worksheets. Some may be simple coloring sheets (kids LOVE coloring), or sheets that help fine motor skills through pencil manipulation. Buy some stickers and put one on each sheet your child completes.

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20 Make use of Flashcards

There is no end to the fun to be had from playing games with flashcards even if you child is still too young to play a game that has structure and rules. You can make your own ‘games’ call out a card, have your child touch it/pick it up. ‘Hide’ the cards around the room and have your child find them and say what they are etc.

You can also put the flashcards up around the room. Change them each week in categories (animals/flowers/ fruit/etc. Look at them and say them often with your child. Ask them, “What’s this? / What’s that?”

Put them on your fridge with magnets or let your child do this.You call out the words and have them put them on.

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21 Get a picture dictionary to get started

A Children’s picture dictionary is a wonderful resource. Follow your child’s curiosity with it. Let him/her choose what he/she wants to know on any given day. Ask him/her more information about the words they do know. “What color is it?” “ Is it big or small? “ “Where does it live?” “What does it do?”

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22 Consider getting an alphabet book

Introduce your child to the shapes of letters with a simple alphabet book. This is especially useful if the German alphabet is different to that of the 1st language. For young learners, get a very simple, ‘starter’ book, also great for fine motor skills and pencil control.

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23 Think about kinesthetic learning (learning by doing). Coloring books, sketchbooks or DVDs that children watch and dance are great!

The research is in that kids learn best by doing (don’t we all?).

Anything that gets kids moving their bodies or their hands helps them to learn. Watch DVDs together, make up dances, put on ‘shows’, even dress up. Encourage your child’s inner artist with a sketchbook. Color, paint, draw, and talk about the colors and your child’s pictures in the 2nd language. Coloring in pictures is a very relaxing activity (you should do it too!) Kids tend to be very relaxed when they are coloring, a good time to make some general chitchat in German.

Mix paints and talk in German about how colors are made.

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24 Consider getting a reading pen

The very latest translation tool. A ‘reading pen’ scans and translates. The translated text appears on a small screen on the pen and can also provide audio pronunciation of words or full sentences.

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25 Find some talking or singing plush toys

There are so many talking toys on the market these days. Try one that says greetings in German (or multiple languages) or one that sings traditional songs/nursery rhymes from Germany.

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26 Make use of culture books prepared for little kids

Ready made ‘culture books’ are great for learning about different countries. Read them together, ask questions and encourage your child to ask lots of questions too. After reading one, you could make a simple one together using pictures from magazines, or encourage your child to draw pictures too. Gather information together at the library or from the internet.

27 Decorate your child’s room with learning posters (colors, numbers) or pictures from Germany (flag, the cities, etc.)

Get some large colorful posters to decorate your child’s room or the learning space you use. Point things out and ask questions, swap roles and have your child ask the questions too, this also helps model the pronunciation. Ask which is your child’s favorite poster and why?

Follow their lead on the things that interest them.

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28 Follow a simple syllabus prepared for kids

Use the simple syllabus prepared in your language learning system or make one yourself. Let your child know what it is so he/she can see what they will be doing. Children tend to do better when they know what is coming and what is expected of them.

29 Use stickers as rewards (stickers that say congratulations, wonderful, etc. in the 2nd language)

Kids love stickers! Use them liberally. Take praising your child as an opportunity to use the 2nd language. If you can find stickers with words of praise in the 2nd language use those and repeat the words a lot. Use a couple of words at first and add more as your child knows them.

30 Get some printed items related to the 2nd language: T-shirts, mugs, children’s silverware, etc.

If you have the opportunity to visit the 2nd language country buy goods with the language on. T-shirts, mugs and pens are useful as well as educational. Look for postcards, posters or bumper stickers with popular expressions on. Post these around your house.

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31 Arrange play dates or playgroups with other parents who want to teach their children German.

Try to find other parents encouraging their children to learn German, arrange to play together, go on picnics to the park or take a trip to a zoo or aquarium, great places to practice the language. Making new friends is of great benefit to you too!

 

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32 Video chat with friends and relatives who have a child that speaks German

Encourage video chat with other children you know, that speak German. It’s easy using Skype or Google Hangouts or something similar. Be nearby to help the conversation along. Be encouraging and resist the temptation to correct your child’s mistakes.

 

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33 Invite Grandma and Grandpa (who can speak German) to stay over

Spending time with grandparents is valuable to all parties anyway but spending time with grandparents who speak German is great for strengthening bonds and hearing natural language. Your child will come to associate German with feelings of love and security.

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34 Hire a short-term or full time nanny or caregiver that speaks German

If it is possible, consider hiring a nanny/caregiver/babysitter who speaks German. Even a few hours per week would make a difference (and give you a little free time!).

