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Top 10 Chinese TV Shows For Mandarin Learning (For your children and the whole family!)

When it comes to learning Chinese, Chinese TV shows are a fantastic resource. Many parents ask us how to sustain their child’s mandarin learning after they have gotten older and cartoons no longer work! There are actually a lot of diverse dramas out there on genres like teen romance, horror and sci-fi that they can continue to engage with. Today we will be recommending some non-fictional ones that will help your child keep up with the most relevant cultural knowledge.

Before we begin, we just want to say that the most important thing is to enjoy and understand what you are watching. This will help you incorporate the Chinese words you hear into everyday life more easily. As these are fun things to watch, it is worth the whole family watching it together and later discussing it in Chinese. They are also ongoing shows and perceived as healthy content for children so you don’t have to worry about any cursing or biases.

Top 10 Chinese TV Shows Selection Criteria (For Mandarin Leanring):

1. Clean and positive content for children and adults

2. Contains people and characters with diverse backgrounds

3. Sincere and authentic presentation without too much acting

1. Happy Camp 快乐大本营

This show began in 1997 but continues to be one of the biggest shows in China. It is broadcasted every Saturday, with each episode featuring famous celebrities and international figures from all over the world including singers, athletes, actors and more. It is hosted by one of the most famous host He Jiong who is widely liked by Chinese audiences.

During the show, guests participate in performances and games, like its name “Happy Camp”, it is full of laughter. The show has received widespread acclaim throughout the years and has been a foundation for celebrities to promote themselves and their work.

Watch one episode on Youtube Search for keyword: Happy Camp 快乐大本营

2. Day Day Up 天天向上

Day Day Up is a popular talk show for teens to watch with their family. It launched in 2008 hosted by 4 main hosts of ages 40, 30 and 20 so it has clear representation for various age groups, among which Wang Han is one of the oldest and well known host in China and Wang Yibo is known for his dance and TV shows. Each week it features Chinese ethnic group, cities and culture, pop culture, upcoming movies and shows etc. The show is known for its humorous flair, great attention to style and of course, the famous people invited on to the show. Its name was inspired by an idiom ‘天天向上’ which means ‘study hard and make progress daily’.

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Day Day Up 天天向上

3. I Can I BB 奇葩说

It is the most popular online debate show in China, hosted by the famous producer and host Ma Dong, Chinese economist Xue Zhaofeng, Taiwanese writer Kevin Tsai and Chinese professor Liu Qing. Debate topics are gathered online from the public, ranging from relationships, family, ideology, trends, careers, friendship, etc such as: “There is an overnight success opportunity, should I take it at age 20?”, “Should we change to what our partner wants us to be like?”, “Is appearance more important?” etc.

Contestants' background are diverse from professional debaters from top universities, fashion hosts, actors, politicians, students, writers, etc. Everyone can come up with their own view and sway the audience’s vote. Regardless of the result, the debate and discussion is exciting to watch and an eye opener for various age groups.

Watch one episode on Youtube Search for keyword: I Can I BB 奇葩说

4. Li Ziqi 李子柒

Without a doubt, Liziqi is the most famous Chinese vlogger. Growing up in the country side in Sichuan, she is a capable farm girl however she is known to be “wonder woman” who can do anything! She creates content about agriculture and cooking using her own harvest materials, and she goes so far as making her own clothes and shoes and even furniture. Her popularity has reached an international market with her channel containing 15.1 million subscribers worldwide! Chinese audiences love her as they love her peaceful and happy farm life and adore her for presenting Chinese culture elegantly.

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Li Ziqi 李子柒

5. Back to field 向往的生活

Like it is name, this a reality show that that invites movie stars, athletes and singers to a farm to live for a few days. This is hosted by the famous host Li Jiong and actor Huang Lei who are best friends with most stars, and they encourage their guests to share what’s really happening in their life, without any makeup, on screen. The celebrities have to plant seeds, harvest vegetables and fruits, fish, cook and clean. It is the perfect relaxing show for weekends!

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Back to field 向往的生活

6. Go Fridge 拜托了冰箱

For all the foodies out there, this is for you! Go Fridge is a cooking show hosted by the famous host He Jiong and singer and dancer Jackson Wang. In each episode, famous guests are invited to bring their fridges and the contents to the studio, chefs will pitch to cook a dish with what’s in the fridge, at the end of the show, the guests will decide which dish and its chef is the winner. Throughout the show, guests are encouraged to talk about their latests work, their childhood and their experiences with food.

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Go Fridge 拜托了冰箱

7. Dance Smash 舞蹈风暴

For teens and adults who are into dancing, “Dance Smash” is the show you don’t want to miss out. It is hosted by He Jiong and three world renowned Contemporary and Traditional dancers Shen Wei, Yang Yang, and Shen Peiyi. When the stage is set, quietness descends, the lights are shut, anticipation grips the audience, the dancer(s) enter and is given the perfect minute to demonstrate their performances. During the dance, a 360-angle “Smash Moment” is captured and they are absolutely amazing to view.

The show not only helped informing audiences about various distinctive features of different dance types (50+ types), it also aroused people’s interest in becoming dancers and in appreciating more dance performances. It featured lots of world renowned dancers who have won many competitions in China and overseas. It is definitely a must watch show!

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Dance Smash 舞蹈风暴

8. Street dance of China 这!就是街舞

Street dance is getting super popular with many Asian dancers being at the top of their game. This is all about street dance and it features the best street dancers in the China such as Jackson Wang, Wang Yibo, Lay Zhang, and actor singer Wallace Chung. Each of them leads a team, selecting teammates from thousands of top dancers, they form their final teams, and battle in different street scenarios. If you love street dance, this is the show for you!

Watch one episode on Youtube Search for keyword: Street dance of China 这!就是街舞

9. Produce Camp 2021 CHUANG 创造营

2021’s most popular boy band show, it features trainees from a few countries (Russia, Thailand, Japan, China…), who train together to compete for the final 11 spots in an international boy band. The contestants compete in singing and dancing to various styles. They are well selected and are extremely talented. They form teams each week, and each team is given a short period of time to rehearse, compete and perform in front of live audiences. This show has captured lots of attention from around the world as there are contestants from various countries, and live translations are provided to contestants and audiences. Throughout the show, international contestants have learned more Mandarin.

Watch one episode on Youtube Search for keyword: 2021 CHUANG 创造营

10. Keep Running 奔跑吧

This is a spin-off variety show from the popular South Korean ‘Running Man’ show. Guests and hosts complete missions to win a race, doing all sorts of stunts from martial arts to juggling and acrobatics. It stars a few famous actors and actresses for each seasons, and it is just super fun to watch for the whole family!

Watch one episode on Youtube

Search for keyword: Keep Running 奔跑吧

There are so many other exciting Chinese TV shows out there, iQIYI 爱奇艺, Tencent and Hunan TV are the top content producers in China. Keep browsing and we hope you find something you and your child will enjoy watching and learn Mandarin Chinese in the meantime!

Let’s grab a bowl of popcorn and get started!

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