Chinese Learning Apps for kids is a common topic I see on the Raising Bilingual Children in Chinese & English FaceBook group.
To simplify things for you and decrease the amount of time sorting through all that’s out there (believe me, there is a TON!), here are the ones I have found to be helpful personally and what other parents recommend.
Although there’s an endless amount of apps out there and more being produced, the ones I decided to include here have a good history of being maintained by the developer and have been screened by either myself, my daughter (3YO) and or student (6YO).
The Chinese learning apps for kids are categorized by the skills it teaches or area of focus.
Under the Chinese learning apps I also indicate the age range, price, operating system and whether it’s in traditional or simplified Chinese.
Although apps can be great tools to help kids learn vocabulary and practice writing and character recognization, it is simply just a tool and cannot replace human interaction, which is the key component in fluency. Please keep in mind that there is a lot an app cannot teach.
Also for young children, it’s recommended to limit screen time (less than 2 years old none, 2-5 years old no more than an hour a day).
Of course there are situations such as you don’t have extra help and you’re going crazy or you’re sick where I feel the rules can be bent a little for those out of the norm situations.
Ok, I’m done with my spiel. Onto the apps!
Use the Buttons Below to Find Chinese Learning Apps You're Looking For:
Chinese Learning Apps: Games for New Learners
For families that are diving into learning Chinese without much background in the language, here are some fun apps for you! The following apps are all made for English speakers that are learning Chinese so the navigation and instructions are in English and has a bilingual approach to learning Chinese.
Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios
This app has multiple languages user can select from including Simplified Chinese. It also comes with recordings of a native speaker clearly reading aloud the names of the names of animals. Users has the option of creating their own recordings as well!
This is a fun way for kids to learn Chinese names and characters for basic farm animals.
Gordon & Li Li: Learn Animals in Mandarin
Fun Chinese Learn Mandarin
Fun interactive games for young learners that are just starting to learn Chinese.
This app has more extensive lessons, hence the higher price for additional lessons.
Voice recordings are clear and easy to understand.
Multiple lessons to choose from and purchase including names of colors, matching Chinese characters to the right item, animals, numbers, modes of transportation, parts of the house etc.
Learn Chinese Kids Play Pack - Miaomiao
Lofty Sky Entertainment Inc. has created several fun Chinese learning apps perfect for kids interested in learning Chinese.
Videos and lessons are taught in English. Some of their apps have the option to switch to “learn English” which then changes the lesson to be conducted in Mandarin instead.
PinkFong Shapes & Colors
PinkFong, made infamous for their Baby Shark song, has a few fun games with multiple language options including Chinese.
Although this app may seem a bit pricey for a game that goes over shapes and colors, it does include lots of fun games and songs that teach the two areas.
Operating System: iOs, phone & tablet
Age: 4+ (4-8 years old)
Chinese: simplified Chinese with English interface
Price: free to download and sample, $54.99 for full access and $30.99 for a year of membership
This fun interactive app teaches non-native speakers Chinese with games, stories and songs.
The graphics are amazing. The only downside is that it’s only available in simplified Chinese.
Kids Yay Learn Chinese
This highly rated app (nearly 600) is a great introduction to Chinese. It teaches kids common everyday vocabulary and Chinese characters through games and interactive flashcards.
The app also includes lessons on Chinese tongue twisters to help beginners with tones.
In the writing section, kids can learn characters that have close relationship to its original pictographs. They can also learn common radicals plus many other characters.
Gus on the Go Mandarin & Cantonese
This fun Chinese learning app comes in multiple versions of Chinese:
- Simplified Mandarin Chinese iOs & Android
- Cantonese: iOs & Android
- Taiwanese Mandarin Chinese (traditional): iOs & Android
- Taiwanese 台語: iOs & Android
Through simple games and interactive flashcards, kids learn get to learn the version of Chinese you’d like for them to learn.
I just love the language options that are available. I also like the fact that it’s not an overwhelming app for kids.
