Mandarin Resources for Home Practice

When it comes to learning a second language, nothing beats physical lessons with a real, live teacher. But that doesn’t mean you can use the vast array of digital resources to help you practice and reinforce your learning when you’re away from the classroom. And if you really can’t get to a real teacher, there are plenty of online programs to help you get started on your own.

Chinese Pod

What you get:

  • Printable lesson notes.
  • Lesson dialogue and audio review MP3 files.
  • Grammar and expansion sentence breakdown.
  • Custom vocabulary lists.
  • Full Android app + iOS mobile app.
  • Exclusive ‘Say It Right’ video course.

Why ChinesePod? 

With our iOS and Android compatible mobile app, you can learn Chinese on the go literally wherever and whenever you want! We designed our app with the busy learner in mind, making sure to make it as accessible and convenient as possible for those with time constraints. Now with access to native Mandarin-speaking instructors at your fingertips, you’ll be able to speak more fluently and naturally than ever before!

How does it work? 

ChinesePod has qualified teachers available all around the globe. Our learning consultants can evaluate your needs and schedules, and suggest a teacher that fits your needs in terms of availability and objectives. If you need to reschedule classes, or have interest to schedule an additional class, you can use our online booking system.

Choose the package that’s right for you:

  • Tutoring courses – Platinum, Gold, Silver
  • Subscription – Monthly, Quarterly, Annual

Kids Chinese Podcast

Kids Chinese Podcast is designed for kids, teenagers and adults to learn Mandarin Chinese. The course helps you to learn Chinese:

  • Listening and speaking with podcast, audio and video.
  • Reading and writing with video, lesson transcripts, exercise worksheets, online exercises and quizzes.

Take a look at some of the lessons they have available. Complete access to the first three lessons are available for free trial.

ChineseSkill – Learn Mandarin Chinese Language for Free

ChineseSkill is a game-based learning course offering an easy start for beginners. It contains a quality course that is based on the CEFR offering the following features:

  • Testing as you learn helps you review the material to consolidate your learning.
  • Pronunciations are by native speakers which are recorded at standard and slower speed.
  • A novel way to study Chinese characters.
  • Covers Chinese characters and pinyin.
  • Allows you to switch between simplified and traditional Chinese.
  • Learning progress can be synchronized across your devices – iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
  • Helps you store new vocabulary and sentence patterns in your long-term memory.
  • Effective and efficient for learners on the go.


Pleco is a Chinese learning companion with an integrated dictionary, a document reader, a flashcard system with fullscreen handwriting input and live OCR (optical character recognition).

Pleco is free to download and contains no ads. Some features are available for free, while others must be purchased.

Pleco Features:

  • Dictionary – two free dictionaries are available:
    • open-source CC-CEDICT with over 100,000 frequently-updated entries.
    • Pleco’s own PLC dictionary with 78,000 more detailed entries and over 20,000 example sentences (with Pinyin).
    • More than two dozen other dictionaries are available as free and paid add-ons, including licensed titles from well-known publishers like Oxford, Longman, FLTRP, Tuttle, SLPH, and Commercial Press.
  • Search – look up words by Chinese characters, Pinyin (spaces / tones optional), or English, with support for wildcards and full-text search.
  • Links and cross-references – look up character components, break down words into individual characters, look up lists of words containing a particular character, search across all dictionaries for example sentences containing a word, and even find synonyms / antonyms using Pleco’s experimental free thesaurus add-on.
  • Typography – Pleco offers beautiful typography with alternate Kai/Song/Xing-style Chinese fonts are also available as a paid add-on.
  • Pleco supports both traditional and simplified characters. Headword pronunciations can be shown in Zhuyin as well as in Pinyin. Pleco also supports Cantonese search and display in their PLC dictionary.
  • Audio – you can hear Mandarin and Cantonese pronunciations for words and example sentences using the free built-in text-to-speech system. Native-speaker Mandarin and Cantonese recordings, plus higher-quality Mandarin text-to-speech system options are available as paid add-on features.
  • Document Reader – you can import text from the clipboard and to look up random words. To use this feature in text, HTML, DOC, DOCX, PDF, and EPUB files, and in embedded lyrics in songs and podcasts, you can purchase Pleco’s add-on feature.
  • OCR – look up words by pointing your device’s camera at them, or by tapping on them in a still image (paid add-on).
  • Fullscreen handwriting allows you to use the whole screen instead of a tiny text box. It is highly accurate and tolerant of stroke order mistakes (paid feature).
  • Flashcards – create a card from any dictionary entry with a single button tap, import pre-made word lists, use advanced memorization techniques like SRS (spaced repetition system), and study in a variety of modes including fill-in-the-blanks handwriting and tone drills (paid feature).
  • Stroke Order Diagrams – animations that show you how to draw each character. There are 500 characters available for free and 28,000 in the paid version.
  • User dictionaries (paid feature) – create your own dictionary entries as you encounter new words.


I’ve been looking for an app that teaches Chinese character writing and this has been one of the best apps I’ve seen so far.

Skritter will help you master thousands of Chinese characters. You choose the vocabulary lists, you set the pace, and Skritter handles the rest—a writing coach in the palm of your hand. Say goodbye to forgotten characters, tone mistakes, and your pile of flashcards. Say 你好 to the language learning app from the future you’ve been waiting for.

If you’re a complete beginner, start with Skritter’s Chinese 101 list that will take you through the basics. If you’ve been working through a textbook before this, check out Skritter’s database of 230 of the most common textbooks. If you want to study your own words, you can make your own lists—Skritter will automatically fill in the pinyin, definitions, audio, character decompositions, and top mnemonics. Alternatively, you can also use one of the 3000 user-created lists.

Skritter Features:

  • 10,000 characters and 400,000 words
  • Simplified, traditional, or both together
  • Writing, tones, pinyin, or definitions
  • Study offline and auto-sync when you reconnect
  • Skritter helps you remember 95% of what you learn in 54 seconds
  • It is the only SRS designed specifically for Chinese – it reviews words right before you forget them and automatically adds new words when you’re ready

Skritter is free for one week, thereafter, you can purchase any of their flexible subscription packages.

Learn Chinese – Mindsnacks

This app helps you learn Mandarin through game play. The 8 games are designed for essential vocabulary and conversation skills, and is ideal for students and travelers of all ages who want to learn, speak and read Mandarin the easy way.


  • 8 unique games
  • 1000+ Chinese words & phrases to study and master
  • Unique “Galactic” game to help master the tones required to speak Mandarin
  • Spoken audio clips provided by a native Chinese speaker to help with pronunciation
  • Hand-illustrated image library to help memorize words
  • 50 Chinese lessons designed by Ivy League instructors (paid upgrade)
  • Personalized learning algorithms to maximize memorization, retention and contextual usage
  • Enhanced review mode lets you replay previously mastered lessons
  • Additional quests and challenges to keep you motivated


Speed Mandarin

Speed Mandarin is an designed by an 18 year old for people who find learning Mandarin a chore. We haven’t really tried this one but it came highly recommended.

The app contains paid and free features:

  • Free: 3 Units, 25 Videos, 30 Pages of Books, 13 Quiz Questions
  • Subscription: 22 Units, 200+ Videos, 400+ Pages of Books, 200+ Quiz Questions

Try the online version.

Learn Chinese 10,000 Mandarin

With around 10,000 of the most practical and authentic audio sentences that are widely used in daily communication, this app will help you learn to speak Chinese. Some Mandarin tutors recommend this app as an essential pocket tool for Mandarin learners.

Kids Learn Mandarin

A fun, educational game that will teach your child to speak, write and read over 200 Mandarin Chinese Words.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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