9 best Chinese cartoons for kids to enjoy learning Mandarin

9 best Chinese cartoons for kids to enjoy learning Mandarin
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/World Intellectual Property Organization – WIPO

Many of us grew up with the television — and our little indulgence comes with watching cartoons. Sesame Street, Mr Roger's Neighbourhood, Winnie the Pooh, the list goes on...

But gone are the days where we watched cartoons purely for entertainment because with cartoons come heaps of learning opportunities, especially for little ones now.

If you're thinking of maximising your child's screen time with some productivity, why not consider these Chinese cartoons for toddlers that can help them to learn and further improve their Chinese?

Chinese cartoons for toddlers to improve Mandarin

Octonauts (海底小纵队)


The Octonauts is a fearless team of explorers that seek the depths of the oceans for endless fun and adventure.

With the help of a fleet of aquatic vehicles, watch the pair — a courageous polar bear and daring kitten — slay missions with their talent and wit.

They also hold an important role to help save the creatures living there and protect their habitat.

What we like about it:

  • Learning how to problem-solve as the marine animals tackle challenges
  • Teaches about the importance of awareness to nature and the environment
  • Inculcates important values like responsibility and determination



This Chinese cartoon centres around the daily lives of 6-year-old Dou Dou and his parents, from fights to heartwarming events that make up a family.

The happenings are all too relatable especially if you have a boy at home, whether it is playing with phone games or being curious about anything and everything — even to bringing a caterpillar home!

We advise watching this together with your child so that you can explain when a learning opportunity arises.

What we like about it:

  • Short videos with each covering a different theme or topic
  • Touches on issues relatable to families
  • Many learning points to take away from (e.g. in one episode Dou Dou's teacher explains the process of how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly)
  • Very catchy opening theme song

Balala The Fairies (巴啦啦小魔仙)

Be taken into a wondrous world of magic with Balala The Fairies animated series.

It follows two schoolgirl sisters who meet a Guardian Fairy from the Fairy Castle, eventually transforming into fairies themselves with magical powers and talents.

They go on a series of adventures to fight against the forces of evil to protect the Fairy World from threat and fulfil their personal desires.

What we like about it:

  • Beautiful illustrations that the kids will be amazed by
  • Teaches one to be resilient—through the story, the fairies are constantly faced with obstacles and they learn how to emerge stronger against their opponents

Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf (喜羊羊與灰太狼)

The Chinese animated cartoon series revolves around a group of goats living on a grassland called the Green Green Grassland.

Except that... their peace is threatened when they come to face with a clumsy big bad wolf that wants to eat them. How will the story unfold?

What we like about it:

  • Repetitive words help beginner learners to pick up new words without feeling overwhelmed
  • Full-length movie versions are also available if your kids can't get enough of the characters (like the one below)
  • The movie also has both English and Chinese subtitles, which further enhances their learning experience

Pororo the Little Penguin (啵乐乐)


In popular Korean computer-animated television series, Pororo, join the adorable penguin Pororo who dreams of flying, together with six other fellow animal friends in fun-filled adventures.

In their quest for adventure, they will have to undergo challenges and from there, learn practical and valuable lessons.

What we like about it:

  • It shows children how they can be kind to each other — the characters are gentle and sensitive to each other's feelings
  • The appearance of gentle conflicts. This allows kids to know that quarrels are inevitable, but what is important is knowing how to resolve them amicably
  • Characters work together to solve problems

PJ Masks (睡衣小英雄)


Watch three young friends transform into their superhero alter egos, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko at night when they pack on their pyjamas and activate their animal amulets.

A super action-packed adventure awaits and your kids will marvel over how they tackle villains like a boss! The line between good and evil is clear.

What we like about it:

  • Helps to sparks imagination and thinking as they watch the trio solve mysteries
  • Conveys message about the importance of teamwork; each superhero utilises his own unique strength/superpower to save the world together
  • The colours presented are very vivid, and parents can also make use of the opportunity to teach about colours

Big Eared TuTu (大耳朵图图)

TuTu, the lead character, is just like any other child — just that he has big ears.

Designed for preschoolers, each episode that lasts for about 12-minutes will engage little ones with light-hearted humour while they follow the journey of TuTu at home, in school and the community.

What we like about it:

  • Easy-to-understand language
  • Sparks curiosity in kids; TuTu himself has his own way of thinking, is curious, full of ideas and tends to ask many questions
  • At the end of each episode, it also explains the rationale of the story. This could help kids better understand the content, rather than just labelling it as "silly"

Journey to the West (西游记)


Both the young and young at heart will enjoy this classic series based on China's great literature Journey To The West.

One of the more promising Chinese cartoons for toddlers, it tells the story of a mischievous monkey king that is being punished by the goddess for his antics.

In order to set himself free, he then embarks on a journey to seek the "Three Collections of (Buddhist) Scriptures" with a Buddhist monk. In the process, he also finds himself in the company of fellow pilgrims such as the pig, friar and the horse.

What we like about it:

  • Teaches moral values such as courage and perseverance
  • The intriguing character development that kids will learn to discover, as well as friendship
  • Oriental soundtracks and graphics add a different touch to the usual cartoons watched

Peppa Pig (小猪佩奇)


One of many kids' favourite animated series of all time — Peppa Pig!

It follows the typical day-to-day happenings of a lovable (yet a little bossy) little pig, Peppa and her brother, George. Watch their dynamics with loved ones such as family and friends as they navigate life.

From playing games to dressing up, the show is packed with light-hearted humour.

  • Kids can easily pick up mandarin through their daily conversation
  • Although there are claims that Peppa Pig could drive messaging of being disrespectful to parents, with the right guidance it could present a good learning opportunity. Like most families, snarky remarks do roll off tongues at times and disagreements do happen. But that's what makes it relatable for so many families who enjoy the show
  • It drives the message that family time is important

We hope this list of Chinese cartoons for toddlers, or even older kids will captivate them and give them more reason to better their mandarin.

Else, it is always a good parent-child bonding time to discuss the characters and address possible concerns from these shows.

Remember parents, you add value to your child's leisure time and nothing can replace that.

This article was first published in theAsianparent.

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