Saturday, May 31, 2014

胖国王 (The fat king) -- Chinese children's book

胖国王

胖国王 is another book that we really like. I think we found it at a used book store a few years ago. It's in traditional characters. It's about a king who got really fat and felt bad because he was so unhealthy. Then he went on a diet and everyone helped him eat better and exercise by putting his bed up a huge flight of stairs. It's cute, a fun story, educational, and overall a good read.

I found a youtube video that goes through the book to give you all a sample.



I think the real book is better than watching the video, so buy it or check it out if you get a chance!

This book is actually at several US libraries, including Houston and San Francisco. There might be one at a location near you, check it out!

http://www.worldcat.org/title/pang-guo-wang/oclc/43679670


Here it is on amazon.cn

http://www.amazon.cn/%E8%83%96%E5%9B%BD%E7%8E%8B%E7%98%A6%E7%9A%87%E5%90%8E-%E5%BC%A0%E8%93%AC%E6%B4%81/dp/product-description/B0011CUSEE


Haven't found it from a US based shipper. Let me know if you do!


小猴子, 追呀追 -- Great Chinese Children's Book

 小猴子追呀追 is one of the best Chinese Children's books we've ever seen!

小猴子追呀追 -- cute illustrations and fun text
小猴子追呀追 (Little monkey chase) is one of the best Chinese children's books we have ever seen. We picked it up in China. It's one of the only hard books we've ever seen in China. China is full of books that are flimsy paperback books that break easily and are illustrated in a busy, confusing way. This was one of the only books constructed with card board that is built to last more than a few weeks. It's not quite as thick as the nice board books in America, but it's close.

The story is cute. It's about a monkey who explores around the jungle, and you as the reader act like the mom chasing him around. The book prompts you to make noises imitating the different animal sounds and movements. Our kids really like reading it with us! It's fun.

Sadly, we can't find anywhere to buy it outside of China. But if you are ever in China... Look for it!

It's also in a library in Singapore and Australia:

http://www.worldcat.org/title/xiao-hou-zi-zhui-ya-zhui/oclc/829177736

And here are several links to buy it in China

http://item.jd.com/1063300882.html
http://product.suning.com/103079625.html

Here's the amazon.cn link

http://www.amazon.cn/%E5%A6%88%E5%A6%88%E5%AE%9D%E5%AE%9D%E8%86%9D%E4%B8%8A%E6%80%80%E4%B8%AD%E4%BA%B2%E5%AD%90%E4%BA%A4%E6%B5%81%E5%9B%BE%E7%94%BB%E4%B9%A6-%E5%B0%8F%E7%8C%B4%E5%AD%90-%E8%BF%BD%E5%91%80%E8%BF%BD/dp/B009NAJYVE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401581126&sr=8-1&keywords=%E5%B0%8F%E7%8C%B4%E5%AD%90%2C+%E8%BF%BD%E5%91%80%E8%BF%BD


Let me know if you find US based seller!




Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chinese Cartoon -- 小虎还乡 (Little Tiger Returns Home)

Our kids watch 巧虎, and that's a great show for toddlers. Some kids might find it boring, however. I like adventure stories and I think there's too many TV shows out there that are "educational" and are really just quite boring. Kids need more stories and adventure.

We really like the Chinese Cartoon called 小虎还乡 -- Little Tiger Returns Home. There's about 50 episodes about a white baby tiger who tries to find his way home with the help of a boy, his dog and parrot, and a girl. It's filled with adventure and it's slow enough that kids don't get lost.

A lot of times, children's TV shows talk way too slow and kids never really appreciate how people really talk. This show has people speaking regularly, which I think is better for kids to listen to in the long run. I get so tired of people speaking in slow shouts whenever they are speaking to an audience of children.

There's lots of playlists available on youtube, here is one that has all the episodes:

And here's the first episode. Watch it and let me know if you like it!




FYI, little kids under 3 might be a bit scared... our 2 year old cried in the second episode when it ended with the little tiger getting caught by the bad guys. It was adorable. But we assured him that in the next episode he would get rescued and he calmed down.

It's a fun show and we give it an A-, production is a bit old and plot can be a bit slow.



Friday, May 16, 2014

Free Kids Chinese Textbook and Worksheets -- Overseas Chinese Language and Culture Online

I think we might be done making our own material to teach our kids Chinese. We started doing that because we couldn't find anything free online. One day, however, my husband stumbled upon Overseas Chinese Language and Culture Online (中国华文教育网). It's a website specifically meant to help Chinese people out of China educate their children. Basically, that's us! It basically completely fulfills our needs. The best part about it is that it has tons and tons of free teaching materials for kids to learn Chinese.

