My 5-year-old daughter officially started Chinese writing worksheets a couple months ago, though only intermittently. I have had an subscription to archchinese.com for a long while, but I never printed anything until recently! We are using worksheets to reinforce a few characters per week in context with whatever she’s interested in writing.
Although my daughter started writing English and Korean since before she was 3, I have been relaxed about Chinese writing due to its complexity, stroke order rules, and lack of alphabet system. However, she’s been copying Chinese characters on her own for a while, and she seems ready to learn the proper order. I will write more about how I taught her to write in the future, but for now, I wanted to share a few Chinese writing worksheets and tips.
Free Chinese writing worksheets for kids
Basic character strokes
Sagebooks 500 supplemental learning material (please note that this is not an official Sagebooks product, and I have no relationship with the company)
- Sagebooks Writing practice – Traditional Chinese and Zhuyin
- Sagebooks Writing practice – Simplified Chinese with Pinyin
How we are using Chinese writing worksheets
Caveat: we actually have not used any of the above worksheets due to lack of interest from my daughter. Context is everything, and my daughter was not interested in tracing strokes by itself. Instead, we used our sandpaper stroke order cards to learn the basic strokes and look for familiar strokes in characters. Then we drew them in a sensory writing tray as shown in this post. This was very fun!
As for other, she is writing words that she wants to write. She completed Sagebooks when she was age 3.5 years, so it’s neither relevant nor interesting at this time to do these worksheets despite all of my effort in putting them together! Instead, a few months ago, my daughter randomly was copying/writing moon phase names because she was really into moons for a few weeks and wanted to create a moon book. I don’t think she can memorize the complex ones (they aren’t high yield anyway), but it motivated her to feel more confident about trying “complex” characters.
Currently, we are practicing family member names and holiday terms since she is making Christmas cards for everybody. We also frequently play tic-tac-toe for writing practice and make cards, the latter of which I will elaborate more on in a future post.
Quick tips for a positive Chinese writing experience
1. Writing worksheets are in a labeled tray on the kids’ learning shelf for independent and easy access.
2. What better way to encourage a child to practice writing if I work on it as well? God knows I need to improve, too! So in a sense, we have have “mommy and me” Chinese writing worksheets: one stack for me and another for her! We parents must be the example for our children!
3. Write the same Chinese word only a few times, but repeat every few days for retention. For the writing worksheets above, I intentionally set the template to repeat each character for only 2 rows….Writing the same Chinese word for an entire page is too tedious for her!!
4. Use big writing grids! Even for me as an adult learner, I far prefer the large writing grids to the standard small size. It’s much easier to see each stroke, especially for more complex Chinese characters.
5. Let your child choose her writing utensil of choice! After all of the fun Chinese learning activities that we have done, my daughter consistently chooses the boring number 2 pencil haha.
6. Rather than “grading” writing, my daughter self-assessment by drawing a “heart” or “smiley face” next to the character that looks best. You can do this in any language to encourage kids to reflect on their work and develop self-awareness without the stress of being judged. My daughter also requests that I choose my favorite of her writing, too! Many thanks to our Chinese teacher for this wonderful idea!
7. Make sure to take breaks so the shoulders, arms, hands, and wrists can relax and stretch. I used to journal a lot during high school, and that coupled with piano practice resulted in severe wrist tendonitis! Healthy habits are important to establish at a young age!
Brainstorming for future writing
- I feel like Chinese writing worksheets are a huge waste of paper! It might be time for me to order some dry erase pockets finally! The downside is that dry erase markers don’t have as much friction/tactile reinforcement compared to pencil.
- Alternatively, I might get a binder for her worksheets if we ever use those Sagebooks worksheets…But otherwise I don’t plan on printing out that many at a time. This idea from Mama Baby Mandarin 媽媽寶寶學中文 is a great idea if you have a lot of worksheets though!
- I’d like to use our Buddha board and magic water writing cloths more often, but my daughter is in a sensitive period for writing and prefers to use pencil. Our open tray is currently working for us, so will reassess other options if things change.
Happy Chinese writing, friends!