Is Muzzy BBC the Best Language Program for Kids and Toddlers?

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BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language

Dawn Teh

Because my family lives in an English-speaking country, I knew that getting my son exposed to our second language (Chinese) was going to be a tricky task. So far, I’ve tried speaking to him myself. But to be honest, I’ve been inconsistent and knew that I needed some structure to guide my teaching process.

As I started to look for online teaching solutions, I came across Muzzy BBC, which is an immersive language learning course (7 languages) with animated stories, online games, and printable worksheets. From the moment I entered the website, I really liked how it looked fun and engaging — crucial elements for me as my 3-year-old son is extremely wiggly with a short attention span.

In this review, I’m going to be giving you an in-depth look at Muzzy BBC. I’ll discuss what it offers, what other customers have to say about it, whether it’s worth signing up for it, and more! You’ll have all the information you need to make a decision on whether it’s the right online language learning program for you.

Quick Overview: Muzzy BBC Online Language Learning For Kids

MUZZY BBC is a subscription-based, online language learning program for kids of all ages (preschool to teens) that can be accessed through their app or website. 

The main course is presented as bite-sized animated movie lessons with interesting characters that teach your child the basics of their second language in a fun and engaging way. 

It’s also packed with supporting material like games, printables, and songs that help reinforce learning. It’s great for beginner-elementary learners who learn best through play and multi-sensory methods.  

Muzzy BBC

 

BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language
Features Simple website and app
Movie language learning
400+ online games
28 vocabulary mini videos
29 language songs
Printables
Play-back speaking
Languages Spanish
French
Chinese
English
Italian
German
Korean
Age Group Preschool to high school
Levels 2 (Beginner-Elementary)
Amount of content 1,200 words and phrases
App compatible devices iOS
Android
Internet-connected TV
Computer web browser
Access through Website
App
(DVD available for 1-year subscription)
Price $5.37-$14.66 per month depending on subscription length
Returns 30-day satisfaction guarantee
Special Offers Muzzy BBC Offers

 

How Do I Teach My Child a Second Language? 

There are several ideas about the best way to teach a second language to children, and it’s associated with how fluent you’re expecting your child to be. 

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BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language
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If you’re a bilingual parent, speak your native language at home

Older research suggests that successful learners are the ones who have a lot of exposure to their second language over a long period of time. And usually in natural, daily settings without much effort or thought (experts term this implicit learning). [1]

A classic example would be children of immigrant families that speak their native language at home. Usually, kids that have a very consistent and in-depth exposure will have a higher chance of being fluent. 

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Go for formal classes (in-person or online) 

However, recent research shows that young children (8-9-year-olds) can also benefit from explicit language instruction. 

In these settings (like at a school), the children are mostly exposed to the language in a classroom environment. And the way that they learn is through deliberate effort and analytical thinking. How well a child learns in this setting will depend on the effort that is applied and their language-analysis abilities. [2]

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BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language
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Play-based classes or courses (in-person or online) 

Such methods still retain some level of explicit instruction, but the main point is to create fun and interesting (usually multi-sensory too) contexts for learning so that the process is enjoyable. This can involve the use of games, physical activity, videos, and art. [3]

A growing amount of research has shown that play-based literacy learning is helpful for vocabulary acquisition, listening skills, reading fluency, and more. Educational government bodies are even encouraging the use of more play-based techniques in formal school instruction. [4]

Muzzy BBC falls under this category as a fun, interactive, multi-media literacy program. 

When should I start teaching my child a second language?

Ideally, before age 3. This is when their ability to discern different language sounds is at its best, and our ability to listen and produce the subtle phonetic variations declines after this age. So early exposure is always encouraged. [5]

However, don’t be discouraged if your child is past that age. The benefit of teaching older children is that they have more mature cognitive skills that allow them to analyze language and pick up things like grammar rules a lot faster. 

They may also have more personal motivation and interest in the language. So you might not need to facilitate their learning as much as you would with a toddler. 

BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language

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Muzzy BBC Review 

What is Muzzy?

Muzzy is a fun video-based language learning program for children. It was created by the famous British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and launched by Growing Minds Media. The BBC has had a long-standing history of successful language-learning programs like Follow Me (also known as BBC English) for adults. 

They decided to expand their services to children, and that was how Muzzy was created. It’s been well received in various countries like the US, UK, Japan, and Mexico, with some countries like Canada and France even using it as part of their national curriculums. 