Other Chinese Learning Games for Beginners to Check Out:
Chinese Learning Apps: Learning characters & writing practice
Writing is a major part of learning the Chinese language. Thankfully there are many great apps to choose from to help you teach your children how to write Chinese with the correct strokes. Below are some great ones to choose from.
Chinese: traditional & simplified Chinese with limited Cantonese available
Price: 7 day free trial is available. After that you can choose from plans ranging from $14.99/month to $59.99/6 months or $99.99/year or $179.99/2 years. Special group buy prices are available for schools. Guavarama has also set up a special group buy price available for parents who are part of the Raising Bilingual Children in Chinese & English FaceBook Group. Join the group for more info.
Skritter is a super popular Chinese writing app for Chinese learners of all ages. This powerful app helps users practice character writing and recognization through spaced repetition.
Users can download lists of characters from popular Chinese textbooks such as HSK 1 or Sagebooks to practice.
Skritter also created it’s own Chinese 101 list for beginners. You also have the option to add your own list of characters as well.
The app also track user’s progress, which character they’ve mastered and which ones they have trouble with.
Other helpful features include definitions (in English since it’s intended for non-native speakers) and audio recording which dictates the character before you write the character.
This multi-sensory learning (visual, auditory, sensory-motor activity) app help its user learn characters effectively.
The creators are continually improving the app and also has an active forum for users’ questions.
認字識詞/Recognize Characters Know Phrases
Operating System: iOS, phone & tablet
Chinese: traditional, simplified & Cantonese with pinyin & zhuyin
Price: free with in app purchases ($1.99 for a set of 15 characters or $12.99 for all 120 characters available)
This adorable app is a fun interactive game that teaches kids Chinese characters.
Through the app, kids are taught correct stroke orders and how to use each character in context.
I love how this app allows users to choose simplified or traditional Chinese, pinyin or zhuyin. On top of that, it also has Mandarin or Cantonese options! It doesn’t hurt that the graphics are really good quality.
Other helpful options include turning the background music off, speed of prompts for stroke order, turn on or off stroke order and the type of grid behind characters. It even has options for lefties!
By registering, you can add multiple users in the app. This app also tracks your child’s progress.
I use this app for our lessons when I’m going through Sagebooks with a student for the other to have some writing practice.
The downsides is that this app is entirely in Chinese and not in English. So for nonnative speaking parents it may be a little bit of a challenge. But I think if you just try the buttons you’ll be able to figure out how to teach your children to use it.
Operating System: iOS & Android for tablet and phone
Chinese: simplified Chinese (instructions in Chinese as well)
Price: Free with in-app purchases for full access ($2.99/month, $7.49/4 months or $25.99/year, also $37.99 to purchase full 1,200 character course )
This well made app promises to teach kids 1,200 characters through its fun and engaging interactive games. Kids get to choose a cartoon character who takes them on an adventure of discovering new Chinese characters.
For each new character that is introduced, kids play fun games that teaches them how to pronounce the character, use it in a sentence and how to write it as well.
While teaching how to write the character, the narrator will teach you the name of the strokes that are used to form the character.
In the writing practice game, I like how kids get to write the characters three times rather than just once. All the other apps I’ve come across you can only write the each character once.
Parents can track a child’s progress in the password protected parents section (you need to know the more complicated Chinese characters for numbers).
There are some ghetto looking Chinese learning apps out there and this definitely is NOT one of those.
Although I wouldn’t recommend this as the main source of learning, this may be a great tool to help kids practice what they’ve learned.
The only downside is that the app is entirely in Mandarin Chinese and only available in simplified. But from the reviews, it sounds like they have great customer service that speaks English and will help you even if you don’t speak or write Chinese.
Art of Chinese Characters
A fun interactive way to learn 89 Chinese characters.
Users learn characters through Chinese style paintings within which are hidden various characters that are used to form the painting.
Clicking on each character, users can see how it has changed from its original pictograph, listen to the pronunciation, learn the stroke order and given a chance to write the character as well.