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35 Cook German recipes together with your child

Kids always want to be a ‘little helper’ in the kitchen. Cook some simple dishes from Germany together. Us the 2nd language for instructions, wash, cut, wipe, mix…. Name the ingredients in a natural way as you cook. Here are some German recipes

36 Go to community centers, cultural centers and temples with your child

Local places of interest are stimulating for your child and cultural centers often have exhibitions or music/dance performances. Look out for anything from Germany. Community centers are a great place to meet people, look at notice boards for anything from people interested or connected in some way to, German. You could even offer to do something yourself, give a talk about the country or a traditional dance etc.

37 Visit German supermarkets and German restaurants with your child

Go around a German supermarket and point out the foods from Germany. If your child is unfamiliar with them, ask questions. “How do you think it tastes?” “ Do you think this is hard/soft/crunchy/sweet/etc.?” If possible eat in ethnic restaurants. Talk about the food, how it is prepared, where it comes from.

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38 Have a word of the day activity

Pick a ‘word of the day’, you or your child could choose it, or have your child pick it at random from a pile of word cards. If the word is a noun, look for it around the house and when you go outside. Talk about where it might be found. If it is a verb, find ways to do the action either really or mime it, see if you can spot other people doing it? Or use adverbs and spend some time doing everything in the manner of the adverb, slowly/quickly/happily/etc.

39 Play German online language games (memory, click&tell, etc.) with your child

There are plenty of free online interactive language games for children. Find one that appeals to your child and encourage them to do a little every day. You can check out 3 different kinds of free German online language learning games here

 

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40 Try Skype lessons for children (may not be advised for infants and toddlers)

Many teachers are offering language lessons via Skype. Ask around and see if anyone can recommend a teacher to you. Sit in on the lesson too so you know what language to reinforce between lessons.

 

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41 Read bedtime stories in German to your child

Books, books, books. Kids love books and stories. Read stories in German before bed. Often when kids have heard a favorite story many times they know the words. Encourage your child to help tell the story.

42 Play German children’s games

Many children’s games are the same the world over, play kids games your child already knows in their 1st language but play it in the 2nd language. Paper, rock, scissors has many variations; play it in the 2nd language. Hopscotch, skipping games, clapping games etc. can all be played in any language. For more ideas have a look at the games in the different ‘countries and cultures’ at Dino Lingo (to the right of this post).

43 Get comic books & children’s magazines from Germany

Ask if a friend or relative overseas can send you comics or children’s magazines in German. Children’s magazines usually have lots of fun facts in them that you can talk about and further research. They also have quizzes and puzzles that are lots of fun to do.

44 Go to a national parade of the target culture

You could try to find where there is a large community of people from the target culture. They will no doubt have special events to celebrate the holidays of their country of origin. Take your child to their parades and festivals.

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45 Have a personalized notebook specially used for learning the2nd language(Don’t forget to use it to have your child draw whatever you say in the 2nd language

Let your child choose the notebook at the shop and decorate it anyway they want to make it special. Say words in German and have them draw pictures, or even write the word or the first letter, depending on what level they are at. Go back over the pictures every few days. Talk about the pictures and praise your child’s drawing skills.

46 Do local crafts

If you are a native speaker of German think about the crafts you did as a child and do them with your child (think also about how happy you were doing this activity with your own mother/father or your friends). Don’t worry if you have forgotten how, look on the Internet to refresh your memory. Perhaps you could send something your child makes to grandparents or relatives overseas.

47 Use chatting apps (WhatsApp, Line, etc.) to talk with friends and family who have same-aged children

Chatting apps are mobile and easy to use. Chat with friends in the 2nd who have children about the same age. Encourage your child to chat with them and their kids too. Ask their kids about themselves, their day etc. and encourage your child to talk about themselves.

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48 Sing lullabies in the 2nd language to put your baby asleep

Lullabies are so soothing for baby and parent. Sing some German lullabies to help your baby sleep. You can buy wind-up crib music at a baby store. Play the music and sing in the German. Establish is as a routine and enjoy the time holding your baby and knowing you are soothing him/her.

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49 Consider homeschooling by getting an online curriculum

More and more people are turning to homeschooling these days and there are plenty of resources online. Do some research and find something that suits you and your child. Depending on the school hours where you live, it may be possible for your child to attend the local school and follow a homeschooling curriculum.

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50 Send your child to a summer camp where he/she can study German in a short time.

Summer camp is a great experience for children. It is often their first extended time away from home and a chance to make lots of new friends and try a variety of activities for the first time. ‘Language’ camps for kids usually incorporate study with lots of games/crafts/activities related to the 2nd language culture. Look online or on the notice board in community centers and other public buildings.

 German children’s books

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False Friends

What an unbelievable coincidence!

Not only do Poland and Indonesia have exactly the opposite meaning for this word, their flags are opposites as well!

Words in different languages that look or sound similar but differ significantly in meaning are called “false friends.” Words like these can lead to miscommunications with speakers of other languages that are weird, confusing, and hilarious.

