35+ Fun, Easy Chinese Activities (Listening Speaking, Reading, Writing)

35+ Fun, Low-Prep Chinese Learning Activities for Kids for Speaking, Reading, Writing

Need some Chinese learning activities for your kids ASAP? Here they are: 35+ EASIEST, low-prep activity ideas that you can do at home today!!!

Through fun activities, I have been successfully learning Chinese with my children as a work-at-home parent in a monolingual community.

We don’t have a bilingual immersion school in our area, and we haven’t been able to see our fluent language teacher for a while.

Related: 3+ Chinese and Korean Online Tutoring Programs for Children and Adults

While being the main Chinese source has its challenges, I want to reassure that there’s a lot that everybody can do at home!

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Stuck At Home? 35+ Low-Prep Chinese Learning Activities for Kids for listening, speaking, reading, and writing help

We’re lucky to have a lot of resources thanks to the internet!

In order to teach kids Chinese, we need to create an immersive environment with 5 key steps:

  1. Speak Chinese consistently
  2. Listen to Chinese music
  3. Listen to Chinese audiobooks
  4. Read Chinese books
  5. Make memories with Chinese activities

What can my kids learn from Chinese activities?

Chinese language activities have been a regular part of our routine since we decided to raise multilingual children.

Through fun activities, we can practice Chinese listening, speaking, memorizing Chinese characters and writing.

Listening and speaking are the most important skills to prioritize at any age.

Then you can add in reading and writing when kids are ready (usually around ages 3-7).

Chinese Montessori sandpaper boards - Chinese Activities (Listening Speaking, Reading, Writing)

The easiest Chinese learning activities for kids

I understand that everyone is busy, so I went through my website and Instagram to find activities that fit the following criteria:

  • Easy set up (less than 5 minutes)
  • Minimal supplies
  • Can be easily repeated
  • Fun
  • Adaptable different ages and fluency levels

These activities can help jump start Chinese learning or rebuild momentum if you’re in a slump.

If you need to take that important phone call or get some other work done, your child can work beside you with simple activities.

In addition, many of these options involve gross motor movement which can help kids get much-needed exercise!

You can search for Chinese activities by topic here, or you can keep reading for easy, versatile activities that can be adapted for most ages and levels!

Recommended supplies

Most of activities can be done with supplies you have at home.

In addition, just a few materials are convenient to keep on hand:

Tips for getting started

  • Incorporate your child’s interests and input
  • Demonstrate how to do each activity verbally and physically
35+ Fun, Low-Prep Language Learning Activities for Kids for Speaking, Reading, Writing

Fun activities for Chinese listening and speaking

Listening and speaking are the foundation of Chinese learning and communication skills.

Here are fun ways to reinforce Chinese audio and verbal skills at home!

Singing Chinese songs - Chinese Activities for kids (Listening Speaking, Reading, Writing)

1. Dance Party / Freeze Dance

Start the day with upbeat Chinese music and have a silly dance off!

Play freeze dance during which the DJ stops the song randomly and everyone has to 停 (tíng / stop) and 不要动 / 不要動 (bùyào dòng / don’t move)!

Here are 100+ Chinese children’s songs to get you started!

2. Karaoke

Sing and learn a new Chinese song each week with these printable song lyrics in simplified (with and without pinyin) and traditional Chinese!

DIY Binoculars for playing I Spy in Chinese

3. I spy with my little eye…

Describe part of an object and see if the other person can find what they are thinking of.

In Mandarin Chinese, I spy can be translated in a few ways:

  • 我用眼睛偷瞄 (Wǒ yòng yǎnjīng tōu miáo / I use my eye to peek)
  • 我用我的小眼睛看到一样_色的东西 / 我用我的小眼睛看到一樣_色的東西 (Wǒ yòng wǒ de xiǎo yǎnjīng kàn dào yīyàng___sè de dōngxī / I used my little eye to see a ___-colored thing)
  • 猜,猜,猜猜看! 我看到___的东西 / 猜,猜,猜猜看! 我看到_的東西 (Cāi, cāi, cāi cāi kàn! Wǒ kàn dào___de dōngxī / Guess, guess, guess, guess if you can! I see a ___ thing).
Chinese speaking game - Raise you hand if… (如果...举起手!/  如果...举舉手! ) - Chinese Activities (Listening Speaking, Reading, Writing)

4. Raise you hand if… (如果…举起手!/ 如果…举舉手! )

The “raise your hand game” works by asking everyone to raise their hand if they fit a certain characteristic.

