My kids are raised in a trilingual environment, both at school and at home. In addition to our native Indonesian language, they learn to read and write in English and Mandarin Chinese. While we have a wide variety of apps to help kids learn English, it’s not the same with apps to learn Mandarin.
That’s why I was glad when the team at Mark Media contacted us about their brand new app, Fun with Colors. It’s a fun app that teaches kids Mandarin Chinese through an underwater adventure.
Meet Miaomiao and Her Dog Doudou
As soon as you start the app, you will meet a young girl named Miaomiao. She wants to take you on an underwater adventure with her dog Doudou. Her mission: to restore the colors of the sea creatures.
The first sea creature that you will find is the baby octopus, who needs your help to restore her lost colors. Find three red fruits — apple, strawberry, and watermelon — and you will see the baby octopus get her original colors back.
As you find these objects, you will hear their names pronounced in both English and Mandarin Chinese. And when the octopus has had her color restored, you will also hear the color red being pronounced in both English and Mandarin Chinese.
Throughout the app, you will find other sea creatures: orange clownfish, yellow pufferfish, green turtle, and purple anglerfish. Each creature will be accompanied by three objects of the same color. This allows you to learn how to pronounce colors and related objects in Mandarin too.
Once you have completed all the activities, you might want to try coloring and drawing with the six coloring sheets available in the Squad Ink Coloring Book. You can find this feature from the main menu.
Parents Need to Know
Based on my own experience in helping my kids learn Mandarin Chinese, it can be a daunting task. You first need to learn what each letter means, then how they’re pronounced, and finally how to write it. If you’re only beginning to learn Mandarin, I’d suggest you start with how to pronounce common words in Mandarin Chinese.
This is the same approach used by Learn with Colors. Instead of teaching kids what the words look like and how to write them, the app emphasizes on how to pronounce the words. It uses English phonetic spelling system, which makes it easy for English speakers to pronounce the words in Mandarin.
If you want to learn more about how to teach Mandarin Chinese to your kids, you should take a look at the developer’s website. It has excellent teaching materials and printable worksheets for your kids.
Fun with Colors works great without an Internet connection. It doesn’t have any third-party ads, in-app purchases, or links to social networks.
Things I Like
I like the designer’s decision to include Miaomiao as the main character to lead the activities. She is a four-year-old Chinese Canadian girl who is adorable, playful, and adventurous. Throughout the app, she acts like a good friend teaching us how to pronounce the words in Mandarin.
For English speakers, some of the first things that you can learn in Mandarin are numbers, family members, personal pronouns, and colors. It’s nice that through learning the six primary and secondary colors, we can also learn other words, such as apple and strawberry. And if you want to revisit those words, you can always tap on the dictionary icon from the main menu.
If you explore the Parent section, you will also find 30 fun facts and/or helpful tips to keep your kids engaged while exploring the words in Mandarin. For example, you can learn what each color means in Chinese tradition, and that an octopus can easily take apart a robotic submarine if left unsupervised.
Learning Mandarin Chinese can be a daunting task — both for kids and adults. Fun with Colors offers a fun and easy way to learn how to pronounce 30 simple words in Chinese. Because the app is built around an interesting narrative of sea creatures losing their colors, kids ages 4+ are more likely to participate in the learning process. If you’re looking for a fun and engaging way to introduce your kids to Mandarin Chinese, you should definitely give this app a try.
App was provided for our honest review.