The Spanish word embarazada is another good example of a false friend.  Embarazada sounds very close to the English word embarrassed, but actually means pregnant. Many Spanish students will come across this “friend” at some point. Even professionals can miss it sometimes-  this mistake was made by a pen company whose Spanish advertisements for ballpoint pens translated to: “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant.”

German and English in particular have a ton of language frienemies to watch out for.

Several English words with very different German meanings:

bald - soon

herb - bitter, harsh;

fast- almost

Mist - dung

Gift - poison

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German Songs for Children – German Culture for kids

 

1. Alle meine Entchen

Alle meine Entchen

|: schwimmen auf dem See :|

Köpfchen in das Wasser,

Schwänzchen in die Höh.

Alle meine Täubchen

|: gurren auf dem Dach :|

fliegt eins in die Lüfte,

fliegen alle nach.

Alle meine Hühner

|: scharren in dem Stroh :|

finden sie ein Körnchen,

sind sie alle froh.

Alle meine Gänschen

|: watscheln durch den Grund :|

suchen in dem Tümpel,

werden kugelrund

2. Hänschen klein

Hänschen klein ging allein

in die weite Welt hinein.

Stock und Hut steh’n ihm gut,

ist gar wohl gemut.

Aber Mama weinet sehr,

hat ja nun kein Hänschen mehr.

“Wünsch dir Glück“ sagt ihr Blick,

“kehr nur bald zurück!“

Sieben Jahr, trüb und klar,

Hänschen in der Fremde war;

da besinnt sich das Kind,

eilet heim geschwind.

Doch nun ist’s kein Hänschen mehr,

nein, ein großer Hans ist er,

braun gebrannt, Stirn und Hand,

wird er wohl erkannt?

Eins, zwei, drei geh’n vorbei,

wissen nicht wer das wohl sei.

Schwester spricht: „Welch Gesicht“,

kennt den Bruder nicht.

Kommt daher die Mutter sein,

schaut ihm kaum ins Aug’ hinein,

spricht sie schon: „ Hans, mein Sohn!

Grüß dich Gott mein Sohn!“

3. Schlaf kindlein schlaf

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,

Der Vater hüt die Schaf,

Die Mutter schüttelts Bäumelein,

Da fällt herab ein Träumelein.

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,

Am Himmel ziehn die Schaf,

Die Sternlein sind die Lämmerlein,

Der Mond, der ist das Schäferlein,

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,

so schenk ich dir ein Schaf

Mit einer goldnen Schelle fein,

Das soll dein Spielgeselle sein,

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,

Geh fort und hüt die Schaf,

Geh fort, du schwarzes Hündelein,

Und weck nur nicht mein Kindelein,

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.

4. Der Kuckuck und der Esel

Der Kuckuck und der Esel,

Die hatten einen Streit,

|: Wer wohl am besten sänge:|

|: Zur schönen Maienzeit:|

Der Kuckuck sprach: „Das kann ich!“

Und hub gleich an zu schrei’n.

|: Ich aber kann es besser!:|

|: Fiel gleich der Esel ein.:|

Das klang so schön und lieblich,

So schön von fern und nah;

|: Sie sangen alle beide:|

Kuckuck, Kuckuck, i-a, i-a!

Kuckuck, Kuckuck, i-a!

5. Kommt ein Vogel geflogen

Kommt ein Vogel geflogen,

Setzt sich nieder auf mein’ Fuß,

Hat ein’ Zettel im Schnabel,

Von der Mutter einen Gruß.

Lieber Vogel, fliege weiter!

Nimm ein’ Gruß mit und ein’ Kuss.

Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten,

Weil ich hier bleiben muss.

Und der Vogel flog weiter,

Über Berge und Tal,

Und die Kinder am Fenster,

Sahen traurig ihm nach.

6. Der Mond ist aufgegangen

Der Mond ist aufgegangen,

Die goldnen Sternlein prangen

Am Himmel hell und klar;

Der Wald steht schwarz und schweiget,

Und aus den Wiesen steiget

Der weiße Nebel wunderbar.

Wie ist die Welt so stille,

Und in der Dämmrung Hülle

So traulich und so hold!

Als eine stille Kammer,

Wo ihr des Tages Jammer

Verschlafen und vergessen sollt.

Seht ihr den Mond dort stehen?

Er ist nur halb zu sehen,

Und ist doch rund und schön!

So sind wohl manche Sachen,

Die wir getrost belachen,

Weil unsre Augen sie nicht sehn.

Wir stolze Menschenkinder

Sind eitel arme Sünder

Und wissen gar nicht viel;

Wir spinnen Luftgespinste

Und suchen viele Künste

Und kommen weiter von dem Ziel.

Gott, laß uns dein Heil schauen,

Auf nichts Vergänglichs trauen,

Nicht Eitelkeit uns freun!

