The best age for children to start learning a second language is from about 5 to 6 years old. However, children of these ages don’t seem to focus as much on learning as parents would expect. Your child wants to play and have fun, and what you need to do is not to force them to study but to find them a suitable and interesting learning method. One of the best methods you may have heard about is to learn English through film and movies, an effective, effortless, and 100% free way to teach your kids English.   

Benefits of learning English through movies 

It’s entertaining

This is our major aim when choosing to teach children English through their favorite cartoons. Unlike us adults, kids simply do what they like. Thus, it’s important to make your child enjoy the learning method in the very first place. 

It provides authentic and varied English 

By watching movies, kids can learn the use of English in real-life situations, which is more practical and interesting for kids as they can easily apply what they learn into their daily life.  

It naturally develops kids’ English listening and speaking skills 

Researchers have shown that children are faster learners than adults. They absorb everything around them rapidly and easily, especially language. This is why making kids watch English movies helps them to naturally learn the language, firstly to listen and speak like a native.  

Steps to learn English through film for kids

Determining the method is important, but knowing how to do it matters more. The following is a 3-step guide for children to learn English effectively. 

Step 1 Pick a suitable cartoon movie 

This step sounds like a piece of cake. But mom really needs to put much consideration into it. Is the movie category of your child’s favorite? Is it suitable for your kid’s English level? For example, if your kid is a girl and loves the princess concept, you can choose “Frozen”. I highly recommend you find movies and film on Netflix, as this is one of the leading movie streaming sites and more importantly, it’s more convenient for your kid to learn English. If you can’t find a movie, don’t worry, I have a list of 15 cartoon movies below for you to choose from.    

Step 2 Watch the movie with bilingual subtitles 

At this step, you should watch the film with your kid in bilingual or English subtitles, rather than subtitles in your native language. The purpose is that you can easily spot new English words and look it up immediately. However, it’s not easy to do it “immediately” if you don’t have eJOY eXtension installed on your browser. This application helps you to look up new words with just a click and especially when you watch movies on Netflix, it performs additional functions like auto-pause, show subtitle after, pause on mouse hover, … If you want more details, read this blog about How to use eJOY eXtension on Netflix

Learn English through Film
Look up new words instantly while watching movies with eJOY eXtension

Download eJOY to learn English through movies effectively 

Step 3 Practice with games

After having watched the movie, you can guide your kid to practice English with games. You can choose a clip from the movie at eJOY Go or eJOY App where you can find interesting games for your kids to practice listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. With eJOY Go, you can play Quiz Game, Writing, and Speaking Game. With eJOY App, you can have access to more kinds of games like Listening quiz, Shadowing, and especially, Roleplay. The Roleplay game might be the most fascinating game for kids as they will have the chance to imitate their favorite characters. Mom can join with children in this game to make them more excited. You can not only roleplay in the game, but also in your daily life, which can be even more exciting for kids. All of the new English words, phrases, expressions, etc. that kids learn from the movie are everyday English that mom and kids can easily apply to real situations.    

Learn English through Film
Speaking game on eJOY Go 

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11 cartoon movies for your kids to start learning English with

1 My little pony: Friendship is magic

“My little pony: Friendship is Magic” is a popular cartoon series consisting of 8 parts, revolving around the stories of 6 main characters including Twilight Sparkle, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and lessons about their friendship through each story.

With simple vocabulary and relatively slow dialogue, “My little pony: Friendship is Magic” is a very suitable movie for children to learn English, especially girls because all of the main characters in the film are female.

Learn English through Film
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

2 The Lion King (1994)

“The Lion King” is one of the most popular Disney’s animated musicals that made the childhood of many generations. The movie is about Simba, the lion cub, on the journey to adulthood and acceptance of his royal destiny. The film is full of humor but also filled with philosophy, which makes it suitable for audiences of all ages. The vocabulary in the film is simple, the lines are not too fast and especially the movie is integrated with many catchy melodies, the most famous to mention is “Can you feel the love tonight?”. 

Learn English through Film
The Lion King (1994)

3 The Incredibles (2004)

“The Incredibles” revolves around the family of Mr. Incredible (Bob Parr). Each member of the family has his or her own superpower: Mr. Incredibles (super strength), Elastigirl (body elasticity), Violet (invisibility and force fields), and Dash (super speed). However, the family is banned from using their power to fight crime and forced to live with secret identities by the government. Their peaceful life lasts until a dangerous criminal trick them into his unlawful plan. The dialogues in the movie are quite fast and the level of word difficulty is higher than the beginner level. 

