How to make learning Chinese fun?

This post is targeted at children from the age of 6 to 12 years old. Here are 3 games to get your children excited about learning with just a pen and some papers.

1. Storytelling with Chinese Characters

Get your children to decorate the Chinese characters that they are learning. Their drawings should encapsulate the meaning of the words. This process is not only more engaging than rote memory learning, it will also help them to remember the strokes better.


What I have noticed is that as the children become more experienced in decorating the characters, they will go on to surprise you with their creativity and understanding of more complex and abstract words.

Can you guess the meaning of the characters above? Tap on the pictures to reveal the answers.

2. Snakes and Ladders

Continue to capture your children’s imagination and push their capacity to learn with a game emulating the classic snake and ladder boardgame.

This is the best game to get your children interested in revising the new vocabulary learnt.

Why? You get them to write the words while creating the boardgame. You get them to read the words while playing. Most importantly, you get them excited about learning!

This game is also an excellent opportunity for you to introduce the different festive seasons such as Lunar New Year, Easter, Mooncake Festival, Halloween and Christmas. 

Additional Materials Required

1. Dice
2. Figurines

How to Play?

Step 1: Roll the Dice.
Step 2: The player will advance through the boxes with his/her figurine according to the number on the dice. The player will have to read out the Chinese words as he/she moves the figurine.

Rule 1: For any words that the player can’t read, he/she will not be able to move the figurine past the box.

Rule 2: The player will get to climb up the ladder if he/she lands on a box that has a connecting ladder.

Rule 3: Correspondingly, the player will slide down if he/she lands on a box that has a slide connected.Winner: The first player who completes the race will win the game.

3. Snap / Memory Game

To end off the lesson, you can get your children to create flash cards by writing the words in 1⁄4 of an A4 paper.

In this way, you created another opportunity for your children to practise writing while taking away the sense of repetition and boredom that was synonymous with traditional writing practices. If your children have the patience to complete this task, they will be rewarded with a game of “Snap” or “Memory Game”. You will need at least 2 sets of the flashcards to play the game.

How to Play?


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Memory Game

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Step 1: Place the stack of flashcards in the middle of the table.

Step 2: Each player will take a turn to flip a card open and READ it ALOUD.

Step 3: When 2 cards with the same words are opened consecutively, the first player who place the hand on the pile of cards and shout “snap” will win the pile of cards.

Step 1: Place the flashcards randomly, facing downwards, in neat rows and columns.

Step 2: Each player will take a turn to flip 2 cards open.

Step 3: If the cards match, the player will keep the pair of cards. The player will get an additional turn.

Step 4: If not, the next player will continue with the game.

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Winner: The player with the greatest number of cards will win the game.



Parting Thoughts

For many English-speaker, Mandarin is not an easy language to master because they are so different. Even for native learner, Mandarin is a language that requires children to practise writing the characters diligently and consistently from a young age. Perhaps, this could be a reason why Chinese are known to be a hardworking race. The truth is, it certainly takes a sheer amount of hard work to master written Mandarin. Nevertheless, hard work does not mean that the process has to be dull and mundane. We can make it fun and engaging by interspersing the lessons with games and laughter!

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