In the United States, Valentine’s Day falls on February 14th. Since my half-Chinese children live in the United States, I try to integrate Chinese learning activities with American holidays to integrate our cultures. To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I created a free printable matching came which teaches family members! The printable can also be used as a coloring sheet. In addition, you can print on colorful cardstock and decorate as a Valentine’s Day card for relatives.
When my daughter was 3, she knew the characters for Chinese relatives but she constantly mixed up the different aunts and uncles. Honestly, I find them confusing myself! Therefore, this activity helps in naming the different relationships.
This year, my 2-year-old son has shown interest in learning some Chinese characters, so it’s fun that he can participate now. Both of my kids loves heart shapes and enjoy matching games! In this post, I will show different ways that the heart activity can be used. At the end of the post, I have also included a link to the Chinese Family Members song in Mandarin Chinese!
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Important vocabulary in the printables:
- Mom – 妈妈 / 媽媽(Māma)
- Dad – 爸爸 (Bàba)
- Older brother – 哥哥 (Gēgē)
- Older sister – 姐姐 / 姊姊 (Jiějiě)
- Younger brother – 弟弟 (Dìdì)
- Younger sister – 妹妹 (Mèimei)
- Son – 儿子 (Érzi)
- Daughter – 女儿 (Nǚ’ér)
- Paternal grandpa – 爷爷 / 爺爺 (Yéyé)
- Paternal grandma – 奶奶 (Nǎinai)
- Maternal grandpa – 外公 (Wàigōng)
- Maternal grandma -外婆 (Wài pó)
Aunties and Uncles
- Dad’s older brother – 伯伯 (Bóbo)
- Dad’s older brother’s wife -伯母 (Bómǔ)
- Dad’s younger brother – 叔叔 (Shūshu)
- Dad’s younger brother’s wife -婶婶 / 嬸嬸 (Shěnshěn)
- Dad’s sister’s husband – 姑夫 (Gūfū)
- Dad’s sister – 姑妈 / 姑媽 (Gūmā)
- Mom’s brother -舅舅 (Jiùjiu)
- Mom’s brother’s wife – 舅母 (Jiùmu)
- Mom’s sister’s husband – 姨夫 (Yífū)
- Mom’s sister – 姨妈 / 姨媽 (Yímā)
- Friend – 朋友 (Péngyǒu)
- Teacher – 老师 / 老師 (Lǎoshī)
There are numerous other relationships that you can teach your kids. For example, 妻子 (qīzi / wife) or 老婆 (lǎopó / wife), 丈夫 (zhàngfū / husband) or 老公 (lǎogōng / husband) are terms that your children may hear frequently, and you can add them into the editable printables!
What you need for the heart matching game:
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- Family member hearts printable available in simplified and traditional Chinese. Click on the links below to download!
- Printer paper or cardstock
- Laminating pouches
*Note: If you can write Chinese and have some time, I recommend that you handwrite the words so that your child can see how each word is formed. You can see how Spot of Sunshine adapted the matching activity with heart dollies from the dollar store. If you cannot write Chinese or are pressed for time, I hope our printables can help!
How to use the Chinese Family Members Heart printable:
- Print 2 sheets of each page
- Optional: laminate
- Cut along solid line
- Introduce a few words at a time (less or more depending on your child’s level).
- Separate the family heart flashcards into 2 piles (eg, bowls) as shown in the tray above, and have your child find the matching card.
- Play a memory game:
- Mix up the cards.
- Place them face down on the table.
- Turn over any two cards.
- If both cards match, keep them.
- If they don’t match, turn them back over.
- Remember what was on each card and where it was.
- When all cards are matched, the game is over.
- Play a matching game:
- Cut the hearts in half (splitting up the bigrams)
- Find the matching Chinese character!
Examples of how to play and learn Chinese family member names
Here is an example of the Chinese family member bigram characters divided for matching! I have updated the printable to KaiTi font, so you’ll noticed the Chinese characters in the below image appears a little different than the other pictures. You can also adapt this activity to other languages, such as matching letters of the English alphabet! Please note that I did not include English letters in this printable as it would be much more time efficient to cut hearts and handwrite the alphabet or use a large heart punch like my favorite brand here!
On Instagram, @jhomelearningspace used the heart printable to teach family member names while reading the Odonata leveled readers with her child. I love that she added a search-and-find element for her daughter. For extra sensory fun, she told me that she kept the heart-shaped flashcards and sensory bin in the refrigerator! Make sure to check out the videos on her Instagram page to see her daughter learning! Thank you @jhomelearningspace for letting us share your photos with other families! 🙂
Last year, my daughter and I also played a simple memory matching game. We mixed up the Chinese family member names and placed each heart face down. My daughter liked it so much that she even played it a few times on her own! I wish I had a video of it, but all I have is this photo!
Montessori Inspired Learning Area
To encourage my kids to independently explore activities, I try to keep them organized and accessible on the shelves in the kids’ corner of our living room. Here is how the tray is set up for my 2-year-old. Although my daughter could have probably matched the full set up characters at that age, I don’t want to overwhelm my son. Therefore, I have only included 4 characters in his little tray. However, you may want to include only 2 characters if your child is just starting out. Every kid learns at a different pace, and you have to observe your child to know how to meet his or her developmental level!
You can see another example of a learning tray that I set up toward the top of this post. That photo was taken last year, and the objective was matching the bigram characters.
Chinese song about family member names
I highly recommend the Chinese Children’s Music album, I Can Sing in Mandarin, track 5 to go along with this Chinese lesson. This album has many catchy Chinese songs that are pleasant, in tune, and understandable. The 5th track is about family members.
Happy playful learning, friends!
More fun and simple educational activities for kids
For more heart-themed Chinese learning activities, check out these ideas!
Since Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day are in the same month, you can also explore these 20+ hands-on Chinese New Year activities with your kids and students!