Sunday, December 15, 2013

No-Ordinary Chinese Flash Cards for Kids

When I try to make my 4-year-old to memorize the Chinese characters, I realize that they are just something with so many strokes within a square.  It is so difficult for him to relate anything at all.  Although many Chinese words evolved from pictographs, it is still hard for a little one to comprehend what it is.

So, I started to look up some of the free clip arts on the computer and try to connect some interesting pictures with the Chinese symbols.  With contiuous practice, it works pretty well.  Here are some advices for you how to get it started:

1) If your child(ren) still tries to catch up of all the lessons, print out 2 copies of this set of flash cards.
2) Cut up one set to separate all Chinese characters and pictures
3) Just like when a toddler starts learning to put the puzzle together, put the set that is still intact on the table.  Then, ask the child(ren) to look up the pictures and Chinese words that you just cut up and put on top of the copy that you laid down earlier.
4) When he/she gets more comfortable, you can just ask him/her to match up the pictures and Chinese symbols without the other set of copy.  You can keep the other set as your cheat sheet if you need to.

There are so many ways that you can utilize this set of flash cards, especially when we add more and more Chinese characters.  But let's start the first step before we get ourselves too overwhelmed.

Click here to download the Chinese flash cards:

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader:

Back To Business

Sorry, Guys.  My Adobe has broken down on me.  I finally got it up and running.  Stay tuned for more fun for writing Chinese for kids.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Traditional vs Simplified Chinese (Lesson 4 - cont'd)

We learned several Chinese writing about the nature in lesson 4.  I have to admit that they are difficult to memorize, especially for beginners.

In this lesson, there is an exercise for you to search for the traditional and simplified Chinese characters of what we learned.  It is also the perfect time to discuss this topic.

I was taught traditional Chinese since day 1 at school.  Like many languages in the world, Chinese writing evolved throughout the years until it became what it is nowadays.  Traditional Chinese characters have more than thousands of years of history.  However, simplified Chinese words are less than a century old.  It was an attempt to increase the literacy in China after the PRC was formed.

Please don't get me wrong.  I am NOT against simplified Chinese.  In fact, THANKS to these simplified Chinese characters.  I took a lot of advantages of writing it since year 10 in high school, especially on my exam papers.  Without simplified Chinese, I most probably would not complete the exams on time.

However, in my opinion, we have the responsibility to teach our children to learn the basic and their heritage.  Just like playing music, if you start out playing piano and classical guitar, you will pick up electronic keyboard and electronic guitar in no time.

As you may have already known, there is occasionally a Chinese symbol inside the parentheses in the previous published exercises[ ( ) ].  Those are the traditional Chinese writing.  I highly encourage you to revise these traditional Chinese symbols with your child(ren) as well.  In the long run, he/she is the one benefit from it.

Click here to download the activity sheet and start writing Chinese, kid(s):

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Lesson 6 - "Sky", "Eight" and "Wood" (down stroke to the right)

As mentioned in the previous post, the down strokes to the left and the right co-exist almost every time.

The down stroke to the right is called "Na" in Mandarin.  To execute it, it will be very different by using a pen or a Chinese brush.

Since we are focus on writing Chinese by using a pen or a pencil, it will be the same as the stroke to the left. (Please refer to this post here)

In the attached exercise, I want to bring your attention to the word "Eight".  Look at it very carefully.....does it look very similar to the word "People" that you learned last time?  But....there is a difference.

The word "People" does not have a gap between the strokes like the word "Eight".

Click here to download the activity sheet and start writing Chinese, kid(s):

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader:

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Lesson 5 - "People", "Big" and "Cow (down stroke to the left)

"Pie" is in Mandarin how the down stroke to the left called.  I will cover the down stroke to the right in another lesson.  Basically, these 2 strokes exist almost at the same time when it comes to writing Chinese.

These 2 strokes, in my opinion, are difficult to execute correctly and nicely, especially if you are using Chinese brush to do calligraphy.

I am trying to describe how to get this stroke right below:
1) As usual, the stroke starts from top
2) At the point where you begin this stroke, you will use most of the strength
3) As the stroke goes further down, you will use lesser and lesser strength
4) Just past the mid-point of the stroke, you will start to let go

You will use the same method and strength no matter if you use a pen, pencil or a Chinese brush.

To make a child or a beginner to understand how to make this stroke looks right, use your index finger to write on his/her shoulder a few times to let him/her to feel it.

Click here to download the activity sheet and start writing Chinese, kid(s):

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader:

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lesson 4 - Chinese Characters about Nature

This time, we are going to put down our pens to learn some new Chinese characters. They are: water, cloud, flower, tree, wind, rain and moon.

Throughout the last 2 weeks of exercise with my son, I realized that he had the hard time to memorize these few Chinese symbols even the teacher had very good illustrations.

This is my best guess....If you look closely of the above Chinese characters, each one of them just looks like a symbol through which a child can hardly relate it to anything at all.  I can argue that statement when it comes to English, too.

But, anyway, I thought I could use some pictographs to show the evolution of the Chinese words.  Maybe, somehow, he can relate to it.

In this lesson, there are 3 Chinese characters that I put the traditional Chinese word next to it.  Please take this advantage to teach your kids the 2 different styles Chinese writings.

Click here to download the teaching materials of lesson 4:

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader:

Friday, October 18, 2013

Games of Strokes (for Writing Chinese)

In lesson 2 and 3, we learned how to write the Chinese words, "Up", "Down", "Square" and "Small".  They are pretty simple, right?  Yes.....

But it takes some time to allow a beginner to understand the concept that one simple stroke, like "Heng" (the horizontal stroke), happens to exist in 3 out of these 4 Chinese characters. 

The first page of the exercise is pretty easy.  When you move on to the 2nd page, it will take a while for a child or a beginner to get it 100% correct.  But please don't get upset.  Practice the writing a few more times and do the activity sheet again.

Click here to download the exciting Writing-Chinese-For-Kids game set for lesson 2 and 3:

If you can't open the file, click here to download the (FREE software) Adobe Reader: