Inspired by Beanie N Us series on nurturing a love for Chinese, I decided to also share some activities that I do with Sophie to inject the fun element into learning Chinese.
Ever since we decided to enrol Sophie into a SAP school, one of our greatest worry is whether she will get used to learning in a Chinese environment. The last thing I wanted for her is to struggle with the language and dislike it so much that she rejects it.
So we have been very intentional to converse with her in Chinese, pick out Chinese titles from the library, read Chinese books for her and bring her to watch Chinese plays as well as TV programs.
At 6 years old, I would say that Sophie has made pretty good progress for her Chinese and a lot of credit goes to her Mandarin teacher in the childcare who made sure that she has a strong foundation in her reading and writing. She may not be very proficient now but what I’m most heartened is that she’s more and more comfortable using Chinese to communicate with us and that includes enjoying her Chinese books and even writing.
“Those things you learn without joy, you will forget easily.”-old Finnish saying
Fun ways to learn Chinese
1. Be dramatic
Every weekend, Sophie comes home from her Berries class with flash cards of idioms. Not something I was expecting K2 level to learn since I only learnt that in primary 5!
2. Playing games
In her class, she’s made to do this activity where the kids needs to fill in words either before or after a word so that they learn how to use the word. It’s somewhat like Chinese scrabble, not sure if I’m describing it right and it does help her to expand her vocabulary.
At this point, she still doesn’t know how to write a lot of words, so she just shouts it out and I get tested on my Chinese at the same time. Except there are times I make gross mistake like the one below where I wrote 手指 as 手子 . A LOL moment which we laughed about when I was pointed out of my mistake after I shared it on Facebook!
Using HYPY for words she doesn’t know how to write. And no reason why we can’t add doddles and drawings to reinforce those new words she just learnt too.
3. Story telling
To help Sophie get comfortable with writing in complete sentences, we role play as story tellers and teachers and add in writing along the way. I leave it entirely up to her how her story progresses and will chip in to gives hints or suggestions if she needs help.
When I allow her to take charge and lead in the story telling, I can see her exercise her creative juices and though sometimes it may be wacky or silly, it’s ok with me as she’s having fun and not dreading it.
4. Reading Chinese Books
Friends with primary school going kids have been telling me that there’s greater emphasis on conversational Mandarin instead of written abilities in lower primary. So to help Sophie learn the proper terms which I sometimes struggle with myself, I picked up this Thematic Dictionary from Popular.
For each theme, it will the terms of things associated to it in both Chinese and English as well as HYPY. I also use the picture to get Sophie talking about what she can see from the picture and she’s getting more confident speaking and expressing herself in Mandarin.
Another series of book that I recommend is this series below where it’s catered for different age groups. I bought a few titles from the second book store in Bras Bersah for just $1.50 and some were hand me downs from her cousin.
These stories are easy to understand and the words are printed in a very clear font unlike some other books. Plus, they have flash cards with both the Chinese words and HYPY as well.
What other activities do you do to inject fun for your child to learn Chinese? I’ll love to hear from you too 🙂
For related entries on learning
- Developing a love for Chinese in children
- Why the comparisons are hurting your child
- Motivational Mondays – Reeling in the KS mum in me