How to teach children French and French teaching materials

How to teach children French


1 Get fairy tales and storybooks in French 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 French.

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 French 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.


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

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.


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

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 French.


4 Play hide and seek by counting in French

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.


5 Play board games in French 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!


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.



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).


8 Listen to children’s songs in French 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 French children’s songs


9 Listen to pop songs in French 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.


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.


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.


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

YouTube is a super resource. You can create playlists of French 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.


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 French 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 France’s ministry of culture

Have a look at the website and find interesting information about France. 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 French

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


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.


17 Play CDs when driving your child to school

Always play CDs in French 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.


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.

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.


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.


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?”


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 French 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.


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 French.

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


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.


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 French (or multiple languages) or one that sings traditional songs/nursery rhymes from France.

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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 France (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.


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.


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

Try to find other parents encouraging their children to learn French, 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!



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

Encourage video chat with other children you know, that speak French. 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.



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

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


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

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

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35 Cook French recipes together with your child

Kids always want to be a ‘little helper’ in the kitchen. Cook some simple dishes from France together. Us the 2nd language for instructions, wash, cut, wipe, mix…. Name the ingredients in a natural way as you cook. Here are some French 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 France. Community centers are a great place to meet people, look at notice boards for anything from people interested or connected in some way to, French. You could even offer to do something yourself, give a talk about the country or a traditional dance etc.

37 Visit French supermarkets and French restaurants with your child

Go around a French supermarket and point out the foods from France. 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.


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 French 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 French online language learning games here



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.



41 Read bedtime stories in French to your child

Books, books, books. Kids love books and stories. Read stories in French 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 French 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 France

Ask if a friend or relative overseas can send you comics or children’s magazines in French. 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.


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 French 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 French 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.


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

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


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.


50 Send your child to a summer camp where he/she can study French 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.


French Culture for Children– fun facts, food, music, language & more

French Food

French restaurants are famous in all over the world for being elegant and expensive, but that is only a stereotype. In reality, in France, you can eat very well without spending a fortune. Just bread (baguettes have been invented there, hello!) is fantastic and super tasty even though it is made only with flour, water and a bit of salt.

France is the birthplace of crepes; on almost every street corner you will be able to find a small kiosk serving crepes. There are savoury crepes (with cheese and ham) or sweet ones (with chocolate cream, marmalade or just a bit of sugar). The smell in the air around those shops is so good that it’s difficult to pass by without stopping to get a bite.

France is the country of cheese and wine. Every little village produces its own wine and cheese and many are excellent. It will probably take a lifetime just to try all of them, but some people could say that that is a life worth living. A couple of the most famous French dishes are, ratatui  (ratatouille), a mix of garden vegetable such as zucchini, pepper, eggplants (made famous by the latest Disney cartoon) and French onion soup, a very tasty soup made from onion, bread and melted cheese.


French Clothing

In France there is no national dress, but there are many traditional costumes that were inspired by the garments of people from the countryside. These are often worn during holidays and religious celebrations.  France has many regions (22), each with their own traditional dress.
Those costumes can be very different from one region to another. Women’s hats in particular vary greatly, from small straw hats to huge starched lace veils very similar to something a bride might wear. Women’s costumes mainly consist of a long, simple white dress with a wide, brightly coloured overdress, which may also be decorated. Over this is worn a lacy apron and a shawl that can be worn over the shoulders or across the chest. This is all topped off with a very complicated hairstyle.
Men´s costumes are much more simple, just trousers, shirt, jacket and a hat similar to ones worn by the local farmers on market day. The shirt is always white (made of silk or cotton depending on the person’s status) and the basic colour of the whole costume is a dark colour, such as blue, brown or black.

The 20th century brought a lot of change and very quickly the traditional dress fell out of use, only to be worn for special occasions such as performances, historical recreations or traditional music and dance shows.
Nowadays, everybody dresses much more casually. French fashion and style (together with the Italians) are famous all around the world and the names and addresses of the most important shopping centers in Paris (such as the Primtemps or Galerie Lafayette) are listed in all the city guides.

Still today, French fashion is signifies elegance and a high lifestyle and French brands (maison de mode) and designers (coutourier) such as Chanel, Yves St. Lauren and Lavin still dress royal families all across Europe.
Among these designers, one of the most famous is Coco Chanel, who, born in a small village in the countryside in 1883 created the brand Chanel, which, still today, epitomizes elegance and style. With her creations, she made women feel beautiful and comfortable, and she invented one of the world’s most famous perfumes, Chanel no. 5.
Fashion is not just a hobby for wealthy people and many quality pieces of clothing can be bought in the second hand markets (called Marché de pusses or Brick brack or Brocantes) open weekly or monthly in every city.

