My 4 year old enjoys Chinese. My oldest son started learning it before she was born so she has pretty much been around Chinese her entire life. In toddlerhood she would make up her own Chinese words using Chinese intonation patterns and the different tones and pretend to have conversations in Mandarin.
This first video was taken almost 3 years ago. My boys were eating lunch and getting some exposure to pinyin with a Youtube video. She thought they said “cookie” so she imitated using the Mandarin tone and then said her word that meant she wanted something to eat “apple-peach.”
Fast forward 3 years and my daughter has continued to be exposed to Mandarin. We often watch Mandarin DVDs or videos online in Mandarin. She really enjoys the singing and dancing Mandarin videos like the Chinese for Kids Ni Hao DVDs. Right now she can communicate in a couple phrases and do basic things like count.
This year I’m planning on covering the first two chapters of My First Chinese Reader with her. She will be memorizing the characters, but I don’t plan on having her write them. Right now she enjoys “writing” her own characters, but I want to focus on writing in English first.