My 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) is really into reading Peppa Pig books these days. Just like 老大, Peppa is a big sister like and has a little brother!
Today we were reading 踢足球 (tī zúqiú / playing soccer). In this story, Peppa Pig likes to play tennis but doesn’t have enough racquets to play with her friends.
Instead, Peppa and her friends end up playing soccer – girls against boys!
To play on the sports theme, I created this Reading Ball activity so that 老大 could review and remember Chinese characters in an interactive way!
I borrowed a sensory ball from baby 老二 (lǎo èr / second child) and filled it with strips of colorful paper with random written sentences from the book.
Okay, okay, so I realize the likelihood that other people happen to have a baby sensory ball at home is pretty slim lol!!
But if you have an active kid who has trouble sitting still for reading, this is a really fun way to get the movement in that they need!
I imagine this activity would be really fun in a classroom setting: a teacher would throw the ball at a student, and the student has to catch and read a sentence!
A mix of the Socratic Method and exercise!
To build confidence, I included mostly familiar Chinese characters. I didn’t put too many new words; otherwise the game could be too overwhelming.
老大 had fun pulling out different “surprise” sentences and reading out loud. Then she also shook and threw the ball to see which sentences would fall out!
Although it takes a few minutes to write each sentence and cut them into strips, the effort pays off seeing my daughter enjoy reading!
In the early stages of learning to read Chinese, long passages of text can be overwhelming and intimidating.
Therefore, cutting them down can make each sentence feel more manageable.
Then, 老大 and I read the book together and looked for the sentences that she had found in the ball. She can’t quite read the whole book…well, neither can I for that matter.
Although she able to figure out many words, I had to look up several in the dictionary!
She’s learning to read much faster than me, but we had a great time reading outdoors! We try to take full advantage of the beautiful weather in California!
Later we returned the ball back to 老二! I refilled the reading ball, this time with various ribbons.
My son had a blast pulling each ribbon out!
I’ll have to try this reading ball activity with my son when he’s older!
Have you tried this interactive reading ball activity?
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!
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