Our 5 Favorite Apps For Teaching Mandarin to Kids

By Harry Keyte, Managing Director, Manhattan Mandarin February 7, 2024


Wawayaya is our favorite App to use with young Mandarin learners. WaWaYaYa offers thousands of children’s books in Mandarin. All of the picture books can be organized by degree of difficulty, ranging from the simplest and shortest books teaching the colors and numbers to the more advanced cultural books relating the myths behind the zodiac animals or great Chinese figures like Confucius. WaWaYaYa’s vast catalog of storybooks guarantees you’ll find many stories about your child’s favorite subjects. Most importantly, you don’t have to be a Mandarin master yourself to use WawaYaya with your kids. Each page comes with the option to listen to accompanying audio, and you can click on the Chinese characters to find out their English meanings and listen again to their pronunciations. If you want to set your child up with an easy pathway to Mandarin fluency, there’s nothing better for the growing brain than to listen to complete Mandarin sentences within an engaging narrative framework, and WaWaYaYa makes this effortless and fun. 


Although there are many who may consider Pleco, a Mandarin dictionary App, to be more suitable for adult learners, it is indispensable for students of all ages who want to keep track of all the new words they’re learning. The flashcard/testing component is great for reviewing words, and each flashcard can also reveal through animation the proper stroke order of every written character.

Yummy Chinese 

Yummy Chinese comes with a bunch of great Mandarin learning mini-games. Our youngest students enjoy putting their vocab skills to the test by using Chinese character recognition to pick out the proper products as they shop through a Chinese grocery store. As teachers, our favorite is a puzzle-piece sentence restructuring game that teaches the rules of Mandarin syntax. Grammar matters! 


We like Beelingua app because it offers stories in Mandarin for all levels.  The stories range from the beginner level ‘Three Little Pigs’ and the ‘Tortoise and the Hare’ to the advanced level Gulliver’s Travels and Peter Pan. Each story has the option to listen to the audio as you read along. Within each story, you can click on a character you don’t know and then click on the option to translate the character. 

Hello Chinese

Hello Chinese is great for teaching absolute beginners the Pinyin system and the basics of Mandarin pronunciation. It has a fun Rosetta Stone style method of introducing new vocabulary that includes videos of real Mandarin speakers using the new words and also provides Character writing practice as you go along. 

Harry Keyte is a private Mandarin tutor and the Managing Director at

Manhattan Mandarin runs the after-school Mandarin programs at St. Bernard's, Buckley, Chapin, and many other schools across NYC, and provides private Mandarin tutoring to students of all ages and Mandarin levels.

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