Fun videos to teach Mandarin to a toddler?
July 2, 2017 11:35 AM   Subscribe

I want my 18 month old baby to speak Mandarin. I myself speak a grand total of two words of Mandarin, and that's the end of my personal contribution to his language lessons. I'm happy to find classes for him (and happy to hear suggestions - I'm on the north side of Chicago...) but what I want is fun language videos we can have on in the background so he can start hearing the language. The challenge is that I need to be able to watch them too.

There are educational videos aimed at kids that an adult can watch and be somewhat amused. Sesame Street is fun for adults to watch, and also Pocoyo (Spanish for tiny kids, have you seen it? It's adorable.). The Mandarin videos I've found are not interesting or fun, and I wind up turning them off after about 20 minutes because I can't stand to waste screen time on that kind of drivel. Any advice? I know live people are the best for this kind of thing, and I'm definitely going down that path too, but I am specifically looking for suggestions for videos for home use. Thanks!
posted by Vatnesine to Education (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately, interaction is pretty critical for language learning. Foreign language videos on in the background won't actually teach the child even the sounds of the language. Patricia Kuhl has done a lot of work on this; here's an example (even about Mandarin!) Once children are substantially older videos may be more helpful for vocabulary and/or maintenance, but 18 months is still very young to be learning from TV.

Sorry, I know you said you have the "live people" side covered and really want video suggestions, but it's not just that people are better - it's that videos don't help at all as far as we can tell. (But mods feel free to remove if this is too far off-question obviously!)

On the bright side, a little interaction goes a long way! An 18-month-old doesn't need classes of any sort; he just needs a Mandarin-speaking babysitter. Or for a video suggestion: a Mandarin-speaking Skype pal.
posted by cogitron at 2:03 PM on July 2, 2017 [4 favorites]

I'm obsessed with this app, personally, which is 100% for toddlers but whatever, it's adorable.
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:38 PM on July 2, 2017

Hey! The app that Hermione Granger recommended, Miao Mi, is free today! (Ordinarily $5.99.)
posted by kristi at 10:39 AM on July 6, 2017

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