This app is more appropriate for older school aged children.
The company has created a second app (Art of Chinese Characters 2) with even more characters.
快樂學寫字/Happy Learn Writing
Operating System: iOS intended for phone & tablet
Chinese: traditional & simplified Chinese, Cantonese option
Price: Free with in-app purchase ($0.99) for all the characters (51 characters ranging from 1 to 5 strokes characters)
I don’t like this one as much since after each character there’s a robotic voice saying “你會寫”一”了，好棒喔！”
You do have the option with this app to choose which characters from the list your child practices in the customization option. You also have the option of changing the main menu into English.
You don’t get to keep track of the user’s progress with this app.
香港小學習字表/Hong Kong Elementary Character Practice List
Thanks to Heidi (who runs 蕉B大小事) recommendation, I was able to take a look at this app which creates PDFs of Chinese characters of your choosing with stroke order if you want that to be included.
You can also save it onto your tablet and use your finger or a tablet pen to practice writing.
It also functions as a dictionary where you can hear the character read in Mandarin or Cantonese. The dictionary, similar to most Chinese dictionaries will pull up phrases to help users know how to use it in context.
Learn Chinese with Miao Miao
This app and others produced by Lofty Sky Entertainment Inc. are ones made for English speaking kids who are interested in learning Chinese. This specific app in the Miao Miao series teaches thirty Chinese characters through animated flashcards that has both English and Chinese.
The function we’ve been using it for is the writing practice. The downside is that there are only ten characters you can practice. I hope they include more in the future because my daughter and student enjoy playing with this one.
It’s very similar to Letter School, a popular animated alphabet writing app. Although unlike Letter School, kids don’t get to write each character three times. I hope they include this feature in the future as well.
For more information on their other products and this app (they have a YouTube channel too), check out Mandarin Mama’s 5 Minute Review.
This app will expose kids to 1,200 Chinese characters through interactive games and adventures with WuKong, a famous character in Chinese legends.
Each lesson teaches six characters. Each character is introduced through a short cartoon explaining its meaning and how to use it in context. Then users will play several games to apply what they’ve learned.
Players will be taken through parts of WuKong’s story throughout the game. Users have the option to skip pass these. Parents can track the child’s progress.
The app itself is very well done with great graphics and continuously updated by the developer.
I do like how the app encourages parents to play with the child. Like the app suggests, it is made for older kids.
The only downside is that the app is entirely in Chinese so for non-Chinese speakers/readers it may be a bit of a challenge to navigate.
Other Chinese Writing Apps to Check Out:
Chinese Learning Apps: Flash Cards
What I love about Quizlet is that even within the free option, users can set create flashcard sets in Chinese (and many other languages of your choice). Quizlet gives its users the option to set each side of the flashcard to a specific language.
It even has prerecorded audio you can turn on for the characters you put in.
The functions that are available in the free option is sufficient if you’re simply trying to help your kids or students learn Chinese characters.
I use it mainly for my student to review character’s we’re learning from Sagebooks at home.
This is the flashcard app that helped my husband learn Chinese.
With 2.59K ratings, you can be sure this is the best flashcard app out there.
This app uses spaced repetition to help users learn and review vocabulary. It’s fairly easy to create your own flashcards. There’s also pre-made flashcards you can download including Sagebooks characters Guavarama created.
Another awesome feature Ainki has that Quizlet doesn’t, is tracking user’s progress. This helps you easily see how your child’s doing.
Younger kids will need help creating the flashcards though.
For more information on this app, be sure to read Guvarama’s post.
Chinese Learning Apps: AudioBooks
Story apps are a great way to create a Chinese immersion environment for kids. I often play stories for my daughter while she plays or when I’m preparing meals so she’s still being exposed to Chinese.
Below are some great ones to choose from.
親子天下有聲故事/Parent & Child World Audiobooks
This powerful app gives you access to lots of newly published book. The app is also really user friendly. It sorts the stories into age groups and also by content.
