Ciaohu Chinese Kids Show and Magazine Review

巧虎 Ciaohu Chinese program for children

Have you heard of 巧虎, a popular Chinese cartoon for kids? If you’re raising a bilingual child and looking for educational screen time, the 巧虎 Ciaohu show and magazine subscription can help. Ciaohu is similar to Daniel the Tiger in English with the extra benefit of encouraging your child to speak Chinese.

Chinese program for kids- 10 Reasons to Like Qiaohu

What is 巧虎 Qiaohu/Ciaohu?

巧虎 The Clever Tiger is an educational cartoon series and magazine program called Ciaohu in Taiwan or Qiaohu in China. Interestingly, the original 巧虎 show originates from the Japanese anime program Shimajirō. However, the Chinese Ciaohu subscription program teaches Mandarin to children.

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 can’t stand Elmo’s voice.) In fact, many families consider Ciaohu the Mandarin equivalent of the Daniel Tiger cartoon.

Our experience with the Chinese show 巧虎 Ciaohu

Years ago, when my children and I began to learn Chinese, we subscribed to the 巧虎 Ciaohu show and magazine program.

We first subscribed to the 巧虎 Ciaohu when my daughter was three, and she was instantly a super fan! Now, it’s my 3-year-old son’s turn to adore 巧虎 while 6-year-old big sis starts to outgrow the Chinese show and activity books.

Although we try to avoid excessive screen time, we find it helpful for extra Chinese language and cultural exposure. Previously, my kids watched 巧虎 a few times each month and used the workbooks more often.

We recently decided not to renew our Ciaohu subscription because we prefer screen-free resources like the Luka Reading Robot. However, so many Chalk Academy readers have grown up on 巧虎 Ciaohu, and it’s worth sharing with more families.

This article was first published in November 2017 and has since been updated with new information. I have no affiliation with 巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu).

Here’s what we loved about 巧虎 Ciaohu…

巧虎 Ciaohu Chinese show 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.

Explore this: How I Taught My Child 1000 Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker

巧虎 Ciaohu gives you presents each month

With monthly packages, the start of each month felt like Christmas for my kids! The kids were excited about getting the following:

  • A 20 to 30-minute educational DVD.
  • 1 or 2 colorful, interactive magazines or workbooks with traditional Chinese characters and Zhuyin.
  • Toys for younger toddlers; games for older children.
  • A CD of songs from past episodes (this comes every few months).
巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) Chinese Counting Rhyme that my 2 year old son loves!
巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) Chinese Counting Rhyme that my 2-year-old son adored

巧虎 Ciaohu grows with your child

The subscription is geared toward children aged six months to nine years. The following age-based packages are available:

  • 寶寶版 Baby edition (My personal and professional opinion is that this is way too young to start screen time. Let babies be babies!)
  • 幼幼版 Yoyo edition (This is the version 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
巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) interactive Chinese workbook - teaching Zhuyin fuhao bopomopo
巧虎 Ciaohu interactive Chinese magazine with Zhuyin fuhao (bopomofo)

巧虎 Ciaohu magazines are interactive

Each workbook includes activities and stickers to reinforce the lessons in the DVD.

巧虎 (Ciaohu, Qiaohu) interactive workbook - flag up, flag down learning game
巧虎 (Ciaohu, Qiaohu) interactive workbook – flag up, flag down learning game

巧虎 Ciaohu teaches manners and more

Ciaohu’s educational content is relevant for a wide age range. Important skills such as hand-washing, stranger danger, safety, manners, shapes, and counting are reviewed for toddlers.

巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) interactive Chinese workbook - teaching teeth brushing
巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) interactive Chinese workbook – teaching teeth brushing

For kindergarteners and elementary-school-aged kids, content includes math, science (eg solar system), and Zhuyin (bopomofo).

Explore this: Chinese Books for Kids Organized by Type and Level

巧虎 Ciaohu sings and dances

Each Ciaohu show has Chinese nursery rhymes, poems, and dancing. In the video below, my daughter is singing a toothbrushing song inspired by the Ciaohu cartoon. Now, this song is part of our daily routine.

Explore this: Best Chinese Children’s Songs and Nursery Rhymes

巧虎 Ciaohu teaches traditional Chinese characters

Since the Chinese words in the Ciaohu magazines match the dialogue and subtitles in each show, children can follow along with the DVD. Also, Chinese song lyrics are provided in the workbooks.

In the video below, my daughter is excited about reading Chinese in the 巧虎 Ciaohu workbook.

巧虎 Ciaohu gifts motivate kids to speak Chinese

Since the Ciaohu toys and games reinforce topics from the show and magazines, kids may be 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 toys from the 幼幼版 Yoyo edition and 快樂版 Happy edition that my children received.

成長版 Grow edition activities

My children were a huge fan of this interactive card game with paper dinosaur puppets.

