How to Teach Children Mandarin Chinese

So... I got this crazy idea that I should teach my children Mandarin Chinese. I've actually been wanting to teach my children a second language for some time now, but I was completely clueless on where to start. I took French for 3 years in high school, and that is the extent of my foreign language knowledge.

Is it crazy to want to teach my children the most popular language in the world? No. Is it crazy to want to teach them I language I don't know at all? Perhaps. I guess more than "teaching" it, I'm hoping we can learn it together.

So, how do I teach my children and myself Mandarin Chinese? I'm going with the free route... aka the library. Yes... why spend a fortune on books, programs, and dvds to learn a language that I can get for $1.50 in late fees at the public library? (Thank you, Good Will Hunting. ;) 

How We're Teaching Our Children Mandarin Chinese

While Nickelodeon's Ni Hao Kai-Lan is a cute show, I think it's rather light on actually teaching Mandarin Chinese. I'm going a different route, focusing on using materials made for Chinese children... supplemented with versions created for English-speaking children. So... what are the resources I'm starting out with?

Cong ming yi xiu - This is a 9 dvd cartoon set, completely in Chinese. It feels slightly dated, as it was published in 2006, but my son doesn't seem to mind. We're watching shows from here to gain an understanding of voice inflection and patterns of speech used in Mandarin Chinese. By mixing in the other learning methods, I'm hoping we'll start to pick up various words here and there. 

Around The World With Language Stars! - This is a cd set featuring nursery rhymes & songs in different languages. I'm planning on popping in the Mandarin cd into my car, and hopefully the kids will start to pick up on words from here. I think it should be easy enough to learn new words this way, since we know the songs in English. Plus... the songs are catchy... so they have the ability to stick in your head, which is a plus as you're learning new words.

MUZZY Mandarin Chinese Level I - I've heard good things about this BBC language course for children, and am looking forward to adding it to the mix.


Little Pim Chinese - We currently have this on hold from the library. I've read mixed reviews about it, so I'm interested to see how it works for our family. The Little Pim Chinese series uses immersion and interaction techniques to create an engaging and fun-to-watch language learning experience.

So... that cover's it for what we're doing to teach our children Mandarin Chinese. I'll be updating this post with thoughts as we progress.

Now... it's your turn! What do you think? Do you have any advice, tips, tricks, etc on how to learn a foreign language? I love hearing what my readers have to say. Leave a comment below. :)