Month: May 2018

how teach young child french

Take the 10-day Mini French challenge!

So you want to teach your child another language?

Believe in the power of languages and bilingualism? Know all about the amazing cognitive benefits learning another language could have for your child? BUT have a string of reasons why you just haven’t started a language with them yet? Or, you have started but need inspiration to keep going?

I understand.

As parents we have a lot on our plates and it is not easy unless you know how.

The time is now to start  a language with your child, baby or toddler

Any step towards incorporating some French into your day will help start your child set off on a wonderful journey towards language learning. It broadens their horizons and provides crucial mental stimulation in the early years.

And what if I told you it could be simple and fun? By joining this challenge you will receive:

  • a welcome email with further details on the challenge
  • a simple daily email for 10 DAYS
  • FREE printables & MP3s
  • a certificate at the end
  • a future monthly Mini French email with top tips & advice


With minimal effort you will:

  • build French expressions into your routine
  • learn 3 French songs together via free MP3s
  • enjoy simple activities at home with our free resources
  • discover that learning a language need not be a chore
  • spend stimuating time with your little one

What are you waiting for – it is all free and might just change your child’s learning forever!


And PLEASE let me know how you get on or if you need anything else! Always here to help – Felicity x

How to create French lessons for young kids?

For over 6 years I have been running sessions for children aged 0-7.

I often get asked where I come up with my ideas and how do keep children engaged?

It all starts with the right environment. Building a genuine connection with the children to gain their trust and to make them want to be there and learn!

I think this post sums it up but I also think I will write an article with more specific guidance soon!

Why are two pompoms and a plastic button very important to me? For me, creating language lessons for early years…

Posted by Mini French on Saturday, May 12, 2018

If this would help you out in your work or homeschool, stay tuned x

how teach young child kids babies french

9 French phonetics you need to know to perfect your accent?

How are accents formed?

The reason people have different accents is down to how our mouth makes different sounds. From birth we hear different phonemes (the smallest unit of sound like t, d, p…) being used around us and our brains begin to hardwire to those sounds. It then becomes harder and harder for us to adjust our accent.

With practice – listening and repeating over and over again – it is, however, possible to improve your accent in a new language.

Below is a link to a well laid out article with sound-bites that I found after reading through many overly complex articles about the International Phonetic Alphabet for French. Basically if you can master all of these sounds you will have a pretty good accent! Give it a try… go on, no-one is listening. Unless you are on the bus. Then they are and you’ll look mildly deranged.

Sound bites for the French International Phonetic Alphabet!

5 French phonetics you should focus on

You will notice that many of the sounds are not too hard for anglophones (b, d, f…) but I would draw your attention to a couple of tricky phonetics which are harder for native English speakers and require practice:

/u/ —- couper (to cut or chop), choux (cabbage),  (where). Anglophones would tend to say ‘oo’ as in ‘loop’ (especially Scots!) but in French this is a more rounded sound made with the middle or back of the mouth. I get the families in my sessions to practice being gorillas! ‘OU OU OU’! Listen to the sound bite in the above article again and again and you will get there!

/ʁ/ —- rue (road), rouge (red). The rolling R….rrrrhhh. Closer to ‘loch‘ than ‘racket’. So maybe a phonetic Scots might master?

The two above French sounds combined make two awful words for us Brits… roue (wheel) and the city of Rouen! Practice these and you are good to go 🙂

This is one of the reasons we sing ‘Les Roues Du Bus’ (The Wheels on the Bus) at my Mini French sessions! “Les roues du bus tournent, et, tournent toute la journée!!” Learning to perfect our accents through singing.

Here are another three phonetics to focus on. Three vowels that do not exist in English:

/y/ —- tu (you), vu (saw), une (one: feminine indefinite article)
/ø/ —- le (the: masculine definite article), bleu (blue), œufs (eggs)
/œ/ —- veulent ([they] want, seul (alone), danseur (danser)

So for these three vowels just listen to as many words with these sounds as you can and practice, practice, practice.

Say it with me, “un bon vin blanc”!

Oral & Nasal Vowels

French vowels can be classified as either oral or nasal. Ok… so if a vowel is ‘a speech sound produced by humans when the breath flows out through the mouth without being blocked by the teeth, tongue, or lips’ – Cambridge English Dictionary – (if the air was to be blocked you’d end up with a consonant) then a nasal vowel is one where the air flows out through the nose as well as the mouth. Not really a sound we make in English. Unless we are really bored. (I hope you are not making a nasal vowel sound while you read this…)


The 4 nasal vowels

As they point out in LanguageGuide.Org “Normally when a vowel or vowel combination is followed by the letters m or n, that vowel is nasalised. When this is the case the letters m or n are not pronounced.

/ɛ̃/vin (wine bet you knew that one), pain (bread), vingt (twenty)
/œ̃/parfum (perfume), chacun (each one)
/õ/long (long), ombre (shade), on (3rd person pronoun used as ‘we’)
/ɑ̃/enfant (child), France, dans (in)

Practice sound-bites from LanguageGuide.Org


There is no way to make phonetics a massively interesting topic BUT you do need to master the tricky ones to improve your accent. Get listening to these resources or stop any French people you hear in the street and ask them to say “un bon vin blanc” or “un chien brun dans le bain” 10 times. I am sure they will be fine with that 🙂

Coming Soon! A set of phonics activities and printables for kids to hone their French accent…make sure you are signed up to the Mini French Community for a notification when it is ready.


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