What is your favorite app? Why do you like it? Do you use any apps to learn something new? My boy likes to play games and read books on his device. My girl likes to draw and listen to stories on hers. I like to listen to music, read recipes, and play the language-learning apps on mine. The mobile devices have become a part of our learning in or out of our home or in the classroom. I like the flexibility and the variety that the apps have and I would like to share with you the 10 Chinese learning apps that are educational and entertaining for children. Enjoy!
The apps that I list here are the ones designed for children who are learning Mandarin Chinese as a Second Language and ages at 5+. Lingu Pinguin, Chinese Flashcards and Chungaboo are interactive flashcards that teach words. Piggy Picnic and Rick & Jackie are games that teach words, phrases and basic sentences.
Lingu Pinguin (Mandarin Chinese) – It is an interactive English-Chinese picture dictionary with audio. The vocabulary themes are animals, transportation, food, face & body, farm, toys, nature, clothes, and house. There is a quiz section for review. Pronunciation: standard Mandarin Chinese. Audio options: English and Mandarin Chinese. There is one pronunciation of one character can be noted in this set that is “penguin” in Mandarin Chinese. It is read as Qǐ é – Qǐ (3) – 3rd tone and it can also be read as Qì é. Qi(4) – 4th tone.
Chinese Flashcards (Mandarin Chinese & multilingual) by INKids (Animal set/Mandarin Chinese version) – This is a flashcard app with very nice illustration for young children. I like that the Chinese characters are included in each card. It is important that you select “Mandarin Chinese” in the language setting to hear the correct pronunciation. Audio options: English, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese.
Chungaboo – Language Series (Multilingual including Mandarin Chinese/Words set) – This is a multilingual app for kids including Mandarin Chinese. It is a beautiful and entertaining set. Touch the pictures and see what happens. When you select Chinese in language setting you will see Pinyin (pronunciation guide) with tone marks on each card. This set has 20 interactive cards. Audio: Mandarin Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, or Spanish.
Go beyond words and learn some basic sentences
Piggy Picnic – This app uses immersion approach. You can select English in setting to understand the questions when needed. Teaching Chinese as a second language approach.
Rick & Jacky – This is an entertaining and educational app. This app introduces words and basic sentence patterns. Teaching Chinese as a second language approach.
Feed Me Chinese: This is a multilingual app and the Mandarin Chinese version is educational and entertaining. It is designed in immersion style and it is fun and challenging at each level for children with some Chinese background.
How about adding listening/reading stories to our daily routine
RyeBooks by RyeStudio: RyeStudio has a very good collection of Chinese classic stories read in Mandarin Chinese with Chinese characters (in traditional or simplified characters or in Pinyin). You can start from the free stories first.
Interactive Books by Tinman Arts: Tinman Arts is another app that has a good collection of Chinese classic and contemporary stories. English stories translated into Chinese and read in Chinese are also available. My young students and older ones all enjoy their interactive design of the stories. Try a free story and see the reaction of your young learner.
Let’s try writing Chinese Characters: Writing Chinese Characters is fun
Chinese Writer by trainchinese: This is excellent app for writing practice and sight words exercise. You can select the Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese version on the app. FREE version with in-app purchase option. This app is good for children who are Grade 3 and above.
Just for fun: Are you Hungry? Watch out! This one can be addictive for elementary school kids.
Chinese Fridge Dim Sum: Sight words for Dim Sum dishes and it is entertaining. There are 5 dish names to learn. Standard Mandarin Chinese pronunciation. Chinese characters options: Chinese traditional, Chinese simplified, and Pinyin. Be ready to order your Dim Sum dish in Chinese next time.
The best way to use the apps:
1. Play with the app as a parent first.
2. Play with the app with your child together.
3. Select 3 to 5 words that you have learned, write them down and use them in the next 24 hours with your child. Add more words in the following week.
4. Break down each unit into short sessions according to your need so it is not overwhelming with all the new words.
5. Put down the device, go out and use the words, phrases, and sentences that you have learned in real life! Have fun!
Multimedia Learning Resource:
*This is an independent review and in order to maintain its independence and impartiality, Miss Panda Chinese buys and tests the apps it evaluates.*
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Post updated on October 2015. (c)2013-2015 Miss Panda Chinese All Rights Reserved.
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Amanda “Miss Panda” is the founder of Miss Panda Chinese and author of the "Let's Learn Mandarin Chinese with Miss Panda!" CD/MP3 audio program. Amanda is a dynamic language instructor with over 15 years language teaching experience. She created Miss Panda Chinese to share teaching materials that she has developed and used in the classroom and at home with parents and teachers who are also on the exciting bilingual education journey.
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