5 Non-Academic Chinese and Korean Classes That Focus on Speaking

Fun, non-academic Chinese and Korean classes for kids that focus on speaking instead of reading and writing

When looking for Chinese or Korean classes for your child, you might be picturing a room with desks arranged in neat rows. However, the best language immersion opportunities could be through “extracurricular activities” that might surprise you.

With many programs closed due to the pandemic, distance learning and virtual classes have become more accessible to families with internet. This is especially helpful for families who normally don’t have local language learning opportunities.

Fun, non-academic Chinese and Korean classes for kids that focus on speaking instead of reading and writing

I’m going to share a few non-traditional “language lessons” that my Chinese-Korean-American kids have tried. I will also suggest other classes on our wish list.

This post was first published in 2019 and has since been updated with new information.

Classes that focus on Chinese and Korean speaking instead of reading and writing

If you can find extracurricular activities held in Chinese or Korean, you’re killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Hands up if you want to save time plus maximize the experience of speaking minority languages!

These non-academic classes focus on listening and speaking language skills rather than reading and writing.

Furthermore, unique hands-on experiences are one of the key steps to acquiring second languages. In order to keep up with the dominant language, new memories must be made in the minority language.

5 fun, non-academic Chinese and Korean classes for kids

Take a look through these non-academic Chinese and Korean classes, and explore 10+ ways to find a language teacher for your child. You might discover more learning options for your child.

learn Chinese through piano lessons

1. Music lessons in Chinese or Korean

Does your child play an instrument, or are you considering starting lessons?

You can email your local colleges and check classified ads for bilingual teachers who offer private or group instrument lessons.

Instrument lessons

My daughter has been taking piano lessons from Chinese teachers who speak Mandarin fluently. Previously, she took in-person lessons during which the piano teacher took notes in Chinese and gave my daughter a chance to read handwriting. Here are other options worth looking into:

  • Kids Go Mandarin is a program for children 6 years and under to learn Mandarin Chinese through music.
  • VIP Peilian is another resource for Mandarin-speaking families looking for help with instrument practice, such as the piano or guzheng! We have not had a chance to use this resource, but another mom Lydia, recommended their affordable service to me. Please note that the website is in Chinese.
  • If you speak Cantonese, my friend Diana’s family has been enjoying classes with Locy Lee Learning.

Singing camps and children’s choirs

Learning language through Korean music and Chinese songs is fun at all ages! Check local churches and schools for opportunities to join Chinese or Korean children’s choirs.

For example, Stream of Praise offers Chinese worship opportunities at their various locations in California, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other locations.

Older kids may enjoy K-pop music theory classes by Olive Tree Education!

Teach kids Chinese Korean through art

2. Arts and crafts in Chinese and Korean

Art classes in Chinese

Bilin Academy Chinese art and poetry online class for kids

Art classes in Korean

For online Korean art lessons, some parents recommended that we check out Ju Art Paint And Draw!

Crafts and activities in Chinese and Korean

If you can’t find a local art teacher who speaks Chinese or Korean, you can ask your teacher to explore our fun Hands-on Activities Library! Many teachers use our resources to create lessons plans for their students. 🙂

3. Dance lessons in Chinese and Korean

American metropolitan cities offer a variety of Chinese dance classes which is great for exposing kids to culture. Some of these classes are taught in Mandarin while others are in English.

Traditional Korean dance lessons can be found in Los Angeles and New York City, while Kpop studios are popping up all over the country due to growing popularity!

4. Sports camps in Chinese and Korean

Check if local Chinese and Korean immersion programs offer sports camps (eg, soccer, basketball, baseball) with bilingual coaches.

Martial arts are also an important part of Chinese and Korean culture.

Taekwondo is Korea’s traditional martial art that teaches self-defense. Through this sport, you can learn about Korean culture, count in Korean, and see if your local Taekwondo master will teach the class in Korean.

For Chinese learners, consider Kung Fu and Tai Chi classes! Examples include:

5. Cooking lessons in Chinese and Korean

Before the pandemic, we had reserved one Chinese lesson to make authentic Chinese food (eg, dumplings, garlic rice) with our teacher!

Cooking is an important practical life skill, and the multi-sensory experience naturally broadens vocabulary and comprehension.

You can ask your teacher if they would be willing to talk through basic cooking techniques, utensils, ingredients, nutrition, recipes, and kitchen safety.

Here are some online Chinese cooking classes that we have bookmarked to explore in the future:

Keep an open mind with non-academic Chinese and Korean classes

I hope some of these fun Chinese and Korean classes will be available in your area or virtually!

If you travel to Asia, look for programs that offer art, music, dance, sports, and cooking!

Call or email teachers to see if they are open to these person or virtual learning ideas. A trial lesson is also important to confirm that they will use the target language consistently during class.

What if you can’t find any Chinese or Korean teachers in your area?

Thanks to modern technology, Chinese and Korean online tutoring programs could be great options for your family.

Online language tutors may offer more flexibility, especially those who live in small towns with limited cultural opportunities.

Has your child tried non-academic Chinese and Korean lessons? How was the experience?

Has your child enjoyed learning Chinese and Korean language and culture outside of traditional classrooms?

How did the class impact his or her minority language skills?

Please share your recommendation and experience in the comments below!

Chinese resources for kids on Amazon!

Click here to see Chinese learning tools and cultural toys on Amazon!

Chinese resources and cultural tools for children

Korean resources for kids on Amazon!

Click here to see Korean books, music, and Hangul toys on Amazon!

Korean resources for kids on Amazon!

Happy playful learning, friends!

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