Chinese characters are much like English sight words. Since Chinese characters cannot be “sounded out” (without pinyin or zhuyin), they are learned by looking at the word.
Sight words are easier to remember after repeat exposure in a relevant context. Therefore, my daughter and I do many sight-word activities for reinforcement.
When my daughter learned important words about the eyes last year, we made pipe cleaner glasses, eyes, and the 目 (mù / eye) radical.
Pipe cleaners (eg, chenille stems) are a great tool for building tactile Chinese characters. For this lesson about “eye” words, we molded pipe cleaners into an eye shape which can then be reshaped into the 目 radical!
We then matched the pipe cleaner glasses and eye to the related words by stamping! Active learning involves multiple senses and makes lessons more memorable!
We did this fun activity when my daughter was 3, and I think it would be fun for preschoolers and elementary school-aged children!
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- 目 (mù / eye)
- 眼睛 (yǎnjīng / eye)
- 眼镜/鏡 (yǎnjìng / glasses)
Other Chinese words with 目 radical
- 看 kàn (look)
- 眉 méi (eyebrow)
- 泪 lèi (tear)
- 相 xiāng (each other)
- 盼 pàn (to hope for)
What you need
What to do:
- Using pipe cleaners, form 目, glasses, and eye shapes
- Show how the 目 can be molded into an eye shape and back to the Chinese character
- Write 目 on paper and compare to 目 pipe cleaner shape
- Write 眼睛 and 眼镜/鏡 throughout the paper
- Draw glasses around the words 眼镜/鏡
- Draw eyes next to the words 眼睛
- Dip the pipe cleaner glasses into paint; stamp onto 眼镜/鏡 words.
- Dip the pipe cleaner eye into paint; stamp onto 眼睛 words.
- Write other words with 目 eye radical very large on white paper.
- Have child match the 目 pipe cleaner to the 目 radical of each Chinese character
- Circle the 目 radical of each Chinese word
- Practice speaking and reading each of the words in various sentences!
- Use the same color pipe cleaner so that the child can focus on Chinese character recognition. Too many colors may distract from the purpose of this sight word recognition activity.
- Make sure the Chinese characters are written large so that your child can have a close look at the character components!
Use pipe cleaners to learn about Chinese Nature Words!
More activities about the human body:
- DIY Eye Puzzle in Chinese
- DIY Mouth Puzzle & Coloring Sheet
- Left Versus Right Footprint Jumping!
- Easy and Fun Ways to Learn about Emotions!
As always, please let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer them! Please leave a note in the comments!