There are lots and lots of apps for preschoolers that teach letter recognition and early reading in English. However, there aren’t very many that pull in a different language. The app store is filled with language-learning apps, but few of them are aimed at the very young. The first that comes to mind for me is Originator’s Endless Spanish, which was released last year. That’s why Miao Miao’s Fun With Colors caught my eye. It’s aimed squarely at kids under 5 and teaches basic words in Mandarin, including colors.
Fun With Colors
Fun With Colors is a pretty simple app. You’re tasked with helping various sea creatures who have lost their colors to find them again. This is done through a series of mini-games, one for each color. Each mini-game is pretty unique. For red, you find red fruit from a selection of various colors. For orange, you have to match up instruments with the sound that they make. After completing the mini-game, you’re given a fairly substantial repetition of the Mandarin pronunciation, so I think it sticks with you. Ana has been saying some of the Mandarin words to me like she’s trying teach me. That can be kind of obnoxious, but she’s 3 so it’s acceptable, sort of.
One of my small issues with the game is that after you complete a mini-game, you’re given a circle of items and asked to select one of a specific color. The item you’re supposed to pick is one that was featured in the mini-game. I think it would have been better to have a different item of the same color. That would have made the color recognition more important.
Once you’ve done all the colors, there’s not much left to do in the game except a free-form drawing activity. However, in the Grownups section, the game can be reset and played again. Ana has asked me multiple times to reset this game so she can play it again. Overall, I think Fun with Colors is a great way to introduce a young child to the Mandarin language.
Fun with Colors is $2.99 on the App Store. It doesn’t contain any advertising.