Just here to profess our love for 巧虎 (Qiǎo hǔ / clever tiger), an educational Chinese show for children. Seriously, 巧虎 rocks our world!
巧虎 is a subscription-based program geared toward children age 6 months to 9 years. Like the popular American show Sesame Street, 巧虎 combines live action, animation, and mascots with music and dance. However, 巧虎 is MUCH better and less annoying (sorry, I really can’t stand Elmo’s voice)!
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with 巧虎 and have received no compensation for this review. This review is based on my own opinions. I’m just a lowly fan from afar!
巧虎 originates from the Japanese anime program Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō. Franchises in China and Taiwan provide educational materials in Mandarin.
Due to the negative effects of excess screen-time, we allow limited television for my 4-year-old 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) to have Chinese exposure. Because 巧虎 is the best Chinese show for children, that special time usually involves 巧虎.
Why is it so great?
Let me count the ways!
1. 巧虎 is easy to understand
First of all, kids learning Chinese need exposure to native Mandarin. Compared to other popular shows dubbed in Mandarin, the speech is clear and relatively slow. As a result, young children and non-fluent adults like myself can hear each word. In addition, they have real people on the show, so your child can see children and adults speaking native Mandarin. This is important compared to typical children’s shows which only have cartoon characters.
2. 巧虎 gives you PRESENTS each month
In our home, the start of every month is basically Christmas! On a monthly basis, we look forward to getting:
- A 20-30 minute educational DVD
- At least one interactive workbook
- Toys for younger toddlers and games for older toddlers
- A CD of songs from past episodes (this comes every few months)
3. 巧虎 grows with your child
The subscription is based on age. For example, children ages 2-3 will receive 幼幼版 (yòuyòu bǎn / young edition) while those ages 4-5 will receive 快乐版 (kuàilè bǎn / happy edition).
4. 巧虎 workbooks are interactive!
To reinforce the lessons in the DVD, each workbook includes activities and stickers. In the photos below, you can see images are a mix of cartoons and photographs.
5. 巧虎 teaches manners and more
巧虎 reviews important everyday habits include hand-washing, stranger danger, safety, manners, shapes, and counting, just to name a few. And my 老大 will listen to anything that 巧虎 says!
For older children, content like math, science (eg solar system), and Zhuyin (bopomofo) is included. As a result, the show is educational for toddlers and school-age children.
6. 巧虎 sings and dances!
Each episode has songs, rhymes/poems, and dancing! Here is 老大 signing a tooth-brushing song from one of her favorite episodes:
Nowadays, 老大 sings this every time we brush her teeth!
7. 巧虎 taught my daughter how to read traditional Chinese
Since the workbooks corresponds with the dialogue and song lyrics are provided, children can follow along with the DVD. Also, DVD subtitles are provided. Because of this show, my daughter is really excited about reading as shown in this video!
8. 巧虎 toys & games motivate kids to speak Chinese
Since the toys and games reinforce topics from the DVD and workbooks, kids are naturally motivated to speak Chinese and apply new lessons through pretend play. Below, you can see examples of different toys.
9. 巧虎 reminds you not to watch too much TV
At the start of each show, 巧虎 tells you sit far back and limit your screen time. My toddler obediently turns it off at the end of each show. Yes, it’s really too good to be true!
10. 巧虎 DVDs are compatible with American DVD players
In contrast to many overseas videos, the 巧虎 DVDs should work in your regular DVD player. As a result, you don’t have to worry about changing the region code or getting a region-free DVD player!
See? 巧虎 is really a fantastic Chinese program for children!
To be fair, like anything in this world, 巧虎 is not perfect:
- Plastic toys: Most of the toys are plastic, and I wish they were eco-friendly. Since we try to live minimally, we end up donating most of the toys.
- Simplified Chinese is not easily accessible in the US:
- China’s 巧虎 program uses Simplified Chinese: http://www.qiaohu.com/. However, they deliver within China, so you have to know someone who lives there and can receive and then mail the package to you.
- Taiwan’s 巧虎 program uses Traditional Chinese: http://www.ciaohu.com/. This program is available for US families through their office in Garden Grove, California.
- English code-mixing: Occasionally, English is used since English is gradually introduced to Taiwanese children around age 4-5.
With that all said, I still give 巧虎 10 stars!
Since the 巧虎 program helps my kids learn and love Chinese with educational content, I highly recommend subscribing.
Although we are mainly learning simplified Chinese, I’m using 巧虎 to ramp up my kids’ enthusiasm about Chinese learning and immerse them in native Mandarin. Even if you’re not planning on teaching simplified and traditional Chinese, I think 巧虎 does a great job of providing exposure in a fun way.
What do I need to know in order to subscribe?
In the US, a monthly subscription of 6 issues currently costs $175 USD ($29/month) and 12 issues costs $322 USD (~$27/month). This cost includes free air freight shipping from Taiwan.
The cost of subscription to other countries are as follows:
- China, Hong Kong:
- Half-year: $155
- Full-year: $290
- Asia, Austrailia, New Zealand
- Half-year: $171
- Full-year: $320
- Europe, Central, and South America
- Half-year: $188
- Full-year: $345
- North America
- Half-year: $188
- Full-year: $345
Please note that the above pricing is subject to change and that you should contact the company to verify! Ciaohu’s contact info is as follows:
Do you allow screen time for your kids? If so, what do you think is the best Chinese show for children? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Looking for more educational Chinese videos for children? Check out these free YouTube channels.