Saying and writing the numbers 0 – 100 in Mandarin Chinese are the foundational skills that your child can learn around age 3-6. I know it sounds a lot that your child has to learn one hundred and one Chinese words; well, it’s not that daunting as it sounds. There is an easy way to do that.

I’ll share my approach with you in this post.

Stage 1. Starting from teaching your child to say numbers from 0 – 10 in Mandarin.

When it comes to learning numbers in Chinese, I first started to teach my daughter saying the numbers from 0 – 10 in Mandarin when she was three years old.

Being a bilingual family, we taught her to speak in both English and Mandarin.


Mandarin is a Chinese spoken format only. There are many dialects in China. Mandarin is only one of them, and it happens to be the national language. Reading and writing Chinese characters is a separate system kids need to learn.

Yes, zero is a number, so I included it as well.

At this stage, I’d only teach a three-year-old to SAY the numbers in Mandarin first. Writing should be left to around 4-5 years old.

I know if you speak Mandarin, teaching your child saying 0 – 10 is no brainer.

However, if you don’t speak Chinese yourself, you will have to rely on someone else to do that. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. You can watch this video together with your child, and learn how to say these numbers 0 – 10 in Chinese.

There are many many ways you can teach your child counting these numbers. Why not make as FUN as possible for him/her?  Better still, how about incorporating learning with playing. That’s what I always like to do.

So, being a big fan of the Montessori method, my husband has made the following toys for our daughter:

  1. Counting rods
  2. Sandpaper numbers
  3. Pink tower

You can use any of these above teach your child counting the numbers from 0 – 10 in Chinese.

Or, if you or your spouse are into DIY toys, you can make these toys at home and have your child involved in the process as we did. Children love hands-on activities.

If you can’t or have no space to make these toys, here are a few ideas that won’t break your bank:

  1. Popsicle sticks
  2. Pom poms
  3. Bottle caps

When I say counting the numbers 0 – 10, I meant not just have your child count the numbers in numerical order. The aim should be teaching them how to USE these numbers in daily life.

For example, you can have your child to count fruits, toys, fingers, books, trees and many other things around your child, in Mandarin.

You can also play the games we shared with you in our video.

Please don’t rush to count beyond the number 10 until your child has mastered the numbers 0-10.

As a reference, I started to teach my daughter when she was three years old. I didn’t move to the next stage (numbers 11-20) until she was four.

If your child is older (e.g. 4-6) and has started learning numbers from school, then you can shorten the period in teaching these Chinese numbers if your child is up for it.

Regardless of your child’s age, learning to say the numbers 0-10 is a must before moving on to next stage.

Stage 2 –  SAY numbers 11 – 20 in Mandarin and WRITE numbers 1 – 10 in Simplified Chinese.

Once your child has mastered SAYING and USING the numbers from 0 – 10, they are ready to learn to say the numbers 11 – 20.

Again, if you are a non-native speaker, you can watch this video with your child and learn how to say the numbers 10 – 20 in Mandarin.

It’s important to note that I’ve introduced two parts of learning in this stage:

Part 1 – Learn to Say and Use the number 11 – 20 in Mandarin.

Part 2 – Learn to Write numbers 1 – 10 in Simplified Chinese.

In the video, notice we started counting from 10 then to 20. That’s because I want my little viewers to connect what they’ve learnt from my 1st video in Stage 1 for counting numbers 0 – 10.

Now, let’s dive into each part of learning in this stage:

Part 1 – Learn to say and use the numbers 11 – 20 in Mandarin.

Saying numbers from 11 – 20 is relatively easy providing your child has learned to say the numbers 0-10 in Mandarin.

Your child only needs to add the 1-9(一to九) digits on the number 10 (十). Then the numbers become 十一(11),十二(12),十三(13), 十四(14), 十五(15), 十六(16) 十七(17), 十八(18), 十九(19) and keep counting upwards as per the image on the right hand.

As you can see, the Pinyin (Mandarin pronunciation) and the Chinese characters for 1-9 (一to 九) do not change. It means your child is not learning anything new.

Followed by that, it’s 二十 (20),  二十一(21),二十二(22)  and so on. It works precisely as the numeric numbers!


As for USING the numbers, you can use a similar approach as per Stage 1 in this post and have your child count objects around the house up to 20. I’m sure you’ll be more creative than me on this one, so no need for me to go further.

Part 2 – Learn to Write numbers 1 – 10 in Simplified Chinese.

Now, writing numbers from 1 – 10 in Chinese characters is crucial because these characters will be used as building blocks to write more numbers from 11 to 100 down the road.

Take as much time as you need. I can assure you once your child has learnt how to write Chinese numbers 1 -10, it’d be a lot quicker for them to write from 11 to 100 in Chinese.

By the way, I only teach Simplified Chinese writing. If you don’t know what that is, then please read my post Should Your Children Learn Simplified or Traditional Chinese Writing.

For a young child who is just starting to learn writing Chinese characters, I’d like to keep it Simple and Fun.

That’s why I created these tracing sheets for my daughter to practising writing Chinese numbers 1 – 10:

write numbers 1-10

There are three learning outcomes your child can achieve by using these writing sheets:

Learning outcome 1. Sound out the number in Mandarin using Chinese Pinyin.

Pinyin is the Chinese phonetic system that’s used to pronounce the Chinese character in Mandarin. In my opinion, it is the most fundamental skill a child or any beginner need to learn before learning everything else about Mandarin Chinese.

