A few years ago, I found these amazing Montessori Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards 蒙特梭利砂纸! In contrast to typical Chinese flashcards, these have dots that indicate stroke order.
They have been helpful for my daughter 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) and my son 老二 (lǎo èr / second child) to learn important Chinese writing skills.
The downside is that these are often out of stock. However, the good news is that another mom and I have created free printable Chinese stroke order rainbow dot flashcards that you can conveniently download!
Teaching my kids Chinese stroke order
老大 started to write English & Korean letters independently by age 3, but her Chinese writing skills developed more gradually.
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, 老大 copied Chinese characters in her own way. Initially, writing was low priority for our family. I didn’t want to impose strict rules at such a young age in fear that it would dampen her interest.
However, good writing habits must be established so that Chinese characters are legible, efficient, balanced, and beautiful.
Therefore, when 老大 was around age 4 years, we started reinforcing stroke order for Korean writing and it helped Chinese writing tremendously.
On the other hand, I have been introducing stroke order to 老二 from the start. He often forgets, but how he has the foundation of years of practice that’s often needed for children to learn Chinese writing.
Review of 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
Lightweight Chinese flashcards
The 15cm x 15cm square-shaped cards are lightweight, thick cardboard with smooth, rounded corners.
I prefer this portable design over the traditional Montessori sandpaper cards which are heavy with sharp edges.
Montessori Chinese Sandpaper Cards 蒙特梭利 汉字笔画砂纸板 comes well packaged in a sturdy box.
Sandpaper texture aids learning
The black characters are a rough texture, but not as rough as traditional Montessori sandpaper boards.
A texturized surface stimulates the senses and helps children memorize Chinese characters in correct stroke order.
In my humble opinion, they seem adequately rough.
Black Kaiti font
I like that the Chinese stroke order cards feature the standard Chinese Kaiti font which shows the typical shape of brush strokes.
Black color font is also appreciated for consistency; too many flashcards are overly colorful and distracting.
Colored dots encourage independence
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.
I think that the dots are a bit distracting for my 3-year-old 老二 who currently knows about ~200 Chinese characters.
However, they were perfect for 老大 to practice stroke order independently! At that time, she was 4-years-old and knew 600+ Chinese characters at the time
Which Chinese characters are included?
Twenty-four cards cover the following characters:
- 8 basic Chinese 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 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.
What I wish was different about these Chinese stroke order cards
- More Chinese words – I would love to have a set of Montessori sandpaper cards with 100 common Chinese words. I think this would be more useful than the typical flashcard.
- Normal Chinese characters with no dots – I think the dots are distracting for a child who is in the early stages of learning Chinese characters. A plain Chinese character on the opposite side would be a helpful reference.
- Dots in rainbow order – The dot colors are so random! The order would be easier to remember if they followed the rainbow!
The included characters are also 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) = 5 strokes each; 米 (mǐ / rice) = 6 strokes
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.
How to present the stroke order cards
- Present each Chinese character through the Montessori 3-period lesson. Say the pronunciation and example phrases and sentences for context.
- Show your child the dots and how to trace each stroke according to the order indicated by the dots
- Let our child try!
Use the stroke order cards alone or in combination with a sensory writing tray!
Should you buy these Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards?
Overall, I think these Montessori Chinese stroke order sandpaper cards 蒙特梭利汉字笔画砂纸板 can be a helpful, hands-on resource for children learning to write Chinese!
However, you can easily DIY your own tactile character cards with glue or puffy paint to create a textured Chinese characters.
Then you can draw or add mini dot stickers to indicate stroke order. Consider whether this purchase or DIY would be best for your family!
You can also download the free printables toward the end of this post.
Where to buy Chinese sandpaper stroke order cards
- I purchased from this TaoBao seller. This link has other Taobao sellers that carry this product (China, ships internationally)
- China Sprout (USA)
- Little Kozzi (Canada)
- My Story Treasury (Singapore; international shipping temporarily on hold, please contact the store for updates about your specific location)
- Mandarin Readers (Australia; international shipping temporarily on hold, please contact the store for updates about your specific location)
- SunYa Publications (Hong Kong)
Printable Chinese stroke order cards with rainbow dots
If you’d like to save on cost, you can download free printable Chinese stroke order cards below!
What you need
- Cardstock paper, laminator and laminating pockets (recommended for durability)
- Printables: Simplified Chinese & Traditional Chinese
Download printable files
Chinese numbers: Pages 1-5 have dots indicating stroke order; pages 6-10 are normal Chinese numbers. Print double-sided so that kids can see normal character and stroke order prompts.
Chinese strokes and other common traditional Chinese characters (generously contributed by Jenny Aloha!)
Do you have these Chinese stroke order cards?
If so, please share your experience in the comments below!
I’d love to know whether you found it to be helpful for your child and learn what other strategies you’ve used to teach Chinese stroke order!
Tips for teaching children Chinese
Please refer to these articles about how to teach Chinese characters:
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- How I Taught My Child 1000+ Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker
- Fun & Educational Chinese Activities – A How-To Guide