Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ipad app for Chinese numbers, shapes, colors -- 益智机器人 (robot puzzle)

App name: 益智机器人 (robot puzzle)
Developer: Xueli Shan
Cost: Free
Target Age range: 1-3 years old
Type of app: Chinese immersion
Language: Chinese
Our description: I spent a long time looking for a basic app that was simple but fun and would still teach our baby to count to 10 in Chinese. Surprisingly, it was harder than I thought, and this was the best thing I found. The app has 3 different sections, numbers, shapes, colors. You drag the numbers/shapes/colors into the robot and then the robot says it out loud. It's simple, but toddlers love this kind of thing. It's also very educational. This app taught our toddler his numbers 1-10 in Chinese. He doesn't even know them in English! Now that's great immersion!
Cons: Advertisements at the bottom, sometimes the audio could be more clear/crisp
The bottom line: This is a simple, free app that is good for toddlers learning numbers/shapes/colors. It has advertisements and isn't high tech or fancy, but worth a shot. We like it.
Our rating: 4/5

益智机器人 (robot puzzle)

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Chinese Puzzle Cards 1 (拼音乐1) iPad App

App name: Puzzle Cards 1 (拼音乐1)
Developer: Tinman Arts(Chengdu) Co.,Ltd
Cost: Free
Target Age range: 1-4 years old
Type of app: Chinese immersion
Language: Simplified Chinese
Our description: This is our 2 year old's favorite app. It's got cards of 20 different animals, and each card is a simple puzzle where you drag and drop some circles to finish the picture of the animal. As you do it, the narrator tells you encouraging things like "加油!" . When you finish there's a little animation, and you see the characters for the animal, and you hear what it is in Chinese and the sounds it makes. The drawings and narration are all cute.
Cons: There are some links to other Tinman apps on the opening page
The bottom line: Everybody needs an app to keep their 1-3 year old busy when you don't have the patience or time to deal with them... This one is sure to entertain, and it's cute and teaches them the animals in Chinese while doing it.
Our rating: 5/5

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Home Chinese Preschool - Day 3

Day 3 of home Chinese preschool.

I started to have a sore throat this week and this morning I woke up by my cough and couldn't sleep since 5. I was worried that I might wake up my husband with my cough but gladly he slept through. Then my oldest E missed his school bus because he was really slow, and so I had to huddle my three boys into our van to drive to school. I really cant complain, because most parents drive their kids to school every day any way, I lucked out that I don't have to do that every day. And then since we were out so we went and got groceries, by 9:30 I felt like I've been up forever. I'm sure you understand that ;) So since I felt really tired and kind of sick, I decided that today's preschool is going to be a game day. That's a nice thing about homeschooling I guess, you make your own schedule with no guilt.

Good thing we have a trampoline, so I made the boys go outside and jump on the tramp for a good 20 mins.

They were trying to compete who jumps higher

My two year old P brought me books to read. I cant say no. We have tons of Chinese books, every time we went to China, we brought back lots of books. Here is a list of Chinese children's books that we reviewd, we still have lots of them that we haven't gotten time to review, but stay tuned. We will get to it. If you have any good books that you wanted to share with us, please feel free to send us a message or comment. We are always open to new books!

There are a lot of games that you can play to practice Chinese, our favorite three games that we like to play with our kids are "spot it", "Uno", "Rock, paper, Scissors" (Click on the link to see the posts about games), because they are English games but you can also play them in Chinese.

M playing Spot it 

I printed out some coloring pages from our free coloring book, I am sure though you can easily find free Chinese coloring pages online to print out as well. My boys generally loves anything related to writing, coloring, cutting, tapping and painting... But it could be totally boring for your kids to sit down and color. If that's the case, I'd recommend playing with some Chinese games on ipad, or smart phones. We have a good list of apps and games, that you can find here.

There is another thing I like to do with kids when they are tired, grumpy, or if I am just plainly out of patience, I let them watch chinese videos or tv shows. You can always make a playlist on youtube for your favorite chinese nursery rhymes, videos, tv shows. I even like to cut my boys nails while they watch Chinese nursery rhymes/tv shows, it saves me from wrestling with them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Home Chinese Preschool - Day 2

Today we had preschool Day 2.

For Chinese, we learned the characters for "Person, head, eye, mouth, ear, hand, foot, big, small, more, less". In chinese they are "人,头,眼,嘴,口,耳,手,足,大, 小,多,少”. Refer to the <ZhongWen> (Mandarin Chinese Language) course materials lesson 2.

Today we played a game called "follow the instructions", or "follow the leader" in English, but simply "听指挥" in Chinese. I gave out the order and M executes it. Orders like "stand up", "sit down", "turn around", "touch your nose", "cover your eyes","blow kisses", "touch your belly button"... They were all spoken in Chinese of course, “ 站起来”,“坐下”,“转圈”,“摸鼻子”,“盖住眼睛”,“飞吻”,“摸肚脐眼”, etc. If you do not speak Chinese yourself, here is a good video to show you different body parts:

M pointing to his nose

M wanted to be the leader and led me all the hard poses and movements. I felt like I just had my exercises for the day! 
M being the "Leader" and one of his poses

We also sang the "if you are happy and you know it" song, "幸福拍手歌", you will see the video on the collection of songs that we like to sing to our kids. 

M stumping his feet during the song

Those are the pre-activities before the lesson to get his wiggles out. The actual lesson is anywhere from 10-20 mins long. M is semi-easily bored from all the listening and learning, so I try to keep it short. When he shows signs of getting bored, I just call it a lesson and gave him homework to do. By "Homework", I mean just practicing writing characters. I know it's debatable if its worth it for kids to practise writing, but at our house, we make our kids practice. And don't worry, we are not tiger parents, we are something in between where we call it a "happy medium". We push our kids, but not to the extreme. We are not saying that you should do the same, I think everybody decides for themselves, what's a good fit.