Laß uns einfältig werden

Und vor dir hier auf Erden

Wie Kinder fromm und fröhlich sein!

Wollst endlich sonder Grämen

Aus dieser Welt uns nehmen

Durch einen sanften Tod!

Und, wenn du uns genommen,

Laß uns in Himmel kommen,

Du unser Herr und unser Gott!

So legt euch denn, ihr Brüder,

In Gottes Namen nieder;

Kalt ist der Abendhauch.

Verschon uns, Gott! mit Strafen,

Und laß uns ruhig schlafen!

Und unsern kranken Nachbar auch!

7. Summ summ summ

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

Ei, wir tun dir nichts zu leide,

Flieg nur aus in Wald und Heide!

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

Such in Blüten, such in Blümchen

Dir ein Tröpfchen, dir ein Krümchen

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

Kehre heim mit reicher Habe,

Bau uns manche volle Wabe,

Summ, summ, summ!

Bienchen summ herum!

8. Alle Vögel sind schon da

Alle Vögel sind schon da,

alle Vögel, alle.

Welch ein Singen, Musiziern,

Pfeifen, Zwitschern, Tiriliern!

Frühling will nun einmarschiern,

kommt mit Sang und Schalle.

Wie sie alle lustig sind,

flink und froh sich regen!

Amsel, Drossel, Fink und Star

und die ganze Vogelschar

wünschen dir ein frohes Jahr,

lauter Heil und Segen.

Was sie uns verkünden nun,

nehmen wir zu Herzen:

Wir auch wollen lustig sein,

lustig wie die Vögelein,

hier und dort, feldaus, feldein,

singen, springen, scherzen.

9. Hänsel und Gretel

Hänsel und Gretel verliefen sich im Wald.

Es war so finster und auch so
bitter kalt.

Sie kamen an ein Häuschen von Pfefferkuchen fein.

Wer mag der Herr wohl von diesem Häuschen sein.

Hu, hu, da schaut eine alte Hexe raus!

Lockte die Kinder ins Pfefferkuchenhaus.

Sie stellte sich gar freundlich, o Hänsel, welche Not!

Ihn wollt’ sie braten im Ofen braun wie Brot.

Doch als die Hexe zum Ofen schaut hinein,

Ward sie gestoßen von unserm Gretelein.

Die Hexe musste braten, die Kinder geh´n nach Haus.

Nun ist das Märchen von Hans und Gretel aus.

10. Weisst du wieviel Sterne stehen

Strophe

Weißt Du wie viel Sternlein stehen

an dem blauen Himmelszelt?

Weißt Du wie viel Wolken gehen

weithin über alle Welt?

Gott der Herr hat sie gezählet,

dass ihm auch nicht eines fehlet

an der ganzen großen Zahl,

an der ganzen großen Zahl.

Strophe

Weißt du, wie viel Mücklein spielen

in der heißen Sonnenglut,

wie viel Fischlein auch sich kühlen

in der hellen Wasserflut?

Gott der Herr rief sie mit Namen,

dass sie all ins Leben kamen,

dass sie nun so fröhlich sind.

Strophe

Weißt du, wie viel Kinder frühe

stehn aus ihrem Bettlein auf,

dass sie ohne Sorg und Mühe

fröhlich sind im Tageslauf?

Gott im Himmel hat an allen

seine Lust, sein Wohlgefallen;

kennt auch dich und hat dich lieb.

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German Facts and Statistics – German Culture for kids

German Flag

Germany, or Deutschland, is a country in central Europe.  It is called the Bundesrepublik Deutschland or the Federal Republic of Germany.  The nickname is Land der Dichter und Denker. This means the land of poets and thinkers.

Germany is known for its poets like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the Grimm brothers and Thomas Mann.  Famous scientists and inventors include Albert Einstein and the physician Robert Koch who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his tuberculosis findings.  Germans enjoy going to museums, concerts and theaters.

Germany is one of the largest countries in Europe with more than 81.5 million people.  Many immigrants from other European countries come to Germany to live, work and study.

Germany is bordered to the north by Denmark and to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic. It is bordered to the south by Austria and Switzerland and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.  The Baltic Sea and the North Sea along with the lowlands form borders in the North of Germany. Southern Germany borders are formed by the Alps and the Bodensee (Lake Constance).  The highest mountain in Germany is the Zugspitze Mountain part of the Wetterstein Mountains between Germany and Austria.  It is almost 3000 meters high.

There are sixteen states called Bundesländer in Germany. Each of these regions has some differences which makes the country of Germany more interesting.

Berlin is Germany’s capital and largest city. Germany was divided into two different countries, East Germany and West Germany after World War II.  The city of Berlin was part of both countries.  There was East Berlin and West Berlin.  The Berlin Wall was built to separate the city into two parts. In 1989, the Berlin Wall was torn down.  Germany became one country again.  Today, most Germans as well as their neighbors like the peaceful reunified Germany. October 3rd is celebrated as “German Unification Day”.

