Learn Arabic for Kids – Starter Kit with Free Activities & Printables
Do you want to teach kids Arabic? This new Learn Arabic for Kids starter kit will give you the materials and resources you need to start teaching kids Arabic. Follow the whole series and learn a long.
Teach Kids Arabic
MarHaba! You likely found your way here because you are wondering one of the following:
- How do I introduce the Arabic language to my child?
- Can I learn and teach Arabic to my child as non-native speaker? or
- Are there ways I can reinforce the Arabic language with my child?
The answer is a resounding yes and in this post I will show you how! Ta-fuD-Da-loo (y’all please enter)!
Join us on this journey to introduce or enhance the Arabic language in your homes and classrooms. This Teach Kids Arabic Starter kit by Laila from ArabishWay provides resources including FREE, Printables to help you on your Arabish way/language adventure!
Below you will find:
- Things to know about the Arabic Language
- Explanation of the three vowel sounds
- Tips for teaching kids Arabic
- An intro of the special letters/sun and moon letters, plus formal as well as colloquial Levantine phrases.
Don’t forget to follow the whole series on Bilingual Kidspot: Learn Arabic For Kids and make sure you check out our bilingual parenting tips!
Things to know about the Arabic Language
- Arabic is the fourth most spoken language in the world.
2. The Arabic language is read from right to left. But the numbers are read from left to right.
3. The letters adjust their shape depending on where they are in the word (beginning middle or end) and what letter precedes it.
4. There are “Sun and Moon Letters” that act a little differently when spoken. But people will still understand you even if you don’t follow the rules. (Print your Sun and Moon Letters HERE).
5. A lot of words come from a three letter root. For example:
The verb to bake is “kha-ba-za”
The letters from left to right are “khaa” “baa” and “zay
You can see them in the word “bread” which is “khubbiz”
“Bakery” which is “mukh-buzz”
And “baker” which is “khab-baaz”
Top 5 Tips for Kids Learning Arabic
I want to be honest and say that unless you have additional spaces for your child to be immersed in the target language (i.e., a local bilingual or immersion school, a supportive engaged community, language club/classes) raising a fluent child is going to be very challenging.
However, I also want to be encouraging and say that even if you only teach your child one letter of another language, that alone is a window into another world, which in and of itself is one of the loveliest gifts you can give!
We’d like to give you as many tools and set you up to succeed at whatever goals you have for you child! Here are a few tips and tricks to help you succeed.
1. Have Arabic up and around your learning space. An Arabic alphabet poster, your child’s name in Arabic on a door sign or picture.
3. Find spaces (however long or short) that you consistently use/practice. These can be very simple exchanges like “how are you?” or “what would you like to drink? Here are some simple exchanges you can incorporate into your daily conversation.
4. It’s so cliché but it should be fun for you and them! Your child shouldn’t even realize they are learning another language! You can even take games you already have and make them a language experience. Try making your own Arabic bingo board, or playing Twister the Arabish way.
5. Singing in Arabic is a great way to hear words in action, learn syntax and grammar. Here are some simple child friendly songs. Here is a list of my favorite songs on YouTube.
Arabic Alphabet for Kids
The Arabic alphabet! There are 28 letters that each represent a sound. (Print your FREE Alphabet poster HERE)
There are 4 sounds not even remotely found in the English language – let’s go through them.
Haa ح– while it is an H sound it comes from the back of your mouth almost your throat. The best way to achieve this sound is to practice cleaning or fogging a pair of glasses with your breath. The air originates in your throat but has no vibration. This is not to be confused with the lighter h sound in Arabic that is more like English, it is the letter heh هWhen transliterated, people often used the letter 7 or a capital H to differentiate the two “h” sounds.
Khaa خ – comes from the same place as the Haa ح–but has a bit of a vibration in the back of the mouth. It’s the sound made when needing to unstick something from your throat – like the ch sound in “blech” – but it should be light, not harsh. Khaa, when transliterated, is represented by the kh, 7’ (representing the Haa with a dot) or the number 5.
Ayn ع this might be the hardest of the letters. It is like the “a” in but comes from even further constriction of your throat muscles. I recommend checking out a YouTube video google Arabic A’yn to hear this one pronounced. . Ayn, when transliterated, is represented by the number 3 or a vowel with an apostrophe depending on what vowel marker goes with it ( ‘a, ‘o, ‘i).
Ghaynغ – like the French r, or a super light gargle. It’s like khaa خ but rumbles more. . Ghayn, when transliterated, is represented by a gh or 3’.
And there are some letters with what seem like the same sound but are distinguishably different. It is complicated to explain the differences, so I encourage you to watch some videos hearing native speakers compare the two.
taa vs Taw
The latter taw is light like the t in the English language as in the word tea and you can feel it between your teeth. The T in Taw does not have air coming from between the teeth out but sits in the mouth. When transliterated you might see Taw written as a capital T or the number 6.
thaa vs Thaa vs THaw
THaw ظ is one of three “th” sounds. The first is the letter ث as in teeth where your tongue is between your teeth. The second is the letter ذ as in “that”. This letter ظ is a heavier sound and you have to leave your tongue behind your teeth. Try saying “thaw” but with your tongue behind your teeth.
When transliterated you might see the number nine with the number 6’, a capital TH or a z for the letter Thaw. Thal might be also be written as Th, dh or z . . .which can be confused for some other letters below. Fortunately, thal is not used much in colloquial and is often said as taa.
Seen vs Sawd
They are both like the letter s in that they both involve a hissing of air between the teeth. The letter seen is a light letter like the American letter “s” as in “salad”. The sawd is a heavier sound and the vowel sounds are held deeper in the mouth rather than released. Try saying the word saw but keep your tongue higher in the mouth and first and try and trap the vowel with it. When transliterated you might see the number nine with an apostrophe 9 or capital S to distinguish “sawd” from “seen”.
Dal vs Dawd
Like the seen and Sawd, dal and Dawd are similarly related. In English, the dal is light like the d in “dad”. The Dawd is heavier like in the word “dawb” or “daunting” but needs a little help keeping the vowel trapped. When transliterated you might see the number nine with an apostrophe 9’, capital D or the letters dh to distinguish Dawd from dal.
VOWEL SOUNDS & MARKERS
There are three vowels that can be short or long. And the “a” sound that comes from the first letter alef changes from an “bathroom” sound as in baa to an “bawdy” as in saw depending on what consonant is in front of it.
Much like seasoned readers can read English even with the short vowels removed. Fluent Arab readers can read without the short vowel markers.
(Print your FREE basic vowels poster HERE)
Free Online Arabic Lessons for Kids
I hope that has given you a launching pad from which to introduce Arabic to your child. Over the upcoming series I will be covering several topics with free, useful resources.
The topics I have selected are fun and relatable for young children. They will cover Arabic as part of your everyday routine.
Each online Arabic lesson will cover all the vocabulary you need for that topic plus ideas on how to bring it to life at home.
Hoping these will help you to bring you success (whatever that means for you) in learning and teaching the Arabic language.
This Teach Kids Arabic post is part of our Learn Arabic for Kids series hosted by Laila from ArabishWay. You can find the rest of the series on Bilingual Kidspot at Learn Arabic For Kids.