Habbi Habbi produce beautiful multilingual products for littles, which are accessible for non-native speakers and great for learning many languages. This review is about their flashcards and puzzles in Simplified Chinese Mandarin (though they have them available in other languages like Spanish, Korean, and French).
Exactly three years ago, I wrote about the Habbi Habbi Reading Wand and Books Sets (gosh times flies when you’re having fun learning Chinese!). Since then, our home collection of Habbi Habbi products has grown from one shelf to two, with the addition of many new titles, along with Habbi Habbi flashcards and puzzles. This is what I want to tell you more about.
Why do we have so many Habbi Habbi products? Well, language is caught, not taught. Having exposure to rich linguistic inputs and resources from an early age is incredibly important but not easy to achieve. I am always looking for fun ways to incorporate the language from different angles into our home. A key need for me (since I don’t speak Chinese) is finding resources, which provide exposure to native speaking but are accessible without having to speak Chinese. The Habbi Habbi flashcards and puzzles are just that.
Habbi Habbi products make learning through play possible from a very young age, combining lovely tangible physical products with audio input, without the use of any apps or screen. All of the Habbi Habbi collection, including the Habbi Habbi flashcards and puzzles, are compatible with their same Reading Wand, which also works across the different languages too.
What are the Habbi Habbi flashcards?
The flashcards come in two sets – (1) home vocabulary, and (2) rainbow vocabulary, each with 50 double-sided cards. These cards are hands-down the most durable flashcards we’ve ever used (and we’ve used heaps ….). They’re thick cardboard, Montessori friendly (12 x 9.5cm in size), and constructed from glossy wipe-clean material.
The Chinese-English version of the cards comes with Simplified Chinese characters (in large and big font), along with Pinyin and English. When the card is tapped using the Reading Wand, the child can hear the pronunciation of what they have tapped. The language can be set to 3 options: Bilingual (English + Chinese), Single Language (Chinese only), or English only.
Yes, flashcards are known to be boring and uninspiring, but I love how these are beautiful and joyful! The selection of words and pictures used on the cards is also so practical, not at all like those random packs of flashcards you can buy from a stationery store that contain a mishmash of random vocabulary imaginable. The Habbi Habbi flashcards are based on conversation topics we would have with our kids – what objects are in the colours of the rainbow? What are the objects in different rooms of the house?
Things to like about these bilingual flashcards:
- Montessori size, and will fit a Montessori tray
- Sturdy and will hold up with lots of use (usually I wouldn’t let kids free play with most flashcards, but these ones are designed for that)
- No screen time (but still is fun and interactive)
- Extension to many games (eg colour groupings, finding objects around the house, etc)
- Thoughtfully chosen words
How do we use Habbi Habbi flashcards?
The question is probably more how we don’t use them. We don’t use them like traditional flashcards for drilling character or word recognition, to enhance memorization. We use them to play and learn through games. We use them to put words around the house. We use them just for fun.
Also, since the words on the cards match words used in the Habbi Habbi books – we have played matching games with the books. We have also played colour matching games (because cards are color coded) and ‘odd one out’ games (because cards come in sets / groups). And of course, the best part is that even though as a parent I don’t speak Chinese, we can use the Reading Wand to add in the language element. Essentially I am the facilitator, and the Reading Wand is the language enabler. As we now also have the Spanish Habbi Habbi books, I’m planning to repeat the same process for Spanish too!
What are the Habbi Habbi bilingual puzzles?
There are two puzzle sets, each made of 56 pieces and 48cm x 37 cm. The pictures match two of the Habbi Habbi Bilingual Books (Things That Go & Animals Plants and Places), so the images will be familiar. They’re the perfect size and complexity for ages 3 to 6-ish. The puzzle pieces can be completed and then tapped with the reading wand, or it can be done simultaneously whilst building the puzzle which is how my kids enjoy playing. You’ll find in no time that your child can name every element on the puzzle bilingually, with perfect tones, just by mimicking the Reading Wand!
Things to like about the puzzles:
- Great way to play and learn
- Pieces are sturdy and delightful to hold and play with
- Every inch is tappable and reveals different vocabulary, music, and sounds
- Puzzles incorporate words, in a look & find format – with words in English and Simplified Chinese of the animals or objects in the puzzle
- Vocabulary aligns with Habbi Habbi books
- Uses the same Reading Wand as the flashcards and bilingual books
How do we use our bilingual puzzles?
All our Habbi Habbi puzzle boxes sit on the shelf beside our other puzzles and games. My children can choose when they take these out to play, and quite often they will. Sometimes my children – on their own accord – will get out their Habbi Habbi books and read them alongside playing with the puzzle. One of the really clever aspects of these puzzles is when a piece is tapped by the Reading Wand, it can reveal what the puzzle piece belongs to (e.g. an elephant) even though the child may not realise it just by looking at that singular piece. So, in a sense, they are getting hidden clues through the audio component.
Sometimes my kids will race each other between the different puzzles to see who finished first, or they’ll challenge each other to name the animals/objects/transportation before they use the Reading Wand as an adjudicator. Other times my youngest will hunt for the words in their matching Habbi Habbi books, and get excited when she finds a match. For example, our puzzles are in Chinese, but we have the books in Spanish too. So they’ll try to guess the Spanish word for the puzzle pieces and then go to the corresponding Spanish book to check.
Where to buy?
These can be bought directly from the Habbi Habbi website (US based, so postage can be expensive depending on where in the world you’re living), and they sell equally beautiful products in Chinese, Spanish, French, Korean, and Hindi. For Singapore specifically, the Habbi Habbi Chinese products can be ordered locally from Savvy Mama.
The puzzles and flashcards would work particularly well for preschoolers and younger language learners, be a beautiful gift, and make a stunning addition to any bilingual nursery.
Happy language learning!
If you’re still reading, you may be interested in other non-screen based Chinese language learning products for children. Other posts on my blog include: