Fun language learning resources for South African kids

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It’s a new world for sure, but children’s needs to be stimulated and educated remain the same. (Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images)
It’s a new world for sure, but children’s needs to be stimulated and educated remain the same. (Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Getty Images)

Local online bookstore Ethnikids was founded by five moms set on empowering African children by making diverse reading materials easily accessible. We spoke with one of the founding members, Khumo Tapfumaneyi, about a few book series' aimed at teaching young readers about language in fun ways. 


Find free resources for little readers in our STORYTIME hub


Back to home or virtual school, back to reality? It’s a new world for sure, but children’s needs to be stimulated and educated remain the same. If one of your goals for 2021 is improving your children’s vocab skills, here’s a list of fun language learning resources that you can use.

The My Body, Animals and Numbers series 

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Ambani Africa has created a fun set of books that teach children basic words in isiZulu and use augmented reality to increase engagement. In the set, they have three books titled ‘My Body’, ‘Animals’ and ‘Numbers’.  Search Ambani Africa in app store for free access to a downloadable app on iOS and Android with games, songs, and quizzes. Songs are also available on Spotify.

The My First Words series

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Another innovative company is The Gifted Learning Centre that has created the ‘My First Words’ series that teaches children basic and conversational words such as salutations, family member names, seasons, numbers, animals, household items, clothing, and food etc. The series is bilingual, and every version includes English plus Setswana, Sesotho, Afrikaans, Swahili, Yoruba, Sepedi, Tshivenda, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Xitsonga and Shona. There is also a Shona activity book and beautiful interactive flash cards available.

The Farm Animals series

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Origins Publishers also has a fun collection of bilingual board books about Farm Animals such as ducks, horses, sheep, and cows. They come in all South African languages and are bright and beautifully illustrated. The company also makes lovely puzzles with pictures of different professions such as ballerinas and astronauts and teaches kids the words for these professions in all South African languages.

ABCs and 123s books in Setswana and isiZulu

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Thuto Thusa (which means helpful education in Setswana) has created bilingual Learning ABCs and 123s books in Setswana and isiZulu. The books have lovely big font and contain pictures of everyday items. They make great use of primary colours. Their range is also being expanded into more languages.

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