My daughter started to write English & Korean letters independently by age 3, but we are taking it slowly with Chinese. Like Chinese, the Korean Hangul alphabet should be written according to 笔画 (bǐhuà / stroke order). But Chinese characters are much more complicated; most characters have numerous strokes.
From a young age, my daughter was copying Chinese characters in her own way, and we didn’t want to impose the rules at such a young age. However, good writing habit must be established so that characters are legible, efficient, balanced, and beautiful.
Now that my daughter is 4.5 years old, we started reinforcing stroke order for Korean writing and it has helped tremendously with Chinese writing.
For Chinese learning, I found these amazing Montessori Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards 蒙特梭利砂纸 from Tao Bao! The Montessori-inspired Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards are fun and effective for teaching stroke order! We have been using the Chinese sandpaper cards with this sensory writing tray.
Montessori Chinese Stroke Order Sandpaper Cards 蒙特梭利 汉字笔画砂纸板
Publisher: 蒙特梭利 SunYa Publications Hong Kong
Ages: 2-6 years
Where to buy:
- I purchased from this TaoBao seller. This link has other sellers that carry this product on TaoBao.
- Mandarin Readers Australia
- SunYa Publications
Montessori Chinese Sandpaper Cards 蒙特梭利 汉字笔画砂纸板 comes well packaged in a sturdy box. The 15cm x15cm square-shaped cards are thick cardboard with smooth, rounded corners. I prefer these over the traditional square-edged sandpaper cards because they are lighter, don’t have sharp edges, and are more portable.
The black characters are a rough texture, not quite as rough as traditional sandpaper cards, but they are adequately rough in my opinion. I wonder if trained Montessori educators would disagree however.
Colored dots indicate where the stroke begins and the order in which to proceed. The first stroke is indicated by a red dot, followed by green, yellow, blue, and purple dots. Although the dots may be distracting to someone who has never seen the character before, they are great for my daughter to practice stroke order independently!
Twenty-four cards cover the following characters:
- 8 basic strokes
- 2 cards with 2-stroke characters: 十 (shí / ten), 人 (rén / person)
- 4 cards with 3-stroke characters: 女 (nǚ / woman), 大 (dà / big), 土 (tǔ / soil), 口 (kǒu / mouth)
- 7 cards with 4-stroke characters: 手 (shǒu / hand)，牛 (niú / cow)，火 (huǒ / fire)，水 (shuǐ / water)，日 (rì / sun)，木 (mù / wood)，月 (yuè / moon)
- 3 cards with 5-stroke characters: 生 (shēng / birth), 田 (tián / field), 米 (mǐ / rice)
These characters are the same for both simplified and traditional Chinese. The cards have no Hanyu Pinyin or English. I prefer no added text so that the cards are clean and relatively distraction-free.
However, I wish the Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards included….
- More Chinese words – I would love to have a set Montessori sandpaper cards with a few hundred common Chinese words, as I think this would be more useful than the typical flashcard.
- Normal Chinese characters with no dots – I think the dots would be distracting for a child who has never previously learned the Chinese character. It would be nice if a plain Chinese character was printed on the opposite side of the card for reference.
The included characters also seem a bit random. I’m not sure why 大 was included but not 小 which is only 3 strokes.
Pictures of the Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards 汉字笔画砂纸板
Eight basic Chinese strokes
十 (shí / ten), 人 (rén / person) = 2 strokes per character
女 (nǚ / woman), 大 (dà / big), 土 (tǔ / soil), 口 (kǒu / mouth) = 3 strokes per character
手 (shǒu / hand)，牛 (niú / cow)，火 (huǒ / fire)，水 (shuǐ / water)，日 (rì / sun)，木 (mù / wood)，月 (yuè / moon) = 4 strokes per character
生 (shēng / birth), 田 (tián / field), 米 (mǐ / rice) = 5 strokes each
Here is a video of the booklet that is included with the Montessori Chinese Sandpaper Cards 蒙特梭利 汉字笔画砂纸板.
Overall, I recommend these Montessori Chinese sandpaper cards 蒙特梭利汉字笔画砂纸板 for children who are starting learn how to write Chinese! 蒙特梭利汉字笔画砂纸板 is an effective, hands-on way to establish good Chinese writing foundation!
If you prefer to DIY your own tactile character cards, you could use glue or puffy paint to create a textured Chinese characters. Then you can draw or add mini dot stickers to indicate stroke order. I may do this after my daughter has mastered writing this set of 24 characters.
Tips on teaching children Chinese
Please refer to these articles about how to teach Chinese characters:
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- How to Teach Chinese with Montessori Sandpaper Characters
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
- Fun & Educational Chinese Activities – A How-To Guide
- Why Chinese Stroke Order is Important and How to Master it (Dig Mandarin)
- Is it necessary to learn the stroke order of Chinese characters? (Hacking Chinese)
Hands-on Chinese learning activities
These Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards pair perfectly with the Montessori sensory writing tray!
For more hands-on way to learn Chinese characters, check out this puffy paint tactile writing activity!
All educational Chinese learning activities for kids can be found in our Chinese activities library.
Raising a Multilingual Child
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How to Get Your Child to Speak the Minority Language
- 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
Bilingual Facebook Group
As always, please leave a comment with any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Or better yet, please join our Facebook group! Montessori-inspired Kids Learning Chinese and English is a community of parents worldwide who are excited to share bilingual book recommendations, Montessori tips, and learning materials!
Happy learning, friends!