汉字 (Hànzì / Chinese character) 跳房子 (tiàofángzi / hopscotch) is one of my favorite ways to sneak in Chinese reading practice outdoors!
All you need is chalk and kids who love to jump around. Chinese hopscotch is truly a win-win for everybody – children and adults alike! 🙂
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跳房子 (Chinese hopscotch): What you need
- Chalk – we love chunky Crayola chalk because it’s easier for little hands to hold (and adults like myself for that matter!)
- Concrete or tar driveway, patio, balcony, etc
跳房子 (Chinese hopscotch): How to set it up
老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) enjoys jumping across the squares as far as she can, and she likes me to draw out multiple Chinese hopscotch grids!
Therefore, I recommend a finding a large space on the sidewalk or driveway!
TIP: If you have light-colored concrete like ours, I recommend using black chalk for the text and colorful chalk for the squares.
Notice that the characters are hard to see if you use colored chalk like in the image below.
For maximum success and fun, you want to make sure that your child can easily see the Chinese characters. If the words are too faint, they may feel discouraged if they read the Chinese word incorrectly.
Learn Chinese with hopscotch!
For preschoolers and kindergartners who are just learning their first characters, you can write basic characters and ask the child to trace each character.
跳房子 (Chinese hopscotch): Jump and review Chinese numbers
If your child understands rote and rational counting, you can introduce the symbol that represent quantity. In the 跳房子, write Chinese numbers 一，二，三，四，五，六，七，八, 九, 十, or fewer numbers if they do not yet know that many).
跳房子 (Chinese hopscotch): Jump and review simple Chinese characters
Alternatively, you can incorporate simple Chinese characters with few strokes. Examples include:
- 人 (rén / person)
- 大 (dà / big)
- 山 (shān / mountain)
- 日 (rì / sun)
- 月 (yuè / moon)
After you have the hopscotch grid set up, call out Chinese words for your kids to jump on! In addition, the children can shout the Chinese character themselves as they jump!
跳房子(Chinese hopscotch): Jump and review complex Chinese characters by topic
My 老大 currently reads about 500-600 characters, so I typically have a grid of characters related to a certain topic we are learning, or new characters that we are trying to memorize.
For example, I made a 跳房子 about food, and my daughter pretended that she was at a restaurant and was going to eat each food that she jumped on!
跳房子(Chinese hopscotch): Let your child choose the Chinese words!
老大 also likes choosing the words that she wants me to write in the hopscotch squares.
In the video below, she requested 动物 (dòngwù / animal) 跳房子.
She cracks me up because she said she wanted to avoid and jump over 猫 (māo / cat).
Due to my allergies, I sneeze and cough incessantly around cats. So my daughter was also making pretend respiratory illness sounds…
Needless to say, this was very fun for her!
Korean hopscotch: fun way to learn Hangul!
Since my husband and nanny are Korean-American, 老大 is also learning to speak and read Korean.
I usually try to separate the languages so that she has them compartmentalized in her mind. Generally, she does not mix spoken Chinese and Korean, but she will often mix her minority languages with her dominant English language.
However, for reading purposes, she understands the different written language systems. As you can see in the image below, the Korean Hangul and Chinese grids are separate.
跳房子(Chinese hopscotch): Writing practice for older children
For children who are ready to write, they can practice writing our their desired Chinese characters or words in other languages.
跳房子(Chinese hopscotch): Other challenging ideas
Older kids might enjoy playing with friends by challenging each other on larger grids. More hopscotch squares means more reading and writing opportunities!
In addition, for young readers, you can form a sentence within the hopscotch grid!
As you can see, 跳房子(Chinese hopscotch) is a really perfect learning activity for ALL ages and abilities – reading practice and exercise all in one!
If you try 跳房子 with your kids, let us know! We’ve love to hear if it was helpful and enjoyable, and what your child(ren) or student(s) thought about the learning game!
More interactive learning activities for children
- For more summer outdoor learning activities, check out our other favorite outdoor learning activities here!
- To see all educational, hands-on learning activities organized by topic, bookmark our Activities Library!
Tips on creating a bilingual learning environment at home
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned in 2017
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- How to Find a Foreign Language Teacher for Your Child
- 5 Reasons Books are the Best Gifts for Multilingual Kids
Teach kids how to read Chinese
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- 5 Basic Tips for Memorizing Chinese Characters
- 10 Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read
- Create a Print-Rich Environment with Labels that Promote Literacy
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
- 3 Ways My Child and I Are Learning Mandarin Chinese from Audiobooks
- When Should My Child Learn Hanyu Pinyin?
Happy learning, friends!