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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Learning Chinese Mandarin Online For Kids

Kids learning Chinese Mandarin finds it easier to learn interactively. This post guides you to some online resources to help your children learn Chinese Mandarin online.

Kids Learn Differently From Adults

Children learn differently from adults. They are attracted to bright colours and animations, songs and stories. So be sure to incorporate lots of this when getting children to learn. More so, when you are getting them to learn Chinese if they are a non-native Chinese speaker.

My children are studying at Chinese Primary School. However, we only speak English at home. I am trying to teach them myself. First, I will learn the language, then I transfer my newly learned language to them. In other words, I am learning together with them. The teacher becomes the student.

However, I am only able to do so at preschool and early primary school. My girl's chinese knowledge has surpassed me now. She is in primary 3.

This post will feature all the online resources I used to help me and her learn Chinese.

You can go to YouTube to listen to Chinese Mandarin Stories and Songs Online. Kids will love to listen to these short Chinese Stories and songs.


You can get a lot of short Chinese Stories, animations and Chinese Songs for Kids on YouTube. A child learns through repetition. You will be amazed at what they learn when they sing the songs and listen to the Chinese Stories for Kids.

Chinese Learning for Kids Online Resources

Overseas Chinese Language and Culture Education Online
I wouldn't have been able to find this site online searching in English. An online friend recommended me this one. The step-by-step lessons are great if you child goes through them one at a time and its free!

A free online English Chinese Dictionary. I like this one the best compared to all the other online Chinese Dictionary because it allows handwriting input of Chinese Characters using a mouse. Nciku has come up with an app for smart phone users too. (Nciku has been replaced by Line Dictionary now)

"Ting" as in listen in Chinese
I have provided the link direct to the games and stories section of this website. Remember that children learn best with games, stories and songs.

Better Chinese
I don't normally like to recommend resource links unless it is free because quite often I can find free online resources that are just as good if I search hard enough. This site encourages Chinese learning through books, CDroms, audio CDs supplemente

Your child will need a talking dictionary

I can't recommend this quite enough. I started with a normal dictionary. It took me ages to find a chinese character. I had to find a dictionary that had allowed me to search in pinyin. That may be good if you know chinese pinyin. It may also be good for a starter learner but beyond that I think you need a good talking electronic dictionary to supplement your child's learning. In later Chinese learning, your child will need to know the order of strokes in a Chinese character and look for words that way. It took me a long time to search for words by order of strokes or by first checking Chinese radicals followed by the order of strokes.

I persuaded my husband to buy an e-dict or electronic talking bilingual dictionary in Chinese and English and I am very happy with my birthday gift. My children who are 7 and 9 use it daily. It is simple enough for them to use and best of all, it helps in the child's learning because most electronic dictionary shows the order of strokes for chinese character and talking dictionaries help in pronounciation. Get the best that you can afford. I was given a free gift along with my electronic dictionary. It was a similar dictionary to the one my husband bought for me, only it did not support character drawing input (which is very important) and it was smaller and in black and white. We hardly use it as it is not very useful to us.

To recap:

1. Get a bilingual electronic dictionary
2, Get a talking dictionary so your child can learn pronounciation
3. Get the best that you can afford
4. Get a dictionary that supports handwritten character input
5. If it is in colour and with animation, then it is even better to support children's learning

Check out my next module: Chinese Learning for Kids Online Resources. Nciku.com is an online dictionary that allows handwriting input. You can check it out to see how an electronic dictionary feels like. Only, an e-dict is lighter, smaller and more portable. :)

Remember to incorporate lots of stories and songs.

Kids learn best from stories and songs.

Top 3 things to look for when looking for an electronic dictionary

Here are the top 3 things I looked for when buying an electronic dictionary or an e-dict in short. In this case, I am referring to a bilingual English-Chinese-English E-Dictionary.

1. Make sure the dictionary has a handwriting input function. This function is priceless. You can copy and Chinese character. It does not matter even if you get the strokes wrong or your Chinese character looks a bit odd, the dictionary will be able to recognise it if you get it about 70% right.

2. Make sure the dictionary has a "talking" function. Again, this function is very useful for learning pronounciation. Some dictionaries even allow you to repeat after it and record your own voice to see if you have got it right. The kids love this function.

3. Find out what dictionaries are loaded in the electronic dictionary. The electronic dictionary has the space and capability to load dozens of dictionaries in it. Make sure they are good quality ones like Oxford, Brittania, Cambridge, etc. Make sure you have an English to Chinese as well as a Chinese to English Dictionary PLUS standalone dictionaries for English and for Chinese. For Chinese, you will want a Comprehensive Dictionary so you can search for phrases, idioms and proverbs.

Top 3 Must Haves in an Electronic Dictionary

1. Handwriting Input
2. Voice Output
3. The Best Dictionaries incorporated

Read Bilingual English Chinese Books

Read! Read! Read! Get your child to read bilingual English Chinese Storybooks for a start. If they have pinyin, even better! You can read them to your child as well. The bilingual explanation really hellps. Don't worry about the pronounciation at first. Work on the word recognition to improve your child's Chinese Vocabulary.

I didn't know any Chinese myself. So I went to the bookstore and selected a few bilingual English Chinese Storybooks. Armed with my simple knowledge of basic Chinese characters and a little knowledge of pinyin, I was able to tell the stories to my children and soon we began to recognise the Chinese characters as well.

More than 200 Bilingual Chinese-English Books on Kindle

Cheng Yu Gu Shi

Learning Chinese is fun through Chinese Idiom Stories or Cheng Yu Gu Shi.

Chinese Idiom Stories or Cheng Yu Gu Shi

Kids who learn Chinese Mandarin often learn Chinese Idiom Phrases through Chinese Idiom Stories or Cheng Yu Gu Shi. This is a delightful way to learn Chinese. Here is one YouTube Channel with 40 such Chinese Idiom Stories or Cheng Yu Gu Shi for kids with wonderful animation.

What an interesting way to learn Chinese. Learning Chinese can be really fun as these Chinese Idiom Stories show.

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