Updated on 6/4/12.
幼小衔接：魔法拼音-2 for iPad on the iTunes App Store.
Cheerz Kids! is a Shanghai based developer of learning apps for children. They have developed more than 70 different learning apps for the Chinese market (using simplified and pin yin). Currently, they are offering a wide array of their apps for free download (Normally, they are $0.99). Many of the apps will not be that useful since they are geared toward the Chinese market for educational apps for young children.
There are some that can be useful if have children learning Chinese even though there is no English translation or support. The first one linked at the top is one of two Chinese phonetic flashcard apps. This one focuses on the finals This is pretty useful since it offers an array of flashcards with pictures grouped by sound (i.e. a, o, e, an, ong, etc.). You can find the other app that focuses on initials (i.e., b, p, m, f, etc.), it is green with a dog holding a pencil with the letters b, f, and p by either looking on the developer page or by clicking on the “more” button and then the “4-7” grouping. I gave up on trying to link it here since iTunes is mind-numbingly slow in loading, and my written Chinese isn’t good enough to do a specific search. The interface is fairly easy to use and figure out even though it is geared for Chinese users. I really like the while in the flashcards, you can toggle a scrolling menu to select the sound family that you are working on. Keep in mind they only offer 4 flashcards per sound. You can probably work out the meanings of a lot of the flashcards, but there are plenty of Chinese dictionaries and translation tools out there that you can figure it out.
幼小衔接：四五快读学汉字-1 for iPad on the iTunes App Store.
Now this series of seven graduated “1000” apps is geared for more of the intermediate Chinese learner since these are designed to by like the equivalent of Chinese early readers for their 1st or 2nd grade children. This will be a little harder to navigate since it is a more complex learning app. These apps are designed to build on vocabulary in a series of stories. Each story builds on difficulty, and each successive app increases in difficulty of vocabulary. Again, keep in mind, there is no English translation, so you will not necessarily want to use this with a beginning learner.
Each “story” starts with vocabulary with stroke introduction and practice. For example, in Collection 1, the first reader focuses the characters for 人, 大, 中, 小, and 一 (person, big, middle, small, and one). Then you go through a series of picture flashcards with pinyin of common words or phrases that use the featured characters. Then there is a simple test to match the characters to pin yin and then fill in the correct character to complete the word that was introduced earlier in the flashcards. This part is fairly forgiving since it will let you keep trying until you select the correct answer. In the later readers, you will get simple sentences that will tell a simple story and more difficult fill in the blank matching. The one thing I didn’t like is that for some of the testing, there is no audio button for the phrase for hints and you can’t go back or skip forward. I also thought that with the reading section would be more useful if there were pictures to accompany the story so that you could puzzle out the meaning. I suppose that since it is geared to a Chinese market, they assume that the child will understand the meaning from the accompanying audio since they are using simple sentences and vocabulary.
You can find the entire series of “1000” apps either by looking on the developer page or by clicking on the “more” button and then the “4-7” grouping. The icons are similar to the one above with a different number in the lower right. Regarding the rest of the apps, the only ones worth considering are the “dragon” (series of 4 right now) ones, the flashcard (preschool level concepts) apps (series of 5 – icons have 3 cards to the left and a dog to the right), the Chinese songs app (series of 4, icons have music notes and dog), and the story ones (have to look for those) which are at an picture book/concepts level. Unfortunately, it was too hard to get links to the specific ones, but they are grouped with the “4-7 ” apps (preschool flashcards grouped with “3-6”). If you look carefully at the list of apps, you will see some labeled with English, these are the English version of stories. The matching Chinese ones have similar icons with a slightly different design. (see below for the list of the English version titles.) These will be the most useful if you are not fluent in Chinese. The “dragon” apps are a far more difficult reading apps with learning activities. I would estimate that you probably need to be reading at least at their 2nd or 3rd grade level to manage using these apps. The rest of the apps are not that useful since there are plenty of English language based apps that do a better job of early learning concepts.
Phonetic and e-book apps are recommended for ages 3 and up. Chinese songs and flashcards series is recommended for ages 2 and up. 1000 series is recommended for ages 5 and up for beginner Chinese learners. Dragon series is recommended for ages 7 and up for intermediate Chinese learners.
- Silly Suzy Goose
- It’s a Book
- Pepo and Lelo
- My Uncle’s Donkey