When I was young, I always struggle with mother tongue subject: Chinese. I just don’t understand why we need to learn Chinese and why can’t be as simple as ABC. There are so many strokes and so many words. It was overwhelming for me.
Now it’s smarties’ turn to struggle. I know how difficult it was to learn something you don’t really like. Hence, I try to make learning Chinese as fun as possible at home so that they won’t dislike it.
The first change we made at home was to start speaking Chinese. It was tough initially and smarties objected to speaking Chinese at home as we have been comfortably speaking English since they were born but they don’t mind speaking Chinese to their grandparents.
As parents, we are their role models. We started our mini home campaign. We slowly “sneak” in some Chinese description or words into our conversation as we speak to each other. As time goes by, smarties started to get comfortable with conversing in Chinese with us except it sounds really potato, if you get what I mean. No worries, I’m sure we will get there.
On top of speaking, we also started listening to Chinese songs too!
I love flash cards and is the best way to get kids to recognize words by showing it to them, reading them out loud and playing games with it. Words recognition is the foundation for reading. The sooner they can start recognizing and reading those words on their own, the better it is for nurturing their love for this subject as their confidence level has grown.
Some Chinese words do resemble what they are meant to portray. You may use Chinese pictorial cards to teach to make the lesson even more fun. For myself, it always leads to art lesson after Chinese lesson. To find out more details, you may check out our post on “How to teach your child Chinese at home“.
If you noticed, Chinese characters are like Lego pieces. They come in blocks and once you know how to put the pieces together to form words, learning Chinese characters can be fun.
Chinese has its tone and they are 4 intonations in total. Speaking or using the wrong intonation on a word will change its meaning. Therefore, it is important not only teaching words but also to teach the right intonation of each word.
Need more guidance on how to teach pinyin at home? Check out our blog post “Learn Hanyu Pinyin“
Learning the tech way
When the lesson starts to look boring or kids not listening. Head over to the computer and go to the online website to try out some fun learning activities provided by MOE (Ministry of Education). The below details are taken from MOE’s website.
- Chinese Language Word Games 语文游戏乐翻天A portal that uses educational games to aid P1-P3 students in the revision of Chinese characters and words that they have learned through an enriching and enjoyable learning experience.
- Happytown 欢乐小镇This platform was developed in 2000 for primary level students. Currently, it showcases archived content from the year 2000 – 2006.
- Oracy eLand 听说e乐园Oracy eLand is an online interactive learning portal that is designed to equip primary 1 to 3 students with commonly used vocabulary and sentence patterns that they can use in their daily conversations with others.
- Xue Le 学乐A website that features multimedia content that complements the CL primary curriculum 2007, as well as the latest CL primary curriculum 2015.
Let me show you how our daily Chinese lesson looks like at home for our Primary 1 kid.
We started off with flashcards to show the words we learn for the day. Note that we do this for a few days repeatedly so that they will recognize the word and remember it. Repetition has its benefits. It helps to strengthen the brain’s neural processors and it teaches children to retain knowledge.
In addition to recognizing the words, we need to know how to pronounce it. I will pronounce it a few times with her and explain to her which intonation it will be.
Next, we move on to writing the words. This helps them to understand better how the characters are being formed and also aid in their Chinese ting xie. She will also get to learn how to write the pinyin for the words as well. To learn to write, we use the gridded “magic cloth”. We love using this as it made you feel really Chinese. Best of all, it is rewritable and I don’t have to worry about running out of ink or getting ink stains because it uses water only.
At times, we will do a craft or drawing of the words we learn for the day or we play some games. Here are some suggestions for games:
At the end of the lesson, I will read a story to her with hands-on activities. This really works wonders, especially for younger kids.
Keen on getting the list that we are using here? Then click on the image below and head over to the page to download the printable. It consists of the word in English, Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin and a picture.
Catch our short clip on how we conduct our Chinese lesson at home in a fun way!
No matter what language you are teaching, it is important to practice consistently.
Do you learn something from us? Send us some love by commenting below.
If you have more tips to share, do comment and share with us too!