I’m always on the search for Chinese videos with real images, and the Wink to Learn animal videos fit the bill. Since my children and I are learning Mandarin Chinese as a second language, I intentionally limit all media sources to Chinese to maximize our exposure to native Mandarin. Ideally, we would be learning the language from travel and other immersive experiences. Since my family is unable to visit Asia, videos are often helpful for showing my children that Chinese-speaking people like them exist! Real images are better than cartoons for giving context to new vocabulary and concepts. Here’s what we think about the Wink to Learn Animal Encyclopedic DVD series including pros, cons, and video examples.
Where to Buy Wink to Learn Animal Videos
Review of the Wink to Learn Animal Videos
The Wink to Learn Set of 6 Animal Encyclopedic DVDs was filmed in the Singapore Zoo and Jurong Birdpark and teaches 800+ Chinese words and phrases including 500+ encyclopedic facts about animals. These all-region DVDs are 30-40minutes each. The titles and featured animals are as follows:
1. African Safari 非洲原野
Lion, Nyala, Southern White Rhinoceros, Eastern Black and White Colobus Monkey, Black Wildebeest, Cape Ground Squirrel, Cheetah, Rock Hyrax, Patas Monkey, Pink-Backed Pelican, Hamadryas Baboons, Banded Mongoose, Ostrich, Pygmy Hippo, African Penguins, Slender-Tailed Meerkat, Black-Backed Jackal, Desert Warthog, Giraffe, Grant’s Zebra
2. Amazing Rainforest 奇特的雨林
Black Howler Monkey, Malayan Sun Bear, Golden-Handed Tamarin, Linne’s Two-Toed Sloth, Siamang, Leopard Cat, White-Handed Gibbon, Kinkajou, White-Faced Saki Monkey, Malayan Porcupine, Brown-Headed Spider Monkey, Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel, Mandrills, Spotted Mousedeer, Common Squirrel Monkey, Large Flying Fox, Brown Capuchin, Ring-Tailed Lemur
3. Threatened Species 濒危动物
Chimpanzees, Asian Small-Clawed Otter, Proboscis Monkey, Orang Utan, Komodo Dragons, Jaguar, Sulawesi Crested Macaque, Maned Wolf, Douc Langur, Babirusa, Red-Ruffed Lemur, African Hunting Dogs, Lion-Tailed Macaque, White Tiger, Malayan Tapir, Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Nubian Ibex, Cotton-Top Tamarin, Asian Elephant
4. Asian Reptiles & Australian Wildlife 澳洲野生动物和亚洲爬行动物
- Asian Reptiles: Leopard Gecko, Green Tree Python, Burmese Rock Python, Indian Star Tortoise, Shore Pit Viper, Reticulated Python, Mangrove Snake, Aldabra Giant Tortoise, False Gavial, Indopacific Crocodile, Bearded Dragon, Black Spitting Cobra, Malayan Flat Shell Turtle, Black Marsh Turtle, New Guinea Fly-river Turtle
- Australian Wildlife: Agile Wallaby, Eastern Gray Kangaroo, Cassowary, Emu, Frill-Necked Lizard, Shingle-backed Skink, Blue-tongued Skink
5. Jungle Feathers 丛林之羽
Peach-faced Lovebird, Fischer’s Lovebird, Javan Trogon, Bali Mynah, Asian Fairy Bluebird, Mountain Peacock Pheasant, Lesser Green Broadbill, Luzon-bleeding heart pigeon, Hill Mynah, Black-winged Starling, Red-billed Blue Magpie, Temminck’s Tragopan, Green Magpie, Blue-Crowned Hanging Parrot, Pitta, Java Sparrow, White-crested Laughingthrush, Silver Pheasant, Greater Coucal, Reeve’s Pheasant, Vieillot’s Crested Fireback Pheasant, Banded Broadbill, White-rumped Shama, Great Argus Pheasant, Fire-turfted Barbet, Green Peafowl, Bornean crested fireback Pheasant, Black-browed Barbet, Baya weaver, Malay crestless Fireback Pheasant, Macaw Lory (Yellow-bibbed Lory, Dusky Lory, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Red Lory, Black-capped Lory, Blue-streaked Lory, Purple-naped Lory, Musk Lorikeet, Rainbow Lory, Violet-necked Lory), Crowned Pigeon ( Victoria Crowned Pigeon, Common Crowned Pigeon, Scheepmaker’s Crowned Pigeon)
6. Wetland Wings 湿地之翼
Cranes (Demoiselle Crane, East African Crowned Crane, Blue crane, African Crowned Crane), Storks (Painted Stork, Milky Stork, Marabou Stork, Saddlebill Stork, Yellow-Billed Stork), Pelicans (Dalmatian Pelican, Pink-backed Pelican, Brown Pelican, American White Pelican, Spot-billed Pelican, Great white Pelican, Australian Pelican), Shoebill, Carolina Wood Duck, Caribbean Flamingo, Collared Kingfisher, White-breasted Kingfisher, Blue-breasted Kingfisher, Javan Kingfisher, Scarlet Ibis, Masked Plover, Straw-necked Ibis, Nankeen Night Heron, Black Cormorant, Grey-Headed Gull
Benefits of the Wink to Learn Animal Videos
- Mostly real-life animal videos and photos
- Infrequent animation
- Subtitles available in simplified AND traditional Chinese
