6 Favorite Youtube Channels for Kids to Learn Chinese: Beginner & Intermediate Options

Posted by Habbi Habbi Guest Contributor on


In this post: I share free, entertaining, and enriching Youtube channels for kids to learn Chinese. While there are so many different Chinese youtube channels you can choose from, I list 6 channels here that my family loves (as context, my boys are 3 years old and 5 months old).

Screen time can be a sensitive topic, and the choice of when and how much is so personal to each family. Personally, we consider Youtube a free, helpful resource. I’m a native Mandarin speaker, but my husband isn’t - so we use it as an additional avenue for Chinese language exposure, especially when I’m busy. We started only when we felt comfortable introducing screens to my elder son (S1) after he turned one. 

Beginner Youtube Channels: For kids’ first exposure to Chinese (e.g. early toddlers)  

1. Sesame Street: "Fun Fun Elmo"

Fun with Elmo: Chinese Youtube Channel

This channel has a whole series of videos following Elmo and friends in learning introductory Chinese characters. It brings together something your kids may already be familiar with something new. 

  • Content: 20+ Episodes of Elmo and friends teaching a single Chinese character per episode. The episodes are completely in Mandarin and each episode has the exact same format with an introduction of the character, how it’s written, and how it is used in real-life. 
  • Episode length: 10 minutes.
  • Best for: 1-3 y/o who is interested in learning introductory level Chinese characters.
  • Why I recommend: Targeted learning with repetition.  Each episode is capped at 10 minutes, just enough to keep the short attention span of a toddler. It focuses on one character at a time so it’s easy to digest and retain while making it fun to remember the character via segments like a talk show. Lastly, the combination of animation with real-life footage helps kids connect the dots with what they’re learning and how it is used in daily life.   
  • What has my son learned from it: Some of the first few characters S1 learned were counting numbers in Chinese - and he learned them from Mandarin Elmo! He especially loved counting aloud with the footage of the kids and adults counting, following how they use their hands to sign for the numbers.

    2. Pinkfong 碰碰狐 (兒童兒歌・故事)

    Pink Fong: Chinese Youtube ChannelThere is probably not a parent in the world who has not heard of Baby Shark. But did you know there is also a Youtube channel with many other catchy songs? The Pinkfong channel has several sub-channels covering different languages, including Mandarin. Subtitles available in Simplified Chinese.  

    • Content: 30+ Animated nursery songs and stories covering basic topics like colors, fruit, healthy habits (brushing teeth, taking a bath, going to the toilet, etc.), animals, dinosaurs, etc. 
    • Episode length: Ranges between 2 minutes, up to 30 minutes.  Some videos combine a collection of similar topic videos (e.g. healthy habits), which makes them longer. 
    • Best for: 1-3 y/o who loves learning through music.
    • Why I recommend: Catchy and easy-to-remember songs. (Think Baby Shark!) This channel provides a large collection of memorable songs that teach about useful life skills like basic hygiene concepts.  One feature I especially love about this channel is that some songs are even bilingual - they sing it once in English and another round in Mandarin.  This direct contrast allows kids to make the connection between the two languages and is a great way for them to retain the minority language. 
    • What has my son learned from it: The song about poop in the toilet is what motivated S1 to be compliant and interested in potty training, even when he was just 1 year old. That alone was reason enough for me to fall in love with this channel! All jokes aside, since S1 is also a huge dinosaur fan, he’s learned much of what he knows about dinosaurs in Mandarin and English from these songs. 

    3. Habbi Habbi Bilingual Books

    Habbi Habbi Bilingual Books: Youtube ChannelWhether you have the Habbi Habbi (HH) Bilingual books or just interested in introductory bilingual content, this channel has you covered. It hosts simple, straightforward vocabulary - a small sample of words - from the HH books in both Spanish and Chinese.

    • Content: 10+ Videos covering basic vocabulary words, e.g., shapes, counting, colors, family, etc. using sample pages from the HH books. No subtitles. 
    • Episode length: 2-3 minutes 
    • Best for: 1-5 y/o - who is just starting; the content is basic enough to access a wide audience, including non-native families and especially nice for those who have the HH books because the content and images are familiar for kids.
    • Why I recommend: Perfect companion resource. We have nearly the entire Chinese/English HH bilingual book collection in our house, and it is something S1 loves to use during reading time.  Since the Reading Wand allows him to incorporate play with learning, it’s the best thing for a toddler with the growing desire to be independent. Their youtube channel, while much lighter in content than their books, is a great companion for kids and families looking to reinforce some of the most basic words. We also love that Habbi Habbi is multilingual - so even though we focus on Chinese as a family, we can just pick up one of their videos and books in Spanish to learn some basic words as well. 
    • What has my son learned from it: Since we have the majority of the Chinese Habbi Habbi collection, S1 is able to follow along with the videos.  He particularly loves to compare the Chinese video against the Spanish version and hear the differences between the two. He has this fascination with colors and after learning them in Mandarin, he was able to learn them in Spanish with Habbi Habbi!  

    Proficient Youtube Channels: For kids who understand or speak Chinese 

    4. A Little Chinese 小不点中文

    A Little Chinese: Youtube ChannelHave you seen Planet Earth? This channel reminds me of that because it has educational videos with documentary-like narration.  It focuses on single subjects and teaches you multiple facts about them with the help of real-life footage. 

