Updated: Apr 14, 2021
Following our blog last month about the best methods of learning a language, we provided a list for some starter French books that your child would love. Now, for some more laid back after-school education, we have a list of some French cartoon shows. With Christmas coming up, you’ll want to provide your little ones and pre-teens a break from active learning. So settle back, relax, and turn on the T.V. to help your child soak up some French culture.
A Canadian Classic: Caillou
Who doesn’t love Caillou? This French-Canadian classic ran from 1997 to 2010. But while it may not be on regular television anymore (though you may still be able to find re-runs), the internet has stepped up to help out. The entire show is available on YouTube here. If you’re unfamiliar with Caillou, it’s a show that’s directed to younger children. Caillou, the title character, is 4-years-old. He’s a curious child, and the show follows him through all kinds of adventures involving, of course, his mother, father, and sister, Rosie. Caillou is one of the French cartoon shows that is found in English as well, which could pose a great advantage for anglophone children learning French. Get your child interested in the show in English, and slowly start to introduce French episodes. This will help them grasp the language quicker as they have an idea of characters and what kind of shenanigans Caillou gets up to.
Everyone’s Favourite Pig Speaks French!
Peppa Pig has stolen the hearts of children across Britain and North America since 2004 (and perhaps some mild annoyance from their parents…). She’s the pink oinker that everyone loves, but did you know you can find her in French too? Similar to Caillou, the French and English counterparts can work hand in hand for getting your child into French. If your child already loves Peppa Pig, this YouTube channel will let you sneak in episodes in French. And as this character is so familiar for so many children already, your child should have an easier time following along. Moreover, they can still talk to their friends about Peppa’s adventures.
French Looney Tunes: Les Zinzins de L’Espace
This is one of the most plentiful of French cartoon shows. With the English title Space Goofs, you can see right away that this show is the French twin of the Looney Tunes. These goofy little aliens crash-land on Earth by mistake. Needless to say, it’s not where they want to be! The show follows their mishaps and adventures as they attempt to return to their home planet. The animation is filled with bright colours and whimsical shapes. Unlike Caillou or Peppa Pig, this is a French cartoon show for older children. And you may find yourself enthralled, too, remembering the days of Saturday morning cartoons. You can find out more information here or watch episodes on YouTube here.
A Comic for Pre-Teens – Titeuf!
The Titeuf show first aired in 2001, with a spin-off film gracing the cinemas and airwaves in 2011. However, this one really is the best of all worlds. It’s based off a comic series created by Swiss animator, Zep, starting in 1992. So if your kids love the show and film, you can easily find them reading material as well. Since then, it has been granted endless popularity among pre-teens who have found an outlet to learn about the process of growing up. This is matched with goofy humour about the issues and situations that will be familiar to the daily lives of pre-teens across the globe. It’s not always easy to find French cartoon shows that will appeal so well to an older kid audience, but this one definitely hits the mark. If you remember the show Recess, you’ll have a good idea of the type of humour you can expect in Titeuf. While you can find English episodes, we really recommend enjoying Titeuf in his native language. An 11-year-old with an attitude and a blond cowlick, Titeuf will have your pre-teens laughing away while they learn French accents, humour, slang, and a larger vocabulary. Many episodes in French on YouTube.
Multicultural French Cartoon Shows: Linus et Boom
Linus et Boom will offer a little more than French cultural exploration. This Franco-Korean show embraces multiculturalism, imagination, and silliness. It’s another one for older students with an intermediate understanding of the French language. And it is, coincidentally, another one about aliens! Linus et Boom focuses on Linus and his alien buddy Boom in their attempt to save the Milky Way and all its extraterrestrial inhabitants from the Space Development Centre (SDC). The SDC is afraid of aliens and what they may do to humans, and as a result, plans on wiping most of them out. The show is funny and full of lessons about humanity in a way that is palatable for youth sensibilities. You can find episodes of Linus et Boom online on YouTube, or DVD series if your kid enjoys it!
You may have noticed by now that French cartoon shows aren’t that different from those we enjoy in English. While they often have a different branch of humour, these shows tackle the same issues that anglophone kids deal with every day. They’re funny, silly, and a great way to get your kid to really dive into learning French. These shows also offer your child something to talk about in French with their tutor or tutor group, further boosting their conversational skills.
For more recommendations on French cartoon shows, talk to your child’s FranceABC tutor.