Best fun way for kids children students to learn to speak and write Mandarin Chinese Pragmatic Mom PragmaticMom

Teach Kids Mandarin Chinese (and make it fun!)

Teach Kids Chinese Words in a Fun and Easy Way

My kids are one-quarter Chinese so I am making them learn Mandarin even though no one in my family can speak it. It’s become a very popular foreign language option at our Middle School so I thought I’d post on all the paraphernalia that I’ve found to expose my kids to Chinese.

p.s. Other Chinese Language posts:

Chinese Words are Easy to Learn, Really!

Cheat Sheet for Pronouncing Chinese (Pinyin)

iPhone App To Learn Chinese for Kids

Teach Toddlers Chinese Through Songs and Nursery Rhymes

1.Hide and Speak Chinese (with Flaps!) by Catherine Bruzzone and Susan Marineau

This primer does a good job with building basic vocabulary using both characters, Chinese phonics for pronunciation, and pictures. It also uses sentences to teach the words. You would use this book to Hide the Words, Remember Them, and Say Them Aloud. I wish they would separate the Chinese characters from the pin yin phonics … but I guess I am being picky.

2. To pronounce Mandarin Chinese, there is a phonetic system called Pinyin that is used since Chinese is a character system NOT an alphabet system and every character means a different word. Here’s cheat sheet on how to pronounce Pinyin because it’s actually not that obvious!

3. Of course, nothing beats hearing Mandarin spoken out loud. Here’s the Pinyin via audio.

4. There is a stroke order to writing Chinese characters. It’s demonstrated on the Nciku site. There are lots of basic vocabulary here as well.

5. My kids resisted writing Chinese characters until I bought them a Chinese brush set with ink stones. Now it’s suddenly fun!

This is a set.

6. DS game, My Chinese Coach

My son loves his DSi. Now he can learn Chinese on it! It’s great for hearing Mandarin pronounced.


p.s. Grasp Chinese just introduced themselves to me. The first 10 lessons on their excellent website are free (Saying Hello, Introduction to Tones, Ordering a Coffee, Airport/Arriving, Taxi/Going to a Hotel, Hotel/Checking In, Numbers 1-10, Breakfast, Shopping, Introducing Yourself). Each lesson module has a Lesson, Practice Listening, Write Chinese Words, Write Chinese Phrases, Chinese Phrasebook. There is a fee for all 40 lessons.

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. From my LinkedIn Group The Power of the APA Market:

    iam sorry your childs should learn it

    Posted by syed

  2. From my LinkedIn Group Asian Pacific Business:

    yes chinese is a good should learn it.

    Posted by syed

  3. From my LinkedIn Group Asian Pacific Business (The Power of the APA Market):

    it is a good idea to have kids learn Chinese as early as possible as Chinese will be more and more popular. My daughter was born in USA and we sent her to Chinese school Sun so she passed Chinese test in Harvard University and no need to take another one, saved time for more important and fun classes.

    Posted by Dr. Lilly

  4. I love this post! I will be looking for these resources to add to our Mandarin materials. Here is what we have been using:
    Do you have any advice for parents who do not speak Mandarin, but would like their kids to learn? This is our situation:).

    • To Becky,
      Thanks for sharing your resources!!! I’m in the same boat as you and the only thing that I can think of is more exposure via videos, CDs, games and Chinese restaurants. My kids are not that excited to learn either but I just keep at it. We also have a great tutor that comes weekly. Each kid gets their own slot. It did not work to combine kids sadly, though adding in their friends even beginners did help them in Spanish.

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