Making Phrases and Sentences with Characters

The activity this week is geared more towards older children, but your younger child can still participate. Remember to have age-appropriate expectations for your child so you don’t get frustrated at things they’re not developmentally ready to do.


This week, the activity is to make simple phrases or sentences with the characters your child already knows.




  • Cards or popsicle sticks or rocks
  • Sharpie or thick marker
  • Coloring pencils, crayons, markers, etc


  • Write (or have your child write) a character on each card, popsicle stick, or rock.
  • If your child wants to color and decorate the cards, let them.

Quick Tip: Make sure the characters you choose can be combined to make phrases and/or sentences. You can always use several of the longer sentences in the books.


Making Phrases (age 4+, single/multi player)

1) Place all the cards face up in front of your child.

2) Choose a card and have your child pair the card with one of the face up cards to make a phrase.
3) If there is more than one child, have the next player choose another of the face up cards to make a phrase with the chosen card. (Alternatively, just have your child choose another face up card.)

4) Continue until you run out of cards that make phrases with your chosen card.


Making Phrases - Age 4+

Making Sentences (age 5+, single/multi player)

1) Place all the cards face up in front of your child.
2) Have your child rearrange the cards to make a sentence.
3) Write the sentence down on a white board or a sheet of paper.
4) If there is more than one child, have the next player make another sentence with the same cards.
5) Otherwise, have the child keep making sentences until they run out of options.


Alternative ideas: If the children are older, instead of rearranging the cards, you can have them write directly on the paper. Have the children write as many sentences as possible with the character choices. Then, have the kids take turns reading out their sentences. If they read a sentence that someone else also came up with, everyone crosses that sentence out. Whoever has the most sentences that are not crossed out at the end wins the game.

Making Sentences - age 5+

We would love to hear your comments and see pictures of your kids doing the activities. Make sure you join our Sagebooks HK Parent Support Facebook Group and share with us!


Sometimes, you just have to move on.

It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, your child just needs time to marinate. Resist the urge to endlessly review and go over characters your child has trouble remembering. Trust that Basic Chinese 500 is written in a way that your child will have plenty of opportunities to come across these characters in later chapters.

When your child is ready, they’ll remember. In fact, one day, out of the blue, they’ll magically know the characters and you’ll wonder how or why, but all your kid needed was time.

Like this tip? Join us in our Facebook Group and meet other parents who are teaching their kids Basic Chinese 500 at all different ages and levels.

Have a wonderful day and we’ll see you next week!