Takes turns asking questions to ask in Chinese to encourage kids to speak the minority language!

5. 20 Questions

First think of a person, place, or thing. Then share which of the 3 categories it belongs to.

The other person can ask up to 20 close-ended, “yes” or “no” questions in Chinese!

6. Simon says / 老师说 / 老師說

One player takes on the role of “Simon” and gives instructions (eg, close your eyes, put your hand on your head) to the other players.

The actions should be performed only when prefaced with the phrase “Simon says” in English or 老师说 / 老師說 (Lǎoshī shuō / Teacher says) in Chinese.

Here’s a video of school children playing “老师说 / 老師說 (Lǎoshī shuō / Teacher says)” in Chinese!

7. Hot and cold hiding game

My kids LOVE to hide things and then we have to find where they are! 越来越热,越来越冷 / 越來越熱,越來越冷 (yuè lái yuè rè, yuè lái yuè lěng / hotter and hotter, colder and colder) are clues to whether you are closer or farther from the hidden object!

Easy activities for Chinese Character reading practice

These simple, low-prep activities have helped both my son and daughter remember Chinese characters!

Post-It Note Chinese word matching

1. Post-It Note Chinese word matching

I think most of us have post-it notes at home, and they can be easily turned into word-matching games!

Dot sticker activities that teach Chinese characters

2. Dot sticker Chinese word matching

Dot stickers are so versatile, and they can be turned into Chinese character matching activities.

See 25+ Chinese Dot Sticker Learning Activities for more examples!

Chinese Activities for kids (Listening Speaking, Reading, Writing)

3. Trace Chinese characters with small objects

For kids ages 3+ who are past the mouthing stage, small objects can be used for tracing Chinese characters!

Use anything you have at home, such as scrap paper, leaves, seeds, pom poms, mini stickers, and small rocks.

You can even use Cheerios, beans, and macaroni which can later turn into their snack!

To create giant Chinese characters, type or copy/paste the focus word into Pages or Microsoft word. Change the font to KaiTi font and increase the size as large as possible (eg, 460pt).

DIY tactile Chinese characters with puffy paint

4. DIY tactile Chinese characters

To encourage kids to interact with each Chinese character stroke, make tactile Chinese characters with puffy paint or glue!

Once dry, the texture is interesting to touch and can therefore help with remembering the Chinese word!

Chinese flashlight word finding game

5. Flashlight word scavenger hunt

Turn off the lights and search for Chinese words with a flashlight!

For kids who are not yet reading, you can adjust this into a speaking game by shining a light on objects that you identify!

Chinese fishing flashcard game of kids

6. Fishing Chinese flashcards game

Fish for Chinese words by putting paper clips on flashcards and create a fishing rod with a stick, string, and magnet!

Chinese flashcards hit the words game

7. Swat-the-Chinese word

Get some energy out by hitting some Chinese words with hands or a fly swatter!

8. Jump on Chinese words

Another fun way to get moving while learning!

Use flashcards or Chinese words on post-it notes and have kids race to the Chinese word!

Chinese tic tac toe game

9. Post-It Note Tic-Tac-Toe

We love Post-It Notes, and you can also turn it into a Chinese tic-tac-toe game!

Scratch off secret Chinese word activity!

10. Scratch-off secret Chinese word

Create a secret surprise by covering Chinese words with these 1″ round scratch off stickers!

Educational Chalk Activities That Teach Chinese

11. Chinese hopscotch and other sidewalk chalk activities

If you have a driveway or patio, write out the words your kids are writing and have them jump or spray water on it!

Here are 12 fun ways to play and learn Chinese with sidewalk chalk!

Chinese character SIGHT WORD SOCCER

12. Sight word soccer

Do you you have a backyard or live near a field? Try Chinese sight word soccer!

Tape Chinese words to cones or trees and have fun kicking balls to each word!

Teach Chinese radicals with fun spinning activity made from recycled cardboard rolls

13. Radicals wheel with toilet paper

Inspired by a brilliant mom, Cathy, we made spinning radical wheels with cardboard toilet paper rolls!

We’ve also done this with English CVC words (see on Instagram) and simple Korean CV sounds!

Related: 20+ Chinese Learning Activities with Cardboard Rolls!

