Friday, February 28, 2014

On trying to raise a bilingual kid (and some Urdu specific links). Part 2


I shared some thoughts on encouraging your kid to learn and speak a second language earlier and this post is a continuation of that one. I believe that it is our job as parents to make the second language seem fun and exciting for our kids and that can be done through age appropriate material for them. It is a little hard sometimes to find time and resources for this but totally worth it in the end. And I also feel that to encourage our kids to be comfortable speaking Urdu, we ourselves have to own the language. Today, I wanted to share some Urdu specific resources that I particularly like. Hope these will help:)

If you haven’t already, read Part 1 here.



- ToffeeTV is great resource for stories,songs and poems. The beautiful hand-drawn illustrations are adorable and the slow-paced images make them perfect for younger kids. For older kids they also feature stories, activities etc. They also have apps for Apple and Android gadgets which is a huge plus. One of Anya’s earliest favorites was Baadal Garje by them.


- Sim Sim Hamara is the Urdu version of Sesame Street and I absolutely adore this series. Kids love Elmo so they will be attracted to this. The songs are so catchy and even I don’t mind listening to them over and over again.  Each episode focuses on a word which is explained in different ways. I was heartbroken that the series was discontinued. But thanks to YouTube, one is still able to enjoy the series. Some favorite songs are Meesha Shafi singing Ghar and Strings singing Hum but pretty much all of them are awesome.


- Once your kids are a little older, classic plays like Tanhaiyan, Ankahi and many others are also beautiful to watch as a family.



- You don’t have to stick to material aimed at children only. Anya loves a song that played on Coke Studio called Koi Labda (it is actually in Punjabi) and she will make me play it over and over again in the car. Some older songs specially those by Nazia and Zohaib Hassan are so catchy and I know a friend’s girls’ loved listening to them. I just try to make sure that the lyrics are kid-friendly, in other words steer clear of those popular Bollywood songs, :p

- Sohail Rana's songs are all on YouTube and I recently started putting them on in the evening while I cook and she colors or is busy with another activity. Anya just recently picked up Dosti aisa naata from it. I don’t know about others but my sister and I grew up listening to these songs thanks to my mom, and they have a big nostalgia value for me.

- I love humming songs in Urdu to Anya at bedtimes. If you’d be interested, Nindiya re by Kavish , and Soja Re by Uzair Jaswal make for perfect lullabies. 

- Some classic songs from old Indian movies are adorable and I have another playlist for Anya on YouTube of those, including lakri kee kaathi, rona kabhi nahi rona, chal mere ghore etc.

- Kassette Kahani is also available online if your kids would be interested in it. Anya is still too young for this, but this favorite of many from our generation that grew up in Pakistan might be interesting to older kids.



- On my recent visit, a relative told me about Oxford University Press and that they have a great collection of Urdu books. I was pleasantly surprised at the adorable little books we found. The illustrations as well as the stories are just so loveable (you can see a glimpse in this picture above). Even their Urdu qaidas are the best I have seen around. Oxford University Press has stores in many cities across Pakistan and you can find one close to you here.

- Another current favorite that was gifted to us, is a Beaconhouse School System Readers series of short simple story books. Anya loves 'Na gudda na gurya' from this series.

- BookGroup also has great little Urdu books with original stories. Their sets of books for different age groups can be bought online too. I have a few of their books but plan to order another set or two soon.

- I discovered this adorable board book on Amazon which would be awesome for brand new readers, Bulbul Ka Bacha, based on a popular Urdu poem.

- Biloongra is another exciting bilingual series I came across while writing this post. The stories and illustrations are adorable and you can read excerpts to your kids here. They are available in Karachi or you can email them for the PDFs. 


Because Anya is still young, we have only focused on the speaking part. I am trying to introduce her to the Urdu alphabets and I know my husband would love for her to be able to read and write Urdu. Because the alphabets and reading are similar to the Arabic for Quran that she will learn iA, I hope that that part wont be that hard if we decide to do that.

If you have any other interesting Urdu specific resources to share, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.

Thanks and much love.


  1. Loved ur article.Reminded me the old dramas n n popular Nazia Hassan and zohaib Hassan ,awesome. great sources to educate our kids...well done

    1. Hope they help. Glad you liked it. Lots of love

  2. I lived in the US for 6 years before we move to Pakistan. What worked for me was that I spoke to my kids only in Urdu and listened to them if they would reply in Urdu as well. There are lots of channels for them to learn English but I was the only one who would teach them urdu. It seemed harsh or impractical to some people but my children were perfect in speaking both languages.


Let me know what you think. I would love to hear from you!