For a child used to English letters (the Latin alphabet consisting of 26 letters), the concept of Chinese characters can be hard to grasp. While some Chinese characters are drawn in a way that is similar to the meaning, many characters you simply have to memorize. How do you teach a four year old these characters in a fun way? Sure, I could have her write out the characters over and over again, but I want her to love learning Chinese and have a good first experience with Chinese characters. Check out the video below to watch my daughter’s first lesson with Chinese characters.
Step by step, this is how we kicked off her Chinese character education:
Step 1: English
First, I showed my daughter how to trace the words for dog, cow and bird in English. We went over the colors first and then she watched me write the words on a piece of paper using finger paint. I painted one letter at a time and went over the sound that each letter made. Then, she traced over my letters with her own finger to reinforce the notion that letters make sounds and come together to make words.
Step 2: Chinese
After the lesson in English, our helper taught my daughter how to make the same words (dog, cow and bird) in Chinese using simplified characters. One stroke at a time, my helper, Rebecca, showed my daughter the correct stroke order for each word. My daughter traced each stroke after my helper drew it until the character was complete.
Products To Help Do This Lesson at Home:
My daughter loved playing with the fingerpaint and learned about writing words in both English and Chinese. The following video captures an unrehearsed and unscripted conversation in Mandarin between my child and our helper, Rebecca.
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