Our Mandarin Hokey Pokey video :-)

The Hokey Pokey song in Mandarin is called 唱歌跳舞  (chàng gē tiào wǔ) which is literally  ‘sing songs and dance’ in English!

This is just full of grammar learning opportunities, and also gets the kids up and dancing like they are at a party!

It has position/location sentence structure (inside, outside), left and right, and body parts.

But it is the repeated 把 construction that is the winner for me!   The 把 sentence pattern in Chinese is tricky for older students to get their heads around, yet little kids get to hear this sentence pattern in this song, and so many other songs and classroom instructions, so many times that they will never have a problem with understanding the grammar of it when they get older!


Here is a video of us singing the song at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, with the words below.

Here are the lyrics:





Chorus: 唱歌跳舞, 转个圆圈, 大家笑哈哈




摇摇你的手 (Chorus)




摇摇你的脚 (Chorus)




摇摇你的脚 (Chorus)




摇摇你自己 (Chorus)

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng miàn

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng wài miàn

bǎ yòu shǒu fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu

(Chorus) chàng gē tiào wǔ zhuǎn gè yuán quān

dà jiā xiào hā hā

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng miàn

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng wài miàn

bǎ zuǒ shǒu fàng lí miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de shǒu (Chorus)

bǎ yòu jiǎo fang miàn

bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng wài miàn

bǎ yòu jiǎo fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng miàn

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng wài miàn

bǎ zuǒ jiǎo fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ de jiǎo (Chorus)

bǎ zì jǐ fàng miàn

bǎ zì jǐ fàng wài miàn

bǎ zì jǐ fàng miàn

yáo yáo nǐ zì jǐ (Chorus)

Translation is much the same as English with a few changes: You put your right hand in, you put your right hand out, You put your right hand in, and you shake it all about, sing and dance and you turn around, everybody laugh.  Repeat with left hand, right foot, left foot and whole body, and add your ‘bottom’ (pigu) for a fun one at the end 🙂

This particular translaton was taken from ‘Sing and Learn’ by Trio Jan Jeng and Selina Yoon.  You can purchase the whole CD on iTunes.

Bù kěyǐ song!

This week at our Mandarin Song and Story Time, we read 大卫, 不可以!(Dàwèi , bù kěyǐ!) the Chinese translated version of ‘No, David!’ by David Shannon.

It is a simple book with the ‘No!’ and ‘’Don’t!’ things that adults often say to children. The illustrations are fun and convey all the meaning needed for reading in a second language, will encourage lots of discussion in both English and Chinese, and lots of repetition in the text to reinforce some key Chinese phrases.

不可以玩食物!(bù kě yǐ wán shí wù) ‘Don’t play with your food!’

Chinese doesn’t really have a word for ‘No!’ So instead the translators have used the modal verb ‘Can’ to translate ‘No’ in this context as ‘You can’t’. When we say ‘can’ in English, it can mean ‘you know how’, or that you ‘are able to’ or that you are ‘allowed to’, all depending on the context. In Chinese, there is a different modal verb for each one…’会 (huì), 能 (néng), and 可以 (kě yǐ)’. It is 可以 kě yǐ that is the one used to say that you are permitted or allowed to do something. At pre-school in China, when teachers are telling kids what ‘not to do’, it is this ‘不可以!’ (bù kěyǐ!) that is used…No! Don’t! For English learners of Chinese, learning how to use these different forms of ‘can’ in Chinese can be tricky. So this book is also great for older students of Chinese to reinforce the usage of one of these ‘can’ modal verbs. It will only take a couple of readings and some fun discussion of the illustrations to remember that ‘不可以!’ is the ‘can’ that means ‘allowed’ or ‘permitted’.

不可以挖鼻孔!(bù kěyǐ wā bíkǒng!) ‘Don’t pick your nose!’

Of course the little ones at our story time will pick all this grammar up naturally just by enjoying the story!

Here is a song to practice singing bù kěyǐ!

可以去吗?不可以!(kěyǐ qù ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) go? (You) can’t!
可以买吗?不可以!(kěyǐ mǎi ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) buy (it)? (You) can’t!
以吃吗?不可以!(kěyǐ chī ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) eat (it)? (You) can’t!
以吗?    不可以!(kěyǐ ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I)…? (You) can’t!

