Music is one of the best ways to start learning a new language, because it’s fun, affordable, and accessible. Chinese songs expose kids to rich language: common vocabulary, rhythm, and word patterns. As kids listen and sing favorite Chinese songs over and over again, they become familiar with new words and phrases.
This post reviews the benefits of using songs to learn Chinese plus our favorite, non-screechy Mandarin Chinese music albums for young kids.
If you have tweens or teens, switch over to this post: Chinese Mandopop Music: Pop, Rock, and Hip Hop Songs!
Teach kids to love Chinese with music
When my daughter was 2, I decided to learn Chinese with her. Initially, she was resistant to new Mandarin words and would demand, “No more Chinese, mommy!” Thankfully, Chinese music won her heart. Years later, Chinese songs continue to keep both of my children interested in speaking Chinese. Now they’re often sing and dancing, putting on silly shows together!
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Warming up with Chinese translations of English songs
Although there are many options on this list, start with 1 or 2 albums. Gradually expand your playlist as your family outgrows prior songs.
These familiar tunes bridged the difficult and daunting transition of learning Chinese.
Growing to love original Chinese music
Over time, we grew to love popular Chinese songs for kids. 我有一雙小小手 (Wǒ yǒu yī shuāng xiǎo xiǎo shǒu / I Have a Pair of Hands) and 一分钱 (Yī fēn qián / One Penny) is often on replay. My kids also listen to 讚美之泉 Stream of Praise music everyday!
Now, my daughter is 5 years old, and she loves to put on pretend concerts with her 2-year-old brother! The kids will decide which CD to put in their CD player or request a song on my iPhone. Then, they grab markers to serve as imaginary microphones and start belting out Chinese tunes together!
Music has also been a huge motivator for my daughter to learn how to write by copying favorite song lyrics.
I hope that your family can discover new favorite Chinese songs and learn lyrics together!
Common Chinese parenting phrases about music
For parents who are learning Chinese with their kids like me, here are common phrases we use in the context of music. Translations are in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and Hanyu Pinyin:
- 儿歌 / 兒歌 (Érgē / Children’s songs)
- 唱歌 (Chànggē / Sing songs)
- 歌曲 (Gēqǔ / Song)
- 音乐 / 音樂 (Yīnyuè / Music)
- 让我们一起唱歌 / 讓我們一起唱歌 (Ràng wǒmen yīqǐ chànggē / Let’s sing together)
- 让我们再唱吧 / 讓我們再唱吧! (Ràng wǒmen zài chàng ba! / Let’s sing it again!)
- 我喜欢这首歌 / 我喜歡這首歌 . (Wǒ xǐhuān zhèshǒu gē / I like this song。)
- 你最喜欢的歌是什么？/ 你最喜歡的歌是什麼? (Nǐ zuì xǐhuān de gē shì shénme? / What’s your favorite song?)
The Best Chinese songs and nursery rhymes for kids
For details of all albums, check out the list below for a preview of each album.
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MandaRhymes has free Chinese music for kids with highlighted traditional Chinese characters and Pinyin text to help with pronunciation.
A Little Mandarin
A Little Mandarin was produced by a Chinese-American mom of trilingual children! Years ago, this was the first Chinese album that I purchased for my family. The vocals are very clear and pleasant, and this is always the first CD that I recommend to families learning Chinese.
- Make A Phone Call – 打电话
- Two Tigers – 两只老虎
- Little Duckling – 小鸭子
- Sitting In A Row – 排排坐
- [Twinkle Twinkle] Little Star – 小星星
- Scale Song – 音阶歌
- Going To School Song – 上学歌
- Find A Friend – 找朋友
- I Have A Pair Of Little Hands – 我有一双小小手
- Rowing The Boat – 划船
- Pulling The Radish – 拔萝卜
- Doll And Little Bear Dancing – 洋娃娃和小熊跳舞
- One Penny – 一分钱
- Rock-A-Bye – 摇啊摇
- Happy Birthday – 生日快乐
BONUS TRACK: Happy New Year – 新年好
Shanghai Restoration Project – Little Dragon Tales: Chinese Children’s Songs
Little Dragon Tales is a collection of 12 classic Chinese Children’s songs with a modern twist featuring the voices of the Yip’s Canada Children’s Choir.
