Maomi Stars App Review: Teaching Chinese Characters for Young Kids

by | Blog, Teaching Chinese at Home

Maomi Stars is a Chinese learning app for non-fluent families raising bilingual kids. It provides listening, writing, and speaking opportunities to learn 400+ Chinese characters.

We used to have a more hands-on/human interaction learning style to teach our kids. But as they grow older, we’re using technology more often. I found that the Maomi Stars app comes in handy and allows our kids to learn Chinese with or without me.

In this blog post, you can learn how Maomi Stars works, and how we incorporate it into our trilingual learning.

This is a sponsored post. I received a free trial and was paid by the Maomi Stars team as compensation for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive view, and all opinions expressed here are my own. 

The post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link. See the Disclosure for more details.


I am always looking for new resources, teaching methods, and tools that help me teach my kids Chinese.

Yet, no matter how hard I work to prepare lessons for my kids, I can’t do it alone.

I often need:

  • Different ways to teach my kids to recognize and keep Chinese characters
  • Different interactive Chinese games and activities
  • More sounds and tones exposure from the native
  • Motivation for my kids and myself to keep learning Chinese consistent

I’m glad the Maomi Stars team reached out to me and shared their amazing app.

I’m able to incorporate the Maomi Stars app into my teaching and our daily life to help me solve the problems above.

My kids enjoy practicing Chinese through reading and using the Maomi Stars app. This app provides playful ways to learn and review Chinese characters.

Are you ready to learn more about the Maomi Stars app? I’m going to share an in-depth review right now.



Overview of Maomi Stars App


What is it?

Maomi Stars is a mobile app that helps learners master over 400 Chinese characters. Through listening, writing, and speaking games, players enjoy learning Chinese characters.

It’s like iHuman Chinese, or Reading Eggs for learning English.


Who is it for?

  • 4-7-year-old kids
  • My 9 & 11-year-olds also like it as they are learning Mandarin as a second language.




Key Features of Maomi Stars App

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  • Practice 400+ Chinese characters
  • Support Cantonese and Mandarin dialects
  • English interface with English, Cantonese, or Mandarin narration
  • Voice recognition to allow more practice speaking
  • Using children’s narrator
  • Customizable levels to fit different needs
  • Parental control of screen time limit
  • Many accounts with different curriculums and languages





How does the Maomi Stars app work?

The Goal

  • To unlock all 7 worlds by collecting stars
  • There are seven kitties to guide the player through the whole journey
  • Players can also collect gems, food, and toys to interact with the kitties.


How the Maomi Stars app works:

1. The player learns new Chinese characters in their playroom.
2. Players’ main task: Listening to native speakers while tracing characters and practicing pronunciation.
3. Once they have practiced and collected enough stars, players can head out of their playroom to unlock other worlds.
4. They review the Chinese characters they have learned while playing in other worlds.




How does Maomi Stars teach Chinese Characters?

After the player picks a character to learn, the character will appear in a box with 3 small icons below:

  1. The sound of the character
  2. A picture & the English translation
  3. The romanization (pinyin for Mandarin and Jyutping for Cantonese)

Then, the player can practice listening, writing, and speaking the character.


It’s pretty simple. The player listens to the audio and selects the correct character.


The player watches the mouse trace the character in the correct stroke order. Then, they trace it again on their own.

Although, I wish they would add the name of each stroke, or the stroke number while the player is tracing.


The player holds the button in the middle and says it out aloud three times.

At first, it was not easy for my younger kids. But after I adjusted my level of speaking, it became a pleasant learning experience.

I also like how you can hear your own pronunciation. It’s neat for my kids to hear themselves practicing speaking.


They are not able to move on to other worlds unless they finish all three practices and get all the stars.


After collecting enough stars, your child can unlock different worlds from the map. They are also able to review the Chinese characters they have learned before.




What kind of Word Collections/ Curriculums does Maomi Stars have?

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In the Maomi Stars app, I’m surprised to see they have a great selection of curriculums. I’m sure they are going to keep adding more in the future.


1. Maomi 2021 Collection (Mandarin/ Cantonese) 335 words: Theme-based

It’s included the following themes:

  • Numbers
  • People
  • Calendar
  • Comparisons
  • Nature
  • Colors
  • School
  • Transport
  • Facial Actions
  • Body Actions
  • Animals
  • Food
  • Body Parts
  • Time
  • Home
  • Shopping
  • Travel


2. Simple Strokes Collection (Mandarin/ Cantonese) 100 words

Characters only consist of 1-6 strokes perfect for beginners (can’t change it, it’s from the official site)


3. Mid-Autumn Festival 中秋節 25 words

Words that related to this festival


4. Zhuyin Collection (Mandarin) 39 words

Free collection for learning Zhuyin/ Bopomofo


5. Maomi Books Vocabulary (Mandarin/ Cantonese) 435 words

From Maomi Mandarin rhyme board book series. (can’t change it, it’s from the official site)


6. 歡樂夥伴 Companion Words List (Mandarin & Cantonese) 881 words [NEWEST]


Click HERE to read more of their curriculums.

