Chineasy Tiles: 5 Minute Review

**I received a review copy of Chineasy Tiles, as well as an accidental set of silverware, from the lovely staff at Chineasy. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are my own. I use affiliate links in the post.

Game: Chineasy Tiles

Price: $89 $71.20

How to Purchase: Amazon

Company: Chineasy Limited

Ages: 3+

Level: Beginner

Description: Based off of the Chineasy Methodology (you may be familiar with their (affiliate links) Chineasy book and flashcards), this award-winning game is a fun way to learn or review 48 characters that can be combined into 235 phrases/composite words.

The game comes with 48 flash cards of high-frequency characters (these characters are the same in both traditional and simplified), 100 tiles, 1 master board, 4 play boards, and 1 cotton bag.

No resource guide or instruction manual is included, but you can download a constantly updated guide online. The guide has 10-20 activities you can use the Chineasy Tiles to play.

Sample Pictures:

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

5 Minute Review: First things first. Is this going to make your child literate in Chinese?

No.

That’s a lot to expect from a game that only has 48 characters (although there are 235 word/phrase combinations).

However, it is a fun and multi-use game for kids – regardless of Chinese ability.

All of my children, (~8, 6, 4, 1) enjoyed Chineasy Tiles and considering just how many children I have, that’s not easy. (Plus, we invited Rhythm Girl (5.5) to join us and she loved it, too.)

We’ve only had the game for about a week and the kids have asked to play with it every single day. Glow Worm (4) especially likes to take out all the tiles and look at them and fill up the play boards. Gamera (6) begs to play BINGO every time and Cookie Monster (~8) eagerly joins in.

I can easily see this game being played with a Chinese tutor, a Chinese Immersion classroom, or family members – even family members who don’t know any Chinese.

Here are a few things that I loved about Chineasy Tiles.

1) I love the quality of the materials. Everything down to the box is sturdy, quality stuff so I don’t feel as if my children will IMMEDIATELY ruin the game. Love the tactile feel of the tiles and the play board. The drawings are familiar from the Chineasy book and are also fun and beautiful.

And yes, even though we had barely opened the box, Sasquatch (1) decided that he enjoyed the taste of the flash cards (there are a few teeth imprints already – THIS IS WHY I CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!) and enjoys grabbing tiles by the fistful, wreaking havoc as he is wont to do. (This totally gives me hives because I really don’t want to lose any of these lovely pieces.)

2) I love the versatility of the games and activities. There are so many ways to play and use the tiles, flash cards, and board. We tried out 4-5 of them (BINGO, Find It First, Charades, Spot the Twins, Tug Tug) the first afternoon and I look forward to trying out more games with the kids.

3) My kids LOVE the BINGO game. They also enjoyed trying the different activities and were really excited to try as many as possible.

4) I think it’s a good product for beginners – especially if they are just folks who are checking out Chinese and looking for a fun way to learn some characters but may be intimidated. The flashcards and tiles make it easy to remember and associate pictures with the characters.

5) There are lots of activities for total beginners, kids/people who have no exposure and background to Chinese or Chinese characters.

6) I think this would be a fun tool/game for Chinese teachers to employ with students. It is a fun way to engage kids even before they know too many characters. It’s also a lot of fun even if your kids know a bunch of characters. (My older two know 1200+ and still had a great time.)

With that said, there is some room for improvement.

1) It cannot be avoided. This is a pricey product.

However, it is evident that the quality of materials is above your average game. My contact at Chineasy mentioned that their whole team is comprised of perfectionists and they only sourced the best materials as well as hired award-winning artists and illustrators so it’s clear the money went into the product.

2) As I mentioned before, there are no instructions included and I hate hunting and finding things. I want everything I need to be there to be there. Obviously, this is a small quibble, but it does need to be pointed out.

3) Another minor thing is that there doesn’t seem to be a master list of how many tiles there are per character. Some of them have only one tile, others have three. Since I’m anal retentive, I really want and require a list because I know my children will lose one and I will have no idea which tile it is and that will bother me forever.

4) A few of the games don’t seem to work as well with the tiles. Charades seemed okay, but some of the terms are too hard to act out (at least for children) such as PEACE, or MAN. Some of the games (such as making phrases/combo words) would benefit from including measure words like 個隻, etc.

An easy way to get around this is to just remove the harder tiles before the kids play. (I am lazy so I did not.) Also, there is nothing preventing us from adding measure words of our own on pieces of paper

5) My older two children know about 1,000-1,200+ characters so the Memory Game and some of the other ones were simply too easy (and also, not possible to play because they can actually read the characters).

