Mark Media‘s Fun with Colors is a delightful new app that teaches beginning Chinese, and reversely can teach English to preschoolers whose birth language is Chinese. Mark Media is a company that is committed to making the world a little more accessible, by sharing culture, storytelling, and technology. Based in Toronto, they have received numerous awards, and now have a TV series with the preschool character, Miaomiao that airs on New Tang Dynasty Television in Canada. Check out their website for more information and view their incredible array of off-screen worksheets for teaching Chinese here.
Fun with Colors is the third app in the Miaomiao series. It covers 30 vocabulary words through 6 color scenes using unique playing environments filled with items such as musical instruments, food, etc. Kids not only learn the name of the color in Chinese but also about common items within a preschooler’s environment. The focus is on learning through active
exploration. Language development is modeled after the natural flow and sequence of language acquisition rather than in a rote manner. I love how the app allows kids time to process the material and the time to respond to the speaker. The “Grownups” section is excellent and supplies parents pages filled with tips on the educational content. Their tip section was like reading a preschool non-fiction book in itself. It describes not only the colors and their traditional Chinese meanings, but also gives facts on the creatures from the sea on the coloring pages. Graphics are adorable, and the music can be turned off for more sensory sensitive kids in the settings section under “Grownups” in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. Also located on the homepage is a vocabulary sheet with interactive features to review or explore words and access to additional coloring pages that present additional colors spoken in both English and Chinese.
Gameplay centers on the adventures of Miaomiao and her dog DouDou, who have ventured under the sea to help them save the lost colors of the fish that live there. Six scenes represent the color palettes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, and it is your mission to help each of the fish find their color by tapping on items they’ve requested pertaining to their color. Once all items have been found, you are taken to a page with Miaomiao where she prompts on the pronunciation of the color word. Kids are then given a short quiz matching an object to the given name of its color. A screen comes to life after the quiz is completed with the rescued fish and lots of hotspots to uncover and explore as a reward. This app has just the right amount of challenge for preschoolers, matching attention span and ability to keep one or more items in working memory before responding. Action to be taken is focused on the color and not cluttered with extraneous activity. The app promotes visual attention and attention to detail, listening skills and following directions. What a blessing this is as it shows that the developers know children and the developmental expectations for performance.
Learning other languages also teaches mental flexibility even if it’s only a few words, as discovering different names for things demonstrates alternatives and lateral thinking. Sharing the app with English speaking children could be an empowering experience for a Chinese speaking preschooler, especially one that speaks English as a second language. I would love to see children teaching children about their cultures and heritage. It is one of the earliest ways to teach respect and embrace diversity.
Bravo to Mark Media and we wish them success on this little gem. Fun with Colors is a TWA top pick, and one recommended to check out. This is one company to keep your eye on!
Jo Booth OTR/L has been an Occupational Therapist for over 35 years, and currently practices at EasterSeals of Sepa, Montgomery County Division mainly focusing in Early Intervention. It is an APS (Approved Private School) and home outreach based setting. She has also worked in Adolescent and Adult Rehabilitation. Writing reviews for Teachers With Apps has been a tremendous opportunity and experience to share and learn with others.