We can all agree that we learn much faster and remember things a lot better if we are having fun! No one looks forward to cleaning the house, but turn it into a game and it’s not so bad. But don’t just believe us, there is lots of research proving that children learn more effectively when they are having fun. That’s something we take to heart here at Lingo Bus. Our curriculum is built to include lots of fun interactive games and our teachers are trained to provide a supportive engaging atmosphere. Unfortunately, we can’t be with you 24/7 even though we’d like to, so here are some fun games you can introduce to your children to complement their Lingo Bus classes and support their Chinese language journey.
Foreign games that your children often play can be changed to support Chinese language learning, and we encourage you to do this. Since we are talking about China, we’re going to focus on Chinese traditional games that most children in China would know and play. In this way not only are you encouraging language learning but also introducing a part of Chinese culture into your lives.
Chinese Tic Tac Toe
Let’s start with a hard one! This is a game of strategy and logic that could potentially be used with flashcards or to memorize new words. You can find tutorials on YouTube, but it’s basically a harder version of Tic Tac Toe. As long as you have paper and a pen you can play this. Each player has two chips that they can move in either direction, the aim of the game is to move your chips so that it blocks the other player from making a move. You can also practice giving directions by directing someone in Chinese on how they should move the chips, or even use it to explain how you are moving your own. Like Tic Tac Toe sometimes you can draw.
Not an official game, but my own Mandarin teacher liked to make us play this. She would blindfold us and tell us a character, we would then have to write it on the paper still blindfolded. It was fun to see the crazy characters we would come up with!
You may be thinking of badminton because of the name but it’s nothing like it. You don’t use rackets and you play with your feet! You can find instructions online on how to make one. It’s a feather-covered toy with a weight that is passed from one person to another using their feet, you can also play on your own but that takes a lot of practice. This game is very popular with all ages in China, even in my morning walks, I see old grannies playing it very competitively in teams. Whoever drops it loses, the winner could ask the looser language questions, or simply have the looser complete an exercise in Chinese. You could even practice speaking as you are playing, your imagination is the limit!
Maybe not such a common scene on the playground anymore but I remember playing this as a kid. The Chinese jump rope is similar, a thin piece of elastic rope is looped around two people, leaving space in the middle for the competing players. But unlike the Western jump rope, the object of this game is to hook your legs into the rope to form loops and patterns in a certain sequence alongside chants. As each level is completed, the rope is moved higher, making the patterns and chants more difficult to complete. This game can be played with Chinese tongue twisters or rhymes!
These are just a few ideas of fun ways to include games when learning Chinese, we hope they will help you and your children continue their fun Language journey!