Festivals, holidays, celebrations in France

Beside Christmas and New Year’s Eve, one of the most important French holidays, especially for Parisians is the 14th of July. On this day, the French remember the event that began the French revolution. The event was the taking of the Bastille (14th July 1789). The Bastille was a very big prison in downtown Paris where political prisoners (mostly people that were opposing the king and his power) where kept. Following months of political crisis the citizens of Paris entered the Bastille and freed the prisoners. As mentioned, this is considered the beginning of the French revolution, a few months after this event King Louis XVI and the Queen, Maria Antoinette were arrested and the Republic was proclaimed. During this time the French national Song La Marseillaise (the song from Marseille) was composed and the motto ` Liberté, Fraternité and Egalité´ (Freedom, Brotherhood, Equality) become famous all around the world.
Still today, people have a party in the street to commemorate the event and a big parade is organized every year in Paris.

On the other hand, a much more Hollywood – style event takes place every year in the South of France: the Cannes Film Festival. For about a week, all the most important directors, actors and producers meet on la Croisette (the area of the city where the festival takes place) and present the new movies of the season. The winners get a small golden palm branch and become the person that every TV and magazine want to interview.

Famous French stories & epics

Among the most famous French legends we would like to remember those ones linked to a beautiful place situated in the Northern part of the country: Mont San Michel. This cliff over the Atlantic sea hosts a beautiful church dedicated to San Michel Angel. The difference between low and high tide in this region is so strong that every 6 hours the church gets completely isolated from the coast. So the place can be reached from the mainland only when the tide is low. It is a very unusual place to build a church, but the legends goes that, during the Middle Ages, a pregnant woman was taking advantage of the low tide for picking up mussels from the beach. Suddenly she went into labour. Incapable of moving, she began to pray to St. Michel Angel for help.

The water was rising but the Angel answered her prayer and she and the baby were saved. To remember this event a little altar was built where the miracle took place and many years later the bishop of Avranches financed the construction of the church that we can still visit today. However this decision was not a spontaneous one since the Angel appeared twice to the bishop in his dreams asking him to make a new church. Only when the Angel gave him some tangible and terrible sign of his power did the bishop agree to collect the money necessary for the work.

Another famous epic story known by all French is about 19 year-old Jeanne d’Arc (a.k.a. Jon D’arc) during the 100 Year wars. Because of her leadership and courage the French army won many wars but she eventually was captured by Burgundians and sadly burned alive in Roune, Normandy.

French Children’s games

A pretty common French outdoor game for children is `La semaine´(the week) that can be played by 2 or more children (but a kid can play it alone as well, especially if he/she wants to get better at it) with only the aid of a piece of charcoal and a stone.

With the charcoal the kids have to draw 7 squares (one following the other) on the ground naming them with the name of the day of the week.
Once that is done the first player throws the stone in the Monday box and if he misses it, it is the next player’s turn. If he/she throws on the correct square he/she has to hop on the square, pick up the stone, still standing on one foot, and jump back to the starting point.

The players have to do that at least 7 times (one for each square) and they have to go back to the beginning every time they make a mistake (for example they loose their balance and put their other foot down). The winner is the player that covers all squares and makes it back to the starting point.

 Verbal and nonverbal communication in France

In France greetings are a very important part of every social interaction. French people all shake hands with everybody they meet and they always do it twice, when they arrive and when they leave. Not doing so will be considered very impolite. On the other hand kissing on the cheeks is a standard greeting practice among family and friends. This can be done in private and in public meetings (called randez – vous) and the double kissing (one kiss per cheek) often starts on the right side.

French people are extremely proud of being French and they like to express some of their thoughts with some very typical gestures. Among them, the most common are the following:

  • ´very good´ (il est delicieux) : touch your fingers and thumb all together, kiss your fingertips, and then open your hand, as if tossing something in the air.
  • ´Í have finished´ (c´est fini) : cross your arms in front of your body, with your palms out, then move them out, while saying, “C’est fini.”
  • ´I promise it´(je le jure): place your hand on top of your head

For the same reason, French people are extremely protective over their language.

