Chinese writing has so many rules, and learning to write Chinese is much more complicated than alphabet-based languages.
Most kids begin to write around age 4-5. but as with any milestone, some kids may be ready to earlier or later!
When teaching kids how to write, keep in mind that 写 (xiě / writing) skills often takes the longest to master after 听说读 (tīng shuō dú / listening, speaking, reading).
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Of course, Chinese writing worksheets have been the traditional way of memorizing Chinese characters.
But it doesn’t have to be the only way, especially if you’re trying to spark your child’s motivation.
Tapping into your child’s interests and trying different approaches can make a world of a difference!
9 Fun, Child-Led Chinese Writing Activities for Kids
Here are various writing activities for children divided into early writing and more advance writing strategies.
Early writing activities
1. Play outside with chalk
Thick chalk is perfect for young hands to practice tracing.
Even better, going outside makes the lesson more fun because kids can move around and enjoy the sunshine!
2. Highlighter tracing writing practice
Write or print Chinese characters with black ink.
Then invite your kids to trace over each stroke with their favorite highlighter!
3. Create Chinese words with yarn
Introduce stroke order sequencing with yarn!
In the above photo, we practiced “writing” 大 (dà / big) in the correct stroke order: 横 (horizontal)，撇 (falling leftward)，捺 (falling rightward).
This was an effective way to focus on the Chinese strokes without worrying about penmanship.
4. Salt or sand writing tray
Trace Chinese characters in a tray of salt or sand! It’s as simple as it sounds!
Writing in salt or sand can help children memorize how to write Chinese characters.
With each stroke, visual, touch, and auditory receptors are activated.
Tips for Montessori-inspired sensory writing here!
More advanced writing activities for kids
These ideas are for kids who are ready to form words without tracing.
1. Paint Chinese words
Painting is a fun way to practice writing, and calligraphy was one of the original forms of Chinese writing.
The Magic Water Writing Cloth is a popular and fun way to practice Chinese characters and also saves paper!
2. 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!
3. 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!
4. Make a book!
Book creating is one of the cutest, creative, and effective ways to motivate kids to write in any language!
The above photo is an example of mini books that my daughter wrote in Chinese and English.
Since we were reviewing grammar, she wrote about a turtle and its position in relation to a rug (additional crafts that she created).
5. Write a card/letter to friends/family
Brainstorm with your children upcoming birthdays and events and prepare a card 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!
Has your child or student tried any of these writing activities?
Which activity did he or she enjoy most?
What other writing activities motivate your kids and students?
Please feel free to share in the comments!
More Chinese writing tips and activities for kids
- How A Dictation Journal Improves Speaking, Reading, and Writing (VIDEO)
- Hands-on Chinese pre-writing and writing activities
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