Marshmallow and Toothpick Activity

We’re back this week with another learning activity and we hope you like it. It may be a lot easier for older children so for your younger kids, you may have to stick to very easy characters or be prepared to be very hands-on.


We’ll be having your child form Chinese characters using marshmallows (or clay or playdough) and toothpicks. If you use marshmallows, you can even eat your finished product!



- Marshmallows, clay, playdough
- toothpicks




Once again, the activity is the making so you don’t have to create anything in particular for your child other than providing the materials.



Creating Characters Activity (age 3+, single person)

1) Have your child form a character using a combination of marshmallows and toothpicks. If your child is too young to write by themself, you can either provide cards from which they can copy, or make a model for them to copy.
2) Once the character is formed, you can move on to other characters.

Though this activity is at base, very simple, it is rife with possibilities. Here are some alternative ideas:

a) See who can form a character first.
b) See who can create the most characters within a time limit.
c) See who can guess the most characters someone else makes.
d) Form phrases or sentences with the created characters.

Note: If your child is on the younger side, you may have to either form a character as a model for them to follow and copy, or you may have to make it for them and then have them “read” it.

My older kids were definitely better at this activity than my ~5 year old. After he made a few simple characters, he preferred to just stick random toothpicks into marshmallows and make shapes than follow directions. I was surprised at the complex characters my 8.5 year old created. (He may have been motivated by my saying that they could only eat the marshmallows they used in the characters.)

Can you guess what characters he made? (It’s easier to see your kids’ creations if you put them on a dark background.)


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!


Going through the Sagebooks curriculum consistently every day can often seem impossible. Not because the readers are difficult but because life often seems to get in the way. Sometimes, there will be days, or even weeks, when either you or your child just cannot seem to get it done. What should you do when that happens?

Just start again. Choose a day to begin and then begin again. Will you have to review some? Make up for lost characters? Yes.


Your child will initially have a hard time with the re-introduction (and so will you). But keep going. Tell yourself that 4 out of 5 weekdays is your goal. Or 5 out of 7 days is your goal. Then do it. And soon, before you know it, you’ll be done.

If only it were harder and easier than that. There is no other way to get through Sagebooks except to actually go through Sagebooks.

Do you find our tips for Sagebooks useful? Do you wish there were other people going through Sagebooks with you? Join us in our Facebook Group and meet other parents who are teaching their kids Basic Chinese 500 at all different ages and levels.