Friday, January 20, 2012

Getting Your Young Child to Write

Getting Your Young Child to Write- So your kid pays no attention to the labels you've made in Chinese all over the house and couldn't be paid to care about how to write the characters or pinyin/ㄅㄆㄇㄈ.  Now what do you do?  Because you want your child to learn Chinese.*  Think like a kid.  Try the ideas below and see if you can encourage your children to practice their characters this way.

*I've been told by a friend that schools in Asia don't require character writing
until children are 6 years old in order to prevent problems with dexterity development.
If your child is still in preschool or younger, please take this to heart and 
have fun with the suggested games below.  
Please, don't require perfection or intensive writing times.

  • Use tub-safe paint and practice in the tub.  (You can buy this at Target (just look for "tub paint") or make your own (see below).
  • Use window paint (do a search online) on your car windows or home.
  • Show your kid how to write with invisible ink (Use a water-paint brush or ear swab and lemon juice!  Apply heat to turn the writing brown.).
  • Write with a finger on a foggy mirror after a bath or on a cold, frosty window in winter.
  • Make your own crayons!
  • Sidewalk chalk.
  • Chocolate pudding and white construction paper (think "finger paint").  Ummm, I suggest you save this for outside during the summer and turn on the sprinkler for easy clean up!  Remember to wear clothes you don't care about- chocolate stains!  Or use vanilla pudding with food coloring- be careful; food coloring stains, too!
  • Shaving cream and black construction paper (think "finger paint").  You could also use whip cream, but they might not be interested in writing much the first time they get some in their mouth!
  • Use play-dough and mold the dough into different characters.  For beginners, you can have an outline on the paper for them to follow.
  • Glue small pieces of tissue paper onto a glass jar or onto a piece of paper to make characters.   For beginners, you can have an outline on the paper for them to follow.
  • Try making Chinese characters with Legos (this works best with boxy characters).
  • Make Chinese characters come alive by growing them!  In a disposable pan, place 2-3 inches of soil and moisten the soil.  Trace the character or characters you want to make in the soil so that there is a depression in the soil.  Place grass seed in the depression and gently cover with a thin layer of soil.  Don't forget to moisten the soil one more time.  Keep soil moist for 7-10 days and you'll see your characters come alive!
  • Glue dried beans to a piece of paper to form characters.  For beginners, you can have an outline on the paper for them to follow.
  • Instead of slits in the top of that cherry pie, write Chinese characters.
  • Decorate the outline of characters!  More details here
  • Lacing Cards!  Print out or write the character on a piece of heavy stock paper.  Then punch holes at the beginning and end of each stroke (some characters will be easier to do this with than others).  Then have your child use a long shoe lace or ribbon to lace the character!

You are only limited by your imagination!
Got a good suggestion, post it in the comment section below!

Tub Paint Recipe
  • 1/3 cup of clear liquid dish detergent (use a mild detergent that won't hurt if gotten in the eyes/mouth)
  • 1tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Food coloring; see caution below
  • Ice cub tray
  1. Mix detergent and cornstarch.
  2. Pour into ice cube tray
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to individual cubes
  4. Place in freezer until hard (a couple hours). 

Tub Crayon Recipe
  • 1 cup of white bar soap, grated
  • A few drops of food coloring, don't use more than 5-6; see caution below
  • 1/4 cup of water warmed in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  • Ice cub tray
  1. Mix soap, food coloring, and water.
  2. Scoop into ice cube tray
  3. Place in freezer until hard (a few minutes).
  4. Pop out of tray and set them on counter to harden and dry overnight.
    *** Test your tub for stain resistance before letting your child use this paint.  My tub is fiberglass and it came off easily, but I'm not responsible for your tub!***

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