Here’s a list of popular, educational Chinese apps for children that we use, have tried in the past, or have been recommended by friends.
This list includes Chinese audiobooks and music apps, math, science, and writing, as well as dictionaries.
Based on my experience and knowledge as a pediatrician, I will also share my professional advice about using apps to learn Chinese language.
Chinese Apps for children: Important health considerations
Each Chinese app is supplemental and not a primary means of learning Mandarin Chinese.
Compared to real-life experiences and hands-on activities/games, Chinese apps are not as effective for expanding vocabulary in young children.
However, they Chinese apps can serve as additional sources of language exposure, especially for non-fluent families in a monolingual community.
Can my baby learn from Chinese apps?
Infants and young children learn best from person-to-person interaction. Please do not use screen-time for infants as language teaching tool.
With the exception of video chatting with relatives, the American Academy of Pediatrics generally recommends no screen-time for children under age 2.
Downsides of using apps for Chinese learning
As a pediatrician, I advise limiting screen time for health reasons. In my practice, I have seen numerous children who have used their iPad excessively. The consequences include negative effects on behavior, attention span, hands-on exploration, physical activity, obesity, vision, and sleep.
These adverse findings have been demonstrated by research.
To learn more about the effects of media on children, this TEDx video by Dr. Dimitri Christakis is very informative.
HealthyChildren.org also has research-based advice about children’s health, including screen-time guidelines.
Parent review of Chinese apps recommended
In order to determine whether the Chinese apps are appropriate and safe for your children, please try the apps prior to showing them to your children.
Be cautious about inappropriate ads and commercials…
Using educational Chinese apps while limiting screen-time
Parents who prefer to avoid screen time listen to stories on your phone while turning your phone upside-down, effectively just using the audio.
For families who wish to use apps, consider setting a timer and set clear expectations with your child prior to use.
In addition, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has 10 tips to protect eyes during screen time.
Our experience with Chinese apps for kids
Of these apps, Ximalaya and the various Chinese dictionaries are the only apps that we use regularly.
Otherwise, our family’s screen-time usage is limited due to health considerations and because we use many other Chinese learning resources.
Educational Chinese apps for kids
The titles here are linked to iTunes and Google Play so that you can preview the app. Some of these apps may not work with certain mobile devices, depending on the version of the operating system.
*Denotes default language is English; Mandarin Chinese must be selected via Settings.
Chinese Dictionary Apps for children and adults
- Pleco Chinese Dictionary: iTunes | Google Play
- Google Translate*: iTunes | Google Play
- Written Chinese Dictionary: iTunes | Google Play
- TrainChinese: iTunes | Google Play
Chinese Audiobooks & Music Apps for children and adults
- Many more free Chinese stories and songs here
Mandarin Chinese TV Show App for children
Chinese Vocabulary App for children
Chinese Writing Apps for children and adults
- Chinese Writer by trainChinese: iTunes | Google Play
- Skritter: iTunes | Google Play
- Kids Write Chinese: iTunes
- 2Kids学汉字 – 儿童快乐识字的早教认字游戏APP: iTunes
Chinese Math Apps for children
- 2Kids Math: iTunes
- Montessori Geometry – Recognize and learn shapes*: iTunes
- Count to 10: Learn Numbers with Montessori*: iTunes
- Montessori 1st Operations – Addition & subtraction*: iTunes | Google Play
- Montessori Numberland*: iTunes
- Montessori Math City*: iTunes
- Montessori Math: Add & Subtract Large Numbers*: iTunes
- Montessori Math: Multiplication*: iTunes | Google Play
Chinese Cultural App for kids and adults
Chinese Science Apps for kids and adults
- Solar System 飞向太空
- Solar System 宇宙探秘－带你了解宇宙中的奥秘
- World Map 世界政区地图
- Human Anatomy 人体解剖和生理学-解剖图谱生物学考试必备
- Human Anatomy 3d人体解剖生理学-人体医学肌肉解剖图谱
- 《國家地理》雜誌中文版 CT: National Geographic Magazine
Related: Chinese Science books for kids
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Other Chinese learning resources for kids:
- Educational Chinese YouTube Channels
- Websites and Apps with FREE Multilingual Books for Kids
- Best Chinese books for children
- Popular Chinese music for children
- Fun, hands-on Chinese learning activities!
If you know of other educational Chinese resources for children, please leave a comment so we all can check it out!
How to teach kids Chinese
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
- 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
- 6 Fun Ways to Assess Reading Comprehension With Kids!