可以看吗?不可以!(kěyǐ kàn ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) watch (it)? (You) can’t!
可以穿吗?不可以!(kěyǐ chuān ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) wear (it)? (You) can’t!
可以走了吗?不可以!(kěyǐ zǒu le ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I) leave? (You) can’t!
可以吗?不可以!(kěyǐ ma? bù kěyǐ!) = Can (I)…? (You) can’t!

中秋节歌 Mid Autumn (Moon) Festival Song

Mid Autumn Festival (Or the Moon Festival) is on the 24th Sept this year. Who better than Groovi Pauli to give us a great song and video to learn all about traditions for this festival. You can purchase his ‘Celebrations in Chinese 4 Kids’ that this song comes from on album on iTunes. But here is a video for you, we will be singing this song every week in our Mandarin Song and Story Time till the festival 🙂 We will also tell stories and make some things over the next few weeks to help us learn all about the things in Groovi Pauli’s song 🙂

Here are the lyrics:

月亮月亮圆圆圆 yuè liang yuè liang yuán yuán yuán
(moon, moon, round round round)

月饼月饼香香香 yuè bing yuè bing xiāng xiāng xiāng
(moon cakes, moon cakes, fragrant fragrant fragrant)

嫦娥嫦娥飞飞飞 cháng é cháng é fēi fēi fēi
(Chang-E Chang-E fly fly fly) Chang E is the name of the moon fairy!

中秋中秋中秋节 zhōng qiū zhōng qiū zhōng qiū jié
(Mid-Autumn, Mid-Autumn, Mid-Autumn Festival)

巧克力‘木制芝士板’! Chocolate Cheese Board!

Kids made a Cheese Board with a twist for their birthday afternoon tea 🙂 Here is a video they made showing some of the steps in Mandarin 🙂


将软糖   杏仁糖   干果坚果    棉花糖  撒在巧克力上。
添加更多 巧克力!
乳酪   饼干  草莓  放在巧克力‘木制芝士板’上。

shì mùzhì zhīshì bǎn ma
kànqǐlái xiàng mùzhì zhīshì bǎn

lín bái
hēi niúnǎi qiǎokèlì zài kǎopán shàng xiàng mùwén yī yàng
jiāng ruǎntáng
xìngréntáng gānguǒ jiānguǒ miánhuātáng sā zài qiǎokèlì shàng 
tiānjiā gēngduō 
sì gōngjīn qiǎokèlì 

fàng zài bīngxiāng lǐ ràng qiǎokèlì biànyìng

mócā zhídào guānghuá
xiàng mùbǎn yī yàng
  bǐnggān  cǎoméi fáng zài qiǎokèlì ‘ mùzhì zhīshì bǎn ’ shàng
gēn péngyou yīqǐ chī

Is this a wooden cheeseboard?
It looks like one…
Drizzle white, dark and milk chocolate on the tray, like wood grain.
Scatter jelly beans, marzipan, fruit and nuts, and marshmallows on the chocolate.
Add more chocolate!
4 kgs of chocolate
Put in the fridge to set.
Grate and rub till smooth like wood.
Put  cheeses, crackers and strawberries on the chocolate ‘wooden’ cheeseboard

Share with friends!

This is the video that the kids followed to make their Chocolate Cheeseboard if you want to try making your own!

拟声词!Onomatopoeia story and songs

We will read this book this week: 听, 是谁在唱歌? (tīng, shì shéi zài chàng gē ?)  ‘Listen, who is singing?’

It is full of Onomatopoeia, or words that make a sound like the sound they are trying to describe.  They are called  拟声词 (nǐ shēng cí) in Chinese, or literally ‘imitating sound word’.  These are great for young learners of Chinese, because just like in first language acquisition, these words can allow children to explore the ‘sounds’ of a language.  You will notice that most of the characters in the table below for these ‘sound’ words, have the 口 radical on the left side of the character, which is the ‘mouth’ radical…often giving a clue it is an onomatopoeia word!

The children will have to try and guess which animal is making the singing noise!

