Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior

App review by
Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media
Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior App Poster Image
Nice dual-language approach, but so-so games, videos.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Educational Value

Kids can learn new vocabulary words in Mandarin and get lots of exposure to the Mandarin language. Simple videos and songs in Mandarin -- and the English versions of the target words -- introduce specific words or short phrases. Kids can watch the same clips from TV shows in all English or all Mandarin and check comprehension.

Ease of Play

Easy to tap around and access games and videos. But overall app organization is inconsistent, and games aren't explained well.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff
Language

In at least one episode of one show, a character uses the word "butt."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior is a subscription-based service with videos and games in both English and Mandarin. The app is free to download and comes with a seven-day free trial. After that, to continue watching the over 500 videos and playing the games, parents need to subscribe. Most TV show clips are between five and 15 minutes long, and all are available in English and Mandarin. There also are short videos that introduce Mandarin vocabulary words through a mixture of English and Mandarin. Content is available to users in the U.S., Indonesia, and Singapore only. You can't download content, so you'll need to be connected to Wi-Fi to watch them. Read the developer's privacy policy to learn how your information is collected and shared.

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What's it about?

There are three sections to MIAO MI - LEARN MANDARIN CHINESE FOR KIDS & JUNIOR: "Watch," "Learn," and "Play." Visit "Watch" to choose episodes from eight TV series to watch in English or Mandarin. The "Learn" section features short videos with songs that introduce Mandarin vocabulary words according to category such as greetings, body parts, and transportation. There are two memory games in the "Play" area: the classic make-a-pair matching game with cards showing Mandarin vocabulary words, and a repeat-after-me musical-tone game.

Is it any good?

Colorful kid-friendly graphics and duplicate content in English and Mandarin don't quite make up for so-so quality. The main attraction with Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior are the TV shows -- and there are quite a lot of short story clips. Some families may find it a great help to show their kids the same show first in one language and then the other. But, the shows themselves are just not that impressive, and some even cross the line into annoying. Characters and storylines are also quite culturally dependent and may not jive with a more American approach. Some families will like that; others won't. The comparatively small "Play" section does a perfectly fine job of introducing new vocabulary words. But it's a small collection, and it won't take kids far. Plus, each video has such a long intro and closing that only half the video has actual learning content in it. And with no navigation tools within any of the videos, users must watch the whole thing. Finally, the two games have little to do with language learning. For instance, the memory card game does feature vocabulary words, but there's no audio, so prereaders won't get much out of it. There's just not enough good content to make Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior worth the subscription price for most families.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the vocabulary words featured in Miao Mi - Learn Mandarin Chinese for Kids & Junior. Incorporate those words into your everyday conversations to enhance language learning.

  • Immerse your family in Mandarin as much as possible. Read books, sing songs, watch high-quality shows, and participate in cultural events where Mandarin is spoken.

  • Discuss with your kids the messages from the video-clip storylines. Do those messages fit with your family? Why, or why not?

App details

For kids who love learning new languages

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