Music is a big thing in our family. We love to get up and dance, or just bop up and down on our seat when we hear a good beat.
Since my children were babies, I have been playing them Chinese nursery rhymes to familiarise them with the sounds, tones and melodies of Chinese music. There are many benefits to music and music education. For instance, listening to music and playing music has been found to release happiness hormones (endorphins), activate complex cognitive processes, improve vocabulary amongst other positive effects. You can read more about the beneficial effects of music here.
How we utilise music at Mandarin Homeschool to learn Chinese
We mainly listen to our Chinese nursery rhymes on Spotify throughout the day. My children can sing along to a lot of the simple Chinese songs, and are now making up their own versions too.
For Chinese songs that they like to sing along to, I will also print out the lyrics for them to learn how to sing (and read Chinese! *win win!). Er Bao can now sing at least 10 Chinese songs , such as 两只老虎，世上只有妈妈好，三轮车. Having the lyrics have helped her to associate the sounds to the Chinese characters.
To use Spotify, you can sign up and listen for free (with occasional ads), or get a subscription for AUD$11.99/US$9.99 a month. Some of the albums are for sale on Apple Music, and Amazon Music too, as are monthly music subscription services. I have listed the links down for what I can find.
And now, drumroll please, with a few clanging bells for extra attention….These are our top and most popular Chinese children music albums. No ear-piercing Chinese high pitched children songs guaranteed.
Chances are, you have listened to Little Babybum in English before. Do you know they have almost their entire English nursery rhymes and songs in Chinese too? 5 hours worth of music! Some of the translations are a bit awkward, but overall, still very appealing to the little ones.
This is only one of the many albums of Kim Hsieh that we have listened to. Her son is featured in the songs too, and they have conversations about a common dilemma. It’s like an invitation to their living room, and this makes the songs feel more intimate and relatable.
Our current albums on repeat. The songs on these two albums are very familiar to me, having listened to them when I was a child growing up in Singapore. Now it’s my children to sing 三轮车 without missing a beat!
You can purchase their beautifully illustrated lyrics book to learn the songs too. Unfortunately they are only available in Singapore at the moment. Story Treasury and Maha Yuyi does international shipping worldwide.
Read about the story behind this artistic initiative from the Theatre Practice Singapore. I hope they continue to make more albums!
One of the first Chinese children’s music albums we listened to, and still a firm favourite. The songs are super catchy and happy. The children picked up the lyrics by themselves fairly quickly. Chalk Academy has kindly made a printable version available on her site.
A multilingual initiative (also available in German, Polish, Korean and Russian) by Lego Duplo to create modern, fun and original nursery rhymes. The songs are catchy, cute and very infectious! Think “Everything is Awesome” but in Chinese. This album was an instant hit in our house.
Disney music in Chinese! What a glorious collection to our daily Chinese music playlist. The beautiful melody of all their English classic have a Chinese equivalent.
So far, I have found Chinese soundtracks to
- Frozen 冰雪奇缘
- Frozen 2 冰雪奇缘2
- Beauty and the Beast 美女与野兽
- Mulan 木兰
- The Lion King 狮子王
- Toy Story 玩具总动员
- Aladdin 阿拉丁
Bilingual (English-Mandarin) Albums
If you are an English speaking family, picking up Mandarin as a second (or third) language, the following albums should be a perfect fit for your household. The songs are English first, Chinese second.
My children likes me to translate the Chinese songs and nursery rhymes for them. Thus, having the English version before the Chinese one helps them to make clearer linguistic connection of the two languages.
4 albums of kids singing English and Chinese nursery rhymes. The albums are very entertaining. Much like Little Babybum, the song selection is generally English nursery rhymes, translated into Mandarin. Let’s just say, some songs work better than others.
And there you have it, the top of the Chinese toddler pop charts. Do you have an absolute Chinese favourite album that is not listed here? Please share with me!
For now, Happy Listening, and Singing along to these beautiful Chinese songs.