Below is a table that has a list of the animals in the book, and the animal sounds that the children will enjoy, but till Story Time enjoy this song! The words to the song are far too long to post here, but this link will take you to them 🙂 You will note some of the animal sounds in the song are a little different to some of the animals in the book…like the Rooster goes ‘ wowo’ in the book and ‘o o’ in the song…but just like animal noises in English…there is no law!

here are the animals in the book:

Cow niú Moo 哞哞 mōu mōu
Duck 鸭子 yā zi Quack 嘎嘎 gā gā
Dog gǒu Wuff 汪汪 wāng wāng
Cat māo Meow 喵喵 miāo miāo
Lion 狮子 shī zi Roar 嗷呜 áo wū
Sheep yáng Baa miē
Rooster 公鸡 gong jī Crow 喔喔 wōwo
Horse Neigh 嘶嘶 sī sī
Pig zhū Oink 哼哼 hēng hēng
Frog 青蛙 qīng wā Croak 呱呱 guā guā

Here is another more familiar song to help us make those animal sounds!  The first sound in the song is a chicken, which is not in our book (we have a rooster in our book crowing ‘wōwō!’. The chicken says 叽叽 ‘jījī’, more like the ‘cheep cheep’ sound of a baby chicken.  Lyrics to the song are under the video. Old MacDonald in Chinese is 老王先生 lǎo wáng xiānsheng, the ‘lǎo’ is a polite address of a senior, the ‘wáng’ is his surname, and ‘xiānsheng’ is the word for ‘Mr.’ In Chinese we say ‘Wang Mr’, not ‘Mr Wang’ 🙂  Enjoy!

wáng lǎo xiān shēng yǒu kuài dì yī yā yī yā yōu


tā zài tián lǐ yǎng xiǎo yī yā yī yā yōu

zhè lǐ jī jī jī nà lǐ jī jī jī

叽叽叽 叽叽叽

zhè lǐ nà lǐ dào chù dōu zài jī jī


wáng lǎo xiān shēng yǒu kuài dì yī yā yīyā yōu


Literal English Translation:

Farmer Wang had a plot of land, yiya yiya yo

On his land he raised little chicks yiya yiya yo

With a cheep cheep here, and a cheep cheep there,

Here a cheep, there a cheep, everywhere a cheep cheep

Farmer Wang had a plot of land, yiya yiya yo

Whose bottom? and Handkerchief Game!

We love stories and songs about bottoms 🙂 So we will read 谁的屁股? (shéi de pìgu) ‘Whose Bottom?’ this week, Wednesday 10am in our Mandarin Song and Story Time. For more posts on bottoms check out our wiping bottoms page, who did the poo page, tones and poo page, and poos and water page!

We will also play the traditional Chinese game ‘Hide the Hanky’ as long as it is not raining!  There is a version of the song that accompanies the game below, together with the lyrics for you.




diū shǒu jīn diū shǒu jīn , qīng qīng de fàng zài , xiǎo péng yǒu de hòu mian , dà jiā bù yào gào su tā , kuài diǎn kuài diǎn zhuō zhù tā , kuài diǎn kuài diǎn zhuō zhù tā

Drop the hanky, drop the hanky, lightly put the hanky behind a friend, everybody don’t tell him/her, quickly quickly catch him/her, quickly quickly catch him/her.

Chinese teachers wishing to get their students to explain how to play the game in Chinese could show this video:

The simplified script is :



See you Wednesday 🙂

画了一匹蓝马的画家 ‘The artist who painted a horse’

This week we will read 画了一匹蓝马的画家 ( huà le yī pǐ lán mǎ de huà jiā) ‘The artist who painted a horse’ by Eric Carle. The children can guess what crazy colours Eric Carle has painted his drawings 🙂

We can also sing a new balloon song.  Here are the words, you can sing to the tune of ‘My darling Clementine’.

Hóngsè qìqiú huángsè qìqiú

球, 球,

wǒde qìqiú zhēn piàoliàng


lǜsè qìqiú báisè qìqiú

绿 球, 球,

bié rang qìqiú fēi tiān shàng

别 让 上。

Literal English Translation:
Red balloon, yellow balloon, My balloon very beautiful,
Green balloon white balloon, don’t let the balloon fly to the sky.
Song originally sourced from ‘Better Chinese’, lyrics changed to reflect better environmental practice 🙂

家 Family: Mandarin Motion Song and Story Time Wed 21st June 2017

We will read all about family over next few weeks.  We might start with this one for our next story time 袋鼠也有妈妈吗? (dài shǔ yě yǒu mā ma ma?) ‘Does a Kangaroo have a mother too? ‘ by Eric Carle.  Some vocab from the book is at the bottom of this blog post.


