My son has been interested in golf, hockey, and hitting all things with sticks, so I though 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!
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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 高山 learning activities: what you need
- For DIY golf club / hockey stick:
- Cardboard paper rolls from paper towels
- Cardboard paper rolls from toilet paper
- Masking tape
- Small ball
- X-acto knife
- For mountain signs
- Optional: black puffy paint, stepstools, chairs
How to make a cardboard golf club or hockey stick
- With X-acto knife, cut a U-shaped hole at the end of the toilet paper roll
- Tuck cardboard flap in
- Insert cardboard tube from paper towels
- 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!
How to make a mountain sign
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- Click here to download Chinese characters 高山 in large Kaiti font
- Print 高 and 山 on on green or brown card stock.
- 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.
- With scissor, 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.
- Cut 1″ (2.5cm) slits on each side of cardboard toilet paper rolls
- Insert Chinese characters 高山
- Arrange as desired.
- 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.
On both sides of the sign, I printed Chinese characters 高山 so that my son could see the Chinese words in all directions!
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.
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…
While hitting the ball with the golf club, we talked about the Chinese characters that we approached (山 versus 高山).
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 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!
With all of these giant Chinese characters around him, he now definitely recognizes both 山 and 高!
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!
We love to hear about how other families are learning Chinese!
More Chinese learning activities that encourage movement
If you have a kid who likes to run around, try these other interactive Chinese activities!
- Sidewalk Chalk Activities: 12 Fun Ways to Play and Learn Chinese!
- Sight Word Soccer – Reading Practice for Kids Who Love to Be Outdoors!
- Paper Airplanes: Reading Practice Games for Kids!
- Learn the Chinese Word 车/車 (Chē / Car) with Road Tape!
- DIY Cardboard Car Ramp – Play While Learning Chinese Vehicle Names!