Here’s a list of educational Chinese apps that we use, have used in the past, or have been highly recommended by other parents. I have included popular Chinese audiobooks and music apps, math, science, and writing, as well as dictionaries. Of these apps, Ximalaya and the various dictionaries are the only apps that we use regularly. Otherwise, our screen-time usage has decreased significantly over the past year. However, I’m sharing this list in case it may be helpful for other families. It’s a pretty basic list since I think most people won’t have time to use every thing that’s out there anyway!
As a pediatrician, I believe in limiting screen time for health reasons. Each app is supplemental and not a primary means of learning Mandarin Chinese. Compared to real-life experiences and hands-on activities/games, apps are not as effective for expanding Chinese vocabulary in young children. However, they can serve as additional sources of language exposure, especially for non-fluent families in a monolingual community.
Things to consider with YouTube videos
- Please do not use screen-time for infants as language teaching tool. Infants and young children learn best from person-to-person interaction. Also, excessive use at any age can negatively affect behavior, attention span, hands-on exploration, physical activity, obesity, vision, and sleep. 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.
- Please use these apps before showing them to kids to determine whether you think it is suitable for your family.
- Parents who prefer to avoid screen time listen to stories on your phone while turning your phone upside-down, effectively just using the audio.
- Be cautious about inappropriate ads and commercials…
Tips for preventing eye strain
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology has 10 tips to protect eyes during screen time.
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.
Please note that we have no relationship with any of these app developers. iTunes Affiliate links are included for convenience. Please see our disclosure policy for further details.
Chinese Dictionary Apps
- 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
- Xiami (蝦米): iTunes | Google Play
- Many more free Chinese stories and songs here
Chinese TV Show App
Chinese Vocabulary App
Chinese Writing Apps
- 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
- 2Kids Math: iTunes
- Montessori Geometry – Recognize and learn shapes**: iTunes
- Count to 10: Learn Numbers with Montessori**: iTunes
- Montessori 1st Operations – Addition & subtraction made simple**: 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
Chinese Science Apps
- 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
Other Chinese learning resources for kids:
- Educational Chinese YouTube Channels
- Websites and Apps with FREE Multilingual Books for Kids
- Chinese books for children
- 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!
Recommended articles about 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!