Maybe you’ve thought about learning a new language during this period of PAUSE. (No judgements if you’re more the binge Netflix type. We feel you.) But this could also be a fun time for your kid to learn a new language, too! We’ve found virtual bilingual singalongs and story times, as well as fun language classes from NYC businesses in Spanish, Mandarin, French and even Urdu! (Some are for new learners, others are for native speakers.) Some of these online language classes are free, others are as little as $5 to $10 a class.
Choose from Mandarin, Spanish or French with Bilingual Birdies. For as little as $15 a week (plus the cost of an adorable $35 "Mini Birdkit" to get your started) your child can take part in live, 30-minute sessions filled with singing, dancing, puppetry and learning. Payment gets you access to all classes, so theoretically, your kid could learn all three languages. Classes take place Tuesday through Friday at various times.
Music Together in the City
Longtime favorite of NYC families, Music Together in the City is offering Spanish immersion and Mandarin introduction classes.
In Canta y Baila Conmigo you and your child journey into Spanish language and its cultures through music. Sing, dance and play along to the sounds and rhythms of Spanish speaking countries.
Music Together with some Mandarin introduces your family to Mandarin through music. Trained Music Together teachers speak fluent Mandarin and incorporate the language into songs and activities. While not a language class or immersive, this is a great way to introduce or support Mandarin study in babies and children.
Bargain alert: Families can attend all 11 weekly classes (English, Spanish and Mandarin) for only $175 for the rest of the Spring semester, which ends in mid June.
Toc Toc Spanish for Kids
The popular Toc Toc is online, teaching kids Spanish through games, songs, dancing and stories. Daily live stream classes are offered for kids ages two to five (Monday to Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.), and six to 12 (Monday to Sunday, 4 pm. for beginners, 5 p.m. for advanced.) The cost is $5. Want to set your own schedule for a private lesson? You can do that too!
BaoBao Singalong @home From Mandarin Seeds
BaoBao Singalong @home is Mandarin Seeds' in-person grownup and me classes adapted for an online environment. This Mandarin immersion music class for kids three and under is a fun introduction to the language for both children and grownups alike. (Yes, you can learn Mandarin too!) Classes are six days a week, and cost $10 each. You must register in advance for classes.
Smith Street Workshop
Join Smith Street Workshop for a singalong of original compositions en Francaise for kids six months to four years old. Kids explore rhymes, tonal and rhythm patterns. "All you need is your child and some kitchen utensils." Classes are drop in and cost $15.
Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Kats
Brooklyn's own Grammy-winning Lucy Kalantari & the Jazz Kats hosts ¡Bienvenidos!, a Spanish Sing-Along on Facebook every Monday.
Brooklyn Beanstalks has both Spanish and French activities happening online. For little ones two and three years old, there's free “Tiempo de Cuentos," Bilingual Spanish Story Time With Laura on Thursdays at 9 a.m., and for kids ages four to six, Spanish Little Giants, also free, on Thursdays at 11 a.m.
And for older kids ages eight to 12 who know some French, there's Le Club des Jeunes Reporters, for budding journalists. Together, through a bilingual class, the group will create a magazine in French. Students will learn to write a news story, a review, an editorial and a column and see how they work together as a whole. Each participant will get a written and/or photo assignment that will be published, and the class will include discussions of current events and online debates. Cost is $200 for nine classes.
A frequent performer at Wave Hill, the Sugar Hill Storytelling Museum, New York Public Libraries and more, Flor Bromley is bringing her Spanish singing and storytelling talents online. Join her for bilingual fun on Mondays and Fridays at 11 a.m. Suggested donation is $5.
Sonia De Los Santos
Join musician Sonia De Los Santos in her home for En Casa Con Sonia, a Latin American family music video series featuring her performing her own songs, as well as those of some her favorite artists. She' also shares the stories that inspire her music.
Spanish, Urdu & More : Storytime with Brooklyn Public Library
The Brooklyn Public Library holds story time for kids five and younger in several languages at various times throughout the week on its Facebook page. (The library also hosts lots of other classes and events for kids and adults.)