We are a beach-loving family! The air is fresh, the waves are peaceful, and the sand is full of hidden treasures. While baby 老二 (lǎo èr / second child) is busy banging with the same shovel, 老大 (lǎodà / oldest child) is diligently collecting various rocks, wood chips, and shells. Of course there’s the usual building of sand castles and splashing in the ocean, but I can’t help but seize the opportunity for sensory literacy. 老大’s nature treasures are the perfect tools for fun and easy ways to practice writing at the beach!
Chinese is one of my children’s minority languages, and I am learning Chinese with my kids. Since we live in a small, non-diverse town in California, most of our friends are monolingual. Since English is the dominant language, Chinese is technically not a “necessity.” Kids often refuse to learn Chinese when they see everybody else speaking English. Therefore, I try to make Chinese as fun as possible for my kids so that they will be motivated to learn their heritage language. At the beach, 老大 and I had fun creating simple Chinese characters with little bits of nature that my daughter collected! Of course, these pre-writing ideas can be applied to any language, and you can have fun creating all types of words with your child(ren)!
- 木头 (mùtou / wood)
- 石头 (shítou / rock, stone)
- 沙子 (shāzi / sand)
- 贝壳 (bèiké / seashells)
What you need to practice writing at the beach:
Amazon affiliate links provided for convenience
- Rocks, shells, wood chips and sticks, sand
- Beach pail, shovel, and rake
Fun and Easy Ways to Practice Writing at the Beach
1. Draw Chinese characters in the sand
Show your child that it’s easier to write Chinese characters by the ocean where the sand is hard and wet. You can teach your kid Chinese by demonstrating Chinese sand writing. For kids who already know how to write, you can have a race to see who can write the most Chinese characters!
Chinese characters can be formed in the sand in numerous ways! Kids can draw Chinese characters with index finger or use a rock, shovel, or tree branch. After drawing words in the sand, your child can trace each letter or character with the beach treasures (eg, rocks, shells)!
If you give your child options and follow his or her lead, they might be more willing to learn!
2. Assemble Chinese characters with rocks!
Small rocks are perfect for creating Chinese characters! You can focus on just one character, 石 (shí / rock), teach the bigram 石头 (shítou / rock, stone), or teach Chinese words with the 石 radical.
3. Form Chinese characters with wood chips and sticks!
Wood chips, sticks, and branches are also great natural elements that you can use to form words! Again, depending on your child’s learning level, you can focus on 木 (mù / wood), 木头 (mùtou / wood), or 木 radical words. As always, supervise your child and make sure they don’t hold jagged wood pieces that could give them splinters.
4. Create Chinese characters with shells!
贝壳 (bèiké / seashells) are my 老大’s favorite item to collect at the beach! If your child is a seashell collector, you can use these beach treasures to develop pre-writing skills at the beach and even at home!
If I ever homeschool my kids full-time, I would definitely want to hold class at the beach everyday! Win-win for mommy and the kids! Of course, we would definitely want to enjoy playing carefree for most of the beach trip, but a few minutes of learning here are memorable and counts toward cumulative learning!
Related hands-on learning activities
For more nature-inspired education, click here to see what we have done in the past!
Many more writing and pre-writing activities can be found in this link.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLES ABOUT HOW TO TEACH KIDS CHINESE
If you need tips on how to teach your child Chinese, these posts are for you!
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- When and How to Introduce Chinese Characters to Kids?
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent
- 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Read Throughout the Day
- 6 Fun Ways to Assess Reading Comprehension With Kids!
Happy playful learning, friends!