If you’re raising your child to be bilingual in Chinese and you don’t have the benefit of living in China, then one fantastic way to practice with your Children would be to read picture books! Not only is this fun and engaging for kids, but it is also a useful method of connecting vocabulary to pictures and concepts.
However, I have to level with you. This article isn’t actually about Chinese picture books. If you’re living outside of China you might find it hard to get a hold of actual Chinese picture books, and they might also be expensive. What’s more many of these books are designed with Chinese children in mind. The average non-Chinese child who picks up a Chinese picture book will likely struggle with it a lot more than one who has grown up with even just basic Chinese vocabulary.
Because of these reasons, I instead recommend that you find Chinese translations of your children’s favorite English picture books! These books are common in China, so many Chinese children will also read them. Even if there might be a vocabulary issue in certain places of the book, both you and your child can have an English translation as a reference to help you.
Give this a try by searching for free online resources of Chinese children’s books. With a few Google searches, you should be able to find some online books in Powerpoint for free! Though some of these might be more advanced for a beginning learner, you will surely be able to find files that are perfect for you and your child.
Lastly, there are some Chinese children’s songs on YouTube available for free which can also be a great resource. These songs will often have pinyin, and even if your child cannot understand all the lines, they can be a fun way to practice Chinese. If you take the time to study the lyrics, it will surely help improve their vocabulary. Some great examples of these are: “Monkeys Scoop up the Moon”, “The Story of the 12 Zodiacs”, and “Sima Guang Smashed the Vat”. These are all Chinese children’s stories you can access on YouTube for free! Most Chinese parents will use resources like these to share stories with their kids. After you check these out, you should be able to find more quite easily!
司马光砸缸 Sima Guang Smashed the Vat
12生肖的故事 The Story of 12 Zodiacs
猴子捞月 Monkeys Scoop up the Moon
As always, be creative and keep your kids engaged! Learning Chinese can be fun and easy, but it takes work from you, the parent, to ensure this. Find what works best for your kids and proceed from there!