Just here to profess our love for 巧虎 (Qiǎo hǔ / clever tiger), an educational Chinese show for children!
Since we have subscribed for over 2 years, I wanted to update this post to share that my 5.5-year-old daughter is still a fan!
We first subscribed to the program when my daughter was 3 years old, and she was instantly a super fan. However, she went through a phase of a few months where she was tired of the content and interested in other things. Lately, she’s back to being excited about her 巧虎 activity books!
My 2.5-year-old son has enjoyed some of the 巧虎 resources, too!
Note: I have paid for our subscription and have received no compensation for this review. This review is based on the opinions of my family. For questions about subscribing, please scroll to the end of the post for pricing, contact information, and subscription forms in English and Chinese.
For reference, I first wrote this post in November 2017, and am updating it now in June 2019.
What is 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu)?
巧虎, also known as Qiaohu or Ciaohu, is a subscription-based program geared toward young children learning Chinese.
巧虎 originates from the Japanese anime program Shima Shima Tora no Shimajirō. Franchises in China and Taiwan provide educational materials in Mandarin.
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)!
Our experience with 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu)
Due to the negative effects of excess screen-time, we allow limited television for my children to have Chinese language and cultural exposure. My children watch 巧虎 a few times each month, but they use the workbooks much more often.
Why is 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) so great?
Let me count the ways!
1. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) is easy to understand
Children learning Chinese need exposure to native Mandarin speakers.
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, Ciaohu features real people on the show, so your child can see children and adults speaking native Mandarin. This is important compared to popular children’s shows which only have cartoon characters.
2. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) gives you PRESENTS each month!
In our home, the start of each month feels like Christmas!
On a monthly basis, we look forward to getting:
- A 20-30 minute educational DVD
- 1-2 interactive workbook(s)
- Toys for younger toddlers; games for older children
- A CD of songs from past episodes (this comes every few months)
3. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) grows with your child
The subscription is geared for children between age 6 months to 9 years.
Packages are based on age:
- 寶寶版 Baby edition (My personal and professional opinion is that this is too young to start screen time).
- 幼幼版 Yoyo edition (This is the version that we started with when my daughter was 3.)
- 快樂版 Happy edition
- 成長版 Grow edition (Zhuyin is introduced)
- 學習版 Learn edition (Pinyin is introduced)
- 小一版 1st grade
- 小二版 2nd grade
- 中年級 3rd-5th grade
4. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) workbooks are interactive!
To reinforce the lessons in the DVD, each workbook includes activities and stickers.
5. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) teaches manners and more
巧虎 is educational for a wide age range.
For toddlers, important skills such as hand-washing, stranger danger, safety, manners, shapes, and counting are reviewed.
For Kindergartners and elementary-school aged kids, content includes math, science (eg solar system), and Zhuyin (bopomofo).
6. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) sings and dances!
Each episode has songs, rhymes/poems, and dancing!
In this video, 老大 is singing a tooth-brushing song from one of her favorite episodes!
Nowadays, 老大 sings this every time we brush her teeth!
7. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) 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 has been excited about reading as shown in this video!
8. 巧虎 (Qiaohu) 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.
幼幼版 Yoyo edition and 快樂版 Happy edition toys
Here are examples of different toys from the 幼幼版 Yoyo edition and 快樂版 Happy edition that my daughter received when she was 3-4 years old.
Fishing activity to review ocean animal names in Chinese
Pretend Chinese Ice Cream Shop
Learn Sushi names in Chinese
Bowling game with plastic bowling ball and pins
Please note that the amount of toys became overwhelming over time for our family, and we have donated most of the toys we have received from our monthly packages.
From the above images, we have kept only the ice cream set and the magnetic fishing game.
成長版 Grow edition activities
Dinosaur card game with paper dinosaurs
My children have been a huge fan of this interactive dinosaur game!
9. 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) 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 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) 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!
Downsides of 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu)
To be fair, like anything in this world, 巧虎 is not perfect. These are the aspects of the program that I dislike:
1. 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.
2. Overly busy images
Like most Chinese learning materials, many pages of the workbooks are overly cartoonified and have too many colors that can distract from important teaching concepts.
For example, the clock teaching workbook came with an interactive paper clock that my daughter put together independently. My daughter already knows how to tell time from various hands-on activities that I created.
However, for a child who has not yet previously learned this skill, you can see in the image below many competing visual elements.
3. 巧虎 Simplified Chinese version is not easily accessible in the United States
- 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.
4. English code-mixing:
Occasionally, English is used since English is gradually introduced to Taiwanese children around age 4-5.
This is a downside for our family since we use 巧虎 as a Chinese immersion resource at home. Fortunately, most of the materials are in Chinese however.
Learning traditional Chinese with 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu)
Although we are mainly learning simplified Chinese, we are using 巧虎 to ramp up my kids’ enthusiasm about Chinese learning and immerse them in native Mandarin.
My daughter also learned to read many traditional Chinese characters through
Even if you’re not planning on teaching simplified and traditional Chinese, I think 巧虎 does a great job of providing exposure in an engaging way.
Cost of 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) subscription
For the year of 2017-2018, in the United States, a monthly subscription for 6 issues cost $175 USD ($29/month); 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 current rates!
巧虎 Ciaohu contact information
Ciaohu versus Qiaohu
Ciaohu subscription forms
You can use the following forms to subscribe to Ciaohu. Please let them know that we referred you!
While they offer referral gifts, we do not accept them because we:
- Want to remain unbiased in our recommendation.
- Strive to live with minimal toys.
- Choose to generally live logo-free.
Since the 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) program helps my kids learn and love Chinese, I recommend the monthly subscription.
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!
More Chinese learning resources for kids
Looking for more educational Chinese videos for children? Check out our favorite Chinese YouTube channels.