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Chinese for Kids

Are You Including Chinese Language Learning In Your Homeschool? Look Here To Find Engaging Ways To Learn Chinese for Kids!

Chinese For KidsBy: Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.  

While adding any foreign language for kids into your homeschool has its benefits, there are many reasons why choosing Chinese may be the right move for your child. One major reason is the sheer number of people in the world who speak Chinese—more than one billion! However, you may also be tempted by the features of Chinese that may make it “easier” to learn than other languages, like those that focus on cases and genders and verb conjugations. Regardless of your reasons, bringing Chinese language learning into your homeschool means you need resources!

Homeschool Chinese Curriculum 

Chinese for Kids Teaching Materials
Free Online Chinese Lessons and Activities

Other Mandarin for Kids Resources

*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although most of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.

 

Homeschool Chinese Curriculum

You may want to start by finding a good curriculum to teach Chinese for kids. There are many different ways to teach and learn a foreign language, so you will need to do a bit of research to find the best fit for your family. Here are some possibilities to explore:

Asian Language School 
“Specializing in Japanese, Korean, Chinese languages… Asian Language School partners with families, schools, and companies in delivering quality online foreign language education. Features of our courses: practical teaching materials; structured curriculum from beginners to advanced; taught by native speaker teachers; accessible via laptops, tablets, or smartphones; and flexible scheduling and canceling online.”

 

 

Better Chinese $
Our pedagogy at Better Chinese is based on a student-centric approach, inquiry-based and story-centered framework, culturally-rich and authentic content, language scaffolding and review, and complete teacher support. Each series is tailored to provide students with easy-to-use, fun and comprehensive materials to make learning Chinese exciting in non-native Chinese environments. Not only will they learn the language naturally, they will also have fun and develop a keen understanding of the Chinese culture.”

Learn Mandarin Chinese | Muzzy BBC $  
Developed by the BBC, Muzzy has an over 30-year history of success teaching millions of children around the world. Muzzy’s simple and effective program teaches languages through fun and animated stories featuring Muzzy and friends. Each lesson has reinforcement learning tools including online games, printable flashcards & printable worksheets. MUZZY’s online language program is available on all devices and anywhere there is an Internet connection, with no downloads required.” 

LingoAce $
“Designed for kids who are learning Mandarin Chinese as a second language while aligning to globally-recognized standards. […] LingoAce will help your child: have fun learning a new language, communicate with confidence, read Chinese books and other text, write the most common characters, and learn about Chinese culture.”

Lingo Bus: Easy-to-Learn Authentic Chinese  $
“Since 2017, Lingo Bus has provided language teaching services to over 85,000 students between 4-15 years old from 108 different countries. Customers can choose from one-on-one classes with a certified language teacher or a small group class of up to four students. The game-based curriculum is designed to engage and inspire beginners and heritage speakers alike. […] We believe for ages 4-15 the immersion method is the most effective way of learning a foreign language. Children are the most receptive to this approach, and complete immersion with our curriculum will ensure that they learn faster and more comprehensively than other methods.”

Professor Toto Language Education Series $   
“Brought to life by the pioneer of language education for children and founder of the internationally acclaimed Language Workshop for Children, Professor Toto introduces practical, day-to-day vocabulary and grammatical structure in a fun, colorful, and engaging Toto way. As kids join animated classmates in an immersive and playful virtual classroom, they lose themselves in emotionally engaging storylines and learn the basics of conversational fluency in French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, German and English/ESL without realizing it.”   

 

 

Talkbox.Mom – Chinese $ 
“What if Chinese (Mandarin) was as easy to use in your own home as English (even if you know nothing OR everything)? Start talking in Italian with your family the same day you start! […] As a parent, you’re actually the MOST successful language teacher in the world. Think about it… Who taught your kids English?! YOU! TalkBox.Mom will give you the tools you need to teach your children Chinese the same way you taught them English: talking as life happens. 

Time4Languages Online Chinese (Mandarin) Language Course | Time4Learning $   
“Time4Languages makes it simple for Time4Learning K-12 students to learn Chinese or improve their fluency. The online Chinese (Mandarin) course features an award-winning, proven method in which students will learn to speak and think in Chinese. There is no memorization or translation involved. An immersive environment teaches students by connecting words and phrases with images. […] Available to Time4Learning members only.”  

Tiny Chinese Homeschool $
“Welcome to the adventure of teaching your family Mandarin Chinese in the home. Whether you are a veteran or a complete beginner, the resources on this site will help you introduce your family to Chinese in a fun and structured way. The materials are geared with flexibility so that the youngest child can participate, regardless of their reading and writing skill. The hope is to get your family speaking Chinese in the home environment right away.”

