~ Christi Madrid
In rearing our daughter to be compassionate and globally minded, it was important to my husband and me that she be protected from stereotypes and misunderstood cultures.
I noticed rather quickly that one of the cultures often avoided in kids programs was the Arab culture. The more I started talking to other parents about this it became clear that there is a fear of anything Arab in American parenting. Fear is not something we want our daughter to associate with the world and its marvelous cultural differences. Fear buries curiosity and learning under a cloak of self-doubt.
Like the true researcher I am, I dove into the Arab culture and found there are boundless ways children can benefit from a quick immersion into Arab life. In fact, there aren’t many cultures more immersed in tradition and family life than that of the Arab culture. From the time a child is born, parents begin to instill in their child a passion for their identity within the family and the importance of respecting older generations. I believe our suburban, non-Arab parents would be shocked at how similar their core parenting values are to that of their Arab counterparts.
To help you expand your little global citizen’s world, I’ve put together a list (with the help of some amazing people!) of my top 10 favorites. In no particular order, I give you 10 resources of Arabic for kids.
1. A Day in the Life of a Muslim Child (young child)
This website gives parents an overview of the prayers a Muslim child grows up learning. It’s a quick read, making it easy to print off and keep on hand. Though not all Arabs are Muslim, many are; this insightful web site provides a window into Islam.
2. Arab American Kids (all ages)
Such a great website for songs, games, recipes, and more Arabic for kids! *Parental warning: for kids who can read, I suggest checking out the website homepage first. The welcome note speaks of violence not suitable for all children.
3. Al Jazeera Children’s Channel (all ages)
This fantastic TV channel is regularly broadcast in the Middle East and parts of the UK. It’s entirely in Arabic with English subtitles. I compare it to the Disney Channel of the Middle East. It’s audience ranges from 3-15 year old and comes complete with a website designed just for kids. An English version is said to be coming soon!
4. Dino Lingo (young child)
If you’re looking for Arabic for kids- this is a hit with the little ones! They even offer a free lesson right on the site, but the full program does cost money. I’m contemplating this for my family — looks like a lot of fun!
5. ABC Arabic for Kids app for iPhone (young child)
ABC Arabic for Kids is a free iPhone app is colorful and bright with animals, letters, counting games and more! A fun and easy way for your global little one to pick up some Arabic words. Also available for Android.
6. Arabic Classes in Southampton (all ages)
This Facebook page is updated regularly with loads of helpful links and videos on language and Arabic culture. While their classes are based in the UK, their reach is so much further. Jump over and like their page!
7. Growing Up Global, (parents)
Though it’s not strictly regarding Arabic culture, this book rocks. Homa Tavangar is one awesome global mom. Her passion for helping children develop global identities is evident all over her book, Growing Up Global. A must read for parents.
8. Araboh (all ages)
Books, sing-a-long CD’s, educational DVD’s, you name it and Araboh probably has it! Along with a spectacular kids section, this website offers books geared for children of Arab descent living in non Arab speaking countries. Very well organized site and I appreciate organization!
9. Arabic Channel 4 (Kids) (all ages)
This YouTube channel is chock full of movies your kids know and love, but in Arabic! A great tool to help intermediate speakers develop the language by association. But don’t stop there; YouTube has lots of other videos with Arabic for kids too!
10. Animals All Around Us: Baby Einstein Arabic (young child)
While I couldn’t find any mention of this product on the actual Baby Einstein website, Amazon does carry it. I’ve heard great things about this particular video and there’s no better age to teach a child a language than when they’re tiny! Oh, to learn that way again!
Learning the ways of new cultures is about expanding horizons and opening little eyes to worlds once unknown. It leaves no room for discrimination or bullying and teaches children compassion and tolerance for all people. How different our American schools would be if every child grew up with a global mindset! The Arabic culture emphasizes family and respect for all life. While the customs and traditions may look different, they offer our children so much by way of experience and mindful play.
Have a favorite Arabic resource for children? Share it with me in the comments. Thank you so much Christi for all of your research and hard work; what a wonderful list of resources to learn Arabic for kids. Christi Madrid, a Florida based blogger shared this post today. Together, she and her husband strive to rear their daughter to be a globally-minded citizen; confident and empowered in her world identity. Christi blogs about step-parenting and her personal passion of Learning to be the Light at ChristiMadrid.com. You can also catch her on Facebook.