We end up previewing a number of “Chinese for Children” resources at our house … but end up abandoning most of them quickly. There is some pretty lame stuff out there, unfortunately.
One that seems to hold my daughters’ attention well, however–and that is probably going to earn my personal “stamp of approval”–is betterchinese.com.
This recommendation is based on previewing the demo resources at betterchinese.com. We haven’t tried their paid services, and have no relationship with the site.
betterchinese.com divides into resources into two categories, “Lessons” and “Stories,” targets “Beginner,” “Intermediate,” and “Advanced” levels, and uses animated and sometimes “annotated” stories to expose children to the Chinese language.
While viewing their demo stories, I have to laugh at unintentionally funny things like having the same adult male voice actor providing voiceover for all male characters, including young children. Picture:
Uncle Bing: (In Sylvester Stallone’s voice) How are you, Little Timmy?
Little Timmy: (In Sylvester Stallone’s voice) Fine, thanks, Uncle Bing.
The younger set, of course, isn’t terribly distracted by such things, and without getting into scientific analysis, I’ll say that the methodology in the animations is fairly on target: even my two-year old was able to answer questions in English and Chinese about what she’d just seen in the animated stories. It’s not just “eye candy,” in other words.
The site also includes a number of free extras, such as coloring pages, games, e-cards, and desktop wallpaper, as well as other resources for sale (storybooks, shirts, and so on).
My request, however, for the makers of the site (and of so many Chinese sites I’ve encountered): please don’t open links to pages on your own site in new browser windows. I hate having 23 1/2 open browser windows after visiting just one site.
Otherwise, even though we’ve only taken advantage of the free and demo resources, I think betterchinese.com is a site anyone wanting to help children learn Chinese will want to explore more.
Their rates are listed currently as follows, though their free resources will keep you busy for awhile while you evaluate their offerings: