ACTIVITY OF THE WEEK
This week, we will be helping our children learn about the structure of some classical Chinese poems, the concept of rhyming, and the idea of painting images with words.
CLASSICAL CHINESE POETRY ACTIVITIES - POETRY STRIPS
- Classical Chinese poems for reference
- Write or print out several Chinese classical poems
- Feel free to download some examples in Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese
- Cut each line of poetry into its own strip of paper
- Depending on how you plan to play, you may need to do this multiple times per poem, or even provide more than one poem.
Line Scramble (age 3+, single or multi person)
1. Mix up the strips of poetry lines
2. Have kids work together to put the lines in order
Alternatively, you can give each child a pile of poetry slips and have them see who is faster. To make it harder for older children, you can cut each poetry line in half to make more parts.
Fill in the Blanks (age 3+, single or multi person)
1. On the printed out poems, cover a few of the characters per line
2. Ask your child to fill in the blanks (either written or spoken)
3. You can take turns each blank, or hand out sheets and have them write it out.
You can make this easier for younger children by having the missing words written on the side for them to fill in. You can also put the missing words on cards so that it can be more interactive. To make the activity harder, you can add more blanks.
CLASSICAL CHINESE POETRY ACTIVITIES - DRAW THE POEM
- Blank paper
- Drawing utensils (pens, crayons, paint, etc.)
Draw the Poem (age 3+, single or multi person)HOW TO PLAY
1. Read and explain the poem
2. Ask if children have any questions
3. Ask them to draw how the poem makes them feel, or illustrate the story of the poem
If your children are younger, it’s easier to have them draw what happens in the poem or something tangible and concrete. For older children, you can have them draw a more abstract representation of the poem. For example, instead of what is happening in the poem, they can draw how this poem makes them feel, or how the narrator is feeling, or the ideas/themes of the poem.
CLASSICAL CHINESE POETRY ACTIVITIES - WRITE YOUR OWN POEM
Although there are many in-depth rules and structures for classic Chinese poetry, that is outside the scope of this articles. For our purposes, we will stick with some simple definitions:
- Couplets: 2 line verse that rhymes
- 2 Couplets (4 lines): the minimum number of lines in a poem
- Fixed Line Lengths: typically 4, 5, and 7 characters for each line
Depending on how much you want to explain or make your children do (or how hard they think it is), you can choose to have them create couplets, two couplets, of any fixed line length.WHAT YOU NEED
- Paper and pencil/pen
Write Your Own Poem (age 3+, single or multi person)HOW TO PLAY
1. Explain the different types of poem structures (see above)
2. Choose which formula you want the kids to follow (or have them choose for themselves).
3. Choose a topic. (It is usually easier for children to have a topic.)
4. Write and then share/read aloud.
If your children are younger, you can write most of a poem and have them choose the rhyming words - even if it doesn’t make sense. This is to teach rhyme and rhythm and it can be very funny to the kids if it ends up being nonsense.
Or you can have the entire group of kids write a poem together about a given topic instead of making them write their own.