They don´t like to mix French with foreign words when they speak and they often translate them in a pretty funny way. For example the computer mouse, which is called mouse everywhere else in Europe, in France it became ´le souris´, which means mouse (the animal) in French. For the same reason, French radio cannot broadcast too much foreign music and a fixed ratio of French to foreign music has to be kept.

Music is not the only example. Their love for their country makes French people always choose French products over foreign ones even where kids’ entertainment is concerned. In fact, many families choose the Asterix and Obelix Village entertainment park (Asterix and Obelix are famous comics book characters created by a French author) over Euro Disney, even thought the two places are situated outside Paris and they are pretty close to each other.

French Values

French people open their hearts to foreigners only when they speak (or make an attempt to speak) their language. The French are very proud of being French and they cherish every part of their culture. Some people might say that the French always feel superior to everyone else since they think they have the best wine, the best cheese and the most beautiful women…

However, it is true that they appreciate their own comic books, their own heroes and their own music above everything else, and even though many differences exist between the history and the culture of each region, everyone considers themselves as French as everyone else.

They all share the same history and the same little rituals. On Sunday morning, they all walk with a newspaper and a large baguette under their arm.

When you see that, you can definitively be sure, you are in France


France Fun facts

As we were saying French cuisine is very famous all over the world, but not many people know that some of the ingredients of the most traditional foods are a bit unusual. In fact, in France, you can eat not only raw oyster, but also snails (not raw, but cooked) and rabbit. Moreover, one of the most famous French ingredients is the pate de fois gras, a creamy pâté made from the liver of an overfed duck. The pate de fois gras can be made and eaten in many different ways, and it is one of the traditional foods that people eat for Christmas Eve dinner.

In many homes, once the Christmas Eve dinner is finished and everybody goes to bed, the table is not tidied away, so if, during the night, the Holy family need to stop at the house for a short break they will get food and drinks for their trip.

For the same reason, back in the day, in many houses the fire was kept going all through Christmas night and this tradition inspired a very famous French Christmas cake the bùche de Noêl, which is nothing more than a very sweet version of a log waiting to be burned on the fire.


Famous places in France

Like Italy, France is full of history, so it is very difficult to choose which places to mention first. However, we cannot forget Paris, which is not only the capital and a very beautiful and extremely romantic city, but also the city of the Louvre, one of the most important museums in the world.

In the Louvre, people can admire beautiful examples of Roman and Greek art and many renaissance masterpieces such as Leonardo’s Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

An hour away from Paris, people can visit the Palace of Versailles built by Louis XI, who, in 1475, decide to build a palace to go to with his family every time he got tired of Paris and all his royal duties.

However, the king who made Versailles what it is today was Louis XIV. He decided to renovate the building and renew the gardens and he officially opened up the new residence with a huge weeklong party with a very intriguing theme, “ the pleasures of the enchanted island” (Les Plaisirs de l’Isle Enchantée ).

Moving South from Paris, we can find other very beautiful and important castles. The castles on the Loire Valley (Chateaux de la Loire) a complex of more than 300 castles that were built in the valley of the Loire River and transformed the area into a fairytale landscape that hosts thousands of visitors every year. Among those castles the most famous and the most visited are the Castel d´Amboise, Chaumont and Angers.

Important Note: This article was written by a person familiar with French culture based on his or her personal anecdotal observations. Additionally, there are quite a few generalizations to make the article easier to understand for the children. Dino Lingo does not accept any responsibility for errors, omissions or subjectivity in the content of this post.

French Words

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French Culture for Children By DinoLingo Writer: Federica Galli
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More Quick Facts About France.

Geography and Nature

While France might look small compared to a country like Canada or the United States of America, it is the biggest country in the whole European Union. Also, France has a lot of land in other parts of the world, such as North America, South America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Ocean. It might not be so bad to be the mayor of a town in the Caribbean, huh!


France has the 20th largest population in the world, with about 65 million people. Almost 12 million of these people live in Paris alone, and the rest are spread out over the rest of the country.


Capital city & important cities

Paris is the capital of France, and it is also one of the most popular vacation spots in the world! Even though Paris is known for being a very expensive city to visit, it attracts about 45 million visitors each year! Some of the other major cities (and popular tourist spots) in Europe are Lyon, Marseille, and Nice (which sounds like this: “Nees”).

French Flag

The flag of France has a white stripe down the middle, with a blue stripe on one side   and a red stripe on the other. People who speak English usually call the French flag the “French tricolor” or even just “the tricolor.”