Learn English through Film
The Incredibles (2004)

4 Hotel Transylvania (2012)

The plot of the movie is about Dracula the vampire celebrating his daughter Mavia’s 118th birthday at his 5-star hotel in Transylvania. However, things didn’t go as planned when Johnny the human boy got lost and went to the hotel where the love story between him and Mavia grew. The movie is funny with a simple predictable story, which can easily catch kids’ attention. 

Learn English through Film
Hotel Transylvania (2012)

5 Frozen (2013)

“Frozen” is a global craze. The film revolves around Princess Elsa, who possesses magical power allowing her to create and control ice and snow. However, Elsa lives with the fear of her own power and keeps hiding it. After inadvertently letting the public know about her true power, Elsa ran far away and isolated herself. The story of Elsa’s fighting against her own fear, accepting her power as her strength, and solving her own problem without needing any help is really inspiring. With simple vocabulary, slow lines combined with many catchy  songs like “Let it go”, “Do you want to build a snowman?”, “Frozen” is an animated movie not to be missed for kids to learn English, especially girls. 

Learn English through Film
Frozen (2013)

6 Kung Fu Panda (2008)

“Kung Fu Panda” is about Po the panda who is a big fan of Kung Fu but not allowed to follow his dream as his father wants him to work at the family’s noodle shop. However, things change when Po is unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy. Po’s dream comes true when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside the Furious Five under the leadership of Master Shifu. The movie is full of funny scenes with simple English words and quite fast dialogues.   

Learn English through Film
Kung Fu Panda (2008)

7 Finding Nemo (2003)

“Finding Nemo” is about the journey of Marlin the clownfish to find his lost son Nemo across the huge ocean. Accompanying with him is Dory, a female fish that Marlin accidentally encounters on the way. The movie is an amazing and meaningful adventure that contains valuable messages about hope and determination. When challenges get in your way, don’t be discouraged, “just keep swimming” as Dory says. The English vocabulary of the film is quite simple and the characters’ lines are slow and clear, making the movie suitable for kids to learn English with.  

Learn English through Film
Finding Nemo (2003)

8 Monsters, Inc. (2001)

“Monsters, Inc.” is a popular animated film that is set in the fictional Monstropolis world, where the energy comes from the terrifying screams of children. Therefore, Monsters, Inc. is established with the mission of sending monsters to the door of children’s bedrooms to scare them. Sulley the monster is the most qualified employee at Monsters Inc., which means that he is the scariest to children. However, after accidentally leading a human girl to the monsters’ world, things change. His view of children and his work gradually changed. The film is not only funny, witty but also hidden behind many profound lessons, making it suitable for all audiences. 

Learn English through Film
Monsters, Inc. (2001)

9 Madagascar 3: Europe’s most wanted 

“Madagascar 3” is part 3 of the famous animated film Madagascar. This part revolves around four main characters: Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe. The four of them decide to leave Africa for Europe to find and ask the penguins and the chimpanzees to help them return to the Central Park Zoo in New York, USA. However, their plan gets prevented by Animal Control officer Chantel DuBois who is determined to add Alex’s head to her taxidermy collection. The film received much love from the audience, especially children, thanks to brilliant images, funny characters, and stories.  

Learn English through Film
Madagascar 3: Europe’s most wanted

10 Rise of the Guardians  

“Rise of the Guardians” about legendary guardians that make the childhood of each of us, including Santa Claus (the guardian of wonder), Easter Bunny (the guardian of hope), Tooth Fairy (the guardian of memories), and Sandy (the guardian of dreams). The guardians’ mission is to protect the innocence of children by all of their power. But then Pitch Black (the boogeyman) appears and threatens the children of the world with his nightmares. This is when Jack Frost, the winter spirit who is chosen to be the new guardian, joins the team, and here comes rise of the guardians. 

Learn English through Film
Rise of the Guardians

11 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

The film is the sequel to 2009’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It begins where the previous film left off, inventor Flint Lockwood and his friends celebrate their success in saving the world from the food storm created by “Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator” (FLDSMDFR). However, this has left Flint’s island hometown of Swallow Falls covered in food. Flint and his friends try their best to save the island, until super-inventor Chester V, Flint’s childhood idol, appears and offers Flint his help.

Learn English through Film
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (2013)

You have just read a step-by-step guide for kids to learn English through movies and films effectively and effortlessly and a list of 15 interesting cartoon movies to start learning with. All of the chosen movies have kid-friendly content, meaningful lessons, simple English vocabulary, slow and clear English dialogues. Depending on the kids’ personalities and interests, mom can pick a suitable movie for him or her. Don’t forget to download eJOY eXtension/ eJOY App to your computer/ smartphone so that your kids can practice English after watching the movie!

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