 

Chinese for Kids Teaching Materials

Adding to your curriculum can be a good idea for extra practice or for learning the language in a different way. Below are some supplemental materials that can help your child learn Chinese while keeping your child engaged:

2000 Most Common Chinese Words in Context $
By Lingo Mastery (Author)
“Did you know that — according to an important study — learning the top two thousand (2000) most frequently used words will enable you to understand up to 84% of all nonfiction and 86.1% of fiction literature and 92.7% of oral speech? Those are amazing stats, and this book will take you even further than those numbers!” Don’t look any further; we’ve got what you need right here! In fact, we’re ready to turn you into a Chinese speaker… are you ready to become one?”

Big Chinese Workbook for Little Hands
Big Chinese Workbook for Little Hands (7 Book Series) $
By Yang Yang (Author)
“#1 recommended by teachers and linguists to be used for self-study or in supplement to any Chinese school curriculum. The Big Chinese Coloring Book/Workbook series is designed for kids who live in English-speaking countries and/or regions.” Includes books for ages 3-9+ and access to sound recordings.”

Chinese Character Practice Workbook for Kids $
By Rachel Avrick, MA (Author)
This Chinese writing practice notebook sets the foundation for a lifelong study in Chinese characters. Any child learning Chinese will enjoy guided instruction for perfecting their penmanship and memorizing meanings, so they can confidently start their journey toward Chinese learning success. With a repetition-based format, kids will practice character strokes with plenty of writing space to inspire independent learning.

Chinese Picture Dictionary Coloring Book $
“In this amazing book, you will find: Over 50 different, detailed, and beautiful full-size illustrations for you to learn while coloring them! Each of these 50 illustrations contains up to 20 items, by the way – that’s almost 1,000 images for you to color! […] Challenging quizzes found every few sections will allow you to develop your Chinese skills even further; if you don’t know the answers, we’ve provided an Answer Key at the end! Just to get started, we’ve added an in-depth basic Chinese guide at the beginning, including tone pronunciation, spelling, word order and vocabulary, among other crucial tools, such as insight into Mandarin Chinese characters and the extremely important Pinyin and stroke order!”

Chinese Short Stories for Beginners $
By Lingo Mastery (Author)
Each chapter possesses a funny, interesting and/or thought-provoking story based on real-life situations, allowing you to learn a bit more about the Chinese culture. Having trouble understanding Chinese characters? No problem – apart from the English translation below each paragraph, we’ve also provided you with the Pinyin romanization of the Chinese language, so that you never have trouble reading Chinese again!”

Chinese Stories for Language Learners $
By Vivian Ling (Author), Peng Wang (Author), Yang Xi (Illustrator)
“This book presents 22 classic Chinese proverbs and the traditional tales behind them. The stories are bilingual, with the Chinese and English versions presented on facing pages. Each includes an explanation of how the proverb is used today, cultural notes, vocabulary, and discussion questions. Audio recordings of the tales read by native speakers are included–giving students a chance to improve their pronunciation and comprehension.”

Conversational Chinese Dialogues $
By Lingo Mastery (Author)
We have compiled over one hundred conversational Chinese stories for beginners along with their translations, allowing new Chinese speakers to possess the necessary tools to begin studying how to set a meeting, rent a car, or tell a doctor that they don’t feel well. We’re not wasting time here with conversations that don’t go anywhere: if you want to know how to solve real-life problems (while learning a ton of Chinese along the way), this book is for you!”

Intermediate Chinese Short Stories $
By Lingo Mastery (Author)
The best part of learning a new language is experiencing the culture and diving into activities that will enrich your life and vocabulary. The best way to learn a new language is by reading, and in this Chinese book you will find yourself turning page after page to get to the end of each captivating story that will engage your mind and help you improve your grasp of the Chinese language. […] You will get involved by reading the dialogue of the characters, by learning how to express yourself in different contexts, and more importantly by learning new Chinese words that will get you closer to your goal of becoming fully conversational.”

Mandarin Chinese Characters Made Easy $
By Lingo Mastery
“The writing of Chinese characters remains as a challenge for most learners, particularly beginners. Thankfully, with the help of the Pinyin system, a learner can instantly pronounce any Chinese character. This is where our Mandarin Chinese Characters Made Easy workbook comes in: an easy step-by-step workbook demonstrating how to write Chinese characters, stroke by stroke.”