French cuisine (which is the fancy way of saying “French food”) is considered to be some of the best food in the world! Food is a very important part of French life, and people come from all over the world to eat the French food. Some of France’s most famous foods are their wines and their cheeses, and their food has had a big influence on a lot of the food that Americans eat every day.

Music and Dance

France is known for being cultured (which is another way of saying that they are known for being fancy), and their long history of classical music is one of things that has come from this! France is one of the most important countries for classical music, and this has been a big part of their lifestyle for a long, long time.


For a long, long time the country of France used the franc for their money, but now they use the euro, which is the currency that almost all of Europe uses. The euro is the strongest currency in the whole world!


Basic French Words


French language

French is the only official language of France, and it is the language that almost everyone speaks, but there are some other languages that people speak as well. These are called “regional languages,” and they are languages that have been around in certain areas for a long, long time!

Common French Names, and their Meanings….Is it Yours?

Stephanie: The name Stephanie is a girl’s name. Stephanie comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Stephanie is: The female version of the Greek name Stephan.

Abella: The name Abella is a girl’s name. The name Abella comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Abella is: Breath.

-Julia: The name Julia is a girl’s name. The name Julia comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Julia is: Youthful.

-Nicole: The name Nicole is a girl’s name. The name Nicole comes from the French origin. In English the meaning of the name Nicole is: the feminine form of the boy name Nicholas.

-Madeline: The name Madeline is a girl’s name. The name Madeline comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Madeline is: Diminutive of Madeleine: Woman of Magdala Tower.
-Sydney: The name Sydney is a boy’s name. The name Sydney comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Sydney is: Variant of Sidney: From Saint-Denis (place name). This name has recently become popular for girls as well as boys.
-Avery:The name Avery is a boy’s name. The name Avery comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Avery is: Rules with self-wisdom.

-Tristan: The name Tristan is a boy’s name. The name Tristan comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Tristan is: Tumult, outcry. From the Celtic name Tristan. In Arthurian legend Tristan was a Knight of the Round Table and tragic hero of the medieval tale Tristan and Isolde.
-Aubrey: The name Aubrey is a boy’s name. The name Aubrey comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Aubrey is: Blond ruler, elf ruler. From the Old French Auberi, a form of the Old German Alberich meaning elf ruler.  Although once common as a boy’s name, today it is almost exclusively given to girls.
-Mason: The name Mason is a boy’s name. The name Mason comes from the French origin. In French the meaning of the name Mason is: Stone worker.

Historical Figures of France: Kings, Queens and more

William the Conqueror’s actual French name is Guillaume le Conquérant, and he was the Duke of Normandy, a large area of northern France.  He is an historical figure of France because in 1066 he took his army across the Channel, and killed the English King, Harold, and most of the English nobles in the Battle of Hastings. He conquered England and put his Norman followers as leaders. His knights built strong castles like Dover, and his bishops built fine cathedrals like Canterbury. For 300 years, the King of England and all the important people in the country spoke only French. Today, English still has thousands of words which come from French.

Claude Monet is an artist, the leading member of the Impressionist painters. His most famous painting is the “Water-lilies” which he painted in an elaborate garden he had made for himself.

Claude-Achille Debussy was a French composer whose work is often linked with the Impressionist painters. He is famous for piano pieces such as “Children’s Corner” and his orchestral work “The Afternoon of a Faun” (“L’apès-midi d’une faune”).
Alexandre Dumas wrote the two historically known adventure classics “The Three Musketeers” and “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
Victor Hugo credited for the Disney film and video “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. The original novel was written by Victor Hugo and is known in France as “Notre Dame de Paris”.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry is the author of “Le Petit Prince” a well known French children’s book.
Napoléon Bonaparte was a famous French general who became Emperor of France in the aftermath of the French Revolution. Napoleon was responsible for introducing measures, which form the basis of many of France’s institutions that still exist today, including an educational law to set up state grammar schools (lycés), which aimed to provide well-trained army officers and civil servants. During Napoleon’s reign France was constantly at war. Napoleon built a huge empire, so that by 1812 he controlled the greater part of Western Europe. Eventually he was defeated when France was invaded by Russian, Prussian, Austrian and British armies. Finally, Napoleon was exiled to the island of Elba. He managed to escape and ruled France again for just a hundred days before being defeated by Wellington at Waterloo. He was sent as a prisoner to St. Helena, where he died in 1821.
Louis Blériot is credited as the French airman who became the first person to fly the English Channel. On 25 July 1909 he flew from Calais to Dover in 37 minutes.
Louis Braille is credited for inventing the system of raised dots which form letters for the visually impaired to read. Louis was blinded in an accident at the age of 4. He was sent to one of the first schools for blind boys in Paris, where they were taught simple skills to help them earn a living without begging. Without being able to read, it was difficult for blind people to have much education. The system is now used everywhere in the world.
Ferdinand de Lesseps is credited for building the Suez Canal – regarded at the time as the world’s greatest engineering triumph, and tried but failed to build a Panama Canal.