Practicing reading Chinese characters with sentence strips

14. Envelope with Chinese sentence strips

For extra spaced repetition reading practice, I have written sentences for my kids to review Chinese characters in different contexts.

Cut the sentences into strips so they can focus on one sentence at a time and not get overwhelmed by a full page of words!

Then I put them in an envelope so that they can enjoy a surprise!

Chinese Lego word matching activity for kids

15. Lego word matching activity

Since many parents have Legos, Duplo, and Megablocks at home, you can quickly repurpose them into word matching activities!

You can also challenge older kids to build Legos into shapes of Chinese characters!

Chinese characters Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls on stepstools, DIY mini golf game

16. Chinese character golf game

DIY Golf is the original activity that my husband created on a whim!

In 5 minutes, he made a golf club with cardboard tubes while I quickly cut out mountains from green paper!

For more ideas, please read 3 Fun Ways to Teach Chinese Characters 高山 with DIY Mountains (Printable).

DIY Chinese puzzle with pumpkins and squash

17. DIY object puzzle

Trace around objects with a pencil.

Then retrace pencil with black marker.

Write a Chinese character at the center so your child can see it while matching the object!

Paint resist activities with wax, white crayon, or tape

18. Paint resist activities with wax, white crayon, or tape

Kids love seeing words magically appear after painting over wax or white crayon and how the paint literally rolls away from the wax!

Tips for wax resist painting are explained in this post!

You can also try this with washi or painter’s tape!

If you prefer to avoid paint, try using a marker!

dry erase marker floating words trick to encourage reading and writing

19. Dry erase floating words!

This science activity with dry erase (whiteboard) chisel tip markers (also available at Michaels) works because the ink is insoluble and is less dense than water.

Write simple Chinese characters or alphabet letters (eg, Korean, English) on a clean, dry white plate. Firm, smooth strokes are best!

Gently pour water next to the character/letter. If you pour directly on the character/letter, it might split. Then blow letters around!

Rinse, dry, & repeat! Use alcohol as needed to remove residual marker ink from plate.

The floating trick works best for characters/letters that are connected, but try all types with your kids! Trial & error is part of the learning experience!

Easy activities for Chinese Writing

1. Highlighter tracing writing practice

Write or print Chinese characters with black ink and invite your kids to trace over it with their favorite highlighter!

2. Salt or sand writing tray

Trace Chinese characters in a tray of salt! It’s as simple as it sounds!

Tips for Montessori-inspired sensory writing here!

3. Play Chinese writing tic-tac-toe

Tic-tac-toe is probably the Chinese writing game that my daughter plays most often!

We can easily do this on scrap paper anywhere and also with chalk on our driveway!

Learning reading and writing with handmade cards and toy mailbox

4. Write a card/letter to friends/family

Brainstorm with your children upcoming birthdays and events and prepare cards for special friends and family!

See Handmade Cards for Reading and Writing Practice (English, Chinese, and Korean) for examples of how you can involve kids of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers!

copywork with Chinese and English worship music

5. Copy favorite Chinese song lyrics

For a relaxing and therapeutic way to write Chinese, invite your child to copy their favorite Chinese song lyrics!

Benefits and tips for copywork are explained here!

Have you tried these easy Chinese learning activities with your kids or students?

If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!

On Instagram and Facebook, tag a photo @chalkacademy and use the hashtag #ChalkAcademy so our family can check out the action! Or email me a photo at [email protected]!

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Happy playful learning, friends!

5 Comments

  1. How do you do the Chinese printables that have an outline of the character? Seems like that would be great for tracing work!

    1. Hi! On the Pages app, I choose the “outline” typeface. Although I used outline font often with my oldest child, I actually would recommend using the regular solid black KaiTi font more often since it gives more visual input. I learned this concept from Montessori. Outline is fun for coloring or painting however! Hope that helps!

  2. Nihao! Xie xie for sharing with great ideas out here. We are in lockdown and many many kids don’t really want to learn Chinese. Their families have limited resources at home. What do we do? I scratch my head everyday and have been trying to come up with learning tasks that are meaningful to these kids at home. IT IS DIFFICULT! Most of the kids I teach are not interested in learning Chinese at all and they have to …
    Not sure what more to say as we live in a difficult world today and Chinese is NOT POPULAR any more due to the major political movements in the world today!
    SAD!

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