**This post is sponsored by I Luv Chinese. As usual, all opinions and thoughts are mine and mine alone.
I have a confession to make: I have totally dropped the ball with Chinese language learning for my fourth and last child, Sasquatch (4). Everyone speaks to him in English. I try to speak in Chinese to him but I often forget, and honestly, he’s just such a troll. When I speak to him in Chinese, he’ll often ignore me or respond with, “What you say?” and act as if he has no idea what I’m saying.
I can’t tell if he’s lying or not.
I know how to fix this. I need to surround him with a ton more Chinese and do a TON of things with him in Chinese to up his language exposure. The problem, of course, is that I have so little will left in me. Despite us all being homebound because of COVID-19, I don’t spend very much time with my kids at all. My older three kids, when they’re not doing their schoolwork, play with Sasquatch or they all have screentime in English. I get maybe an hour with him throughout the day and most of that time, it’s not very focused on Chinese.
Yes, I realize I am a terrible parent. This is a given.
At least prior to the pandemic, Sasquatch was going to two different Chinese preschools and thus, had a very steady diet of Chinese. We were supposed to go back to Taiwan for six weeks during the summer, but like the rest of 2020, it was a bust.
Also, I don’t know about you, but even though my life has changed relatively little due to the pandemic thanks to us being homeschoolers with relatively low educational standards and my husband having worked from home for the past few years, it’s still been hard. I am worn down and really don’t want to make the effort because let’s be real: I’m a low effort kind of person.
I just want to send Sasquatch to the same Chinese preschools my other three kids attended and have the hard work of nurturing, Chinese stories, songs, and crafts borne by their kind and attentive teachers. But since I can’t have that, I Luv Chinese is the next best thing.
Created by two teachers, these I Luv Chinese boxes are incredibly well-crafted for little kids. Each box has a unifying theme or subject with related crafts, activities, stories, and videos. They even have regular live Mandarin story times on their Facebook page and Facebook group.
For the TL;DR crowd, you can watch my unboxing video of two different I Luv Chinese boxes here:
What is I Luv Chinese?
I Luv Chinese is a specially curated Chinese language learning subscription box full of kid-friendly learning materials, crafts, and games. Geared toward toddlers and preschoolers (but older kids will enjoy it, too), the goal of each box is to teach 3 to 4 Chinese words and characters per box. The crafts and games are specifically designed to help children become familiarized with the concepts and themes taught in each box. It also comes with story booklets, worksheets, flashcards, and very detailed instructions. Plus, you get access to resources such as online videos and live virtual story times.
Founded by Christina Lin and Xiao Xiao Zheng, these two teacher moms dreamt of making Chinese learning both fun and achievable for young children. Their vision is for kids to want to learn Chinese because they are confident they can learn Chinese.
Each I Luv Chinese box comes with:
- 3 Stories (one story for each Chinese character) – the stories are written in traditional characters with zhuyin, pinyin, and an English translation.
- 3 crafts (designed to help children conceptualize the Chinese characters)
- 3 games
- 1 worksheet booklet
- 1 set of mini flashcards (15) – flashcards with Chinese phrases related to the featured words
- 3 Video lessons per week
Who is I Luv Chinese for?
I Luv Chinese is for families who want their young children to learn Chinese and associate that learning with fun and fond memories. The stated target age range is for toddlers and preschoolers, but I think it’s actually skewed a little older. Yes, your toddler will have fun, but older preschoolers, kindergarteners, and maybe 1st graders can truly get the most out of the box.
Technically, the box can be good for any family that wants to learn Chinese. However, I personally think families of heritage speakers — even if the parents are really bad at it — would get the most out of these boxes. Though the instructions are in English and everything has pinyin and zhuyin as well as English translations, because these are parent led crafts, it would be difficult to teach your child the Chinese with proper pronunciation and understanding without at least some knowledge of Chinese.
That said, these boxes are so fun and educational, who am I to gatekeep? If you think your child would enjoy these boxes, try them out! There are plenty of resources like online support and videos for your kid to hear the proper pronunciation from native speakers on the I Luv Chinese site.
Keep in mind, this product does not claim to make your child fluent or literate in Chinese. I Luv Chinese is a great way to provide opportunities to introduce Chinese into your child’s life in easy and fun ways.
Where can you get I Luv Chinese?
You can purchase it on the I Luv Chinese website.
Here’s a video of Sasquatch and Glow Worm doing a few of the I Luv Chinese crafts with a cameo from big sis Gamera (9) doing the actual work of helping Sasquatch.
What’s good about I Luv Chinese?
My absolute favorite aspect about I Luv Chinese is that other than subscribing to the box, I don’t have to do anything else. If you’ve ever had to surf the internet for crafts and activities with a semi-coherent goal of “teaching kids Chinese,” you understand my pain. Nothing is worse than coming across DIY posts that claim to use materials already in your home only to find out you still have to buy 50 million things in varying bulks just to make some stupid craft your child will immediately trash and now you’re stuck with 999 pipe cleaners or googly eyes.
Lin and Zheng’s teaching experience is evident in how well the I Luv Chinese boxes are organized. Not only do they cut out the twin headaches of coming up with subjects to teach your kid as well as supporting crafts and activities, they have arranged the box for a clear and intuitive user experience. The instructions are well written, each craft and game is enclosed within their own individual clear ziplock bag, and the stories all support deepening your child’s understanding of the three Chinese characters being taught in that box.
In fact, they made it so easy, I have decided to put Gamera (9) in charge of supervising all these crafts with Sasquatch and Glow Worm. Folks, I am nothing if not efficient.
Oh, and despite Glow Worm initially being unenthusiastic because I forced him to be useful to me and my business, he got so excited when he finally started going through the box. Sasquatch even started crying when I told him to save an activity for the next day because we didn’t have time. The boxes even drew in my oldest child, Cookie Monster (~11), who definitely tried to swipe a few crafts — which may or may not have led to a sibling squabble I ignored because I had to take pictures.
What could be improved?
Honestly, I can’t really think of anything that can be improved short of I Luv Chinese staff coming to my house to do these activities with my children and perhaps parent them. But I think that’s an unreasonable ask. I’m not sure what I was expecting — but I am so blown away by the quality, thoughtfulness, and fun of these boxes.
I Luv Chinese is a brilliant way to engage and teach your kids Chinese. Every box is full of fun activities, curated crafts, stories, and lesson plans built around the theme for the month. Plus, the box also provides access to online story times and lessons! The stories are cute and a great way to include new vocabulary to help children integrate the terms into their brains.
The best part? EVERYTHING IS THERE FOR YOU.
I don’t have to hunt down items, ingredients, or do anything other than open the box and follow instructions. It’s perfect for the busy (or lazy but well-meaning) parent.
Whether you’re a homeschooling family or just wanting to add more opportunities to incorporate Chinese into your child’s life, the I Luv Chinese subscription boxes are perfect.