The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin.  Built in 1791, the gate is the entrance to Berlin.  It is the most popular and visited landmark in Berlin and a symbol of the city.  The gate is closed to car, taxi and bus traffic.

Sports are very popular in Germany.  Many Germans join sport clubs.   Die Fussball-Bundesliga is followed closely by many soccer fans.  Besides soccer, other popular sports in Germany include tennis, swimming and skiing.

German Etiquette

  • German people value order, privacy and being on time. It is not polite to visit others at their homes unless you plan for this ahead of time.

  • They value saving money, hard work and respect for all people.

  • People shake hands when they meet and when they leave.

  • A “thumbs up” gesture is a sign of appreciation or agreement.

  • In a restaurant, you raise your hand to call the waiter or waitress.

  • It is polite to wait for the hostess to sit down before eating and wait for the hostess to make a toast before drinking. Guten Appetit is said before eating and means “enjoy your meal”. Guests respond by saying Guten Appetit in return or Danke Ebenfalls (thank you).  It is polite to keep your hands on the table not in your lap.  Elbows should be off the table.

  • Most foods are eaten with silverware.  Even sandwiches and fruit are cut and eaten with forks.

  • It is polite to eat all of your food and to place your knife and fork side by side when finished eating.

  • If you are talking or resting from eating, cross your knife and fork on your plate with the fork over the knife.

  • When invited to someone’s house, always bring a small gift to the hostess. For a larger party, it is appropriate to send flowers before the party or the next day after the party.  Never give 13 flowers as it is unlucky.  Favorite flowers include yellow roses or tea roses.  Chocolates are also a popular gift.

  • A man walks to the left of a lady on the sidewalk or in a hallway.

  • Men open doors for women.

  • It is appropriate to stand when someone older or someone with earned respect (i.e., a doctor, dentist, teacher, etc.) enters the room.

German Food

Germany is known for many different kinds of breads and baked goods.  You will find lots of bakeries. Pumpernickel bread is a sour, dark rye bread that is popular in Germany.  German breads are a mix of wheat and rye flour so they are dark breads.   Brezeln is the name for “pretzels” in English.  This food was first made in Germany.  German pretzels are exported to many other countries.

Strudel is a popular German dessert pastry that is baked with layers of fruit or cheese. People usually eat it for breakfast. Black Forest cake is a dark chocolate cake filled with cherries and cream. Stollen and Lebkuchen are delicious cakes and ginger biscuits eaten during the  Christmas season.

Meat, mostly different kinds of sausage, is very common in dishes throughout Germany.  A well-known German dish is schnitzel. This dish is made of veal that has been breaded and fried. The veal is often sliced open and cheese placed inside when the dish is cooked.  Schweinebraten (roast pork knuckles) is very popular in Southern Germany while Rinderbraten (beef roast) is more popular in Northern Germany.  Semmelknoedel with a creamy mushroom sauce are bread dumplings eaten with meat dishes or as a side dish.

Sauerkraut is probably the most famous vegetable of Germans.  It is eaten at many meals and with potatoes and meat. Another healthy vegetable is spargel, a white asparagus that is harvested in the spring time.

Germany’s south-western regions are well-known for their wine growing areas.  They attract a wine festival each year with over 600,000 visitors from around the world.

German Fashion

Germans wear the same everyday clothes as most Americans and other Westerners. For dress up, their clothing is as fashionable as any modern city or country in the world.  There are many design schools and fashion magazines in Germany.  German people pride themselves on being fashionable and well-dressed.

For festivals and special holidays in Germany, women may wear a dirndl (a traditional dress) and men may wear lederhosen (short leather pants).  These are typical clothing of long ago.

The dirndl was the uniform of servants.  It is made of a blouse, a full skirt, a petticoat to be worn underneath and an apron. The dirndl is often embroidered with lace, ribbons and trim.

Lederhosen worn by boys and men are knee breeches.  There are suspenders and front flaps.  These breeches are worn with shirts and sweaters of coarse linen or wool.  Wool knee stockings, jackets and hats are added.

Children’s Games   

Mensch ärgere Dich nicht is a very popular German board game.  It is almost 100 years old.  The game involves players throwing a die and moving their pieces around in a cross-shaped pattern. The game is similar to the Indian game Pachisi, the Colombian game Parqués, the American games Parcheesi and Trouble, and the English game Ludo.  The name of the game means “do not get annoyed” because in the game, the player’s piece will be sent back to start if another player’s piece lands on it as in the game of Sorry.

