DinoLingo is one of the few European Portuguese teaching resources that’s aimed at children. It’s designed to teach a foreign language in a gamified and immersive manner, using cartoons, games, and songs so it feels like watching a cartoon rather than taking a language class. It’s an ideal resource if you’re planning to move to Portugal (or are already here) and want to get your child up to scratch with Portuguese before they start school or while beginning school.
Heads up: Portugalist readers get a 10% discount when they use the code PORTUGALIST at the checkout.
As well as the website, DinoLingo is also available as an app on both Android and iOS devices. While the app is useful for learning on the go – something to keep the kids entertained in the back of the car – the website offers more functionality, such as the ability to print lessons. Some online reviews suggest the apps are buggy and crash from time to time.
(DinoLingo offers both Portuguese, which is Brazilian Portuguese, and European Portuguese, so be sure to select ‘European Portuguese’ if you want to leave Portuguese as it’s spoken in Portugal.)
In short: DinoLingo feels very like Duolingo but for kids.
A typical lesson involves watching a simple video or animation which shows images and clips of items (for example: a dog or two cats) which are accompanied by music and European Portuguese narration (e.g. um cão or dois gatos). After watching a few videos or animations, you can then take a Duolingo style test where you are given multiple choice questions. Often you’re given a piece of audio and then you have to match it with one of three audio clips. Or you might have to pair up words. As you answer quizzes correctly, you earn points and collect achievements.
Lessons cover a number of topics including animals, clothes, numbers, family, and food. As the lessons progress in difficulty they start to cover adjectives, comparisons, verbs, describing emotions, and talking about time. These topics are taught through games, videos, and songs. There are also worksheets and flashcards (with vocabulary that was been covered) that you can print off and your child can fill out offline.
As this resource is designed for children, online safety is obviously a big feature. There are no chat rooms, ads, or links to other websites. Parents can also monitor their child’s participation to make sure they’re actually using Dinolingo when they say they are.
One thing to be aware of is that children could potentially navigate to another tab in their browser or, if they’re using the mobile app, open another app. This isn’t something that DinoLingo can really control, so you may want to consider monitoring your child when they are using the computer or installing some form of parental controls.
Dinolingo costs $14.95 per month per language, but you can get it cheaper if you opt for the annual membership and use the discount code Portugalist. This works out at $134.10 or $11.18 per month – roughly a saving of $3.77 per month. This price is for a family membership, which means you can add up to 4 users. They can each have their own login and scores.
You can use the website until your child has completed all of the lessons, at which point you’ll need to find something else for them.
And there is a 7-day money back guarantee, if you decide Dinolingo isn’t right for you. Currently DinoLingo does not offer a free trial, so you will need to take advantage of this money back guarantee to try it out.
Overall, DinoLingo is engaging and it’s one of the few language learning programs that are actually designed for children. The website is bright, colourful, and easy to use. It’s something that children could use by themselves, but it would probably be more engaging if parents participated in the lesson and asked them questions about the different words and images.
DinoLingo suggests the website is suitable for ages 3-14, but many teenagers will understably feel that the website feels a bit childish. However, even though the cartoons and high-pitched voices do give DinoLingo quite a childish quality, that doesn’t mean that it’s best suited to very young children. Most children will likely benefit from having an adult help them as they complete the challenges, particularly as some of the words and phrases can be a little difficult. And, it’s also not that childish: Duolingo, which is aimed at adults, has a similar cartoony feel.
Like all language learning programs, DinoLingo won’t be enough to teach your child a language on its own and you’ll probably need to combine it with other apps and teaching resources. The biggest shortcoming – and this applies to 99% of language learning programs – is in giving speaking practice. However, it can cover foundational vocabulary and basic grammar in a very fun and engaging way – much more engaging than many classroom-based options. In short: it’s a good starting point.
You might also like:
- A list of European Portuguese resources aimed at kids
- Our big guide to learning Portuguese
- An overview of the different European Portuguese courses
Have you (or your child) used Dinolingo to learn Portuguese? Please leave a review and tell other Portugalist readers what you thought.