So we will still blog about ways we teach our kids Chinese, but we probably won't spend a lot of effort making our own worksheets. No sense in re inventing the wheel!

Here is the page that has all of their teaching resources:

http://www.hwjyw.com/textbooks/downloads/zhongwen/

Notice all of the different categories of lessons they have. Click on "单课" after "《中文》教材第一册" to go to the first set of lessons

This is the first subset of lessons Each link to a lesson goes to a 4-5 page PDF of great teaching material for kids.

Here are sample pictures of what's in the second lesson (direct link to the PDF is here)




Stroke order
One of my favorite parts about these lessons is that they have little reading paragraphs. These little paragraphs mostly just include characters that are the current or the previous lesson. Our son was reading these entire paragraphs! He felt like such a big smart boy. We could hardly believe our 4 year old was reading Chinese.




These free lessons are all high quality. I would recommend downloading and saving them all now. It almost seems too good to be true, so I would download them now in case they are not available in the future! It's hundreds and hundreds of pages of lessons.

What do you think?

EDIT:

It looks like you can buy the books on Amazon! The first book seems to be available paperback for about $7 plus shipping, which isn't a bad deal. Sometimes it's easier to have the actual book instead of printing things out all the time.

Since the Chinese government makes these for overseas schools, Chinese schools would probably be the best place to find hard copies. They are hard to find elsewhere.






Monday, May 12, 2014

"How are you" Chinese Worksheet

Our oldest is going crazy practicing his characters. He probably knows around 70 of them by now. We feel like we really need to get him started reading things. If he realizes that he can actually start to read Chinese sentences and hopefully soon start to read Chinese stories, I think he will get really excited. So I made a worksheet today to help with that.

First there is a page teaching the following characters:


  • You 你
  • Good 好
  • Me 我
  • Very 很


Click on the picture to download the PDF of the "How are you" kids Chinese practice worksheet

Then there is a little fill in the blank game. I hope he figures out what is supposed to go into the empty dialog boxes and then feels satisfied that he is reading.


Click on the picture to download the PDF of the "How are you" kids Chinese practice worksheet

Hope you enjoy it!


Friday, May 9, 2014

Six Chinese nursery rhymes and songs

While looking for Chinese nursery rhymes and songs to show our kids I realized there's a lot of terrible videos out there! Lots of them are just really really hard to understand. Hopefully me finding the good stuff for you all will help you out!

1. 两只老虎 -- Todays first video is a classic Chinese nursery rhyme. It's the same tune that is used in an English nursery rhyme so it will be familiar to you. It's called Two Tigers. This video is very good and your kids will love learning to sing it and watching it!


2. 拍手歌 -- This is the Chinese version of "If you're happy and you know it clap your hands". It's good!



3. 我的好妈妈 -- This is an original Chinese nursery song called "My good mother"



4.  祝你生日快乐 -- Your kids are sure to like this Chinese version of "Happy Birthday to You" where it's a bears birthday



5. 上山打老虎 -- This is sort of a Chinese tongue twister about counting to five and squirrels and tigers. Kids will love it!



6. 粉刷匠 -- This is a classic classic Chinese nursery rhyme! I sang this all the time growing up and sing it to my kids now




What do you think of these videos? If any stop working... let me know and I'll look to find another version that works.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Chinese Cartoon 巧虎 Smart Tiger on Youtube

About a year ago, we were looking for Chinese cartoons to show our kids. I was in China and I bought some VCDs of some cartoons, and I downloaded a bunch more unto a flashdrive. We let our kids watch them sometime, but we never really found a cartoon that I absolutely loved and thought was good for our kids to watch. Sometimes we let them watch 喜洋洋, a famous cartoon about wolves and lambs. But we think it's too violent, and they talk too fast for our kids to really understand. It's probably better for older kids around age 7 or 8. Our kids were too young.

Smart Tiger (巧虎) is a really good cartoon that we tried to let our kids watch but never did in the past. We tried web sites like youku and always ran into an error message that said we weren't allowed to watch the video because or regional restrictions. Maybe we didnt' realize it or maybe it's new, but it turns out you can watch them on youtube! There are several different channels that have tons of episodes of 巧虎. You can just subscribe to the channel and then it's always easy to find all the episodes on your own youtube page. We have a Roku, so we just open up the youtube app on our TV and then go to the subscription and then our kids can watch Chinese cartoons on the TV very easy.

Search for it on youtube and you will find lots of playlists. Here is one:



I think 巧虎 is a great cartoon for 2 - 4 year olds. It's educational, they talk at an appropriate speed, it's fun, colorful, not too complicated, but still has interesting stories every episode. I don't think your kids will get bored watching it.

