Tīng ér yì wàng, jiàn ér yì jì, zuò ér yì dǒng.
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. – Confucius
As a mother, pediatrician, and former teacher, I believe this quote perfectly summarizes the learning process. Currently, computers and iPads have shifted our children away from interactive learning. However, hands-on activities remain as important as ever, especially for children learning a minority language. Language-specific activities encourage children to think about the easily forgotten minority language. In other words, activities make speaking and reading the minority language fun, relevant, and memorable. If you’re like me and don’t have much time to browse the web, Instagram is a free and easy way to browse for low-prep literacy activities.
This post is the second of a 3-part series about using Instagram as an educational resource. Here, I will share my favorite Instagram photos of hands-on Chinese activities for children. I love seeing how other parents are using different strategies to teach their children, and I have learned so much from following each of their unique stories. The first part featured my favorite Chinese Flashcards on Instagram, and the third part will detail my favorite accounts dedicated to Montessori education.
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Inspiring Hands-On Chinese Activities for Children on Instagram
1. 四五快读 teaching tips from @growinghearts123
Growing Hearts 123 has a series of helpful Chinese teaching tips under the hashtag #learningchineseseries. Her examples of how to remember 尖 (Jiān / Sharp) and other words are very helpful! Her website also has reviews on many Chinese Children’s books!
2. Chinese word matching with eggs from @happytoshelf
Happy Tot Shelf has a monthly educational theme on her Montessori-inspired shelf. This egg yolk/egg white matching activities is one of my favorites from her food unit! Also, Happy Tot Shelf has a fantastic website about how to create themed learning units!
3. 中秋节 (Mid-Autumn Festival) activity from @ourlittleplaynest
Below is a fun video of a 中秋节 activity from Our Little Playnest that I can’t wait to try! Watch how “Hou Yi” reenacts the scene where he shoots down 9 suns! I love how this activity involves art, literacy, and gross motor skills!
📹 Our very own Hou Yi shooting the suns down.. watch to find out what goes on behind the scenes 😉Process art ✔ hand-eye coordination ✔ fine motor skills ✔ pre-writing skills ✔ literacy skills ✔ gross motor skills ✔ sequencing ✔ fun ✔ #MAF_olpn #CHINESEolpn . . . . . #invitationtocreate #invitationtoplay #playideas #playmatters #playbasedlearning #homeschooling #funlearningathome #toddlerplay #learningthroughplay #toddleractivities #childhoodunplugged #playdiscovercreate #ohlittlesthands #TheKidsPlay #craftylivingkids #kidscraft101 #sgmum #sgmummy #sgparents #sahm #sgmombloggers #sgparentblogger #42mo
4. Tape-resist art with Chinese characters by @storiesofplay
This beautiful project by Stories of Play involves process art with painter’s tape to create the word 爷爷. The result is a lovely gift with special memories of creating art with Chinese language!
| REVEAL | . So so proud of this little one and her efforts at hand making a gift for her beloved 爷爷 (grandpa) using a tape-resist painting technique. Mama stuck the tape on yesterday, and then the little one painted with sponges, cotton buds and her hands. We left it to dry overnight and she helped to remove the tape this morning (hello there fine-motor skills). She was so excited to give him the gift and it’s now proudly hanging on a wall in his study. . Swipe to see a close up of the final product and see the previous post for the list of materials used, where we got them from and the process of making this gift. I can’t believe how well this DIY gift turned out if I may say so myself 🙂 . #taperesist #taperesistart #processart #toddlerart #toddlerpainting #handmadegifts
5. Experimenting with colors by @s_h_i_n_w_e_i
This is a simple but awesome activity that integrates Chinese learning with science! Make sure to swipe to see the colors bleeding, which children of a wide range of ages would enjoy trying!
Every evening we will have about an hour play on art&craft (as long as I am not away). So to continue on the colours mixing, and encourage M on recognizing the Chinese characters of our primary/secondary colour, we used syringe and water (it’s always a big hit when it comes to water) to wet the cotton with the words. See how the colour changes and mix with others. M got so fascinated and traced the water trail. Gonna let it dry and use them later on! . . . #ourlittleplayroom #letthechildrenplay #playmatters #playideas #eyfs #earlychildhoodeducation #handsonlearning #activelearning #finemotorskills #earlyyears #kinder #preschool #toddlerlife #playbasedlearning #invitationtoplay #playideas #funlearningathome #steamkids #preschoolactivities #toddlerart #toddlerfun #finemotor #creativekids #montessoriathome #playislearning #playandlearn #playfulllearning #reggiokids
6. Reinforcing 圆 (Yuán) and 圈 (Quān) with hole reinforcers by @chalkacademy
I know, I know – shameless plug for my Instagram page which highlights certain activities from our website. Here is one of our favorite easy activities with hole reinforcers to learn about 圆 and 圈!
圆 (Yuán) vs 圈 (Quān) • Last year, 老大 was getting these 2 words plus 卷 (juǎn / roll) mixed up. 💗Thus, we used our block characters for open-ended character study 💜Here she’s using hole reinforcers to “trace” over the strokes. 💙I happened to have a huge box of these unused since med school!💚She also colored & painted the characters and had fun with dot stickers! 💛 If you Google “CHALK Academy hole reinforcers”, the first result will be this post with the templates. #ChalkAcademy
7. Learning about body parts with @ourlittleplaynest
This is one of my favorite activities using upcycled materials. What a genius idea to use lids from baby wipes to make learning about body parts exciting with an element of surprise!
LIDS • I repurposed these baby wipes lids for C to play a little peekaboo. Kids are naturally curious! C opened up each lid, and tried to tell me what the pictures show. It was also a teaching resource for D to teach his little sister about the parts of the body #BODYolpn (the pictures in the lids can be changed to words, letters, numbers, textures etc for other activities) Time to keep these useful lids! 😉 What you need: baby wipes lids, pictures What they learn: language development, fine motor skill, family bonding
8. Chinese word matching activity from @2mamas4kids
2mamas4kids is a fun account shared by 2 mothers (hence the name!) with bilingual learning activities and book recommendations! One of my favorites is this interactive word-matching game with an apple tree!
I just réalisés that the previous video exceeds the limit of 60s so I’m reposting the last bit of the original. That’s C feeling a bit of a mamarazzi moment 🙊 . . As much as I would love to take some process shots to share with all of you how the activities work, C often requests for no pictures and for me to keep my phone 😅it’s a request that I would try to honour. While I want to document my children’s growing moments, I would also like to be present with my children when they work on these activities. I am not just there to take insta-worthy photos. The most important in all these home learning activities is really our presence with our children, to be with them! [🎁Tiffany] • • #2m4kmamathoughts
9. Dinosaur color pegging (@playful.sg)
I love this Stegosaurus color pegging activity so much! It’s cute, educational, and improves fine motor skills!
Stegosaurus colour pegging activity. . This was of course intended for E but the older brother as usual enthusiastically completed the activity first. I was really pleased that E showed interest in the activity and spent quite a bit of time (by E’s standards) trying to clip on the wooden pegs. I had to hold up the stegosaurus for him as he couldn’t handle holding it, using his fingers to open up the peg and manoeuvring the peg to the right colour circle. He played with this many times over a few days so I consider it a smashing success. Yay! . . . #playfullsg #playmatters #playdiscovercreate #playfullearning #dinosaur #dinosaurtheme #prehistoric #stegosaurus #colourmatching #cardboardcraft #cardboard #woodenpegs #artandcraft #finemotorskills #pegging #pegs #learningfunathome #learningcolours #learningthroughplay #rainbowcolours #sgmums #sgmummy #playfullsg_dinosaurs
10. Montessori-inspired tactile flashcards from @starrycoins
Feeling the characters strokes helps children remember Chinese words. Starry Coins has a brilliant idea of using pipe cleaners, glitter glue, and cotton to “trace” Chinese characters!
11. Learn about up versus down in Chinese with @lnnally
Lnally shares many DIY hands-on activities, mostly about English phonics and number games, but she is starting to share Chinese learning activities! Below is a fun one with legos and dot stickers. I can’t wait to see what other ideas she has in store!
I’m inspired by these creative parents and the encouraging community on Instagram. Definitely follow these accounts if you aren’t already! Do you know of other parents who are sharing hands-on Chinese activities on Instagram? Please share so we can follow and learn from them!
Looking for more hands-on Chinese activities? Click here to see activities by topic!