Put this way. Good Pinyin skill means your child will speak better Mandarin with less or no accent. By accurately sounding out the Pinyin alphabets, your child can self-correct the pronunciation of Mandarin.

There are other benefits to learn Chinese Pinyin as well. If you want to know more about why-what-when-how to learn Pinyin, my posts below will shed some light:

What is Chinese Piny?

What forms Chinese Pinyin?

Why do children need to learn Chinese Pinyin?

What is the best time to learn Chinese Pinyin?

How kids can learn and remember each Chinese Pinyin sounds, the FUN way!

Learning outcome 2. Tracing the stroke orders of the Chinese character.

Why tracing? It’s because Chinese characters are logograms that are built upon in sequence stroke by stroke.

When native Chinese children learn to write, they, too, start from those radicals (偏旁) and characters with fewer strokes.

Later on, these radicals and simple characters will be used to write more complex characters.

Let’s use the word ‘Cut’ in Chinese, for example:

As you can see, where I highlighted in red are radicals.

Radicals don’t have any literate meaning, but they are used to write a complete Chinese character.

Where I highlighted in green, although simple, they are the complete characters with meanings. In other words, these simple words can either be used individually or as a building block to write more complex Chinese characters as your child progresses.

Regardless of how simple or complex a Chinese character is, the writing sequence or stroke order must be strictly followed from day one. Otherwise, your child would not be able to remember that many strokes let alone writing the many more Chinese characters to come.


Hence, I incorporated this Step/stroke orders tracing in the sheets, and that’s how I taught my daughter writing the Chinese numbers.

As you can see in the 1st and 2nd videos, she’s quite confident in writing these Chinese numbers.

Learning outcome 3. Play and write the Chinese character

My daughter loves this step because she can either use crayons, coloured pens or playdough to build up the Chinese character.

Whatever she prefers to use, I always ask her to use one colour for each stroke as per Step 2.

By doing this, it visually reinforces the stoke orders. It also helps children to see how the characters are built up.

Yes, stage two involves a bit of learning.  So don’t rush your child, particularly the writing of Chinese numbers 1 -10.

Notice I intentionally left out the writing of Zero 零 in Chinese at this stage because there are too many strokes, 13 of them, for this character! I don’t want to discourage my child from writing Chinese by throwing her a complex character at the beginning. Though, it will be coming up in Stage 3.

Stage 3 –SAY the numbers 21 – 100 in Mandarin and to WRITE the numbers 0, 11 – 20, and up to 100 in Simplified Chinese.

I started this stage with my daughter after she was five years old. Because she has learnt solid Chinese number skills in Stage 1 and Stage 2, I found this stage was pretty easy for her.

Be in mind. Most of the children at age five to six would have attended school anyway. So the number concept would not be new for them to grasp.

Some of the 5-year-year old can easily count to 100. As a result, your child only needs to learn how to SAY and WRITE the numbers in Mandarin Chinese.

Back to learn to say the numbers 21 – 100.

If you are a non-native speaker, you can watch this tutorial with your child and learn how to say the numbers from 0 – 100.

When watching this tutorial, I suggest that you have this 100s chart ready so that your child can follow the numbers as we speak, and copy how we say.

Note there is no zero in this chart because I couldn’t fit it in the table. But, zero is a number, so it shouldn’t be left out in your teaching.

You child can play the Chinese 100 numbers matching game below (click to play):

Or he/she can also use flashcards to play ‘100s chart on the floor’ game with your child as we did in this quick video below (click to play):

For writing the Chinese characters for numbers 0, 11 – 20, and up to 100, you can use these tracing sheets:

write chinese numbers 11-20

I created these tracing sheets with the same concept as the tracing sheets for writing Chinese numbers 1 -10 in Stage 2. That is: Pinyin >> Stroke Orders >> Play

Please scroll back to Stage 2 in this post for more details.

It won’t take long before your child can independently write the Chinese numbers 11 – 20 providing your child has learnt to write the Chinese numbers 1 – 10 in Stage 2.

I now included the Chinese character for zero 零 in this stage because your child is ready after having learnt writing 1-10. Be patient to help your child write this word a few more times before she/he can write independently.


When writing Chinese zero 零, try to associate the stokes with the shapes your child already knows and make up a story. It’s a FUN and EASIER way for your child to remember the stoke orders.

Here is how I said to my daughter while she was writing the Chinese number zero 零:

The sky is full of clouds. Four raindrops fell from the sky and landed on the house roof. Below the ceiling, a little person is sitting on a chair.

She still says these words today when she writes this Chinese character zero (零)!

See my illustration below: 

By now, your child would have learnt to write the Chinese numbers from 0 – 20.

Once your child has learnt to write the numbers from 0 – 20, writing the numbers from 21 to 99 is easy. Same as learning to write Chinse number 11-19 (十一 to 十九), your child only needs to add 1 -9 (一 to九) onto the 20s(二十), 30s(三十), 40s(四十), 50s(五十),60s(六十), 70s(七十), 80s(八十), 90s(九十) to 99 (九十九).


As for the Chinese number 100 (一百), the stroke orders for 百/hundred are shown in the video above (click to play).

Wow, there is a lot to digest in this post. That’s because I tried to cover everything you need to know about SAYING and WRITING the numbers 0 – 100 in Mandarin Chinese. These ideas worked for us, and I hope it works for your child too

chinese numbers 1-100


Do you have any query in learning SAYING and WRITING the Chinese numbers 0 – 100 after reading this post? Please leave your comments below, or go to Panda Mama Facebook community to leave your message there. Most likely, if you have a query, other parents would have too.

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