- Making Friends (Zhao Peng You)
- Where Is Spring? (Chun Tian Zai Na Li?)
- Clay Doll (Ni Wa Wa)
- Two Tigers (Liang Zhi Lao Hu)
- Congratulations (Gong Xi Gong Xi)
- Sticky Dumplings for Sale (Mai Tang Yuan)
- Selling Newspapers (Mai Bao Ge)
- Finding Flowers in the Snow (Ta Xue Xun Mei)
- The Schoolboy (Du Shu Lang)
- Feng Yang Flower Drum (Feng Yang Hua Gu)
- Little Swallow (Xiao Yan Zi)
- Little White Boat (Xiao Bai Chuan)
- Dreaming of Home and Mother
Kids Learn Mandarin – I Can Sing in Mandarin!
I Can Sing in Mandarin! is a collection of Chinese songs about regular, everyday life. This is a great album for broadening basic Chinese vocabulary.
- I Can Count In Mandarin
- Colors Outside My Window
- Little Animals
- One Red Apple
- My Family
- Head, Shoulders, Tummy, Hands
- Let’s Get Dressed for School
- Boats, Cars, & Planes
- Let’s Play!
- I have a Little House
- My Favorite Food
- Smile to the Sun
Kim Hsieh Chinese songs for kids 謝欣芷 幸福的孩子愛唱歌
Kim Hsieh’s music is always a big hit with my children! The catchy tunes can improve everyday vocabulary.
- 哈囉歌, 第一幕, 2. 五官, 3. 第二幕, 4. 禮貌歌, 5. 第三幕, 6, 幸福的孩子愛唱歌, 7, 第四幕, 8, 手指運動, 9. 第五幕, 10. 第五幕, 11. 親愛的, 謝謝妳, 12. 第六幕, 13. 水果歌, 14. 第七幕, 15. 音樂魔法, 16. 第八幕, 17. 數星星, 18. 第九幕, 19. 寶貝乖乖睡
- 哈囉歌, 2. 五官, 3. 禮貌歌, 4. 幸福的孩子愛唱歌, 5. 手指運動, 6. 親愛的，謝謝妳, 7. 水果歌, 8. 音樂魔法, 9. 數星星, 10. 數星星(bonus 童音版), 11. 寶貝乖乖睡, 12. 五官(伴唱版), 13. 禮貌歌(伴唱版), 14. 幸福的孩子愛唱歌(伴唱版）, 15. 手指運動(伴唱版), 16. 親愛的，謝謝妳(伴唱版), 17. 水果歌(伴唱版), 18. 音樂魔法(伴唱版), 19. 數星星(伴唱版), 20. 寶貝乖乖睡(伴唱版)
讚美之泉 Stream of Praise Music Ministries
Please refer to our review of the various Stream of Praise Chinese Christian songs and printable lyrics!
Chinese Christmas Music: Merry Christmas – Black Duck
- Silent Night (Chinese)
- Silent Night (English)
- Ode to Joy (Chinese)
- Oh, Susana (Chinese)
- Christmas Day (Chinese)
- Jingle Bells (Chinese)
- Jingle Bells (English)
- Edelweiss (Chinese)
- Edelweiss (English)
- Do Re Mi (Chinese)
- Serenade (Chinese)
- Merry Christmas (Chinese)
- Flowers in Bud (Chinese)
- Song of Boat (Chinese)
- Auld Lang Syne (Chinese)
- Song of Cradle (Chinese)
- Hand in Hand (Chinese)
Related: Chinese Christmas Music on YouTube!
- All is Love 爱你爱我 / 愛你愛我
- Children Playground 儿童乐园 / 兒童樂園
- My Honey Baby 亲亲我的宝贝 / 親親我的寶貝
- The Sky Tree 天空树 / 天空樹
- The Sweet Home 宝贝 我的家 / 寶貝 我的家
- The Love River 孩子的暖暖河
- Welcome Happiness! 快乐，快乐一直来 / 快樂，快樂一直來
More Chinese songs for kids
Check out other great Chinese songs for children, including printable lyrics for:
- Favorite Disney Songs and Albums in Mandarin Chinese and Korean!
- 小星星 Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
- 讚美之泉 Stream of Praise
- I Can Sing in Mandarin!
What are your family’s favorite Chinese songs?
Please leave a comment below, and let me know if I should add more to this list!