Learn Names of Chinese Family Members with Printable Heart Matching Game

Family hearts matching game in Chinese

To learn the (confusing) Chinese family tree, I created a free printable matching game that teaches family members in Chinese! The Chinese family names printable can also be used as a coloring sheet.  In addition, kids can decorate them as Valentine’s Day cards or make heart wands for relatives! At the end of the post, I have also included a link to a Chinese children’s song about family members in Mandarin Chinese!

I originally created these printable family hearts in 2017 (time flies!) and have since updated this post with new ideas.

Learn About Chinese Family Members with Valentine’s Day Printable Heart Matching Game | Preschool | Elementary school | Mandarin Immersion | Chinese activity for kids | Free flashcards | Love | Montessori Homeschool #learnChinese #family #chinese #valentinesday #kidsactivities

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When should kids learn Chinese family member names?

In the Chinese language, words like 妈妈 / 媽媽 (māma), dad 爸爸(bàba), 哥哥 (gēgē), 姐姐 / 姊姊 (jiějiě), 弟弟 (dìdì) are used as commonly, if not more often, than names.

From a Chinese-speaking standpoint, they are high-yield first words for kids to learn. As for reading, although Chinese family names have several strokes, their emotional relationship and frequent use make them relatively motivating.

Try this: 20 Ways to Get Your Kids to Speak Chinese

family hearts Chinese activity for kids
Top: Pink hearts represent important people in our lives. Bottom: Purple hearts represent beauty and love.

My daughter began to learn Chinese between ages 2 and 3, and our construction paper hearts shown in the above image were how she learned the Chinese characters! Because the activity was so helpful for her, I made a printable when your child is ready to read Chinese characters — doesn’t matter the age.

However, she constantly mixed up the different aunts and uncles. Honestly, I find them confusing myself! Therefore, this printable family matching game helps with naming the different relationships.

My younger child has shown interest in learning some Chinese characters this year. It’s so fun that he can participate in Chinese activities with big sis! However, since he is still learning how to remember the spoken names, we aren’t rushing with memorizing Chinese characters.

Explore this: How I Taught My Child 1000 Chinese Characters as a Non-Fluent Speaker

Important Chinese family tree vocabulary:

Chinese family members: Immediate Family

  • 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)

Other important relationships in Chinese

  • Friend – 朋友 (Péngyǒu)
  • Teacher – 老师 / 老師 (Lǎoshī)

There are numerous other family 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. You can add them to our editable printables!

Valentine's Day Heart Matching Game - Learn about Family Members in Chinese

What you need for the heart matching game

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  1. Family member hearts printable available in simplified and traditional Chinese.  Click on the links below to download!
    1. Family Members – Heart Matching Game – SC
    2. Family Members – Heart Matching Game – TC
  2. Scissors
  3. Printer paper or cardstock
  4. Laminator and laminating pouches
  5. Printer

*Note: If you can write Chinese and have some time, you might consider writing the words by hand so your child can see how each word is formed. 

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

  1. Print 2 sheets of each page
  2. Optional: laminate
  3. Cut along solid line
  4. Introduce a few words at a time (less or more, depending on your child’s level).
  5. Separate the family heart flashcards into 2 piles (eg, bowls) as shown in the tray above, and have your child find the matching card.
  6. Play a memory game:
    1. Mix up the cards.
    2. Place them face down on the table.
    3. Turn over any two cards.
    4. If both cards match, keep them.
    5. If they don’t match, turn them back over.
    6. Remember what was on each card and where it was.
    7. When all cards are matched, the game is over.
  7. Play a matching game:
    1. Cut the hearts in half (splitting up the bigrams)
    2. Find the matching Chinese character!
  8. Use them as decorations!

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! (Note: I’ve updated the printable to KaiTi font, so you’ll notice the Chinese characters in some pictures look a little different than the other pictures.)

You can also adapt this activity to other languages, such as matching English alphabet letters!

Please note that I did not include English letters in this printable. It would be much more efficient to cut hearts and handwrite the alphabet or use a large heart punch like my favorite brand here!

Chinese Family Members Heart Matching Game in both simplified and traditional Chinese!

Chinese family member search-and-find activities

One mom shared that she used the heart printable to teach family members while using the Odonata leveled readers with her child. She added a fun search-and-find element for her daughter.

In addition, she kept the heart-shaped flashcards and sensory bin in the refrigerator to surprise her daughter with the cold sensation!

Chinese Family Members - Valentine's Day Hearts Matching Game
Chinese Family Members - Valentine's Day Hearts Matching Game
Chinese Family Members - Valentine's Day Hearts Matching Game

Thank you, @jhomelearningspace, for letting us share your photos with other families!

Chinese family member memory matching game

Last year, my daughter and I also played a simple memory-matching game.  We mixed up the Chinese family members’ names and placed each heart face down. My daughter liked it so much that she even played it a few times alone!  I wish I had a video, but I only have this photo.

Chinese family members heart matching game - free printable

Montessori-inspired learning area – How to adapt for different ages

To encourage my kids to explore activities independently, 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.

Montessori Chinese Valentine's Day Activity

Although my daughter could have probably matched the full set of 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 starting.

Every child learns at a different pace, so observation is necessary to determine how to meet each child’s developmental level.

You can see another example of a learning tray I set up toward the top of this post. That photo was taken last year, and the objective was to match the Bigram characters.

Chinese song about family member names

I highly recommend the I Can Sing in Mandarin Chinese music album to accompany this lesson. The fifth track is about family members. This Chinese children’s music album has many catchy songs that beginners can understand.

Explore this: Best Chinese Children’s Songs and Nursery Rhymes

Have you taught your child(ren) family names in Chinese?

If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s), and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!

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 around the same time of year, you can also explore these 20+ hands-on Chinese New Year activities with your kids and students!


  1. Thanks for this printable and ideas! We’re just starting out on this journey – our preschooler started weekend Chinese school last fall. No native speakers at home and I’m learning alongside (so far at least). I printed out this activity today and we did the memory game with just the first page vocab, which reinforced a few of the words from the last “lesson” at school and added another one which applies to our family. It worked well and I think we’ll add another page of hearts/family vocab next week.

    1. Hi Lindsay! I’m so glad to hear that you were able to enjoy the printable memory game with your child! Thank you so much for taking the time to write!

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