 

 

Mandarin Chinese Vocabulary Language Study Card $
By Madeline Chu (Author)
For your older child… “A handy cheat sheet providing more than 700 key Mandarin vocabulary words and phrases in an at-a-glance, easy-to-carry format. This language card is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to quickly build their command of Mandarin vocabulary. Each word or phrase includes Chinese characters (traditional and simplified), Pinyin romanization, and the English translation.”

Tiny Chinese HomeschoolTiny Chinese Homeschool (6 Books) $
By Enge Chen (Author)
Learn Chinese as a family with learning materials geared towards English-speaking learners. Every book is written in English, traditional Chinese characters, and Pinyin. Each book has access to online audio and more supplementary materials. This is a perfect step for beginning Chinese learners who want a low-stress simple way to incorporate more Chinese into daily conversations at home.

 

Free Online Chinese Lessons and Activities

Luckily for you and other homeschoolers teaching Mandarin for kids, lessons and activities don’t have to break the bank. In fact, there are plenty of free resources out there, if you know where to look. Here are some websites to explore:

China Education Center
“The free online Mandarin Chinese lesson is to give a glimpse of some basic pronunciation to total novices who are interested in learning Mandarin Chinese. By completing all 32 lessons provided here, you should be able to manage basic pronunciation of most of the Chinese characters covered, learn some vocabulary, and acquire certain simple Chinese sentence structure.”

Chinese I (Regular) | MIT Open Courseware 
For your older children…. “This subject is the first semester of four that forms an introduction to modern standard Chinese, commonly called Mandarin, the language with the largest number of native speakers in the world. It is the official language of Mainland China and Taiwan, and one of the official languages of Singapore. The course presupposes no prior background in the language.”

Free Chinese Lessons
“Studying a unique language like Chinese needs a special approach. Free Chinese Lessons has a unique method that teaches reading, writing, and speaking at the same time. […] This site teaches Mandarin Chinese and uses traditional characters.”

FSI Standard Chinese: A Modular Approach 
For older children…. This is one of the language courses, which are in the public domain, from the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State. “This course is designed to give a practical command of spoken Standard Chinese. Nine situational modules form the core of the course. Each core module consists of tapes, a student textbook, and a workbook. In addition to the core modules, there is a resource module and eight optional modules.”

Global Language Online Support System – Chinese 
Find free online lessons and downloads with audio from the Defense Language Institute’s Foreign Language Center. 

 

  

Mandarin Games | Panda Tree
Check out these free games for your child to practice numbers, colors, animals, weather and more at the novice level.

MandarinX
For your older child… “With globalization comes the need for increased communication. MandarinX strives to help bridge the gap between cultures by facilitating the communication process. An increased demand means a growing number of opportunities for dedicated individuals willing to devote their time to learning this complex language with a rich history and deep cultural roots.

Memrise – Online Chinese Course 
Speak everyday Chinese with our free online Chinese course.”

Skritter
“We built Skritter for anyone curious about learning Chinese and Japanese language and culture and want to do so as quickly and efficiently as possible. Whether you are studying for fun or in an academic setting, Skritter is designed to help you reach your language learning goals. Learn 10 characters, or 10,000…the choice is entirely up to you! Skritter’s free experience aims to teach you the basics of Chinese and Japanese writing.”

OpenLearn Free Courses   
“Produced by The Open University, a world leader in open and distance learning, all OpenLearn courses are free to study. We offer nearly 1000 free courses across 8 different subject areas. Our courses are available to start right away.” Find free Chinese courses for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced learners by clicking “Chinese” as the topic. 

 

Other Mandarin for Kids Resources

Still looking for more ways to build Chinese language learning into your homeschool? Check out these ideas, too!

Kids Way to Chinese
Kids way to Chinese (KW2C) is a collection of apps and books to learn Chinese Mandarin for children from 4 to 15 years old. Our learning activities are designed to engage and entertain either in the classroom or at home. The apps and books include short stories, songs, and funny games.

My Language Exchange – Mandarin Chinese
Find Mandarin Chinese language partners through this free online exchange. Explore the members looking for partners and click on a name for more information or to contact the member.

 

 

TypeIt – Pinyin 
“This page allows you to easily type Pinyin (the romanization system for Mandarin Chinese) without a Pinyin keyboard. You can edit your text in the box and then copy it to your document, e-mail message, etc.”

Varsity Tutors – Chinese
“Receive personally tailored lessons from highly qualified tutors in a one-on-one setting. We facilitate Kids Chinese tutoring with highly credentialed Kids Chinese tutors and flexible scheduling. We require advanced qualifications from tutors in addition to a background check. Only a tiny fraction of applicants ultimately make it through our comprehensive interview process.”

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Do you know of any great ways to learn Chinese for kids? Share with your fellow homeschoolers in the comments below….

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