Obviously they are not the target market, but keep in mind, they still really liked playing all the games. In fact, the easiness of the characters and funny pictures (their favorite is the flash card for 大 because it is the butt of a Sumo wrestler) is a huge selling point because they don’t have to think super hard and just enjoy playing.

I mention this in case you’re a super Tiger Parent and you want the game to be more challenging. There are definitely ways to play more challenging versions (like composing phrases and combination words), my vocabulary just isn’t wide enough to take advantage.

6) I think this game would benefit from future expansion sets (and if more of you purchase Chineasy Tiles, the greater the likelihood – so do it for ME) but it’s a good start.

All in all, I think it’s a solid game for beginners and for folks who want to learn more about Chinese. It’s definitely geared towards kids who are not fluent and don’t come from heritage families – but I can see how heritage families would also be drawn (no pun intended!) to the game.

Highly recommend.

Here’s a video of my kids playing BINGO. You can also get a good view of the flash cards, tiles, and play boards.

Here’s another video of my kids and their friend playing BINGO .(What can I say? It was their favorite.)

Did you know I wrote a book on how to teach your kids Chinese? You can get it on Amazon (affiliate link) and it’s conveniently titled, So You Want Your Kid to Learn Chinese.

It’s full of practical advice, detailed applications, and heavy amounts of snark. Find most of the answers to your questions about how you can help your kids learn and speak Chinese (as well as read).

糖果姐姐說故事: CD Review


Title:  糖果姐姐說故事 Set 1 (tang2 guo3 jie3 jie5 shuo gu4 shi4)/Candy Sister Telling Stories

Publisher: Christian Cosmic Light Holistic Care

Level: Children

Includes: 16 CDs, 48 stories, no book

Summary: This first (out of four) collection tells Old Testament stories from Adam and Eve through Samuel, covering 15 major Bible characters. (Eg: Cain and Abel, Noah, David, etc.)

Each segment is about 12-15 minutes long and has the following format: Candy Sister introduces a story, tells the story, and then ends with a 甜蜜的小叮嚀 (tian2 mi4 de5 xiao3 ding ning2) or Sweet Exhortation. 

The second set is from Saul to Jesus. The third and fourth volumes have translated fantasy and children’s stories. 

Sample Pages: 






Rating: 3 out of 4 stars

5 Minute Review: There can be no doubt of the high production values of this set. The narration, the voice actors, the classical music, everything about it is top notch. 

So, why the 3 star rating? (Which incidentally, isn’t a bad rating.)

Mostly because my kids were terrified and/or didn’t understand a lot of the stories. They were terrified (they were 3-5 at the time) because Old Testament stories are full of fighting and death. Even when “sanitized” for children. And these CDs do not sanitize. 

Also, I am somewhat dubious of what the producers deem to be the lesson learned from each story – as well as how they choose to tell the story (in terms of what gets included and what gets excised). But that is to be expected in any translation, biblical or otherwise. 
It is, however, a great summary of the main Bible stories. So if your kids can understand Chinese really well, and are familiar with the characters, and are familiar with the Bible, it is a good supplement. 

Let’s just say that my Chinese was not good enough and the only reason I knew what was going on is because I have a really good working knowledge of the Old Testament. 

Definitely for older kids (like 8+?) and for fluent or near fluent kids. This is not appropriate for introducing Chinese to beginners or non-speakers.

Hope that helps! I think the website might offer samples to download or listen to online. 

How a Chinese Boy Band Improved My Kids’ Chinese


Friends, it should come as no surprise that I am an unapologetic snob.

Alright, occasionally, I am apologetic – but only because people expect it. Not because I am actually sorry.

And thus, even though I knew that part of creating a Chinese Language Ecosystem (CLE) was having my kids listen to Chinese popular music, I had less than zero desire to do so.

Why? Because I still recall the derivative Taiwanese pop from when I was a kid.

And truthfully, I don’t even know if it was derivative. I didn’t listen to enough of it to judge. But since when has the lack of evidence ever changed my opinions?

That’s right. NEVER.

Anyhow, despite my friends telling me about this Chinese boy band, TF Boys, at least a year or two ago, I did nothing about it. I mean, they sent YouTube links to their kids’ favorite songs. They made it super easy for me to follow up.

Nope.

I didn’t even bother clicking on the links. (Sorry, friends!)

But then, Taiwan camp happened. And because the kids were in local Taiwanese camps, they were exposed to Chinese popular music.

Cookie Monster and Gamera had to do separate dances to 青春修練手冊 and of course, Glow Worm watched them like a hawk.

