It’s my final blog post for the year! As always, the entire month before Christmas will be dedicated to a social media free Advent period (so please forgive the spelling errors, as this is being hurriedly typed in the few minutes before we jump on a plane).
Given there is still time to buy Christmas presents, this post very quickly lists out some things to consider to put Chinese into the gift list, especially focused for the little ones (kindergarten and preschoolers). If you’re reading my blog, it must mean your family has some remote interest in Chinese. So please consider giving something Chinese to keep languages alive and magical in your family this year end.
Habbi Habbi Bilingual Puzzle
Habbi Habbi design beautiful board books to encourage early literacy, with uplifting and purposeful content. Our family has both their Chinese and Spanish sets of board books, which I’ve reviewed before. But new in 2022….. they have introduced BILINGUAL PUZZLES. These puzzles can work with the same reading wand as their books, which means as the child builds the puzzle, they can get narration of the elements in the puzzles in two languages, and also some other fun sound effects which bring the puzzle to life. Every part of the puzzle is tappable with the wand. The puzzles are sturdy and big pieces, delightful to hold, and still a good challenge for a preschoolers. It’s printed with both Simplified Chinese and English.
Little Bun Book
Miss Panda Chinese – a superb bilingual blogger – has released a bilingual storybook about feelings called Little Bun. It’s available on Kindle Unlimited and Amazon, and in hardcopy. The book is bilingual for young children (target ages 2 to 6), and written in both Simplified Chinese and English with pinyin support. There is also an online audio reading. What I really like is that it’s a book about feelings, and how to express emotions in words, which can be ever-so-hard in one language, let alone two. The adorable illustrations are done by Miss Panda’s daughter Emily.
A Very Noisy Christmas – bilingual version
A Very Noisy Christmas is a fun re-telling of the Christmas story for young children written in both Simplified Chinese and English, with pinyin. If you read it as planned, your house will be filled with shouting, singing and raucous laughter. It’s a lovely one for a parent to read to a child, and having both languages means parents could take it in turn to alternate between the two. For parents who cannot read the Chinese, there is a lovely audio recording of the book by Malaysian actor Robin Khor.
Maomi Stars App
Maomi Stars is hands down THE best literacy app for preschoolers. I’ve reviewed it before too, if you need a reminder of what it’s about. If you are hunting for a perfect gift for your children or a friend who is on the language journey, consider giving the gifts of learning and getting a Maomi Stars virtual gift card. It’s not going to clutter their homes, and it’s surely going to be used (especially as their syllabus now includes Singapore MOE wordlist). There is a Holiday Gift e-card giving a 3-month subscription for $45.95 or 6 months for $75.95, with access for 3 children on the one device. The app can be modified for Simplified, Traditional, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Squid for Brains Books
Squid for Brains have some fun but simple Chinese picture books that you might have a hope of reading and your child understanding, because they’re designed for children from non-Chinese speaking households. That means they focus on more common words a learner would know, and provide good word repetition (but by no means boring). Squid for Brains picture books are easier than the typical books you’ll find on the library shelves. They come in both Simplified and Traditional Scripts.
Little Dim Sum Warriors bilingual books
Dim Sum Warriors app and doodle dates are favourites at our place, for combining drawing with Chinese and bringing out a wildly creative side. I’ve reviewed the Dim Sum Warriors flagship product previously, which is why it might be a familar name for you too. Their store is having a Christmas sale using the promo code ‘smartcookie‘ for 10% off. Their Little Dim Sum Warriors bilingual children’s storybooks make great and affordable Christmas gifts – written bilingually with Simplified Chinese and English. Keep a look out at Dim Sum Warriors will also be hosting some free Christmas-themed online doodle dates
What are you going to put on the Christmas list to help with Chinese?
Hopefully you have your own wonderful ideas too. For more ideas, check out my post from 2020 on Chinese literacy gifts and book recommendations for Christmas, including for older children. Bridging books are also a great idea for a child with slightly more advanced reading skills.
And in case you were curious – NONE of these links are affiliated (as with my blog philosophy). The best thing in life is to give, and give freely, especially at Christmas.