Do you like 巧虎? Leave a comment!

And if this video or the 巧虎 channel ever stops working or gets taken down, please leave a comment and let me know! I will try to find a new 巧虎 channel to post here.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Chinese Character Practice Sheet: Animals Part II- Sea Animals

My oldest son E would always ask me what my favorite animal is. Once I said that I didn't have a favorite animal. Then my middle son M asked why, and E replied for me: " Because mommy is not a kid any more, so she doesn't have a favorite animal."  Well, I guess that's true. I don't have a favorite animal. But because E loves turtle so much, I get so excited whenever I see turtles anywhere, and I always think of E. My husband and I went to New Orleans for a vacation once and we happened to saw Mardi Gras parade. I snagged a red turtle for E and that was ecstatic. I still remember seeing E's happy face when he saw the red turtle I brought home for him. 

Since E loves turtle so much, I had to make a worksheet with turtle in it. I think E will really enjoy learning how to write turtle in Chinese. Hope your kids love this worksheet as well!

Click on the picture to download the PDF. Chinese Character Practice Sheet- Animal Part II- Sea Animals


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Five elements Chinese Character Worksheet and Matching Game

We just got a laser printer because we didn't want to keep spending crazy amounts of money on ink. We got a good deal on it, and now we don't feel guilty about printing out lots of stuff. This means that now we're really excited to print out worksheets for our kids to work with, so today I celebrated by making another worksheet!

This worksheet is themed after the five major elements: 
  • Water 水
  • Fire 火
  • Sky 天
  • Earth 地
  • Wind 风 
Earth is the only one that's kind of hard for kids to understand. 地 has a lot of meanings and isn't very easy to translate. But it's a common character so we think it's good to learn soon anyway. Actually they are all common chinese characters.

This worksheet has two parts. The first part is a traditional worksheet with stroke order and spots to practice writing.

Click on the picture to download the PDF of this Chinese character worksheet for 水, 火, 天, 地, and 风

The next page is a matching game!

Click on the picture to download the PDF of this Chinese character matching game for 水, 火, 天, 地, and 风

We let our son do them today, and it was a big hit! He loved the matching game and he really started to learn those five characters. These worksheets are making for great quiet time activities.

His worksheet is a bit different because I hadn't added stroke order to it yet


Hope you like it!



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chinese children's videos -- set #1 (6 short videos / songs)

We give our kids the iPad to play with more than we'd like to admit. Sometimes they're doing great things like learning Chinese characters, and other times they're just playing mindless games. Both are good things in moderation, I suppose. Sometimes we just start youtube and they watch video after video. We've never really turned on Chinese videos for them to watch, but there's actually tons of stuff out there. Here's 6 videos that we watched recently which I thought were all pretty good.


1. Five witches -- a fun song and cartoon, very well done. I like that it's not the cheesy animation you see all over Chinese videos


2. 三轮车跑得快 -- A very silly song that repeats itself a lot and is easy to understand (makes it great for kids!)


3. The Chinese Number Song -- a very advanced song. This little girl sings pretty quickly! If your kids listen to it a lot and start to understand it, you can feel happy their Chinese is awesome. Fun animation.




4. My head -- a very basic animation, good for younger audiences. Teaches parts of the head. Silly animation makes it fun and it repeats a ton for good learning.



5. Count to 30 in Chinese -- at first it seems mind numbingly boring, but kids like to count. Plus it has the characters and numbers so that's good.


6. Name and Age -- the most basic video of this post, just a clown and dinosaur asking each other what their name and age is.




Hope your kids like some of these videos!



Saturday, May 3, 2014

Education.com chinese character worksheets

I don't know much about education.com, but when I did some googling looking for some chinese character worksheets for my kids to play with, I found a set of worksheets that were pretty good! Below is a screenshot of one of the characters of the worksheet. Clicking on it will take you to the education.com website where you can download the PDF file of the worksheets.


Click on the picture or click here to go to the education.com site where you can hit the "download all" button to download the worksheets. It will ask you to create a free account and then you can download a PDF of the worksheets. Alternatively, here is the link I got when I created an account, hopefully it will still work in the future for anyone who wants a direct link to the PDF without having to log in and create an account.

This set has 11 pages of worksheets with the following characters:


  • Elephant 象
  • Home 家
  • Vehicle 车
  • Boat 舟
  • Good 好
  • Woman 女
  • Fish 鱼
  • Big 大
  • Life 生
  • Water 水
  • Door 门


Overall, it's a great little free set of worksheets that I think my kids will have fun working on today. Nice big characters, plenty of room to practice, easy to download and print out. There's pictures, too, which are essential for kids. Glad I found it, hope you like them too!