What does a Muzzy subscription include?

Here’s a look at what Muzzy BBC has to offer:

  • Main teaching method: 2 award-winning animated movies that expose children to hundreds of keywords and phrases in a fun way — they won’t realize they’re learning!
  • 400+ online language games (pre-reader friendly).
  • 28 vocabulary builder videos.
  • 29 sing-along songs.
  • Printable activities.
  • Online language recording studio that allows children to hear themselves speaking the language.
  • There are two levels in the Muzzy program, each including six educational units.
  • Content available as DVD when you purchase a 1-year subscription.
  • Every online subscription gives access to three family members.
  • Parent’s guide with tips on getting started and a breakdown of each section.
  • You can also receive weekly lessons by email.

Muzzy Pros and Cons

Here is a quick summary of the pros and cons of Muzzy BBC.

Pros

Cons

Immersive language learning Only appropriate for beginners to elementary level learners
Makes language learning fun with movies and games Some content may be inappropriate for younger children: Mild violence (punching) and a character obsessed with the princess character
Multisensory learning with visual, spatial, verbal, kinesthetic, musical, and logical strategies. Some users have had trouble getting in touch with the company
Over 1200 words and phrases taught.
Supporting material like games, songs, and short films.
Suits kids of all ages.
Parents can learn with their children while using the program.
DVD format available

 

What Languages Does Muzzy Teach?

Muzzy teaches 7 Languages: Spanish, French, Chinese, English, Italian, German, and Korean. You can also subscribe to multiple languages.

What Age Is Muzzy For?

The BBC designed the program for kids of all ages, from preschoolers to teens. However, it will always be easier for children to learn another language the younger they start. 

The videos are made to be appealing for young children which helps to engage them in the learning.

What Language Level Is Muzzy For?

The content level is targeting complete beginners and elementary learners. 

Where can I watch BBC Muzzy?

You can watch Muzzy BBC on any internet-connected device. It works on PC, Mac, Apple iOS, Android devices, and Smart TVs.

BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language

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Does Muzzy really work?

Here’s what my child thought of Muzzy BBC

After showing my son the movies and letting him play some of the online games, here are some of my thoughts on the main pros and cons of BBC Muzzy:

Pros:

  • A fun way to learn for kids: This was definitely the biggest benefit of the program. My son immediately took an interest in the movies as the characters were colorful and cute.
  • Comprehensive elementary-level learning: Your child will learn over 1,200 vocabulary words and phrases. And it even covers some reading and writing.
  • Theme-based learning: It taps into contextual learning, which I feel helps with the retention of information.
  • Practical and conversation-based: I place more of an emphasis on speaking in Chinese rather than writing or reading. So this was a plus for me. But if you’re concerned about your child having strong academic knowledge, then this might be a con for you.  
  • Use of music helps with retention: My son is quite a strong auditory learner, so I found that the sing-a-longs were a big plus for him. And research has also shown that music helps children learn the meanings of words and increases language development. [6]
  • Older kids can learn independently: For older kids (primary school) that can read in their first language, they should be able to navigate the app entirely on their own. I really liked the feature. For younger kids (like my 3-year-old), they’ll still need some assistance.
  • Produced by a reputable company: The BBC is a reliable, household name, and that adds to the reliability and trust that I feel towards the content they’ve produced. 

Cons:

  • The animation looked slightly outdated: This comes down to personal opinion, and I can see how it may be a problem for older kids. But my 3-year-old really liked it. And overall, I felt that it was still quite engaging.  

How much does Muzzy cost?

 

 Muzzy BBC Pricing

Subscription Length Price
3-months $14.66/month
6-months $11.50/month
1-year $8.25/month
2-year $5.37/month
1-year + DVD set $159

 

How does Muzzy BBC’s pricing compare with other online learning methods?

Here’s a quick look at how Muzzy BBC compares with other popular online language learning apps and courses. A close competitor is DinoLingo which has short videos, but it’s not exactly the same as Muzzy BBC’s movie storyline, which can engage students a little more.    

Another popular option is having 1-to-1 online video lessons with teachers through Zoom or their own platform. This is a much more expensive option, but you’ll get a much more personalized learning experience.

Muzzy BBC
vs
Alternatives
Muzzy BBC DinoLingo 1-to-1 online class
Features Movies

Short videos

Games

Printables

Songs

Playback speaking

Games

Books

Short videos

Printables

Personalized class with teacher
Languages 7 50 Any language
Pricing comparison From $5.37/month From $9.90/month $10-$25/30mins

 

What Does the Muzzy Free Trial Include?

Muzzy offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So don’t worry if you are unsure if the program will work for your kids.

You can try out all its features and if you’re not happy with it, simply email their customer service and they will give you a refund. I tried it out and really got my money back.

Muzzy Free Trial: Muzzy BBC

Muzzy BBC Reviews

This product scored an average of 2.6 out of 5 stars from a total of 103 reviews across 4 platforms (MuzzyBBC, App Store, Google Play, Consumers Advocate). 

I noticed that a lot of the older reviews on Muzzy BBC were negative, which explains why their score isn’t great. They launched an update in 2014, where they revamped their animation and added a lot more content. Since 2014 the reviews of Muzzy seem to be a lot more positive than those in earlier years.  

In addition to the points I covered above, here’s what others had to say about Muzzy BBC:

 

BBC Muzzy reviews

BBC Muzzy reviews

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Muzzy BBC Offers

Reviewer Pros

  • Engages kids really well: I saw several parents mention that their kids beg to watch it! 
  • It’s simple to use: Parents love that the app is very easy to use 
  • No lesson planning required for parents. 
  • The repetition of vocabulary helps the children to learn fast: Since the lessons build off each other, many parents mention that the repetitive nature speeds up the learning process.
  • Works as a great introduction to a secondary language: Even though the program is not as advanced as others, it will teach the basic vocabulary needed to carry on a normal conversation.

Reviewer Cons:

  • Slow customer service: Some users said Muzzy took a while to respond to their queries.
  • Some viewers may find storylines inappropriate for younger kids: There is a character who is very obsessed with the princess. In another episode, a character punches another character. 

 

BBC Muzzy review - how to teach kids a second language

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Is BBC Muzzy Languages Worth It?

Muzzy BBC is a great online language learning program for kids who are beginners in their second language. It’s an excellent way to expose children to key foundational words and phrases that set them up for success in learning their second language. 

Although their overall rating is a little low, I felt that this was because many reviews were submitted before Muzzy had its update in 2014. Since then, their ratings have improved. 

The new animation and activities are fun and engaging. My 3-year-old really enjoyed the videos, games, and sing-along songs and even asked me about it the next day! 

The user experience was good as well because it comes with a parent guide to help you get started. It has tips on using subtitles and describes the program’s different levels. 

The program is also great for kids of all ages. If you have a bigger family, up to three people can access the course. The younger kids will enjoy the animated videos, while the older kids can take advantage of the flashcards and games. 

However, I would also point out that if you’ve already got a child with intermediate-level second language ability, then Muzzy BBC may not be for you. For example, my son is not a complete beginner in his second language, so about half of the content wasn’t new to him (even though he found it fun to watch).   

Every subscription also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. And if you’re not satisfied with the program, you can always ask for a refund. So it’s totally risk-free to try this fun learning program with your kids, and enjoy the process of picking up a second language!

Special Offer on Muzzy

Muzzy BBC Offers

Muzzy BBC FAQs

How does Muzzy work?

Muzzy is an immersive second language program that utilizes fun movies, games, and songs to help children learn in a multi-sensory way.  

What Is the Best Language for a Child To Learn?

If you want your child to learn a universally popular language, start with English, Spanish, or French. German is also very popular in Europe. Italian is a great language to learn if your family loves art, culture, or history since plenty of historical texts are written in Italian. [7]

Can Muzzy Be a Substitute for Rosetta Stone?

Muzzy’s purpose is a little different from Rosetta Stone, so it’s not a replacement. It’s best for beginner learners who want a fun, positive experience foundational experience with a second language. Rosetta Stone is more for formalized language learning that helps people become fluent in a second language.

Does Muzzy Teach Reading and Writing As Well?

The program emphasizes beginner conversation vocabulary and phrases. However, they do have some games that teach preliminary word recognition, reading, and writing. 

Is Muzzy Free?

Muzzy is not free, but they do offer a no-questions-asked 30-day money-back guarantee. Their subscriptions start from $5.37/month.

Special Offer on Muzzy

Muzzy BBC Offers

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