Here is a video Aurora made for our ‘I love my family song’ that we sometimes sing in class.  We have included this song for many years in our story times, the kids learned it when they were little from the ‘Better Chinese: My first Chinese Words’ series.  Hope you like Aurora’s production of it:


Here are the words to the song:

wǒ ài wǒ de bà ba

wǒ ài wǒ de mā ma

wǒ ài wǒ de gē ge

wǒ ài wǒ de jiě jie

wǒ ài wǒ de jiā


I love my Dad, I love my Mum, I love my older brother, I love my older sister, I love my family.

The second time around the words 哥哥 (gē ge) big brother’ 姐姐 (jiě jie)  big sister’ are replaced with 弟弟 (dì di) little brother’ and 妹妹 (mèi mei) little sister’.

Here is a little bit of the Kangaroo book for reference of vocab:

dàishǔ yě yǒu māma ma? yǒu! dàishǔ yǒu māma

jiù xiàng wǒ yǒu nǐ yě yǒu.

袋鼠有妈妈吗? 有!袋鼠有妈妈,


Literal translation: Does a kangaroo also have a mother? Yes (has), a kangaroo has a mother, just like I have and you have too.

This is the same each page, just replace kangaroo (red highlighted) with following animals:

狮子 shīzi lion 长颈鹿 chángjǐnglù giraffe 企鹅 qǐ’é penguin 天鹅 tiān’é swan 狐狸 húli fox 海豚 hǎitún dolphin 绵羊 miányáng sheep xióng bear 大象 dàxiàng elephant 猴子 hóuzi monkey


一只两只蜘蛛 Incy Wincy Spider

下雨了!(xià yǔ le) It’s Raining! Well it has been a rainy few days, so it’s a good time to sing the Incy Wincy Spider song!  Kids recorded the song and made an animation to go with the Chinese translation for you, so that you can enjoy on rainy days at home too 🙂  Enjoy and we will see you at our Mandarin Song and Story time to sing it together…it is forecast to be still raining 🙂

Here are the lyrics:


Yī zhǐ liǎng zhī zhīzhū pá ya pá chūlái
Yǔshuǐ luòxià lái bāng tā xǐ xǐzǎo,
Tàiyáng chūláile zhàozhe tā shēntǐ ya
Yī zhǐ liǎng zhī zhīzhū yòu pá ya pá chūlái.

Literal English Translation:
One spider, two spiders crawl and climb out,
The rain falls and helps them take a bath
The sun comes out, it shines on their bodies,
One spider, two spiders crawl and climb out again.

我不会咬你! I won’t bite you! Mandarin Story Time Wed 14th June 2017

We will read Rod Campbell’s 我不会咬你!(wǒ bù huì yǎo nǐ) ‘I won’t bite you’ at our Mandarin Motion Song and Story Time this week.  We might have a few crocodile rock songs to sing too!

Here are the animals, adjectives, and body parts in the book.





老鼠 lǎo shǔ mouse 小 xiǎo little
兔子 tù zi rabbit 顽皮 wán pí naughty
鱼 yú fish 漂亮 piāo liàng beautiful
猩猩 xīng xīng chimp 强壮 qiáng zhuàng strong
河马 hé mǎ hippo 友善 yǒu shàn friendly
鳄鱼 è yú crocodile 饥饿  jī è hungry
Body Parts


耳朵 ěr duo ear 软绵绵 ruǎn mián mián soft
尾巴 wěi bā tail 毛茸茸 máo róng róng fluffy
身体 shēn tǐ body 滑溜溜 huá liū liū slippery
胸膛 xiōng táng chest 毛毛 máo máo furry
皮肤 pí fū skin 韧韧 rèn rèn leathery
牙齿 yá chǐ teeth 锐利 ruì lì sharp
我不会咬你 wǒ bù huì yǎo nǐ  I won’t bite 我会咬你 wǒ huì yǎo nǐ   I will bite