Popular Children’s Books of France, Separated by Age Groups

Ages 1 to 4:

–          Adele la Sauterelle

–          Adrien le Lapin

–          Benjamin le Lutin

–          Camille la Chenille

–          Cesar le Lizard

Ages 5 to 8:

–          Caroline a la Ferme (Probst, Pierre)

–          Babar a la Fete de Celesteville (Author: Brunhoff, Jean De)

–          Les Amis de Martine a la Maison (Author: Marlier, Marcel)

–          N 01 Petzi Construit son Bateau (Author: Hansen, Carla Et Vilh.)

–          Tom-Tom et Nana # 1et L’impossible Nana (Author: n/a)

Ages 9 to 11:

–          Alice a la Reserve des Oiseaux (Author: Quine, Caroline)

–          Bagarres du Petit Nicolas – Histoires inedites vol 8 (Sempe-Goscinny)

–          Dernier Seigneur (Le)   (Author: Milan Poche Histoire)

–          Atchoum! (Author: Seuil Jeunesse)

–          Petit Prince- cassette (version originale) (Author: Saint-Exupery, Antoine De)

Ages 12+

–          Hana Yori Dango t. 1 (Author: Kamio)

–          Harry Potter a l’ecole des Sorciers (Author: Rowling, J.K.)

–          Louison et M. Moliere (Author: Andersen, Hans Christian)

–          Je Suis un Garcon (Author: Arnaud, Cathrine)

–          Belle et la Bete (La) (Author: Folio Cadet)

French Inventions for Kids

  • AQUALUNG:Breathing apparatus that supplies oxygen to divers and allows them to stay underwater for several hours. Jacques-Yves Cousteau invented it in 1943.
  • BAROMETER:A device that measures air (barometric) pressure. It measures the weight of the column of air that extends from the instrument to the top of the atmosphere. There are two types of barometers commonly used today, mercury and aneroid (meaning “fluid less”). Earlier water barometers (also known as “storm glasses”) date from the 17th century. The Italian physicist Evangelista Torricelli invented the mercury barometer.
  • BATTERY:A device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy. Each battery has two electrodes, an anode (the positive end) and a cathode (the negative end). An electrical circuit runs between these two electrodes, going through a chemical called an electrolyte (which can be either liquid or solid). This unit consisting of two electrodes is called a cell (often called a voltaic cell or pile). Alessandro Volta invented it.
  • BICYCLE:A wooden scooter-like contraption called a celerifere. Comte Mede de Sivrac of France invented it in about 1790.
  • ELECTRIC IRON:The electric iron was invented in 1882 by Henry W. Seeley
  • MAYONNAISE:Invented in France hundreds of years ago, probably in 1756 by the French chef working for the Duke de Richelieu, The first ready-made mayonnaise was sold in the US in 1905 at Richard Hellman’s deli in New York.
  • METER (and the METRIC SYSTEM):Invented in France. In 1790, the French National Assembly directed the Academy of Sciences of Paris to standardize the units of measurement. A committee from the Academy used a decimal system and defined the meter to be one 10-millionths of the distance from the equator to the Earth’s Pole (that is, the Earth’s circumference would be equal to 40 million meters). The committee included the mathematicians Jean Charles de Borda (1733-1799), Joseph-Louis Comte de Lagrange (1736-1813), Pierre-Simon Laplace (1749-1827), Gaspard Monge (1746 -1818), and Marie Jean Antoine Nicholas Caritat, the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794).
  • PENCIL:  Invented in 1564 when a huge graphite (black carbon) mine was discovered in England. The pure graphite was sawn into sheets and then cut into square rods. The graphite rods were inserted into hand-carved wooden holders, forming pencils
  • Free online French language games for kids

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Some French phrases and words