Although there are some shorter stories that are free, it main function is to get parents to purchase audiobooks.
Users can also have the option of purchasing new Chinese kids albums like HOOP Kids by Kim Hsieh. These are cheaper than buying them from the iTunes store.
Parents can also listen to parenting tips from experts in Mandarin Chinese as well.
The only downside is that the app is entirely in Chinese, making it difficult for those who don’t read Chinese to use.
Ximalaya is basically Chinese platform that hosts a plethora of podcasts. Not only can you find children’s stories, but also music and recordings on various other topics.
This is the go-to Chinese audiobook app most recommended and used by parents. Users can find multiple recordings of Chinese children’s storybooks for kids to follow along with their book or play in the background.
Many non-native speaking and non-fluent parents use this app to assist their children in learning Chinese. It’s a wonderful tool.
For more details on Ximalaya, be sure to check out Chalk Academy’s posts:
Bible App for Kids
This is a wonderful interactive app that takes kids on adventures to learn about God’s story.
Users can choose from many languages including simplified and traditional Chinese.
It’s also wonderful that this app is entirely FREE!
Another wonderful audiobook app that’s super user friendly and adorable graphics.
There’s a great variety of stories to choose from. You can even set it to turn off after a designated time.
Stories are organized into age groups and also subject matters. This app even has Frozen in Chinese!
The app is in simplified Chinese and doesn’t have an English option.
糖果姐姐說故事/Candy Sister Story Time
This app has lots of wonderful stories to choose from including Bible stories and classic tales.
The narrator does a great job of annunciating and reads at a good pace.
The free download includes free samples for you to try out before committing to a membership.
火火兔讲故事/Fire Rabbit's Story Time
This app is based on the popular 火火兔 children’s toy that plays songs and stories. It offers lots of free stories and songs you can play for your kids. The stories are more suitable for younger children.
Other Chinese Children's Audiobook Apps:
Chinese Learning Apps: Reading & Listening Practice/Touch Audio Books
This is a wonderful app that teaches reading with multiple helpful functions.
Not only does the app read the text aloud to you, but it also highlights what’s being read. Users can turn on or off pinyin and English and also tap on characters within the text to look up the English definition. You also have the option to create flashcards to help you review unfamiliar terms!
The app allows its user to choose from six different levels of Chinese books to read, from newbie to master.
This app is more suitable for older learners since it’s heavy on text and doesn’t include pictures. I hope in the future they will consider including picture books for younger learners, but for now I’m just glad this is available!
This is a wonderful app for non-native or non-fluent speaking parents. It’s a great tool because as the narrator reads the story, the characters that are being read are highlighted.
Users can also tap on the character they want to hear read or repeated to hear the audio for those specific characters. Tapping on the characters will also pull up the pinyin.
The app only offers one story so far but plans on adding more. The company may also add traditional Chinese in the future. There are more stories in its web version.
For more details on this app and the web version, be sure to check out Mama Baby Mandarin’s post.
Chinese Learning Apps: Accessing Chinese Children's Books
HyRead 3 - 立即借圖書館小說雜誌電子書
This wonderful app allows you to check out books from Taiwan’s public library. Users can check out up to 6 books every month.
This is great for expanding your Chinese children’s library (in addition to many other Chinese titles) and also for when you’re traveling. We’ve used it mainly when we travel so I don’t have to lug a bunch of kid’s books with us.
You do not have to have a Taiwanese library card to borrow books, your passport number is sufficient.
For more info on how to access be sure to check out Guvarama’s detailed post.
This app gives users access to not only Chinese children’s books, but also Chinese cartoons (Paw Patrol, Dora etc), simple Chinese classic poetry, audiobooks, songs and games.
It’s intended for native speakers so there are English learning options as well.
If you don’t read Chinese it’s a bit difficult to navigate and register. That’s the only downside about this app.
