Teaching French To Children

TFTC; Five French Childrens TV Shows You Can Get On YouTube


I’ve said before how I’ve encouraged my eldest daughter to watch French Childrens DVDs since she was about 2 years old. I think this is great not only for your budding linguist, but for any adults learning too. The pattern of speech is slower and more clearly pronounced so it’s easier to work out what they’re saying.

Here are my, I mean her, favourites!

Petit Ours Brun

From a series of books first produced in the 1970s, the tv series still have that feel. As an adult watching it’s great; the parents are proper parents. The mum’s matronly, the dad kind but firm. More in the style of the dad from ‘The Tiger That Came To Tea‘ than many modern depictions of fatherhood, where the dad is little more than a well meaning buffoon (I hate them).

Petit Ours is a typical child having real tantrums, to which the parents respond in proper 1970s fashion. In one episode he has a paddy in a shop because she won’t buy him a cake so she says – I’m going – and off she goes to a reasonable distance until he decides to follow her. They’re then shown walking together hand in hand down the street of the village. I expect her to whip out a 1970s wet wipe at any minute to clean his face (yes, that’s spit on a tissue, you youngsters don’t know how good you have it!).

Petit Ours lives in the country in a pretty, blue shuttered house. His mum has a black range cooker and dressers instead of a fitted kitchen. In the big garden is his dad’s vegetable patch – so basically the kind of place that the British move to France to buy! The whole feel of it is kind of like the original The Snowman cartoon, rather than the updated version.


Sort of a precursor to The Incrdibles, SamSam is a superhero child of superhero parents. Again he gets into all the usual childhood scrapes, but at the same time he fights tyrants and villains.

I love it most of all because of his parents. They are so French! So much in love and romantic despite being married with children! In one episode his dad, desperate to woo his mum, tries in vain to get SamSam to go to sleep. I genuinely don’t think this would work in a British cartoon!


Another little one with solid parents learning about life. This Time he has his buddy DouDou to help him understand things. In later series DouDou isn’t as present because T’Choupi has gone to school. Think a cartoon version of Wooly and Tig.


My daughter loves this. Didou has the ability to draw things that then come to life. He shows the young audience how to draw too, as each picture is broken down so the youngster can imitate it. While they’re distracted with learning to draw they’re learning French too!


Bali lives in a flat in the city with his little sister and cool parents. Well I say cool, they wear flares so…..

Each episode Bali deals with emotional issues like fear, insecurity, friendships etc. In the middle there is always a musical part which my daughter loves to dance along too.

Most of these shows are about five minutes long and free – what else is there to say?



4 thoughts on “TFTC; Five French Childrens TV Shows You Can Get On YouTube

  1. Excellent choices! I would’ve used em right away if we were in India, as my son’s school would’ve started teaching French as a second (or third?) language. They were already singing French songs in Nursery!

    About fathers, I still don’t know which portrayal I dislike more: daddy pig (buffoon) or typical Tiger came to tea kind where mummy was too helpless and bothered “what will daddy have for tea now?!” Not too bothered about what message it sends to kids though.

    Thanks for sharing at Practical Mondays 🙂


  2. I concur that they were (are) excellent tools for language learning. As for the subtle messages (good and bad) conveyed, what the children see demonstrated around them in our homes, plus the discussions that we can have with them as a result of viewing something that doesn’t fit with our value set count more.


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