Last year around Valentine’s Day, we focused on Chinese words with the 心 (xīn / heart) radical! To reinforce the 心 radical, I made heart felt valentines (heartfelt…no pun intended hehe!). For extra sensory input, I wrote each word with puffy (dimensional) paint! Since puffy paint gives texture to each stroke, children may have a better chance at remembering the Chinese characters. As an adult learning to read Chinese, I also enjoyed making these felt valentines because it helps me memorize each Chinese character. Of course, you can present any character with standard black-and-white flashcards. However, I believe that spending a little time to create context can help with long-term retention of Chinese reading and writing skills. At the end of the post, I will show how we integrate the felt valentines with other hands-on Chinese learning activities and reading practice.
These tactile Chinese characters are very easy activity to prepare! The other great thing is that the felt shapes last a long time and are durable for reuse. For example, last year, my oldest child and I did a similar activity with felt shapes which my younger child is now enjoying!
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- 您 (nín / you)
- 想 (xiǎng / think)
- 息 (xī / rest)
- 恩 (ēn / grace)
- 怒 (nù / angry)
- 意 (yì / meaning; idea; thought)
- 思 (sī / think; consider; deliberate)
- 必 (bì / must)
- 总 (zǒng / always)
- 念 (niàn / think of; miss)
- 感 (gǎn / feel; sense)
- 忘 (wàng / forget, overlook, neglect)
- 愁 (chóu / worry)
What you need:
- Colorful felt (Note: if you don’t have felt, you can use index cards or upcycle cardboard)
- Pen or marker
- White puffy (dimensional) fabric paint – make sure to get the one in this link because the tip is narrow and thus writing is easier to control (see image below).
How to make 心 Heart Felt Valentines:
- Cut heart shapes; make sure each heart is large enough to write each Chinese character carefully
- Write Chinese character with pen
- Use puffy paint to trace each Chinese character; suggest gently and slowly squeezing the paint.
- Repeat step 3 until desired thickness is achieved
- Set aside to dry and keep away from curious hands!! Some of our words were a little smudged because my kids couldn’t wait! 🙂
- When paint is dry, child will naturally be curious about feeling each stroke and thus learning the Chinese characters with 心!
If your child just beginning to learn Chinese, you can adjust this activity by just focusing on 心. For those ready to learn more characters, you can extend learning by making 2 of each word to turn it into a matching game!
When we did this activity last year, my daughter was 4-years-old and knew most of these Chinese characters with heart radicals. However, since she has several hundred Chinese characters memorized, we have been reviewing many Chinese characters according to radical. I want to make sure that she understands why a Chinese character might have particular character as it will help her with both reading and writing Chinese.
In the next photo, you can see that I set up a large sheet of paper with Chinese heart radical words. The task was to simply circle the radical. I taped it to the wall so that it stands out in our living room. However, you can also do this on a regular sheet of paper.
Another fun way that we reinforced the characters was by tracing hearts around the words, matching the felt hearts, and then coloring in the big sheet of paper! This was really fun for both of my children to participate!
Here’s the finished product! Last year, we hung this in my daughter’s closet for several months because she loves hearts!
In addition, for a few days, I wrote sentences on our easel containing new words 怒 and 愁. I noticed that she knew 息, 意, 思, and 必 only in the context of a sentence. But when they were presented individually, she was not confident. So we focused on each of these words as shown in the example below. This helped her remember the Chinese characters out of context.
If you use these Heart Felt Valentines to teach Chinese, please let us know! Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag @CHALKAcademy on Instagram and Facebook! We love to see how other families do Chinese activities!
Related Chinese learning activities for kids
If you want to try other activities with puffy dimensional paint, you’ll love these easy and educational activities:
- Felt Shape Matching
- Mystery Color Transfer Activity
- Learning Yin-Yang with Weather Stickers
- Counting Watermelon Seeds
You can also find more hands-on Chinese radical learning activities in this link!
Happy learning, friends!