Second language acquisition is beneficial for children for various reasons, including cognitive development and preparation for globalization of the world’s economy.
Korean has only 80 million native speakers in the world, a small number compared to Chinese with 1.3 billion and English with 370 million.
However, the language has recently seen an uptick in popularity amongst youth, especially with the growing popularity of Korean cinema, Kdramas, and Kpop.
Along with Korea’s influence on global pop culture, Korean companies have been leading and growing in their respective industries for years.
Everyone recognizes the influential brand names of Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and Kia. The world’s familiarity with these companies and the products they put out shows the power Korea has on the global stage and hints at the power it will likely hold in the future.
For these reasons and more, your child acquiring Korean as a second language will certainly prove useful now and in the future.
Languages are the easiest to learn when young. This is when the brain is most malleable and open to learning new information.
But, it can often be hard to know where to start when teaching children, especially for a language like Korean that has only gained recent popularity.
In this guide, I’ll introduce you to some of the best children’s resources for teaching your kids Korean.
By the end, I hope you’ll have found a few resources that will start the learning process for your children and give them a good foundation in the basics of Korean.
Books are a great way for young kids to learn new languages.
As kids read they can connect the spelling of words to the pronunciation and meaning of the word. This is great for visual learners.
These two book sets are especially effective in teaching kids Korean.
My First Korean Words Series
My First Korean Words Series uses pictures to teach over 300 first words to children.
The 300 words include ‘My First 100 Korean Words’, ‘My First Korean Alphabet’, and ‘My First Korean Numbers, Colors, and Shapes’. Each page is filled with colorful pictures that appeal to children with translations of the pictures in English and Korean.
Through this book set, kids will learn the Korean alphabet, numbers, colors shapes, and much more. This book is essential for young Korean learners to have a solid foundation in the Korean language.
This is another great resource for young kids.
This series offers 120 flashcards with pictures and a description of each picture in Korean. The set uses the popular cartoon characters Pororo and his friends to introduce children to the Korean language.
With these flashcards, children can test themselves or be tested by their parents in a fun, interactive way.
While this series cannot teach children all they need to know about the Korean language single-handedly, it is a great addition to other learning materials.
Youtube is a popular platform for not only entertainment but also learning.
These Youtube channels immerse children in Korean in a fun and exciting way. While it can often be hard to get children to sit down and study or read a book, it won’t be hard to get your child to sit down and watch these YouTube channels.
신나는 동화여행 - Korean Story Train
This channel takes popular children’s books and reads them aloud in videos with fun voices and images.
Kids can also follow along by turning on subtitles and reading with the narrator. Each book usually has a moral or a good message it is trying to teach.
This channel is great for all ages and skill levels.
Whether your child is just starting learning Korean, or been at it for a few years, everyone can learn something knew by watching this channel. If you find it hard to sit your kids down and read them a book or teach them a lesson, these vidoes might be perfect for your family.
You can find this YouTube channel here.
Singing is a great way to memorize words and learn grammar.
Wekiz Song on YouTube creates videos in Korean and English of popular and lesser-known children’s songs. There are also songs to help kids learn numbers and the alphabet.
The animations are cute and fun and can entertain young children for hours in both English and Korean.
Hello Carrie Hangul
This channel is similar to the above channels in that it uses songs and colorful animations to teach kids Korean.
What’s special about this channel is that it focuses exclusively on teaching kids the Korean alphabet.
Each video is short and focuses on a different part of the Korean alphabet to help children absorb the information they are being taught at their own pace.
The Korean alphabet is essential to learn when teaching Korean. Many kids will learn words and phrases if they are used often in the household, but writing and reading in a language is harder to pick up if children are not sat down and taught it.
Hello Carrie Hangul is a great solution to teaching kids how to write and read in Korean. With these videos, children can learn the alphabet without feeling like they are sitting down and learning.
Apps are a great way for kids to learn in a hands-on and fun way.
