We get a lot of our Chinese through our au pair — a lovely, patient woman who helps us get ready in the morning, but also facilitates all of the Mandarin games that I create. However, as the kids get older, we have less and less time for Chinese as school, lacrosse gymnastics and water polo (and the list goes on) take over our available hours. As a result, we realized that the kids know breakfast vocabulary really well (“Take another bite”) and some great nagging vocabulary (“Put away your backpack”), but outside of those limited phrases, the kids are starting to lose other words (how often does “octopus”, come into daily conversation?)
The solution? The Category Game!
My kids created lists based on categories (things that are yellow or kinds of dessert) and made them for each other to guess. We did English, character and pinyin versions for each of the lists. By the end, the kids expanded their vocabulary in topics that don’t come up often in our lives!
We will continue to add to our category game when water polo season is over, but for now, here are a few for your family to enjoy!