Ciaohu 成長版 Grow edition activities Dinosaur card game with paper dinosaurs

巧虎 Ciaohu reminds kids not to watch too much TV

At the start of each Ciaohu Chinese show, 巧虎 tells you to sit far back and limit your screen time. And 巧虎 is right!

巧虎 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 the 巧虎 Ciaohu Chinese cartoon

To be fair, like anything in this world, 巧虎 is not perfect. The following aspects of the program prompted us to cancel our Ciaohu subscription.

Plastic toys

Most Ciaohu toys are plastic, and the monthly shipments can get overwhelming. We’ve since donated most of the toys. I wish there were an option to enjoy the Ciaohu Chinese shows and magazines without the toys and games.

Explore this: How We Transformed Our Play Area / Homeschool Room – Before and After Guide

Busy images

Like most Chinese learning materials, many pages of the magazines are overly cartoonified. Unfortunately, excessive colors can distract from important teaching concepts.

For example, Ciaohu’s clock teaching workbook had an interactive paper clock. You can see many competing visual elements in the Ciaohu workbook below.

巧虎 (Qiaohu, Ciaohu) interactive Chinese workbook - teaching analog clock skills

English-Chinese language mixing:

Occasionally, English is mixed into the Ciaohu Chinese shows during the age 4 to 5 level since Taiwanese children start to learn English in school around that age. This is frustrating for our American family, who desperately needs Mandarin immersion.  Fortunately, most of the materials are in Chinese.

Ciaohu versus Qiaohu

  1. China’s Qiaohu 巧虎 program uses Simplified Chinese.  However, they deliver within China, so you must know someone who lives there and can receive and send the package to you.
  2. Taiwan’s Ciaohu 巧虎 program uses Traditional Chinese.  Since Pinyin is not used in Taiwan, the phonetic translation for 巧虎 is spelled with a “c” instead of “q.” This program is available for US families through their Garden Grove, California office.

Explore this: Chinese Leveled Readers: Comparison of Graded Books for Kids

Learning traditional Chinese with 巧虎 Qiaohu/Ciaohu

Although we mainly read simplified Chinese, we used 巧虎 to increase their exposure to native Mandarin. My daughter also learned to read many traditional Chinese characters through the Ciaohu magazines.

Even if your kids are not yet ready to read Chinese characters, 巧虎 might help their spoken language skills.

Ciaohu Chinese dinosaur game - traditional Chinese with Zhuyin

How much does a 巧虎 Ciaohu subscription cost?

As of 2023, the Ciaohu subscription costs $255 USD for 6 months or $475 USD for 12 months.

Summary of the 巧虎 Qiaohu/Ciaohu Chinese show

巧虎 Ciaohu Chinese shows and workbooks are popular among many families. If your family is comfortable with screen time in your daily routine, the monthly subscription can help with providing exposure to native Mandarin speakers and Asian culture.

On the other hand, if your family has adequate exposure to Mandarin and you’re concerned about screen time and clutter, don’t worry about skipping the Ciaohu subscription.

How to subscribe to 巧虎 Ciaohu

Download and print the order form from the end of this Ciaohu information page. If you cannot read Chinese, translate the page into English using the Google Translate Chrome Extension.

What does your family think of the 巧虎 Qiaohu/Ciaohu Chinese show and magazines?

Was a subscription to 巧虎 Qiaohu/Ciaohu helpful for your family to learn Chinese? Please share your thoughts in the comments. We’d love to learn about your experience.


  1. This was very helpful and informative, thank you. My daughter is 20months and I really liked how you weighed and pros and cons for parents to make a decision based on their goals and budget.

    1. Hi Sonia! Thanks for taking the time to write! Grateful to hear that the review was helpful!

  2. Hey Betty,
    Do you know how I can get the simplified chinese version? I can’t seem to find it even when I search qiaohu or ‘巧虎‘.


    1. Hi Eliza! Check the “downsides” section of the article. I put a link to the SC version which I think is only available in China. If you have family/friends in China, you could have it delivered to them, and then they could ship it to you…

  3. Hello! This has been the most helpful thing I’ve seen on the internet on how to get ciaohu DVDs! Thank you!
    Would you happen to know at which subscription age they introduce zhuyin? My son is currently learning zhuyin and I’d love to use these to help reinforce what he’s learning in class. Love from a fellow physician mom 🙂

    1. Hi Dr. Nancy! 🙂 Thank you for stopping by! I’m so sorry for just seeing your comment now! I have updated the post with this information:
      – 成長版 Grow edition (Zhuyin is introduced)
      – 學習版 Learn edition (Pinyin is introduced)
      Ciaohu generally responds quickly to questions via email and phone though! I hope that you were able to get in touch with them!

  4. Hi,
    This looks perfect for my kids to learn Chinese. I love that’s in traditional characters too.
    Thanks for the info/tips!
    I’ll start with the YouTube QiaoHu for now and see if it’s captures their attention.
    Good luck with learning Chinese at home. 🙂

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