ChineseappJoshuaIf you are planning any family travel overseas, or just looking to introduce your kids to a foreign language, iPhone or iPad apps are a great way to go, and many are free.

Having recently moved to Beijing and thrown my kids full into the local Chinese culture and language, my new iPad is full of Mandarin learning apps. The best part is you get a native speaker speaking a foreign language and reading books to your kids!

These are just a few of the Chinese (Mandarin) apps I’ve found so far. They all have free versions, with option to upgrade. I welcome any other recommendations!



LoveChinese – This is a cute one where the kid can hear the Mandarin Chinese for a number or shape (it’s written as well) and then select it on the screen. The Chinese voice is always encouraging whether they get it right or not.

Kids Animal World – My baby loves the opening music to this one, but also to choose the animals and either push them to make their animal noise or listen to what they are called in Chinese or English (English pronunciation is spotty). The child also gets to choose the correct food to “feed” the animals.

Lingu Pingu – My baby also loves the music to this one, which has the option for either Chinese or English. You choose a theme –transportation, home, etc and select objects to hear their name (and sounds of course).


Kids Mandarin – this has a variety of categories (food, weather and such)

Mandarin Flash Cards – this is also a cute one with a variety of items in Chinese, pinyin (phonetic spelling with tones) and English.

Books (just a small selection)

Bedtime Stories  – Familiar stories like Snow White read in Chinese. Great pre-bedtime activity.

Ana Lomba – Ana Lomba has a series of books, in different languages. This link will take you to the Little Red Hen in Chinese (or English).

The Magic Brush and Maliang

Peter Rabbit