Since 3-year-old 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) loves to pick flowers and make the sweetest floral arrangements, I like to find ways to teach her Chinese characters by following her interests! Teaching kids Chinese can be daunting, but simple activities can make the process fun and memorable. Each Chinese character is a work of art! I love showing 老大 how the 2-dimensional print relates to our beautiful world!
Today, we decorated the Chinese character 花 (huā / flower) with fresh flowers from our neighborhood. We also filled in the character 草 with grass for more tactile learning!
Because of the “艹” 草字头 / 草字頭 (cǎozìtóu / grass radical), we cut and collected grass. In addition to helping us memorize the meaning of the Chinese character, this activity involves scissor skills, fine and gross motor skills, concentration, and nature appreciation!
Relevant nature vocabulary in Chinese, Pinyin, and English
For other parents who are learning Chinese with their kids like me, here are key words to know in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Hanyu Pinyin, and English.
- 花 (huā / flower)
- 花瓣 (huābàn / petals)
- 草 (cǎo / grass)
- 自然 (zìrán / nature)
- 美丽 (měilì / beautiful)
- 装饰 / 裝飾 (zhuāngshì / decorate)
Phrases you can say to demonstrate how to speak the minority language:
- 这是一朵花。/ 這是一朵花。(Zhè shì yī duǒ huā. / This is a flower.)
- 这朵花很漂亮。 / 這朵花很漂亮。 Zhè duǒ huā hěn piàoliang.
- 大自然是美丽的。 / 大自然是美麗的。(Dà zìrán shì měilì de. / Nature is beautiful.)
- 草是绿色的。 / 草是綠色的。(Cǎo shì lǜsè de. / Grass is green.)
- 用剪刀剪草。 (Yòng jiǎndāo jiǎn cǎo. / Cut the grass with scissors.)
- 我最喜欢的花是 ______ / 我最喜歡的花是 _____ (Wǒ zuì xǐhuān de huā shì _____ / My favorite flower is _____.)
- 让我们数花瓣：一，二，三… / 讓我們數花瓣：一，二，三… (Ràng wǒmen shǔ huābàn: Yī, èr, sān… / Let’s count flower petals: 1, 2, 3…)
Questions you can ask to encourage listening and speaking in Chinese:
- 草是什么颜色？/ 草是什麼顏色 (Cǎo shì shénme yánsè? / What color is the grass?)
- 花瓣是什么颜色? / 花瓣是什麼顏色？ (Huābàn shì shénme yánsè? / What color are the flower petals?)
- 你能用剪刀剪花嗎？/ 你能用剪刀剪花嗎? (Nǐ néng yòng jiǎndāo jiǎn huā ma? / Can you use the scissors to cut the flowers?)
- 你能把草放在草字头上面吗? / 你能把草放在草字頭上面嗎? (Nǐ néng bǎ cǎo fàng zài cǎozìtóu shàngmiàn ma? / Can you put the grass on the grass radical?)
If you’re worried about your kids replying in English, check out these 20 strategies to encourage kids to speak Chinese.
What you need to teach kids 花 and 草 Chinese characters
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- 花 and 草 written or typed in large font*
- Optional: laminator & laminating pouches (consider if reusing template or skip to avoid plastic)
- Fresh-picked flowers
*IMPORTANT NOTE: Chinese characters in outline fonts might be difficult for new learners to recognize and memorize, because the visual input is only a sheer outer edge. In contrast, sold fonts provide more visual input. While outline fonts can be fun for filling in, be sure to prioritize regular solid Chinese characters on a regular basis.
How to prepare Chinese character 花 learning activity
- With scissors, cut a few favorite flowers and blades of grass.
- For fun water play and to get rid of any bugs, rinse flowers and grass gently with water.
- Print 花 template. We chose green paper to match the color of grass, but a plain white background would also be great if you have a colorful array of flowers.
- Optional: laminate 花 template.
- Place grass on the 草字头: “艹”
- Fill the rest of the 花 character with pretty flowers!
We chose not to use glue for this activity so that we could arrange the different flowers in different patterns, which also allows for extra review of the Chinese character.
However, if you print this on thick card stock and use glue, you can display it as art work!
How to prepare Chinese character 草 learning activity
I printed the 草 template on a different color to contrast the green grass. However, it might stand out better on plain white printer paper.
Even though 花 and 草 were easy for 老大 to remember, sometimes it’s worth slowing down and making something together. An immersive bilingual learning environment can be fun and relaxing if we want it to be! 🙂
In case you want to try this with more Chinese characters in outline font, you can easily change any font to outline with the Pages app on Apple devices. Please see the screenshot below.
Have you tried decorating Chinese words with flowers and grass?
We’d love to see how your 花 and 草 activity turned out!
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!