15 Best Resources For Your Kids To Learn Mandarin Chinese
- Written byJasmine Chiam
- Read time15 mins
It’s never too early to start learning Chinese.
But getting your child engaged in a stale textbook riddled with plain walls of text would be no easy feat.
And if you try this, you’ll probably find them asleep in a minute or two. 😅
While the Mandarin resources, creative tactics, and innovative strategies you utilized may have worked wonders for you, they may not produce the same results with your little ones.
Kids naturally don’t have a long attention span, so it’s best to keep them engaged and entertained to help them learn quickly and effectively (without them even realizing it).
One way to do this is to use a variety of resources.
Here’s a list of the best resources of different kinds that will help your children learn Mandarin Chinese in a fun and exciting way.
Best resources for your children to learn Mandarin Chinese
Mandarin For Kids Set 1: Readers Book Set with Online Audio
This eye-catching series was developed in collaboration with professional Mandarin Chinese teachers for children aged 3-8.
Mandarin For Kids consists of 10 different books with captivating and simple storylines that will keep your children engaged while they learn.
Because each book is filled with aesthetically pleasing illustrations and paired with an online audio recording, visual and auditory learners will thrive with this set of resources.
This high-quality audio ensures that your kids are exposed to the correct pronunciation and tone of Chinese characters, which ultimately builds the foundation for excellent speaking and listening skills.
Additionally, this series will help your kids learn about various simplified Chinese characters and their pinyin. You can also find the English translations included in a neat and handy vocabulary list to boost learning.
Mandarin For Kids covers a wide range of topics, such as family, colors, clothing, animals, numbers, and shapes. Because the stories are simple and easy to follow through, your child’s confidence in learning a new language is gradually fortified with each book they successfully conquer!
Without a doubt, it is a fantastic beginner series for children in preschool or kindergarten, allowing them to learn Chinese in an exciting and lighthearted way. Children below that age may still enjoy the audio and illustrations.
Bao Bao Learns Chinese
Most of us have probably grown up singing and dancing along to nursery rhymes. And let’s admit it—that was a truckload of fun.
Bao Bao Learns Chinese is another book for toddlers, babies, and preschoolers that helps ambitious young learners pick up this beautiful language through music and nursery rhymes.
On top of that, this bilingual and interactive book features a real mom singing sweet and lovely songs in a gentle voice with music accompaniment.
The book comes with simplified characters and English translations, colorful and lively illustrations, durable board book pages, and easy-to-use volume controls.
With a simple push of a button, a non-electronic audio recording proceeds to serenade your young ones with popular nursery rhymes performed in Chinese.
You won’t detect a trace of boredom with this fun and brilliant resource. Without a doubt, kids (and parents) love it!
Big Chinese Workbook for Little Hands
This handy little resource for kids aged 5+ will set the foundation for Chinese character writing and recognition.
Big Chinese Workbook is a fantastic workbook for vocabulary expansion, as it will cover commonly used characters and words surrounding topics such as colors, numbers, shapes, and dates.
In addition to that, it contains cute illustrations, simple exercises, and engaging activities with a decluttered and easy-to-follow layout.
Simplified characters are the focus, and you can scan the QR code provided on the cover to access soundtracks that cover the contents of the workbook, though this may not work on all devices.
In short, this workbook can serve as a supplementary resource in addition to other Chinese textbooks. Alternatively, your children can utilize it as the core material for self-study with, of course, some parental supervision and encouragement.
Little Fox Chinese
Little Fox Chinese is an online program that encourages learners of all ages to venture further in their language-learning journey.
And yes, parents are welcome to give it a go, too. 🤗
Learners can select from an array of learning materials, including songs, animated stories, and games. This website also scores extra brownie points as new content is released on a daily basis.
Their rich content is jampacked with dazzling and striking animations, and all stories are organized into different levels of learning with increasing complexity as learners progress into higher levels.
With this one-stop-center resource, your little ones will be able to refine their skills in multiple areas, including speaking and listening, as well as build on their knowledge surrounding vocabulary, tone, pronunciation, pinyin, and character recognition.
The content found on Little Fox Chinese is suitable for beginners through to advanced learners.
DinoLingo - Learn Chinese For Kids
DinoLingo is an online website that offers a series of learning materials to young learners, including animated Chinese lessons, games, songs, books, flashcards, audiobooks, and worksheets.
DinoLingo harnesses the power of beautiful and visually appealing animations to captivate your children, keeping them engaged in various topics presented in an age-appropriate way.
This platform utilizes the repetition technique to enhance learning, generating a rich and conducive environment for young children to learn how to speak Mandarin.
On top of that, game-based learning is employed, where kids are beckoned to embark on a fun language-learning adventure and earn enticing rewards on the way.
These rewards are attained by completing lessons, quizzes, and games that cover basic vocabulary in a diverse range of topics, including numbers, food, colors, body parts, family, animals, and clothes.
Through this platform, you’ll attain a supply of learning materials catering to children in preschool, elementary, primary, and middle school.
Subscribing to their plan will give you complete access to their comprehensive curriculum consisting of lesson plans, worksheets, quizzes, and even progress reports to expedite learning in the classroom or at home. The subscription plan costs $19.99/month or $119/year.
PandaTree is a resource hub that encourages kids to pick up Mandarin through stories, games, songs, and videos.
When you enter the website, you’ll be greeted with content meticulously designed and compiled by experienced Mandarin teachers for children aged 4-15.
While PandaTree is actually an online tutoring platform that provides paid one-on-one and small group lessons for young children, they also offer free learning content for kids keen on picking up the language.
After signing up, you’ll be given the flexibility to select your preferred schedule and pick a professional tutor with a profile that best suits your child’s learning needs.
These lessons are priced from $10 and up, but you’ll have access to learning materials, worksheets, and videos readily available on their website at no cost at all.
Through their array of resources, your children are guaranteed bountiful opportunities to practice and apply what they learn across a series of topics, including foods, festivals, animals, colors, and numbers.
In addition to building vocabulary, PandaTree’s learning content aims to refine your children’s speaking and listening skills.
Fun Chinese For Kids By Studycat
Sometimes, children can be more tech-savvy than adults, so why not put their interest in devices to good use?
Fun Chinese For Kids is a popular Mandarin Chinese app for children aged 3-8, and the app’s content is carefully designed and crafted by award-winning educators.
Ultimately, the goal is to teach children the Chinese language through a subset of delightful and exciting games while fostering their love for this beautiful language.
The app utilizes a mix of lively sound effects, attractive graphics, and native speaker recordings to augment your child’s learning and keep them engrossed in each lesson.
Your children can explore 11 different topics through 65 interactive lessons where they’ll get acquainted with 150 new Chinese words and phrases. For each thematic topic, your children will come across 5-8 games that enable them to pick up Chinese through play and fun.
You can toggle between simplified or traditional characters in this app and even change the default output language of the app to other options such as Japanese, Dutch, German, and Indonesian.
Unfortunately, the free version of the app will keep your hands tied due to its limited access. If you wish to unlock complete access across the app, you may opt for their monthly plan ($14.99/month) or their yearly plan ($59.99/year).
_Note: You may need to guide your children through some of the games. Sometimes, instructions are not provided, and at other times, the playthrough may be a little too complex for young kids. _
Kids Yay Learn Chinese
Kids Yay Learn Chinese is another game-based learning app intended for beginner learners aged 3-10.
This app guides your little ones towards building their knowledge on various aspects of the Chinese language, including character recognition, writing, vocabulary, pronunciation, tone, and contextual use of words and phrases.
Learning about the different tones is a critical part of mastering Mandarin Chinese. This app innovatively utilizes tongue twisters to help your children practice and learn in an entertaining and amusing way.
On top of that, the app’s handwriting lessons will teach your kids the correct stroke sequence and deepen their knowledge about the different building blocks of various Chinese characters, allowing them to refine their writing skills from an early age.
While the app generates a secure and ad-free learning environment for your children, the free version will only grant you access to several sample lessons.
The rest of the content sits behind a paywall, and an additional fee will be charged for each add-on lesson purchased.
Magikid Chinese draws young ones into an immersive learning environment where they will encounter unique stories, thrilling games, and lively songs that work synergistically to keep them enthusiastically learning.
With over 90-days worth of bite-sized content, your children will be picking up more than 500 different Chinese characters. Through this visually appealing app, they will also expand their vocabulary and sharpen their listening and speaking skills.
Of course, to keep young kids engaged and focused, Magikid uses a diverse range of learning materials. This includes flashcards to improve their reading and character recognition skills, sing-along videos subtitled with Chinese lyrics and their pinyin, and thousands of games to keep things fun and lively.
Plus, they have a report card feature that serves as a valuable tool for teachers and parents to keep track of the child’s learning progress and pinpoint areas that require more practice.
This app is best suited for children aged 3-8. And while you can download it for free, you are required to pay a rather hefty fee to access a massive chunk of their content.
If you’re searching for an app that caters to children (and adults) of all ages, here’s one that tops the list.
As much as speaking and listening skills are core pillars of mastering the Chinese language, writing is an equally important component that often doesn’t garner much attention or emphasis in curriculums for young learners.
Furthermore, some children naturally don’t enjoy writing Chinese characters.
While the complexity of certain characters can get somewhat overwhelming, Skritter is an app with an anchored focus on helping users remember, recognize, memorize, and construct Chinese characters.
This app utilizes a technique known as spaced repetition, where previously learned characters are revised and reviewed at specific intervals over days, weeks, or even months.
Ultimately, this app can teach children to write characters with the correct stroke sequence. It possesses a unique feature that allows for on-screen handwriting practice. Plus, the pinyin, tone, and meaning of each character are provided to enhance learning.
Finally, the spaced repetition function will jog their memory and improve their recall abilities by encouraging them to review what they’ve previously studied.
Hopefully, the characters your children learn to read, write, and recognize with this app are more effectively retained in their long-term memory.
Chineasy is a fairly new Internet startup that has been steadily garnering popularity among Mandarin Chinese learners of all ages.