Maomi Stars has many curriculums that will help your kids learn either Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Mandarin, Cantonese, or Zhuyin/Bopomofo.





What we love about the Maomi Stars App

Clear native-like pronunciation

They did a great job using adults and children as voice actors. I love the voice actors’ inflection; it’s very native-like. It’s so important to hear a variety of ways to speak the language from real individuals.

Attractive rewards

I don’t understand why, but my kids love all the rewards they get for their kitties. They enjoy feeding them cakes and giving them toys as presents.

English instruction with Chinese audio

I love this feature. It’s like how we watch movies now. If I can change the audio to Cantonese, I will give them English subtitles if needed.

Multiple accounts

This function allows me to set up multiple accounts for my kids. (e.g. my first account is for learning Cantonese at an easy level. The second account is for learning it at a harder level or Mandarin, but at an easy level.)

Four of my kids can learn either Cantonese or Mandarin at their own level.

Voice recognition to practice speaking

My kids practice pronunciation until they perfect it. It also gives them feedback each time, so they can make improvements to receive more stars.

Customizable word list/curriculum

As a mom who homeschools, this app is for me. I can create and customize my own curriculums for my own students to play and learn. Even though the Maomi Stars team is still working on this feature, I’m super excited about it.

Ways to Improve Maomi Stars App


Needs more variety of mini games

All the games are easy for my 4-year-old to play, and are pretty much the same each time. I must pause them from using this app for a while, so they won’t lose interest completely.


Speaking part

All my kids love doing the speaking part. Yet, it wasn’t easy for my 4-year-old. His speech is delayed, so he still has some sounds in Cantonese that he can’t pronounce. He got frustrated by the speaking part because it couldn’t recognize his sounds as correct.

Also, the app often can’t record my kids speaking. They will either speak too early or their speed of speaking changes.

But I found out you can change the difficulty level, so it is easier for my younger kids to pass.

Parental control

I love the parent override, but I wish I could change the time limit for each account. Since I have 3 different accounts with 3 different ages set, they have different time limits as well.



I don’t like apps that will charge monthly because I don’t like the idea of forgetting the payments. I wish it required a yearly or lifetime subscription.



How does Maomi Stars App benefit our trilingual homeschooling journey?

learning to dance at home

Provides exposure to native-like Chinese language

I have never seen a Chinese learning app that uses voices from native children. Whenever I hear them in the recording, it feels like I am in Hong Kong again. After a while, my kids even tried to imitate them while responding to me. The Maomi Stars team did a great job adding this wonderful feature to the app.



As a homeschooling mom, I have difficulty when assessing my kids. Maomi Stars app has become an assessment tool. I can tell how much they remember from our regular Chinese reading at home. It’s a relaxing way of evaluation.



I know my kids are learning Chinese while playing games.


Theme-based learning

In Maomi 2021 collection curriculum, there are seventeen different themes. If you are using theme-based learning or if you like to learn, this is a great resource to follow along.


Extra curriculums to use

For those looking for Chinese curriculums to teach, the Maomi Stars app has seven curriculums to choose from. Mandarin, Cantonese, Zhuyin, and pinyin with Simplified Chinese or Traditional Chinese characters are included. It’s a great place to start.





The Last thing you need to know about Maomi Stars App

learning to dance at home

No matter how fluent you are in Chinese, the Maomi Stars app provides an effective experience.

It’s a resourceful Chinese learning app with customizable curriculums and native-like audio.

The best part of the app is teaching Mandarin or Cantonese by using Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, or Zhuyin.





Let me know in the comments below

What are some of your recommendations for Chinese learning apps for kids?


How do you incorporate them into your teaching at home?




Want to try the Maomi Stars App?

These are the options for you:

· Free all time with very limited access
· Sliver ($7.99 USD/month) with almost everything, but not able to unlock all 7 worlds
· Gold ($8.99 USD /month) with everything
· Gold Plus ($14.99 USD /month) with everything + many players per parent account

They charge by auto payment, so I guess you won’t have to worry about forgetting the payment.

You can also follow them and get updates here:

You Are Not Doing it Alone

Join my Facebook support group to meet and get connections with parents and educators with the same goals.

After being a member, you can attend all the special LIVE training, events, and activities together.

Homeschooling Young Kids in Chinese Facebook Group
Amazon Influencer Page
Chinese resource library

身为职业妈妈的我,常常牺牲睡眠来自作教材。版主全方位学习的新年教材真让我省下不少宝贵的时间找资料。四岁的女儿对中文学习有点抗拒。我们善用版主提供的迷你故事书和生字卡来增强她对语文的认识。版主的中文单词棋盘游戏更让女儿投入学习, 因为她想赢嘛!版主的教材可让小孩边玩边学, 太棒了。



This is the second 5-Day Challenge that we have done with Fortune Cookie Mom. Both have been very beneficial to our family. I am a homeschool mom of three little kids. We are not Chinese and do not speak any Chinese. With the help of Fortune Cookie Mom, we are slowly learning! The challenges have given me fun activities to do at home with the kids. Each one has reignited my kid's interest in learning. It has been a fun experience for everybody!


Homeschooling Mom of Three


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