Next month we will have completed our 2nd full year of subscribing to Qiaohu, so I’d like to look back at what our experience has been with the levels 幼幼版 (youyouban), 快樂版 (kuaileban)，and 成長版 (chengzhangban).
We started in 2016 and purchased the last three months of 幼幼版 and then advanced to 快樂版 but we were given a full subscription’s worth of DVDs when my twins were born from a friend with a few of the toys. I recommend starting your subscription in September if possible to get the full year scheduled content.
Of all three levels, my favorite is 成長版 . Let’s go through each one.
I loved the toys of 幼幼版 initially and they are really cute and usually well designed, but as we moved more to a minimalist lifestyle, I realized all the toys were plastic and not complementary to the open ended toys we were buying as I would have liked (our new toys were unit blocks, balls or nesting bowls.) I still keep the Qiaohu favorites in storage (mostly play food) and bring them out every once in a while, but these toys are no longer our standard go-to (always out) toys. The only exception is XiaoHua 小花妹妹 toy. My 2 year old twin daughter really loves her XiaoHua and it is her favorite stuffed animal. The rest of the toys have gone into closet storage and are rotated. I feel these toys should be viewed as a kind of a fun short term activity rather than a long term keepsake toy. It’s also my opinion that child will likely outgrow them faster than other toys made open ended play.
That said, I still might subscribe the latter six months for my twins because I do like the stories, songs and the sticker activity workbooks.
快樂版 has a good introduction to science but from our past subscription, it’s done in a childish way and sometimes uses cartoon animals with real footage or photos. From a Montessori perspective I wish they would use solely photos and/or realistic art. This level also has some safety topics which feel really unnecessary and overcautious, like “Don’t push the shopping cart. You may run into people.” “Don’t run indoors. You might slip.” “Don’t take in large bites of food.” In America, we have kid sized carts at Trader Joe’s and most kids are allowed to run inside within certain limits. And shouldn’t kids know by experience they will choke on large amounts of food without us telling them? We allow them to run and push carts, but just teach them the proper way to do these activities first. Safety is emphasized, sometimes over-emphasized. The toys are less appealing than before except for the wood stacking circus animals; I love that idea and the story about the circus animals is really cute.
I feel like 巧虎 really shines in 成长版 . There is still some EQ (“emotional IQ” is what they term it) teaching important social skills but they are not as childish about it; they uses short audio with books to teach an EQ lesson. I love that the 2017-18 subscription had 6 natural science topics of the month that came in a smaller book, and that math topics (counting on, dividing, symmetry, 3D shapes, telling time) were briefly introduced for all 12 months using a workbook and DVD segment. D has a very math oriented brain and this introduction to math catered to his interests. I believe their math topics to be more advanced than most K and pre K math programs in the US. They also break down zhuyin into groupings and teach them to the kids. We have non-Qiaohu flashcards with photos and a dry erase workbook both from Taiwan but we don’t emphasize zhuyin. Even so, D has learned most of the zhuyin symbols using Qiaohu zhuyin toys, posted and songs.
This level also teach a series of Tang dynasty poems using song (I’m not sure if 2018-19 will have the same content) and D learned several of these building off what he learned in 幼幼版. The songs for zhuyin and the Tang poems are actually very catchy. There are even fewer “toys” or activities for this level but these are really used even less than the toys of 幼幼版 simply because D already has other toys and his playtime is more imaginative and on a larger scale. He enjoys watching 成长版 on some homeschool days after his lessons are completed. They are fun and entertaining but educational. Because of the increase in academic content, I’m willing to continue subscribing to Qiaohu for a couple more years, our next level is 学习版 (xuexiban):
Remember each year is slightly different but the lower levels mostly stay the same in content. The above schedules are for 2018-19.
The yearly rate is $345. The six month rate is $188
If the information has been helpful, please consider adding me as a referral when you order. Here is the website. The order form is here. If you have additional questions, please contact their office phone number 714-888-5190.
My referral ID is 2600018310 and name on the account is Kyleen Gene.
Referrers get a small Qiaohu toy or game; it isn’t much but my kids will love you forever. Thank you!