They also have a version for younger kids: FunPark 幼幼版
Fun interactive comic book game for older Chinese learners who are more proficient in Chinese.
This would be great for practicing reading and listening to Chinese. There’s no fancy highlighted text and creating flashcards for unfamiliar terms with this app though. This is mainly created for entertainment purposes.
Keep in mind there’s some violence in the game. The same company also has a version for younger Chinese learners (9+) as well: Shuyan Saga I.
For more information be sure to check out Mandarin Mama’s great review on the app.
Other Chinese Writing Apps to Check Out:
Chinese Learning Apps: Watching Chinese Shows
Netflix is now available in most countries. If English interface is important to you, this would be a great app to use to find Chinese cartoons and shows to create an Chinese immersion environment.
What I like about Netflix is that it allows you to download shows to watch offline. This is useful for longer car trips or plane rides.
Be sure to check out my list of 25+ Netflix Chinese shows for kids.
Chinese: simplified & traditional Chinese, English
YouTube is another app with Chinese shows available and has an English interface. There are many Chinese cartoon options on YouTube.
Although not one we use due to the amount of strange content that’s available on YouTube, it is a free option that is available.
For cartoon suggestions, be sure to check out Mama Baby Mandarin’s list.
Amazon Prime is another user friendly app with English interface. Although the current list of Chinese shows for kids are really limited compared to Netflix, perhaps more will be added in the future.
Below are a few to check out:
Ni Hao Kai-lan: bilingual, similar to Dora the Explorer style of teaching kids Chinese words (need to subscribe to noggin to access)
Miao Miao: bilingual style
Go Go Giwas: Taiwanese cartoon telling stories of the aboriginal Atayal tribe.
- Miao Mi Classroom: learn Chinese with an adorable cat (requires subscription to Miao Mi ($3.99/month) which gives you access to a few more Chinese cartoon shows)
小小优酷 - 儿童版视频APP/YouKu App for Kids
This is the kid friendly version of YouKu, an app that gives you access to loads of Chinese kid’s shows. It’s basically China’s version of Netflix.
In addition to kids shows from China, this app also includes many popular American cartoons in Chinese including: Peppa Pig, Sophia the First, My Little Pony, Wild Kratts, Poli, Justin Time….just to name a few.
Chinese Learning Apps: Dictionaries
Chinese: simplified & traditional Chinese, English
Price: Free with in app purchases
This is the must have app for all Chinese learners! I was first introduced to it when my husband began learning Chinese. It is our go to Chinese dictionary.
This app is older than the iPhone and developed by Mike Love, a programmer who wanted a dictionary to help him learn Chinese.
Not only does Pleco look up Chinese characters and give you the definition, it can also tell you how to read a character when you point your camera at it (optical character recognition)!
Other of its endless lists of awesomeness include flashcards, stroke orders for characters, character and pinyin mixed input…and countless others.
Although the in app purchases may look like a hefty investment ($29.99 and $59.99), I can tell you it’s well worth it!
For those not wanting to invest that much money on a Chinese dictionary app, or just staring out on the Chinese learning adventure, KTdict C-E would be a good one to try out.
Although it offers many similar functions as Pleco, you get the quality you pay for. Pleco is still the top Chinese dictionary out there in my book.
For the ultimate free dictionary app, be sure to check out Google Translate.
Made by those who created the powerful search engine, this app is continually updated and improvements continually added.
Users can take pictures of signs and pages of characters for translation as well.
Our baby sitter has used it to communicate with our daughter whose dominant language is Mandarin Chinese.
I hope this list of Chinese learning apps for kids helps you find the best ones that suits your children’s needs.
If you find good ones, please share below so I can keep this list up to date with the best ones for parents.
More Chinese Learning Apps for Kids:
- Educational Chinese Apps for Kids (Mandarin Chinese) from CHALK Academy
- Learn Chinese Apps from Mama Baby Mandarin
- Chinese Learning Apps List from Mandarin Mama
More Helpful Resources for Teaching Your Kids Chinese:
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