- Each animal is introduced with a slide that shows their name in large font
- Subsequent subtitles are only for key phrases
- Exposure to a large variety of animals
Downsides of the Wink to Learn Animal Videos
- Fast screen-changes
- Font colors are inconsistent and have inadequate contrast; sometimes they are easy to see and sometimes they are hard to see
- Subtitles are not word-for-word with the narration
As a pediatrician, I appreciate their use of real images in their other learning products. Although this particular series is aimed for children ages 2-12, after reviewing their website, I strongly disagree with their recommendation to start other videos and digital flashcards for children as young as 6 months. Children need to play outside and use all of their senses for exploration and experiential learning, and screen-time has cumulative long-term physical and behavioral consequences.
To learn more about the effects of media on children, please watch this informative TEDx video by Dr. Dimitri Christakis. HealthyChildren.org also has research-based advice about children’s health, including screen-time guidelines. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has 10 tips to protect eyes during screentime.
What my family thinks of the Wink to Learn Animal DVDs
My 2.5-year-old son is obsessed with the Wink to Learn DVDs. His favorite toys are the Schleich mini animals, so he brings them to the couch for them to keep him company and he is always begging for more animal DVDs after the video has ended. Since we limit screen-time in our home for health reasons, the 30-40 minute duration of each video allows for a natural end after which we transition to other activities.
My 5.5-year-old-daughter likes the animal DVDs, though not as fanatically as her brother. She prefers the Stream of Praise DVDs and Chinese cooking shows on YouTube, but she does enjoy learning the animal names and interesting facts.
I personally find the videos a little boring, but the subject of animals is not the most interesting to me! My husband, who doesn’t speak Chinese, seems to enjoy watching these with the kids more than myself haha. I am glad that the kids have an educational, non-cartoon option for the few times each month that they watch TV.
Photos of the Wink to Learn Animal Videos
Here are photos that I took of our TV screen to show how the Wink to Learn videos look. The actual videos are more clear than the below images because the photos have some glare.
The first image shows that the videos are not wide screen. On the home screen, you can choose the desired written language version (simplified or traditional Chinese).
Here are simplified Chinese characters introducing 鹈鹕 / 鵜鶘 (tíhú / pelican).
Here are simplified Chinese subtitles describing the pelicans.
As mentioned previously, occasional animation is included, such as in the image below.
However, most of the videos is real animal footage and photographs.
Wink to Learn Animal Videos – Samples from their YouTube Channel
Animal video: Amazing Rainforest (Simplified Chinese)
Animal video: Jungle Feathers (Simplified Chinese)
Animal video: Threatened Species (Traditional Chinese)
Animal video: Australian Wildlife & Asian Reptiles (Traditional Chinese)
In summary, I recommend the Wink to Learn Animal Videos for animal-loving children who are learning Mandarin Chinese.
More Chinese learning resources for children
- Our favorite Chinese YouTube channels
- Educational animal crafts for kids
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel – Free Interactive Printable in Chinese and English!
- National Geographic Insects – Bilingual Chinese and English Science Books for Kids
Tips on creating a Chinese learning environment at home
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned in 2017
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Encourage A Child to Love and Speak the Minority Language with 5 Strategies
- How to Find a Foreign Language Teacher for Your Child
- 5 Reasons Books are the Best Gifts for Multilingual Kids
Teaching kids how to read Chinese
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- 5 Basic Tips for Memorizing Chinese Characters
- 10 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read
- Create a Print-Rich Environment with Labels that Promote Literacy
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
- 3 Ways My Child and I Are Learning Mandarin Chinese from Audiobooks
- When Should My Child Learn Hanyu Pinyin?
Happy learning, friends!