Summer break is around the corner and small and big kids alike are looking forward to fun days ahead. We parents would like them to have fun but wouldn’t it be nice if we could sneak in some learning time for them as well? For families who are interested in having the kids learn Chinese, there are plenty of materials that can keep them occupied for hours. There are also materials for those who already know their basic Chinese and would like to practice their skill.

Serious studying. For kids who thrive on textbook learning – even in summer – there are plenty of excellent textbooks written for teens beginning Chinese as a second language. Kuaile Hanyu has a textbook/reader and follows teen students as they visit China and try to converse in basic Chinese. Discovering Chinese is also written for the bigger kids and teens. Lessons used in the book are more about teens and keeps in mind the more advanced language skills of adolescents.

For those who are to take the Chinese SAT II in a year or two (or three), it doesn’t hurt to start preparing now. Summer is also the best time to polish those Chinese skills. There are Chinese SAT II practice books and tests available and you know what results you get with practice.

Videos. There are a lot of DVDs for baby learning Chinese, or for preschool levels, and I’m pretty sure your tween or teen will zzzz… through these. No talking baby pandas please for these young adults. There are interesting documentary videos that feature young people and will have them pick up Chinese words and see more about Chinese culture as well. There are documentaries about Chinese way of life to help open your teens awareness about China and its culture. Interestingly, the documentary is hosted by young people as well. Titles include “New Year in Ping Wei”, “Land of the Dragon” and “Families from China.” There is also the Chinese Cooking for Kids DVD, where teen Katya and friends cooks some simple but delicious Chinese dishes. (Maybe your teen will surprise you with a special dinner with this video? I hope so.)

Software. Computer time is part and parcel of a young person’s life nowadays. If you can’t get your teen off the computer to do Chinese lessons, why not bring the Chinese lesson to the computer instead? There are good Learn Chinese software out there and have dictionaries too. Kuaile Hanyu also has a 3-level software that features videos of exchange students visiting China, some practice tests and games. (Maybe you can haggle for the textbook reader mentioned above to be also read through? No? Just try?)

Songs. Granted, they won’t like the nursery rhymes in CDs, but a lot of Chinese words and grammar can be picked up with songs. It will be a waste to not to try this medium. Thankfully, songs from other countries are not as hard to look for these days. Why not try to sit down together in front of the internet and look through Chinese singers that teens like? Maybe you can help download Chinese songs your child likes, and do it as the parents of smaller kids learning Chinese do. Play it while in the car or while having some down time at home. (Ear plugs can be of help here.)

Books. You know your teen can’t be digital all the time, you have to pull that plug and shut down some time. Books are an excellent antidote to whines of boredom after the computer is shut down. Kids who are used to reading Chinese can now read favorite adventure fantasy books in Simplified or Traditional Chinese. Chinese Harry Potter books can now be easily purchased. For those who want to REALLY keep their kids unplugged for a longer time, Chinese Harry Potter bundle set is also available. Yes, all books number 1-7 are included so your teen can read in Chinese that first day Harry received his invitation to study at Hogwarts, to the time Harry has a family with… never mind. Just read so I don’t spill.

Chinese translations of the The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit, plus also Eragon, can keep your teen busy reading for days and speeding up those Chinese reading skills as well.

With these materials, hopefully summer days will speed by, and your teen will hopefully also speed up learning Chinese.

Chinese-English materials available at

About the Author has been helping families learn Chinese since 1997 with Chinese-English books, videos, songs and software.

Theme by