Topfschlagen is a traditional German game for children.  In English, Topschlagen means “hit the pot”. To play this game, an adult hides a pot with a small prize inside. One child closes his/her eyes and is given a wooden spoon to bang around on the floor until the pot is found. Everyone else shouts “hot” and “cold” to let the child know how close or far away they are from the pot. When the pot is found, the child gets the prize inside.  Then, it is another child’s turn.

German Children’s Stories

Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm known as the Grimm brothers are German.  They are famous for collecting, writing and publishing German fairy tales and folktales.  Some of the most well-known ones are Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, Cinderella, The Frog Prince and Rumpelstiltskin. Their first collection had 200 folktales.  In addition, The Grimm brothers wrote mythologies and worked on a German dictionary.

The Grimm’s folk tales are very popular.  Today, they are available in more than 100 different languages.  Many of these folk talks have been adapted for films and Walt Disney movies.

German Holidays

Most people in Germany are Christians.  The Christian holidays of Easter (Ostern) and Christmas (Weinachten) are very important holidays in Germany. The Christmas tree tradition comes from Germany.  Decorated gingerbread cakes called lebkuchen are also a German Christmas tradition. Christmas markets are set up in many towns and cities. At home, people make their own Advent wreaths out of pine branches and decorate them with candles. Important traditions include decorating the Christmas tree with ornaments and candles and a large feast. There is a Christmas meal of sausages and potato salad or a Christmas goose.

December 6th is St. Nicolaus Day, or Nikolaustag in German.  For this holiday, children leave their shoes in front of the door. St. Nicholas fills them with gifts during the night.

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is celebrated on April 30th.  This day is one day before May Day.  Traditionally in Germany, it is a time to drive out evil spirits usually with loud noises. There are dances and bonfires.  People wear scary masks like on Halloween.

Oktoberfest is a famous festival in the German city of Munich.  It is the most visited festival and the world’s largest fair.  It starts at the end of September until the first weekend in October.  It is an important part of the culture of Bavaria, a region in southern Germany.  People enjoy traditional Bavarian music. They eat Bavarian foods like pretzels, sausage, and drink German beer.

German Common Names

German people have a vorname (first name) and a nachname (last name).

(Madchen) Girls’ Names

Anna

Claudia/Klaudia

Christina/Kristina

Johanna

Julia

Katharina

Katja

Lena

Maria

Monica

Sabine

Stefanie

Sofia

Ursula

(Jungen) Boys’ Names

Andreas

Christian/Kristian

Dieter

Gunter

Hans

Jacob/Jakob

Jens

Karl

Kurt

Lucas/Lukas

Michael

Paul

Stefan

German Alphabet and Language

German, or Deutsch, is the most common language of Germany.  It is an official language in Germany and neighboring countries of Austria, Switzerland,Luxembourg and Liechtenstein.  German is also one of the three official languages of Belgium.

German is a European language that is closely related to English.  The German alphabet has all of the same basic letters as the English alphabet.  However, German has one letter that is only in the German alphabet and no other alphabet.  This letter is ß.  It is a double S or scharfes S.  This letter is used instead of “ss” in the middle or at the end of some German words.

Some German words have two small dots placed over the vowels.  This sign is called an umlaut.  It means the vowel is pronounced differently.  For example, in the word fräulein which means young woman, the letter “a” with the umlaut is pronounced with an “ao” sound.

German people value education.  99% of the adults can read and write.

Simple German Phrases

Guten Tag

Guten Morgen

Guten Abend

Gute Nacht

Tag

Tschus

Auf Wiedersehen

Wie geht es dir

Bitte

Danke

Entschuldigen

Wie heißt du?

Ich heiße _____

Good day

Good morning

Good evening

Good night

Hi

Bye

Goodbye

How are you?

Please

Thank you

Excuse me

What’s your name?

My name is ______

German Traditional Music and Musical Instruments

German music includes many volkslieder or folk songs.  These are taught to children.  The many different regions of Germany have their own different styles of folk music. Oom-pah is a type of music played by the brass bands.

Bavarian folk music is likely the most well-known outside of Germany.  Yodeling and schuhplatter dancers are found mostly in south of Germany. Schuhplatter dancing is a series of jumps and hip movements to the time of the music.  Performed my male dancers, they strike their thighs, knees and soles of their feet.  They also clap their hands and stamp their feet.

Popular folk songs include emigration songs, work songs and songs about democracy.

Some of the most famous composers of classical, baroque, and opera music were German.  You might have heard these names.  These composers include Ludwig von Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Johannes Brahms, Felix Mendelssohn, Robert Shumann, Richard Strauss and  Richard Wagner.

A Traditional German Christmas Song – Kling, Glöckchen, Kling

Deutsch Version

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!

Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Laßt mich ein, ihr Kinder!

Ist so kalt der Winter!

Öffnet mir die Türen!

Laßt mich nicht erfrieren!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling! Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!

Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Mädchen, hört, und Bübchen,

Macht mir auf das Stübchen!