Nowadays most kids have access to a phone or tablet that they can download and use apps on.
The following learning apps are great for beginner Korean learners and are available on most mobile devices.
Infinite Korean teaches the user basic Korean words through an interactive game.
In the game, a word attached to a meteor is spoken and the user must match the word to the appropriate image before the meteor crashes. There are 18 different categories of words ranging from basic numbers and colors to countries and sports.
This app is appropriate for older kids, though young kids could benefit from the more basic categories.
This game is fun and teaches children to recognize Korean words when spoken. While the first two categories of the app are free other categories can only be unlocked with the purchase of the app. The app cost $6.99 and comes with many other features as well, including a review segment and ads free game play.
This app is suitable for ages 5+.
It has all the words a basic Korean learner would need to know and teaches them in a fun interactive way. This game is great for kids who have a hare time sitting down and memorizing vocabulary but might do it if its in the form of a game.
Write Me Korean
Write me Korean is another great app for basic Korean learners.
This app is focused on learning Korean letters by listening to the names and sounds of each letter and writing them out. The app also has a dictionary feature that has common words in dozens of categories.
This app is great for anyone 5+.
It is effective in teaching kids how to say and write Korean letters.
Its interface is cute, interactive and simple, perfect for young kids. While the first few lessons are free, to have access to all the letters and categories in the dictionary feature, a one-time purchase of $9.99 is required.
If your kids need practice with writing and memorizing the Korean alphabet, this app is perfect for them.
This app comes highly recommended by students, parents, and teachers. Dinolingo is a language learning app that provides fun lessons, games, books, flashcards, worksheets, songs, and much more for young learners.
With over 30,000 activities there is something for every kid.
Dinolingo also provides a safe environment for kids with no pop-ups or ads.
However, this app and all its learning materials doesn’t come without a price. To get on the platform a monthly fee of $14.99 is required. If it fits into your budget, Dinolingo is worth a try. Its many features provide a well-rounded learning experience for kids, giving them a good foundation in the fundamentals of Korean.
If you are looking for one resource to access all the learning materials your children need, this is the app for you.
This is a time-tested way for kids to naturally acquire a second language.
Many of my Korean friends recall learning English when they were young by watching popular shows in English such as “Spongebob” and “Looney Toons”.
When I learned Korean, one way I would study was by turning on a popular Korean kids’ show and trying to follow along. The following shows are very popular among young children in Korea and great sources for learning Korean.
포로로 - Pororo the Little Penguin
This show is so well known in Korea, it has become part of Korean culture.
No matter who you ask, if they are Korean they will know what Pororo is and will have probably watched it when they were younger or have kids who watch it.
This show revolves around the adventures of a penguin named Pororo and his friends who live in the snowy village of Porong Porong Forest. Pororo and his friends often encounter challenges that bring about moral lessons.
The show’s animations are fun and the language and storylines are simple enough that kids can follow along even if they don’t understand 100% of whats being said.
You can find episodes of Pororo on YouTube for free or buy them on Amazon for $1 an episode.
꼬마버스 타요 - Tayo The Little Bus
Tayo the little bus is another familiar favorite in Korea.
It was created in collaboration with the Metropolitan Government of Seoul to teach children transportation safety. It did so well that it now has 6 seasons and multiple spin offs.
The show quickly became a favorite among children and parents for its fun animations and the safety tips it teaches.
This one is great in helping kids learn Korean. The Korean is simple enough that anyone with a basic knowledge of Korean can follow along.
You can watch free episodes on YouTube.
It is also available on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Make sure to switch the audio over to Korean in video settings when watching it on a streaming service.
That concludes my list of the best children’s resources for teaching your kids Korean.
While there are many more apps, books and TV shows out there, the ones I listed are the most well known and frequently used resources.
Not every resource will be a good match for every child.
I suggest trying out a few of the resources I recommended in the list above before committing to one.
Thanks for reading and I hope these resources prove useful in you and your child’s Korean language learning journey.