Trying to preserve or teach birth language is one way to help adopted children connect with their heritage. Although we struggled just with English for quite a long time with Sunshine, we are now trying to teach all the kids as much Chinese Mandarin as we can, with the hope that maybe one day they’ll be bilingual. We’ll needs lots of help at some point in the future, but for now, we’re working on simple children’s songs (which will be in an upcoming post!) and vocabulary. There are endless possibilities available out there nowadays for language learning! You can learn anything you want on apps, including tons of different foreign languages. I love that there is such a variety of Mandarin Chinese apps for kids. If you are serious about your children learning Mandarin, you’ll need more than just a few apps. But they are surely a great way to get your children started. I spent some time reviewing just a few of the many Chinese apps available – these are arranged from my most favorite to least favorite.
#1 – Kids Learn Mandarin – This is by far my most favorite app. It’s free at first and a bit pricey to download the whole app, but oh boy the $12.99 is worth it. It teaches fruits, veggies, body parts, colors, shapes, animals, family members, occupations, things around the home, eating and drinking. I can’t say enough good things about all of the different games available for reinforcement. There are so many different things to do, it could literally entertain a child for hours!
#2 – Ricki & Jacky – This one is really fun, although a bit limited compared to Kids Learn Mandarin. It is free at first, with a $3.99 download to unlock everything. It teaches colors, fruits, emotions, simple action verbs, and places. Ricki & Jacky are two circus clowns that lead children through multiple circus tents, offering a few games to teach and reinforce new vocabulary. All of my kids enjoyed themselves while playing this one!
#3 – Fun Chinese – Again free at first, it’s $4.99 to unlock the entire app. It’s very fun, offering quite a large variety of games for reinforcement. It comes loaded with colors, and also teaches animals, numbers, things around the house, and transportation with the full app.
#4 – Chinese Flashcards – Free at first, but for $0.99 to unlock the whole app, you can’t beat this one. If your child prefers to skip all the games and just learn the vocabulary, these flashcards may be the way to go. It teaches animals, transportation, verbs, around the house, numbers, shapes, colors, weather, musical instruments, food, fruit, and veggies. Being a visual learner, I do wish the app showed the pinyin so I could read the words. But if your child is a good auditory imitator, you’re set!
#5 – LinguPinguin – This one comes loaded with animals and transportation with the free download, and then a $1.99 upgrade gets you everything else. It’s cute and interactive and my kids had fun playing it. I think it’s worth the $1.99 for all that it offers!
#6 – Penyo Pal – This one is more difficult and probably suited for older children. I didn’t spend the money to upgrade past the included foods section, but it’s great for recognizing Chinese characters if your children are interested in that. It’s a little hard to follow at first, but you can catch on quickly.
#7 – Princesses Learn Chinese – I suppose the name of this one might limit this game to girls only, but it’s still cute. It’s a free download and includes the story of Snow White. The app can narrate the story, which includes a bit of Mandarin thrown in. You can also purchase other stories for $1.99 each. It’s a cute idea, but I’m not sure how much Mandarin can be learned with it. There are a few games too, but none that really kept my children’s interest. It’s certainly worth the free download of Snow White to check it out though.
#8 – KidsChinese – I’m not sure how this app has so many glowing reviews. This is a free app that comes with one short animation of little bean people having a conversation. After that, you have to pay $0.99 for each additional video you want to download. The audio lags behind the video, which is frustrating when trying to read the English subtitles. I could recognize some of the words, but I couldn’t follow along with the conversation. I am not sure how anyone could learn a foreign language this way, but maybe I am missing something.
There are so many more possibilities for Mandarin Chinese apps. I chose to review just a few of them, but I definitely think there are some big winners in this list. I’m sure there are many other equally great apps available, but hopefully my reviews will get you started! If you already use any apps, please comment and let me know so I can add it to my “check it out” list. And if you are interested in learning Mandarin Chinese for yourself, there are many very good apps for adults too!