The quote “Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” is often used for persuading us to follow our dreams and chase after a career we love. However, I’ve found it can be applied in most areas in our lives. Like we’ve mentioned in previous articles learning a language as hard as Chinese can sometimes get you down to the point of giving up, especially when you turn learning Chinese into a chore. This is especially true when it comes to Chinese learning for kids. How to make Chinese learning fun for kids?
Recent research suggests that for second language acquisition, children are more likely to reach the proficiency of a native speaker instead of adults. Plus, learning a language not only helps in practical and economic gains but also leads to a number of cognitive advantages. If you have kids learning Mandarin Chinese, you might want to help them. But the problem arises when we ourselves do not know the language.
Simply because they lack that determination drive that adults hold, although they more than make up for that in enthusiasm. One of the ways to help your children embrace Chinese language is by making the process fun whenever possible.
Here are some tips for incorporating Chinese into your family’s routine in unique ways:
Explore Online Resources
Although you don’t know Chinese, there is plenty of material available online for teaching kids Chinese. There are various websites which provide material specifically aimed at teaching kids. It is much easier for young children to understand Chinese characters if they are able to associate physical objects to them. You can find flashcards online or you can make them yourself and tape these all around the home on objects which they describe. It will create a more Chinese immersive environment for teaching kids and make learning Chinese characters seem much more approachable and fun. You can also create a game by asking your children to match Mandarin Chinese character flashcards to the objects in the house. Similarly, Chinese cartoons can prove very helpful in teaching kids. Cartoons with good and simple stories that contain repeated words, expressions, and a fun storyline to keep the attention of children are useful when learning Chinese. By using cartoons in small parts to deliver a lesson can be a very effective way to reinforce Chinese language learning and see some cultural elements at times.
The basic foundation of your language journey starts with your Chinese classes, if these do not captivate the students’ interest then the battle is lost. Fortunately, here at Lingo Bus, we ensure our classes are presented in an exciting way to fully engage and excite students to learn Chinese. Students follow characters through different Chinese cities through song, motion, and games.
I found memorizing Chinese characters difficult, that is until I started turning them into pictures or stories. This is very simple to do, there are already many books out there that have done this, or they explain the history of the character making it easier to remember. But with children, I like to show them a character and get them to create their own story or draw and color in the meaning around it.
Everybody loves games, so why not use this to your child’s advantage to learn Chinese. You can buy the Chinese version of most popular board games online; this can be used to practice Chinese. It’s also very easy to create words scrabble for children to complete or even turn a Rubik’s cube into a Chinese game by growing items like food, clothes, weather, etc into colors that children have to match.
There are many other ways to introduce Chinese in a fun and engaging way if there is a daily activity or game that your child enjoys we suggest turning that into a Chinese version creating the opportunity to develop the language.
Read Picture Books About Chinese Culture
Moreover, reading familiar children’s book in Chinese is a good starting point when we introduce the target language to young children. There are plenty of Chinese picture books like “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” and “Goodnight Moon” available online. You can develop a habit of reading books to Children. These books will introduce Chinese culture to kids. It will help in understanding Mandarin Chinese in a cultural context. Try to create a target language-rich text environment by purchasing books in hard form and placing them in your home.
Visit Your Local Chinese Restaurants and Supermarkets
Another very effective way of acquainting yourself and your kids with Chinese culture is to visit Chinese restaurants and supermarkets near to your home. Frequent visits to such places will increase interest and understanding of Chinese culture to young kids. Try to help your children memorize the name of the Chinese dishes. It will not only aid in building vocabulary in Chinese but also will provide an opportunity to speak in Chinese with the staff. It can provide a real-time experience of conversing with Chinese native speakers.
One of the best ways to learn a language is to immerse yourself in an area where it is spoken. So you can plan a tour to China to enhance your and your kids’ language skills with real-time experience. It will help in understanding communication modes used by native Chinese. A physical visit to China is the best way to teach young kids about Chinese culture and language. Practical experience of a Chinese environment is the most effective way among all other mediums available for teaching kids Mandarin Chinese.
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