chinese-cartoon-tv-shows

5 Chinese Cartoon TV Shows for Learners of All Ages

It’s no secret that kids can pick up languages more quickly than adults. But how can we bridge the learning gap between the two? 

Watching Chinese cartoons is a great way to learn Mandarin with a child, especially if you’re a beginner yourself. 

Let’s look at a few Chinese cartoons that are entertaining for Mandarin learners of all ages.

Contents

How Can Chinese Cartoon TV Shows Help You Learn Mandarin?

  • Some of these shows are bilingual and provide accessible mini-lessons within each episode to make learning a new language fun for kids as well as adults. While not all of these shows are bilingual, the ones that are can be very helpful for both newbie Chinese-speaking children and adults.
  • While some of these shows are purely in Chinese, the spoken Mandarin is often slow and easy for beginners to follow. Because these shows are designed with kids in mind, the Mandarin Chinese dialogue is perfect for beginner learners.
  • Many Chinese cartoon TV shows provide insight into Chinese culture that’s vital for all levels of Chinese learners. Learning how to speak, write, read and comprehend Chinese isn’t all you should learn on your language-learning journey. Understanding the culture in which Mandarin is spoken is also very important.

Chinese Cartoon Recommendations

1. 你好, 凯兰 (nǐ hǎo, kǎi lán!) — “Ni Hao Kai-Lan!”

Ni Hao Kai-lan Season 1

If you grew up in the U.S. or Canada, you might remember this 2009 series from cable television. “Ni Hao Kai-lan” is often described as the Chinese “Dora the Explorer.”

“Ni Hao Kai-lan” follows the adventures of Kai-lan, a young Chinese girl who goes on adventures with her animal friends. The episodes are lesson-based and aim to engage the viewer in answering questions and learning Mandarin. For the most part, spoken Mandarin is taught in addition to trivia about Chinese culture.

“Ni Hao Kai-lan” is entertaining enough that adults can enjoy it just as much as children, making it a great show to watch with your little one if you’re learning Chinese together. The learning level is low beginner, so those who know zero Chinese will definitely learn a lot from this show.

2. 我的朋友熊小米 (wǒ de péng yǒu xióng xiǎo mǐ) — “Our Friend Remy Bear”

Remy Bear is a storytelling panda who shares funny, cute tidbits about his friends and their happy lives. This is a super uplifting show, whether you’re a kid or not.

“Our Friend Remy Bear” uses storytelling to teach children about social skills and kindness. It also, of course, teaches Chinese.

This all-Mandarin show includes English and Chinese subtitles. Because fluent Mandarin is spoken, this may be a little too difficult for just anyone to watch and enjoy. It’s well-suited for learners aged six and up or for adults who already know a little Chinese.

This show is pretty engaging for all ages. One reviewer on Amazon writes: “She [14-year-old daughter] said it is very cute. At first, I didn’t know what they were saying but as I watched, I began to understand and follow along with the story. It is very well done.”

3. “Dino Lingo Chinese for Kids”

This six-part series was designed specifically to teach children (and absolute beginners!) Mandarin Chinese. “Dino Lingo Chinese for Kids” aims to introduce nearly 200 words and phrases in Mandarin, including their respective pinyin and hanzi. If you’re looking for something lesson-based, this is just as good as “Ni Hao Kai-lan.”

This is definitely useful for adults as well as children. The segments are simple and easy to understand. Absolute beginners through beginner-intermediate learners will enjoy this series.

4. 喜羊羊与灰太狼 (xǐ yáng yáng yǔ huī tài láng) — “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf”

This one is a classic straight straight from CCTV in mainland China! “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf” aired in 2005 but is still great to watch and relevant enough for children to enjoy.

In this Chinese cartoon, a group of lambs and sheep live in harmony on a lovely pasture until Gray Wolf and his wife decide to move in and become a problem for obvious reasons. This show could be considered a comedy and slice-of-life show rolled up into one that’s palatable for both children and adults.

All of this show’s episodes are available on Youku and exclusively have Chinese subtitles. Even though this the main demographic is ages four through six, it would be best if the viewer had a couple of years of Chinese language experience under their belt to be able to catch on.

Still, this is a great one for adults and children to enjoy together as there’s quite a bit of hidden adult humor. “Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf” can be used to work on spoken word and hanzi association as well as listening skills.

5. 超级飞侠 (chāo jí fēi xiá) — “Super Wings!”

“Super Wings!” is a bit different than other shows we’ve covered. This show was co-produced by South Korean, Chinese and American production companies. It’s been dubbed in a ton of languages, the original being Mandarin Chinese. This is definitely reflected in the show, which seeks to teach kids about cultural diversity, tolerance and empathy.

“Super Wings!” is pretty much “Jay Jay the Jet Plane” without the horrifying, uncanny human-faced airplanes. This show is more cartoony and a bit more like an educational “Transformers.”

iQIYI hosts most of the original Chinese-dubbed episodes along with Chinese subtitles. Keep in mind that “Super Wings!” streaming may not be available in your country. Alternatively, you can watch the English version of “Super Wings!” on Netflix. While this version is in English, there are lots of episodes that take place in China and discuss Chinese culture.

 

Even though many of these shows are geared toward children, adults can definitely find them useful and even entertaining when learning Chinese.

There’s no harm in having a little bit of fun while learning a new language!

 

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close