    • Content: Real-life image videos covering a range of vocabulary by topics\ - e.g. careers, animals, body parts, space, seasons, etc. No subtitles.
    • Episode length: 3-10 minutes.
    • Best for: 2-5 y/o who speaks and understands Chinese and is interested in learning more vocabulary with context.
    • Why I Recommend: Educational learning through facts. These educational videos use real-life footage to illustrate new vocabulary in each lesson. I really like that the narrator speaks slowly and clearly, while always repeating the key vocabulary twice. She also pauses occasionally to ask questions for the audience to think about before moving forward. This is really great for kids learning new vocabulary because repetition is key in learning anything new and having time to think about it is part of learning too.
    • What has my son learned from it: One of S1’s favorite videos from here is “Learn All About Parts of Your Body.” He’s learned detailed information such as how our teeth not only help us chew food but also help us speak and enunciate. He even loves to show me his teeth, telling me his teeth in the front are of a different size than those in the back! 

    5. Barney and Friends in Mandarin

    Barney & Friends: Chinese Youtube ChannelI always joke I’m raising S1 like an 80’s kid because he’s only watched shows from that era. One of my favorite shows to buy me time while making dinner sometimes is “Barney and Friends”. (Is anyone else a fan or am I just aging myself?)  Did you know there’s Barney in Mandarin on Youtube?  

    • Content: 40+ Non-animated educational messages through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, huggable dinosaur who has an optimistic attitude. The conversations are in Mandarin, but the songs are in English. No subtitles.
    • Episode length: 25 minutes.
    • Best for: 2-5 y/o who speaks and understands some Chinese and is interested in listening to conversations.
    • Why I recommend: Every good conversation starts with good listening. I love Barney for many reasons, but one key reason, aside from it being educational, is that this show allows kids to improve their listening skills. In these videos, they are not talking to the audience - they show real conversations. This is great for any Chinese learner because they can watch and listen to how real-life conversations take place, which in turn, can improve their own conversation skills. 
    • What has my son learned from it: Barney has taught S1 many important concepts that are usually taught in pre-school (he’s not yet in school). He’s learned things like good manners and safe habits. Whenever S1 sees the stoplight, without fail, he will tell me “Red means stop and green means go, that’s what Barney said once.”

    6. Little Fox Chinese - Stories & Songs for Learners

    Little Fox Chinese: Youtube ChannelIf you’re ever in need of a storyteller to entertain your kid while teaching them some Chinese, you’re in luck.  This channel has a huge selection of stories from classic Chinese fable and folklore to translated Disney staples and more. There is also a large selection of educational songs. 

    • Content: 100+ Animated stories and songs including classic Chinese tales like the Monkey King, American classics like Snow White, or Little Fox’s original line of short stories, all in Chinese. Subtitles are available in simplified Chinese. 
    • Episode length: Varies from 2 minutes to 10 minutes.
    • Best for: 2-7 y/o who enjoys learnings through stories 
    • Why I recommend: Storytime can be anytime.  I love this channel for all the stories. There are short stories that are just one episode long in under 10 minutes, or longer stories that are split into different episodes so you can cap the amount of screen time they’ve watched.  I enjoy the variety of stories this channel has to offer - and especially love some of its original shows. The narration is slow and repeated which emphasizes keywords or concepts being taught in each episode.
    • What has my son learned from it: One of the things I try to do to ensure S1 is paying attention when he’s watching these story videos is asking him to retell me the story.  Since these videos are not very long, the information can be easily retained. I’ve found with S1 is often able to retell me the story after he’s heard it twice or more. It’s a great way to practice your kid’s memory and an opportunity for them to really think about what they’re listening to. Now as a habit, S1 is always telling me random bits of the stories he watches or listens to. 

    Final overall 'pro tip' about Youtube and screentime 

    If you’re worried about your kid getting too much screen time, you can always download the clips and put them on an MP3 player so that they can continue learning through listening.  It’s something I’ve done early on with S1.  I’d put some of his favorite Pinkfong songs (the potty song and counting song) and his favorite stories (The Monkey King) on his portable media player so he can listen to them whenever, without a screen. 

    Summary of 6 favorite Youtube Channels 

    Level

    Channel

    Love for 

    Length

    Beginner Youtube Channels:

    For kids’ first exposure (e.g. toddlers)  

    Fun Fun Elmo

    Learning introductory Chinese characters 

    10 min

    Pinkfong

    Learning through music - with catchy, easy-to-remember songs 

    2-30 min

    Habbi Habbi

    Very first, early vocabulary and for matching Spanish videos  

    2-3 min

    Proficient Youtube Channels:

    For kids who understand or speak Chinese 

    A Little Chinese 

    Educational learning through facts, grouped by subjects 

    3-10 min

    Barney & Friends 

    Hearing conversations and improving listening comprehension 

    25 min

    Little Fox Chinese

    Wide variety of stories, both classic Chinese and American tales 

    2-10 min

    If you liked this, you might also appreciate the following articles about activities and perspectives about Chinese for kids 

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    6 Favorite Youtube Channels for Kids to Learn Chinese

    Check out more bilingual resources from Habbi Habbi 

    We have lots more (fun stuff!) here at Habbi Habbi. You can explore our library of free bilingual printables or resource blog. And of course, we have our much loved magical Reading Wand, books, puzzles & flashcards. Our tools are currently available in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Coming soon in French, Korean, and Hindi. 

    About our lovely guest Contributor: Helen Wu 

    I am a SAHM with two boys, S1(3y/o) and S2(5m/o). I’m a native Mandarin speaker born in China. I learned Cantonese in my middle school days watching TVB dramas, and in collect, I studied Japanese and lived in Japan for a few summers teaching English.  I absolutely love the idea of learning different languages because it allows me to connect with people from different cultures. Currently, I live in SF with my husband and kids, including my fur-daughter, a Westie named Mochi.  I find cooking and baking very therapeutic so in times of high stress, you’d find me in the kitchen laser-focused on making something. I think it’s the idea of creating something delicious from scratch (and the alone time tbh) that makes it so rewarding for me!

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