On a rainy week, we discovered a wonderful CD that both kids have been enjoying while stuck inside the house: Baby’s First Words in Chinese. I had seen the CD around in stores for a while but never got it since our house is so overloaded with saccharine, syrupy Chinese children’s music and, to be honest, I can’t stand to listen to it anymore. But this CD is lovely, even for the adults who are trapped inside the same house. Part of a series, it is intended for babies up to age 2, and contains 50 short tracks of counting and hand rhymes and simple songs, some traditional and some new. The voices are gentle and not grating. And most important of all, both my children responded to the music as soon as they heard it. T, age 1, sings and hums along with it every time it comes on, and L, age 4.5, listens intently, recognizes some of the songs, and loves that they have alternate lyrics to the versions he has learned.
The CD is designed for parents who may not speak much Chinese at home, with a lengthy booklet about the advantages of multiple language learning for child development. All the song lyrics are included in pinyin and English translation so parents can learn them and sing along. It is intended to introduce very young children to the sounds of Chinese when they are at an important stage in their linguistic development, and the songs are organized by age (yet clearly, from our experience, it appeals to older children as well). You can listen to an audio clip and read sample pages from the booklet here.