3 Fun Ways to Teach Chinese Characters 高山 with DIY Mountains (Printable)

Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls on stepstools, DIY mini golf game

My son has been interested in golf, hockey, and hitting all things with sticks, so I thought I would harness that energy into a Chinese teaching game!

In my kids’ play area, I created a mini-golf course to teach Chinese characters 高 and 山, the first 2 words in Sagebooks Chinese graded readers.

By following his lead, we came up with 2 extra ways to interact with 高 and 山.

Introducing Chinese characters through memorable, hands-on activities

Although my son is not yet ready for Chinese leveled readers, I plan on teaching him his first 50-100 Chinese characters through activities.

Just like with big sister, I believe this will help set the stage for reading confidence in the minority language.

This post has DIY instructions for a cardboard golf stick / hockey stick, 3 ways to play and learn, and large printable Chinese characters 高山!

Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls on stepstools, DIY mini golf game

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Important Chinese vocabulary

The Chinese characters 高 and 山 are the same in simplified and traditional Chinese scripts.

I have included pinyin and English translations below.

  • 高 (gāo / tall, high)
  • 山 (shān / mountain)
Chinese characters Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls
高山 on Serena & Lily stepstools (similar here)

Chinese Characters 高山 learning activities: what you need

  1. For DIY golf club / hockey stick:
    1. Cardboard paper rolls from paper towels
    2. Cardboard paper rolls from toilet paper
    3. Masking tape
    4. Small ball
    5. X-acto knife
  2. For mountain signs
    1. Green or brown cardstock paper
    2. Printer
    3. Scissors
  3. Optional: black puffy paint, chairs, stepstools (we love this and this)
DIY Golf Club or Hockey Stick with cardboard paper rolls

How to make a cardboard golf club or hockey stick

  1. With X-acto knife, cut a U-shaped hole at the end of the toilet paper roll
  2. Tuck cardboard flap in
  3. Insert cardboard tube from paper towels
  4. Secure with masking tape

My non-crafty husband came up with this brilliant recycled DIY toy at the request of my son! Since my son is a bit rough with these, we have made several. Thankfully, they are free and upcycled materials!

Chinese character 高, toilet paper rolls, scissors

How to make a mountain sign

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  1. Click here to download Chinese characters 高山 in large Kaiti font
  2. Print 高 and 山 on green or brown card stock.
  3. Following your printer’s directions, print Chinese characters on both sides of paper. This will allow your child to see the character on both sides of the sign.
  4. With scissors, cut around the Chinese character 高山 into mountain shape (eg, with 3 peaks). For older children, I recommend having them cut the mountain shapes independently. Since they have to look at the Chinese character while cutting, this will help them remember the appearance as well as the meaning.
  5. Cut 1″ (2.5cm) slits on each side of cardboard toilet paper rolls
  6. Insert Chinese characters 高山
  7. Arrange as desired.
  8. Optional: trace each Chinese character with black puffy paint for more sensory input.

The Chinese characters in this activity were almost as large as my son’s face!

Creating a print-rich environment: the thought process behind the Chinese mountain “signs”

You can see a close-up of 山 mountain sign inserted into cardboard toilet paper roll below.

Chinese characters Chinese character 山, toilet paper rolls on bamboo stepstool
山 on bamboo stepstool

On both sides of the sign, I printed Chinese characters 高山 so that my son could see the Chinese words in all directions!

Chinese characters Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls

On the Easel, I affixed 山 and 高山 with painter’s tape. In the next image, my son is feeling the texture of black puffy paint on the Chinese characters.

Chinese characters Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls on stepstools, DIY mini golf game

Since 口 (kǒu / mouth) was one of the first Chinese radical characters that he learned last year, he always points it out whenever he sees it.

He also is familiar with 点 / 點 (diǎn, dot), the short Chinese stroke at the top of 高.

Therefore, building on his per-existing knowledge, help him memorize Chinese character 高, I asked him:

  • 高有没有点?/ 高有沒有點? (Gāo yǒu méiyǒu diǎn? / Does 高 have a dot?)
  • 点在哪里?/ 點在哪裡?(Diǎn zài nǎlǐ? / Where is the dot?)
  • 高有沒有口? (Gāo yǒu méiyǒu kǒu? / Does 高 have 口 or not?)
  • 几个口 / 幾個口? (Jǐ gè kǒu / How many 口?)

Chinese activity #1: Learn Chinese characters 高山 through mini golf course

Here is the original set up…

Learn Chinese characters 高 and 山 with imaginative play

While hitting the ball with the golf club, we talked about the Chinese characters that we approached (山 versus 高山).

Teach Chinese characters 高 and 山 with a DIY mini golf course, animal exploration, and driving maze! Free printable with Chinese characters 高山 in large font.

Chinese activity #2: Learn Chinese characters 高 and 山 with imaginative play

Take your child’s favorite toys to each sign!

My son’s beloved dinosaurs enjoyed visiting the 山 and 高山!

Tomorrow, I’m going to see if he will be interested in racing his little toy cars from mountain to mountain!

Chinese characters Chinese character 高山, toilet paper rolls on stepstools

Chinese activity #3: Race in between the Chinese mountains!

This was my son’s favorite idea, because he felt like he was driving his wooden wagon through a maze!

Driving wagon through DIY mountain maze while learning Chinese

With all of these giant Chinese characters around him, he now definitely recognizes both 山 and 高!

Driving wagon through DIY mountain maze

Have you tried these interactive games for learning Chinese Characters 高 and 山?

If you try any of these activities, please let us know in the comments below!

On Instagram and Facebook, tag a photo @chalkacademy and use the hashtag #ChalkAcademy so I can check out the action!

We love to hear about how other families are learning Chinese!

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If you have a kid who likes to run around, try these other interactive Chinese activities!

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