5 Ways to bring out the fun in using Chinese
Get started straight away with these fun activities!
Oh, the endless memorisation… the penmanship practice… No wonder kids feel that learning Chinese is a chore. It doesn’t have to be this way. When Chinese learning activities are fun, using the language comes naturally and easily.
Here are five easy ways to make learning Chinese interesting and effective:
5 Easy and Fun Chinese Learning Activities
1. Make speaking Chinese rewarding
There’s no doubt about it — a motivated learner is a quick learner. A pep talk, however, will not be effective. Instead, give your kids a first-hand experience to show them that speaking Chinese is useful and rewarding.
Your starting point is, when a child asks for something in English, to say it in Chinese and get him or her to repeat it before fulfilling the request. He or she will soon learn how to say it correctly without any help.
With enough practice, your child will be able to use the skill in public spaces such as ordering food in Chinese. Being able to ask for things in Chinese and then actually receiving them will give your child a feeling of accomplishment and shows him or her that Chinese is a practical skill to have and develop.
Once your child is confident about requesting for things in Chinese, let your child put his or her skills to the test in a real-life situation, like ordering food in a restaurant. In fact, why not head over to McDonald’s this weekend for a fun and rewarding Chinese learning experience for your kids?
Xin Zhong Wen, a specialist Chinese language education provider for preschool to primary school students, presents Project 开心点. What’s in it for the kids? Children 12 and below get a free Happy Meal if they place their order in Chinese at selected McDonald’s branches on 16 & 17 February (while stocks last).
This simple food-ordering activity at McDonald’s is your kid’s chance to practise and apply his or her Chinese skills outside the classroom. If your child is not confident about the proper Chinese phrases for food items in the Happy Meal such as cheeseburger and chicken nuggets, do not worry! Xin Zhong Wen has produced a cute and colourful guide to teach children how to use specific vocabulary and simple sentence structures to make their order in Chinese.
The launch of Project 开心点is part of Xin Zhong Wen’s bigger initiative to:
- Empower students in their own Chinese learning journey
- Encourage students to practise Chinese in their daily lives
2. Introduce Chinese songs
Most children learn songs very easily! That is why music is one of best aids to help children remember new Chinese words.
As part of Project 开心点, Xin Zhong Wen brings out the fun in learning Chinese through a special upbeat song that teaches children (and grown-ups) the Chinese words for various Happy Meal items. It follows the tune of “Ah Vous Dirai-Je, Maman” (“ABC” and “Twinkle, Twinkle”) so there’s no need to learn a new melody. Watch the video below and prepare to sing along with your child!
3. Read Chinese books together
Aside from being a great bonding activity, reading also familiarises children with the sound of Chinese words and the way characters look.
Did you know that well-loved children’s books have been translated into Chinese? Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle, Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, and No, David! by David Shannon are just a few examples of beloved bestsellers in Chinese. Read-aloud videos are available online for parents who aren’t too confident in their own Chinese skills.
For more titles, Xin Zhong Wen has a specially curated reading list: 6 Chinese Books Your Child Should Read. Xin Zhong Wen even publishes original and fun stories for its preschool curriculum weekly. You can find these works and other books that fit your child’s interests and language proficiency in the library section of its three centres at Great World City, NEX and Westgate.
4. Play games in Chinese
In the words of Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun!” Children learn a lot through play, and games are great tools to make learning Chinese fun and effortless for your child.
“I Spy” is a popular game for learning to describe items while “What time is it, Mr. Fox?” teaches children how to recognise numbers. Aside from learning new vocabulary, games also make children familiar with sentence structures.
To play “I Spy,” start with “我 看到…” then describe an object you see. The one who guesses the object becomes the next ‘Spy’.
“What time is it, Mr. Fox?” requires one person to be the Fox at one end of the room while other players on the other side have to ask “老狼，老狼，几点了？” The time that the Fox gives will determine the number of steps that the players can take towards him. This goes on until he yells “半夜了！(Midnight)” and turns around to chase the others. The one he catches becomes the next ‘Mr. Fox’.
5. Watch Chinese educational shows
To further immerse children in a bilingual environment, make sure that they do not just watch English shows.
Qiao Hu (Smart Tiger) Qiao Hu Chinese language series includes Hanyu Pinyin, radicals, the origin of Chinese characters and even idiom stories. Junction Tree, Singapore’s first-ever bilingual show for preschool children, can also be accessed easily. Its English-Chinese version is a lot less intimidating than the Chinese version of Sesame Street, while using the same kid-friendly mix of fun songs and friendly puppets.
Mums and dads, it’s clear that bringing out the fun in Chinese is a sure-fire way to inspire your kids to practise Chinese outside the classroom. Remember that as parents, you, along with Chinese educators like Xin Zhong Wen, play an important role in encouraging your kids along their learning journey — so keep it fun and interesting!
To find out more about the Project 开心点and Xin Zhong Wen’s programmes (including Chinese learning activities), head on over to this page.