This Internet-sensation-to-be is a Chinese learning platform with its hands in different cookie jars, having released materials ranging from books and an app to video content on YouTube.
Visual learners will be well-pleased with the design and content, as its focus is harnessed onto learning Mandarin Chinese characters through the use of illustrations, graphics, and visual prompts.
While the app is a big hit among adult beginner learners, your kids don’t have to be left out. In fact, Chineasy has introduced a book designed specifically for children aged 6-8 to learn their first 100 Chinese characters.
This book forms an impressive foundation for children to pick up basic Chinese literacy and engages children throughout their learning journey with lively scenes, a wide range of topics, and a neat picture library.
Both the book and app are fantastic learning tools for young beginners, but you won’t want to miss out on the free learning content spread across their YouTube channel, either.
Your children can dive headfirst into well-animated videos that cover Hanyu pinyin, tone, pronunciation, speaking, and character recognition with this YouTube channel.
Ultimately, Chineasy is one of the best options to consider if you wish to learn Chinese together with your children.
Ximalaya FM has claimed its title as one of China’s largest audio-sharing platforms, amassing a massive following from listeners and content contributors alike.
This platform was established as a common ground for aspiring and successful audio content creators to share their Chinese Mandarin pieces with audiences scattered across the globe.
As a site user, you have access to soundtracks, podcasts, audiobooks, and music covering a colossal range of topics and genres.
The good news is that there’s a vast amount of content curated specifically for kids, including songs, audiobooks, and stories presented in a lively, fun, and exciting way.
But do take note that older children who fall in the intermediate or advanced learner category are more likely to learn and benefit from this platform.
With the amount of free content readily accessible on the site, you and your young ones could be tuning in to different children’s songs and audiobooks daily and never run out of content to enjoy.
Hence, it’s a fantastic resource that could help your children improve their listening and speaking skills by leaps and bounds.
Nevertheless, the entire site is in simplified Mandarin Chinese, though some audio uploads may also have an English title.
Therefore, if you’re not familiar with reading Chinese characters, you could resort to using the full-page translation function provided by Google to navigate the site.
YouTube is one of the best resources for learning Chinese, and the best part is that you don’t have to spend a single cent! 🤗
There are tons of YouTube channels that teach Mandarin Chinese. One of them is Little Fox Chinese - Stories & Songs for Learners.
With over 200,000 subscribers, this channel encourages young Mandarin Chinese learners to explore this rich language through educational and well-animated stories as well as catchy songs.
Another well-put-together YouTube channel is 简中 Little Chinese Learners [Simplified Chinese].
Upon landing on this channel, you’ll notice educational content delivered via songs, stories, and games. On top of that, your children can also solidify their learning by watching bite-sized tutorial videos conducted by experienced native teachers.
Finally, you may also wish to have your children try out the Ezy Mandarin YouTube channel.
Their videos cater to both adults and children, and the channel aims to help learners explore and learn the Chinese language through songs and music. Your little ones will have a ball of fun learning, singing, and dancing gleefully along to their library of catchy tunes!
These are just a few of the endless possibilities you can explore on YouTube. It is, after all, a massive hub for entertaining yet educational content!
Chinese TV Programs And Cartoons
Most children love watching shows and cartoons, which is why you can leverage that interest to help them learn a new language.
Shows and cartoons provide cultural context to the language, helping viewers enhance their language comprehension, natural fluency, and vocabulary as they learn.
Nonetheless, this learning method may be better suited for children with some form of foundation or knowledge of the Mandarin Chinese language, especially if no English subtitles are provided.
Of course, it’s crucial to ensure the TV programs and cartoons your children watch are kid-friendly.
A few children’s shows and programs you may wish have your young ones try out include Big Ear Tutu (大耳朵图图), Pororo The Little Penguin (小企鹅啵乐乐), and Boonie Bears (熊出没).
Nonetheless, it may be best for TV programs and cartoons to serve as supplementary learning tools rather than the core learning material for your kids to pick up Mandarin Chinese.
Tuttle Chinese for Kids Flash Cards
Tuttle Chinese for Kids is a great candidate to consider if you’re looking for a fun introductory resource to spice up your child’s language learning journey.
The package consists of 64 flashcards, an audio CD, and a learning guide, all meticulously designed and crafted for children aged 6-14.
The 64 flashcards carry content spread across various topics, such as animals, food, numbers, and colors. On top of that, each word is illustrated and paired with its English translation and Hanyu pinyin.
The CD included in the package contains audio recordings delivered by native speakers. This ensures your children are picking up the right tone and pronunciation for the different words they learn.
Of course, compared to having an online version of the audio recordings, many people may consider the CD an obsolete inconvenience.
Kids are never too young to learn a new language
And when it comes to learning Chinese, it never hurts to let your creativity and curiosity run wild.
Let your children test the waters with different types of resources (as long as they’re kid-friendly).
In due time, your children are bound to find something that sparks their interest and keeps them entertained while they learn this beautiful language.
Know of any Chinese Mandarin resources for kids that your young ones have tried and enjoyed?
Let me know in the comments below, especially if it isn’t on this list. I would love to hear from you!
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