Truthfully, I had no idea how the kids found TF Boys on YouTube after that. I didn’t even know the kids knew the songs. (Hey, I never said I was an observant parent.)

But maybe Irish Twins showed them the videos on YouTube and they asked me for them. (I blame and thank Irish Twins. I abscond all responsibility.) Or maybe I searched for TF Boys.

Or maybe, because my children are super unsupervised and Master YouTube Navigators, and some combination of Google algorithms and my children’s surfing habits and being in Taiwan triggered something, but SOMEHOW, my children found TF Boys and their music videos.

And the rest, they say, is history.

Now, I’m somewhat embarrassed (but not really, because let’s face it, I’m quite a mediocre parent) to say that my children surf YouTube relatively unsupervised. I mean, I do say something if I hear swearing or objectionable content, but that would require me paying attention.

I don’t.

And so, somehow, TF Boys’ catchy songs, easy lyrics, and pretty music videos spawned months and months of Chinese YouTube viewing.

Via YouTube’s suggestions (the bane of parents everywhere – and yet, LOOK AT HOW WELL IT WORKED OUT HERE), my children (especially Gamera), hunted down every single possible TF Boys video on the internet.

Whether it was a TF Boys music video, a live concert performance, a variety show performance, or random interviews and game shows that featured TF Boys, my children found them ALL.

In fact, for the longest time, my children were absolutely even MORE obsessed with watching (and then playing) this 獵人 (lie4 ren2)/Hunter Episode featuring the TF Boys.

Basically, the TF Boys, along with some friends, are trying to evade a team of “Hunters” and they wander through different time periods in China’s history. It’s like, they’re in some type of amusement park, running through all these people dressed in historical costumes, trying to evade hunters who will shoot them with a yogurt filled gun.

All three of my kids, but especially Glow Worm, LOVED to play 獵人/Hunter. I would find them stalking each other all over the house with makeshift guns. They would even add a narrative/narrator (like in the show) and have running dialog and commentary – all in Chinese.

Who makes up this stuff?

They were also obsessed with some game show the TF Boys were on where the boys have to go through obstacles and answer trivia about their own songs. I would link to it but that would drop me in some TF Boys black hole and I would never finish this post.

My kids were so obsessed with TF Boys that they would argue about which TF Boy they were going to pretend to be. Like, some kids pretend they’re Batman or Superman. My kids pretend they are different TF Boy band members.

But because they watched so much programming in Chinese, and all that programming is subtitled in Chinese, my children’s Chinese vocabulary expanded by leaps and bounds. So did their reading!

We would be reading Chinese books and they would come across a character and Gamera would tell me that the character is in so and so’s name or in the TF Boy lyric.

In fact, they became like religious zealots. Every possible topic could be turned into an opportunity to expound upon TF Boys and their lyrics, their hand motions, their dance moves, their likes and dislikes, their EVERYTHING.

And the best part? They would discuss all of these subjects IN CHINESE because they learned and absorbed all these subjects IN CHINESE.

It came to the point where Cookie Monster asked me if TF Boys were real people. And when he found out they were real (as opposed to actors in a movie or show), and that they lived in China, he asked me if we could go to China to find them.

Then, because of YouTube suggestions, my children found other things related to TF Boys.

Like I mentioned earlier, they found Chinese game shows, variety shows, talk shows, and other popular Chinese YouTube acts like Zony and Yony (左左右右). There is another set of Chinese twins that are popular on YouTube, but they are a boy and a girl.

And because most of the shows are aimed for adults or at least, the general Chinese public, my children’s Chinese improved even more because they were exposed to Chinese spoken by adults.

Really, I should say that it is mostly Gamera who is showing her pre-teen girlish future self when she obsesses over these Chinese YouTube celebrities. But since Cookie Monster and Glow Worm are next to her, they get Chinese exposure, too.

Incidentally, Gamera is also the only one of my children to request and beg to watch Chinese science videos. Bless her.

Anyhow, the point of this article isn’t to spread the TF Boys obsession to your children. (Although, their songs are quite catchy and they seem outwardly wholesome.) But to encourage you to find your kids’ version of TF Boys.

If you find something your kids can obsess over and have it be obsessed over in Chinese, then YouTube (if you let it) will suggest similar videos and your child will thus be sucked down into automatically absorbing Chinese.

Of course, I realize that not everyone is as terrible a parent as I am, so perhaps, you will curate it. But honestly, if you’re lazy and want them to organically find stuff, just leave them alone.

Have your kids obsessed over a band or a movie in Chinese? Did it lead to more Chinese? Let me know in the comments.