The Chinese characters are NOT presented as theme-based word list, but rather, as commonly-use words. For instance, 火 (fire)，星 (star)，口 (mouth)，它 (it)，气 (air)，空 (empty) are not chosen by theme, and not related to each other. They are, though, commonly found in children’s stories.
The Chinese characters are presented as collocations 固定搭配. Collocations refer to a group of words that habitually appear together. For example, the character 口 (mouth) is followed by the word 窗口 (window)
A story is read out to the child with the key vocabulary highlighted so the child gets to learn how it is used in context.
GAMES (There are 3 sets of mini-games)
It starts with a simplest VISUAL recognition game where the child drags the character to the box that is read out, with pinyin on top (for those who can already read) It gives hint when the wait time is too long.
In the next game, child must drag the same set of characters to a box where it is used in context. They must LISTEN for the right word (there is no pinyin)
It like how it progresses to the 3rd game where the child has to drag the entire phrase (with the key character embedded) up to the box. The child learns to listen to the pronunciation, as well as identify the Chinese character in a new context.
- The target characters are sung in a song. This again put the words in a slightly different context that is both authentic and interesting for children.
Some suggestions when using this app to learn Chinese:
- I taught the words before letting my son use the app. The reason for that is, I don’t think practicing each exercise once will enable a child to learn the characters. You would have to at least repeat each game several times, which is not ideal because of the amount of screentime that would be required to master the set of characters. I pre-teach by making real flashcards, and using them in games. Here is a great post on 15 Simple Flashcards Games
- I only do one module every few days, so 6 characters are introduced in every module, and I repeat the mini-games until Kai is familiar. Sometimes, I go back to previous games to see whether he still remembers
- This app is more suitable for children who already understand some Chinese. Otherwise, the songs, the stories would not be helpful!
- This app is probably best for ages 3 and up
Language learning is a long journey, and it helps when it is fun and interactive. If you are open-minded to let your child use iPad apps, do give this a try.