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no. there are some hints though. Eg. nouns ending in -keit -heit are feminine; those ending in -ung are mostly feminine; etc. Those ending in -er may be anything: eg. der Teller, die Butter, das Messer. When you meet a new substantive, you'd better to learn its article and its plural form.
they all mean "the", but refer to different genders. In german there are 3 genders. Nothing particularly surprising: in english there are 3 genders too, although the article "the" is the same for all of them (you distinguish them when you use the possessives "his, her, its" for example).
Every substantive carries its own gender somehow independently from its meaning (well a certain correlation exists, but ignore it for the first lessons). So "Kind" is neuter and will be forever neuter getting the "das" article. If you'd like to distinguish the sex of children you have to use different substantives as "das Mädchen" (girl) or "der Junge" (boy). Note that even "Mädchen" is neuter, despite its female meaning.