Ni Hao, Kai-lan’s Kai-lan Goes to China Episode
Review of "Kai-lan Goes to China" episode
“Kai-lan Goes to China” is a special double length episode of the Nick Jr. show Ni Hao, Kai-lan. The episode premiered on Nickelodeon on Friday, August 14, 2009, but was actually first released on the Ni Hao, Kai-lan DVD called Kai-lan’s Great Trip to China released on July 14, 2009. The episode offers a fun way for preschoolers to be introduced to some Chinese culture and language by going along with Kai-lan and her friends on a trip to China. It truly expands on how the show always teaches some Chinese along with other preschool level educational concepts by actually being mostly set in China.
The episode begins with Kai-lan’s Great Aunt in China inviting Kai-lan and her friends to visit her in Chian to meet a baby panda. The first educational aspect is soon inserted smoothly with Ye Ye showing where China is on a map compared to America. Ye Ye, Kai-lan, and her friends then take a plane ride to China. As they arrive at the airport viewers are encouraged to help Kai-lan locate her Great Aunt in the crowd after being shown a photo of her Great Aunt.
The teaching of Chinese terms begins at the airport. First off Kai-lan teaches her friends how to say “My name is…” in Chinese, so they can introduce themselves to her Great Aunt. Then as they are on their way to her Great Aunt’s house the word watermelon is taught when they see a sign for it at a roadside stand.
The issue dealt with in this episode is introduced when they stop for a snack at a noodle stand. At the stand Kai-lan’s friends are scared to try the noodles because they had never had them before. Then at her Great Aunt’s house Tolee continues to be scared of trying new things when he does not want to wear new slippers. The group helps him realize that he did like the noodles once he tried them and to at least give new things a chance because you might like them.
The second half of the episode is about Kai-lan and her friends meeting the baby panda. They introduce themselves to the panda, but he cannot introduce himself to them because he does not have a name, yet. The panda is to receive his name at a naming ceremony that evening at sundown and the group decides to get presents for the panda to give him at the ceremony.
Ye Ye and Kai-lan’s Great Aunt go with the group to the city to find presents. The first present they decide to get is a blanket. The panda likes watermelon, so the viewers are asked to help find a blanket with watermelon on it. Next the friends learn that babies in China often wear tiger shoes and Kai-lan even had some when she was younger. They decide to get a pair for the baby panda, but they must hurry and are not sure how to get to the island and back before sundown.
They decide to take a boat and viewers are asked to help spot one. The issue of the episode (trying new things) resurfaces with the baby panda not wanting to go on the boat. Kai-lan and her friends sing their song about trying it because you might end up liking it to help the panda gain the courage to try riding on the boat. It turns out he does like riding on boats.
Once on the island they get the tiger shoes and add it to the blanket they put in Kai-lan’s heart shaped box. They still need something else to give the panda and they decide to make the panda a mask after watching someone perform with Chinese Opera masks that show different feelings. After they have this present Kai-lan still wants one last special present for the baby panda. She decides to give the panda her heart box and decorates it with stickers (she asks viewers to help her find heart ones to put on it).
With the presents for the panda they reboard the boat and return to the panda village just as the sun goes down. The naming ceremony begins with Kai-lan and her friends each giving the baby panda one of the presents. The panda thanks them and calls them big brothers in Chinese (perhaps calls Kai-lan big sister, but is not specifically explained in the episode). The panda also thanks the viewers for helping find the presents by giving a kiss to the screen. The panda then receives his name, which means Little Watermelon in Chinese.
Overall Ni Hao, Kai-lan is a great show for preschoolers because it deals with issues they can often relate to and also teaches some Chinese and other concepts along the way. The “Kai-lan Goes to China” episode is one of the best I have seen, as it is full of Chinese words taught related to what goes on. It also teaches about trying new things, which is a something I think is very important for kids to learn to not be afraid of and open to doing from an early age.