Activities not only make learning fun but also help kids to memorize what they learned better. I did lots of activities with my 4-year-old daughter during our Chinese language journey. In this post, I will share with you some of the activities we did recently.
1. Form/build Chinese characters with sticks, straws, paper strips, etc.
One day I saw my daughter was forming a square in the living room, she asked what’s that when she finished, I told her it’s 口（mouth）, she was so happy that what she formed meant something( a mouth?). Inspired by this, I quickly printed some words （日，目，白，田，甲，由） and cut black hard paper strips for her. She started to build them following the printed examples, and I explained the meanings to her. She was so excited and kept building for half an hour.
We also formed Chinese characters with pasta：
Chinese characters are like legos, we can build them in different ways. The video below shows how we can form various Chinese characters with big 口 （大口框 dà kǒu kuāng ）just by inserting a different element in.
2. March and search – to memorize similar Chinese characters.
When my daughter meets similar Chinese characters and misreads them, I seldom correct her immedicately, but I note it down and explain to her later so that she will not be discouraged.
Most of the time, I show her these similar Chinese characters first, and then put all of these similar Chinese characters together, let her to find out the differences.
In the “march and find activity” we pretended that the small doll （whose name is 木兰 Mùlán ）got a task: to find proper Chinese characters that her master told her. For example, I said：
Mùlán, yǒu gè xiǎotōu jiào “biān”, xiànzài nǐ qù bǎ tā zhuā lái. Jì zhù, yǒu hěnduō zì hé “biān” zì hěn xiàng, bié zhuā cuòle!
Mulan, there is a thief called “边“, now you go to catch him! remember, there are many thieves that look like “边“, don’t catch wrongly.
Sometimes, I also apply an easier way for her to memorize similar Chinese characters: Just find and color it!
3. Trace Chinese characters with colored rice.
I have no idea why my daughter loves colored rice so much, there is so much to play with! Tracing Chinese characters is one of them. If you apply this activity, make sure you print large Chinese characters, otherwise, the whole Chinese character will be covered and you can hardly recognize the strokes.
we also did such activity with colored rice- feed the hedgehog while learning this poem:
Xiǎo cìwèi, dùzi è, yào chī mǐ, kuài wèi wǒ.
Little hedgehog, very hungry, wants to eat rice, feed me quickly.
However, tracing Chinese characters can be done with different objects. Sometimes I do NOT prepare especially. When I see my daughter is playing with small objects, I write down stokes, radicals, or print large Chinese characters for her to trace. I believe not all of us have time to prepare nice materials for children.
4. Confidential message.
This activity is so cool and very easy to prepare.
You just need to write Chinese characters with white crayon on white papers, the kids paint it with watercolor paint, then Chinese characters will magically appear. My daughter was very excited to discover all of them!
Another similar activity is the magical Chinese activity. Click and see, For sure your child will like as well.
5. Match Chinese characters.
Matching can be done in different ways, the child has to find the same Chinese characters and put them together. You may cut printed sentences into different colors, match with sticker dots , or write Chinese characters on leaves. These pictures below show you the ideas!
6. Scribble over Chinese characters with colored ice.
This activity is very simple, all you need to do is to prepare colored ice. I added food color into water and froze it (to make ice). My daughter took the ice and scribbled over Chinese characters on white papers. Amazingly, she could learn Chinese characters in this way!
7. Form Chinese characters with the playdough.
I think most of the children play with playdough, then why not use it to learn Chinese characters? Your child can practice fine motor skills at the same time.
8. Color Chinese characters!
Print some pictures with names, let your child color them. They spend a good time learning, you also have your time to get your tasks done.
9. Sensory Play.
Write Chinese characters on a decorative foam, cut and insert into a zip bag, then pull some cream (shampoo，shower Gel）into the zip bag, paste it on the floor or one a table, and let your Chinese touch and play. If you like, you can also draw a monster with a permanent marker, your child will push all these pieces into the monster’s month.
10. Make a mini-book.
I made lots of mini-books for my daughter, sometimes there are only a few Chinese characters in the book. The example here shows how you can create new Chinese phrases with learned words by making a mini-book.
Hope you got some inspirations from this post, have fun in learning!