Bring euch viele Gaben,

Sollt euch dran erlaben!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling! Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling!

Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

Hell erglühn die Kerzen,

Öffnet mir die Herzen,

Will drin wohnen fröhlich,

Frommes Kind, wie selig!

Kling, Glöckchen, klingelingeling! Kling, Glöckchen, kling!

English Version

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!

Ring, little bell, ring!

Let me in, you kids!

So cold is the winter!

Open the doors for me!

Don’t let me freeze!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling! Ring, little bell, ring!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!

Ring, little bell, ring!

Girls, listen, and boys,

Open up the room for me!

I bring you many gifts,

You should enjoy them!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling! Ring, little bell, ring!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!

Ring, little bell, ring!

Brightly glow the candles,

Open your hearts to me,

I want to live there happily,

Devout child, how blessed!

Ring, little bell, ringalingaling!  Ring, little bell, ring!

German Travel Destinations

Germany has many large cities to visit including Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Dresden, and Hamburg.

The Black Forest is a large forest in Baden-Württemberg, It is a popular place for hiking and outdoor activities.

The famous mountain range called the Alps is in the southern part of Germany called Bavaria.  It is a place for skiing, hiking and taking vacations.

Some of the longest rivers in Europe are in Germany. These are the Rhine, the Danube and the Elbe.

Germany is known for its many well-preserved medieval towns and beautiful castles.  One very famous German castle is Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria.   The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is modeled after the Neuschwanstein Castle.

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German Songs for Kids lyrics

  1. Alle meine Entchen
  2. Hänschen klein
  3. Schlaf kindlein schlaf
  4. Der Kuckuck und der Esel
  5. Kommt ein Vogel geflogen
  6. Der Mond ist aufgegangen
  7. Summ summ summ
  8. Alle Vögel sind schon da
  9. Hänsel und Gretel
  10. Weisst du wieviel Sterne stehen

You can find all songs at Dino Lingo website.

1. Alle meine Entchen

Alle meine Entchen
|: schwimmen auf dem See :|
Köpfchen in das Wasser,
Schwänzchen in die Höh.

Alle meine Täubchen
|: gurren auf dem Dach :|
fliegt eins in die Lüfte,
fliegen alle nach.

Alle meine Hühner
|: scharren in dem Stroh :|
finden sie ein Körnchen,
sind sie alle froh.

Alle meine Gänschen
|: watscheln durch den Grund :|
suchen in dem Tümpel,
werden kugelrund

2. Hänschen klein

Hänschen klein ging allein
in die weite Welt hinein.
Stock und Hut steh’n ihm gut,
ist gar wohl gemut.
Aber Mama weinet sehr,
hat ja nun kein Hänschen mehr.
“Wünsch dir Glück“ sagt ihr Blick,
“kehr nur bald zurück!“

Sieben Jahr, trüb und klar,
Hänschen in der Fremde war;
da besinnt sich das Kind,
eilet heim geschwind.
Doch nun ist’s kein Hänschen mehr,
nein, ein großer Hans ist er,
braun gebrannt, Stirn und Hand,
wird er wohl erkannt?
Eins, zwei, drei geh’n vorbei,
wissen nicht wer das wohl sei.
Schwester spricht: „Welch Gesicht“,
kennt den Bruder nicht.
Kommt daher die Mutter sein,
schaut ihm kaum ins Aug’ hinein,
spricht sie schon: „ Hans, mein Sohn!
Grüß dich Gott mein Sohn!“

3. Schlaf kindlein schlaf

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Der Vater hüt die Schaf,
Die Mutter schüttelts Bäumelein,
Da fällt herab ein Träumelein.
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Am Himmel ziehn die Schaf,
Die Sternlein sind die Lämmerlein,
Der Mond, der ist das Schäferlein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
so schenk ich dir ein Schaf
Mit einer goldnen Schelle fein,
Das soll dein Spielgeselle sein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf!

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf,
Geh fort und hüt die Schaf,
Geh fort, du schwarzes Hündelein,
Und weck nur nicht mein Kindelein,
Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf.

4. Der Kuckuck und der Esel

Der Kuckuck und der Esel,
Die hatten einen Streit,
|: Wer wohl am besten sänge :|
|: Zur schönen Maienzeit :|

Der Kuckuck sprach: „Das kann ich!“
Und hub gleich an zu schrei’n.
|: Ich aber kann es besser! :|
|: Fiel gleich der Esel ein. :|

Das klang so schön und lieblich,
So schön von fern und nah;
|: Sie sangen alle beide :|
Kuckuck, Kuckuck, i-a, i-a!
Kuckuck, Kuckuck, i-a!

5. Kommt ein Vogel geflogen

Kommt ein Vogel geflogen,
Setzt sich nieder auf mein’ Fuß,
Hat ein’ Zettel im Schnabel,
Von der Mutter einen Gruß.

Lieber Vogel, fliege weiter!
Nimm ein’ Gruß mit und ein’ Kuss.
Denn ich kann dich nicht begleiten,
Weil ich hier bleiben muss.

Und der Vogel flog weiter,
Über Berge und Tal,
Und die Kinder am Fenster,
Sahen traurig ihm nach.

 

6. Der Mond ist aufgegangen

1. Der Mond ist aufgegangen,
Die goldnen Sternlein prangen
Am Himmel hell und klar;
Der Wald steht schwarz und schweiget,
Und aus den Wiesen steiget
Der weiße Nebel wunderbar.

2. Wie ist die Welt so stille,
Und in der Dämmrung Hülle
So traulich und so hold!
Als eine stille Kammer,
Wo ihr des Tages Jammer
Verschlafen und vergessen sollt.

3. Seht ihr den Mond dort stehen?
Er ist nur halb zu sehen,
Und ist doch rund und schön!
So sind wohl manche Sachen,
Die wir getrost belachen,
Weil unsre Augen sie nicht sehn.

4. Wir stolze Menschenkinder
Sind eitel arme Sünder
Und wissen gar nicht viel;
Wir spinnen Luftgespinste
Und suchen viele Künste
Und kommen weiter von dem Ziel.

5. Gott, laß uns dein Heil schauen,
Auf nichts Vergänglichs trauen,
Nicht Eitelkeit uns freun!
Laß uns einfältig werden
Und vor dir hier auf Erden
Wie Kinder fromm und fröhlich sein!

6. Wollst endlich sonder Grämen
Aus dieser Welt uns nehmen
Durch einen sanften Tod!
Und, wenn du uns genommen,
Laß uns in Himmel kommen,
Du unser Herr und unser Gott!

7. So legt euch denn, ihr Brüder,
In Gottes Namen nieder;
Kalt ist der Abendhauch.
Verschon uns, Gott! mit Strafen,
Und laß uns ruhig schlafen!
Und unsern kranken Nachbar auch!

 

7. Summ summ summ

Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!
Ei, wir tun dir nichts zu leide,
Flieg nur aus in Wald und Heide!
Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!

Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!
Such in Blüten, such in Blümchen
Dir ein Tröpfchen, dir ein Krümchen
Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!

Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!
Kehre heim mit reicher Habe,
Bau uns manche volle Wabe,
Summ, summ, summ!
Bienchen summ herum!

8. SONG TITLE

Alle Vögel sind schon da,
alle Vögel, alle.
Welch ein Singen, Musiziern,
Pfeifen, Zwitschern, Tiriliern!
Frühling will nun einmarschiern,
kommt mit Sang und Schalle.

Wie sie alle lustig sind,
flink und froh sich regen!
Amsel, Drossel, Fink und Star
und die ganze Vogelschar
wünschen dir ein frohes Jahr,
lauter Heil und Segen.

Was sie uns verkünden nun,
nehmen wir zu Herzen:
Wir auch wollen lustig sein,
lustig wie die Vögelein,
hier und dort, feldaus, feldein,
singen, springen, scherzen.

9. Hänsel und Gretel

Hänsel und Gretel verliefen sich im Wald.
Es war so finster und auch so bitter kalt.
Sie kamen an ein Häuschen von Pfefferkuchen fein.
Wer mag der Herr wohl von diesem Häuschen sein.

Hu, hu, da schaut eine alte Hexe raus!
Lockte die Kinder ins Pfefferkuchenhaus.
Sie stellte sich gar freundlich, o Hänsel, welche Not!
Ihn wollt’ sie braten im Ofen braun wie Brot.

Doch als die Hexe zum Ofen schaut hinein,
Ward sie gestoßen von unserm Gretelein.
Die Hexe musste braten, die Kinder geh´n nach Haus.
Nun ist das Märchen von Hans und Gretel aus.

10. Weisst du wieviel Sterne stehen

1. Strophe
Weißt Du wie viel Sternlein stehen
an dem blauen Himmelszelt?
Weißt Du wie viel Wolken gehen
weithin über alle Welt?
Gott der Herr hat sie gezählet,
dass ihm auch nicht eines fehlet
an der ganzen großen Zahl,
an der ganzen großen Zahl.

2. Strophe
Weißt du, wie viel Mücklein spielen
in der heißen Sonnenglut,
wie viel Fischlein auch sich kühlen
in der hellen Wasserflut?
Gott der Herr rief sie mit Namen,
dass sie all ins Leben kamen,
dass sie nun so fröhlich sind.

3. Strophe
Weißt du, wie viel Kinder frühe
stehn aus ihrem Bettlein auf,
dass sie ohne Sorg und Mühe
fröhlich sind im Tageslauf?
Gott im Himmel hat an allen
seine Lust, sein Wohlgefallen;
kennt auch dich und hat dich lieb.

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