Monday, April 20, 2015

Chinese app for toddlers 动物小百科 -- little animal encyclopedia

We've found lots of great iPad apps recently, most of which are free, but we haven't gotten around to reviewing them. We're going to start using a more streamlined process to review apps, giving the same information for each app to help you in browsing apps and to help us write reviews faster. Time to get started!

App name: 动物小百科 Tinman Arts (little animal encyclopedia)
Developer: Tinman Arts(Chengdu) Co.,Ltd
Cost: Free
Target Age range: 1-4 years old
Type of app: Chinese immersion
Our description: This is a fantastic, cute little app. It's made for your toddler to click on the animals that they see, and each time they click on one there is a little mini story. For instance, you click on the duck, and the mini story is where you pick which set of feet belong to the duck. With every option, something cute happens. The drawings, music, and narration are all cute and made for babies. This makes it a great immersion app since it's one that your kids will actually have fun playing. They'll also be hearing lots of basic mandarin meant for babies and will learn by immersion lots of words for and about animals.
The bottom line: this is a free educational app you can give your baby / toddler / preK kid that they will actually love playing, and they will learn about animals in Chinese, too.
Our rating: 5/5

Scroll left and right to find more animals, press one to open up a story
Again, press an animal to open up a mini story
When you click on the duck you are asked which pair of feet belong to him

Rock, paper, scissors in Chinese

Lately we've been playing rock, paper, scissors a lot with our 5 year old and our 3 year old. We taught them how to play it in Chinese, which has been fun because they've been able to play it with their Chinese grandparents and other family in China.

In Chinese, Rock Paper Scissors has the exact same hand signs, with the same rules. There are a few differences, however. In Chinese, they actually say "Scissors, Wrapping cloth, Hammer" (剪子包袱锤 Jiǎnzi bāofú chuí).

Comparing the differences again:

  • In English, we say "rock", but in Chinese they say "hammer" 锤 
  • In English we say "paper", but in Chinese they say "wrapping cloth" 包袱
  • In English, we say "scissors" last, but in Chinese they say it first 

(EDIT -- Since publishing this, someone from a different part of China told me that they say 石头,剪子,布  Shítou, jiǎnzi, bù [rock, paper, cloth] -- I guess there are a few ways to play it in Chinese!)

Play this with your kids in Chinese, and the next time the see a native Chinese speaker they will be able to have lots of fun playing with them. Here's a picture summary:

Also, I thought I would show you all my 5 year old son's modification of rock paper scissors that he made up in Chinese.... :-)

Have fun playing!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Play Uno in Chinese

There are lots of games you probably already play with your kids that are easy to also do in Chinese. Uno is one of them. Uno is a great game because it teaches colors, numbers, and advanced concepts like skipping, reversing directions, and basic strategy. You will probably be surprised how easy it is to talk to your kids about Uno in Chinese and get everyone speaking in Chinese.

My kids playing Uno with their Chinese relatives
We are visiting family in China now, and we brought Uno. Our 5 year old son pulled it out and started explaining in Chinese to his extended family how to play. Within 20 minutes everyone was gathered around and having a great time playing. They had all never seen a children's game like this and all quickly caught on and joined in the fun.

For parents that don't speak much Chinese, here are the terms you need to know to play Uno in Chinese:

Yellow -- 黄色 huáng sè 
Red -- 红色 hóng sè 
Blue -- 蓝色 lán sè 
Green -- 绿色 lǜ sè 
Skip card -- 跳过卡 tiào guò kǎ
Reverse card --  回转卡 huí zhuǎi kǎ 
Wild Card -- 全能卡 quán néng kǎ 
Draw 2 cards -- 抓两张牌 zhuā liǎng zhāng pái 
Draw a card -- 抓一张牌 zhuā  yī zhāng pái 
Draw 4 cards -- 抓四张牌 zhuā sì zhāng pái 
It's your turn -- 轮到你 lún dào nǐ 
My turn -- 轮到我 lún dào wǒ 
I win -- 我赢了 wǒ yíng le
I lose -- 我输了wǒ shū le
Say Uno -- 说UNO shuō UNO

The following video is probably hard to follow, but I thought it was fun, showing my son directing everybody how to play UNO

If you don't have UNO, buy it here!

I hope you have fun playing with your kids! Let us know how it goes!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Our 3 year old teaches his brother to count to 10 in Chinese

Took this video at a family dinner in China, thought it was cute, and educational for those learning the basics of how to count to 10.