Marshmallow and Toothpick Activity
By far, this was the most enthusiastically embraced activity we introduced this year. Possibly because of the marshmallows.
We love the activity because it helps your children with spatial orientation, structural engineering, character recognition, tactile agility, and clean up is easy because you can just eat the materials (except the toothpicks - don’t eat that). Plus, the end results always look so impressive in pictures!
Character Domino Game
This is one of our most labour-intensive games that we featured this year, but it’s a sturdy game so you only have to put in the work once. (Or twice, if you want to be ambitious and make another set!)
This game is fun because there are so many ways to play dominoes and you can use the varying game rules on the internet and adapt them with the Chinese characters. If you want, you can always use this to teach the Chinese characters for numbers and then you don’t have to worry about swapping out the characters.
In addition, your children will learn to form patterns, match characters, apply strategy, and have a lot of fun in the process. Also, the click-clacking of the dominoes is very satisfying!
Help Your Child Form Characters with Playdough
The best part of this activity is that the only preparation is to provide playdough or clay or some sort of moldable material. You can endlessly adapt this to increasingly difficult vocabulary because your child has to create the character as the actual activity. You can even use it for non-Chinese related vocabulary because playdough can be used for any language.
Through the usage of playdough, your child will develop hand strength, spatial orientation, character recognition. Plus, it uses their tactile senses to form Chinese characters. Using multiple senses will help cement these characters into your child’s long term memory and at the very least, will devolve into a creative play session.
釣魚遊戲 Fishing Game
Children particularly love this game because it can be individual, cooperative, or competitive. It’s best to use 3-5 characters at a time to allow for retention. The best part is that the kids think they’re playing and “fishing” when in actuality, they’re recognizing and matching characters.
If you don’t want to use an actual fishing rod, you can always have them catch the fish with their bare hands. This game is easily adaptable and always a hit.
Go Fish and Old Maid
Both these games are old classic card games and it’s a nice easy way to introduce the concept of matching characters with one another - which is really key in identifying how characters are similar as well as unique. The games are fast moving and familiar and can be played in teams or individually.
Plus, the rules are usually very easy and parents don’t have a hard time explaining it to their children (or remembering from when they themselves were little).