5 Best Kids Games for Learning Chinese

Why you should be using games to teach your child Chinese

Keeping young kids occupied is tough and getting them to engage with learning activities can be even harder. I’ve been working to gamify our home’s daily Chinese learning hour and everyone is now more engaged than ever. I’ve been working on adding kids games for learning Chinese to my teaching arsenal because researcher have repeatedly shown that compared to other students, happy learners process and retain information much more efficiently. This is why it is imperative for language learning to not feel like a chore for your young ones!

After trying out 15-20 different activities, we’ve settled on 5 games. They require more advanced planning than giving your kiddo your phone (which is great too! no tech shaming here), but are worth the results. The 3 little monsters in my home (4, 6, and 8) love these kids games for learning Chinese and I’m sure your kids will too! #1, #2, #4, and #5 can all be played for free, but for #3 you will need to buy some playing blocks if you decide that it is the game for your home.

#1 Flashcard Bingo (Ages: 3+)

Chinese flashcard bingo game

Company: Minilingo
Level: Beginner
Description: 20 matching English/Chinese cards
How to purchase: Amazon (around USD15)

Game 1: Flashcard Bingo
Have your kid(s) set up either a 3×3 (2-player) or 4×4 (1-player) grid with cards randomly selected from the Chinese deck. Now draw one card at a time from the English deck. If players have the selected card on their board and can say the corresponding Chinese word (without looking their Chinese cards), then they receive a point. Players win once they have 3 in a row for the 3×3 grid of 4 in a row for the 4×4 grid.

Review: Same as #2 Find my Partner (read below)

#2 Find My Partner (Ages: 3+)

Company: Minilingo
Level: Beginner
Description: 20 matching English/Chinese cards
How to purchase: Amazon (around USD15)

Game 2: Find my partner
Spread out all of the cards from one of the language decks on a table. Have your child match the other deck with those on the table – make sure to have them read both the Chinese and English out loud, so they don’t just match using the pictures!

Review: The colorful, fun cards doubled everyone’s engagement! We started making our own cards by hand to save money, but this didn’t seem to keep the kiddos entertained – the younger one’s especially. It’s also great that we get two great kids games for learning Chinese with one deck – feed two birds with one stone and all that. After we purchased the Minilingo deck, Flashcard bingo in particular became one of our favorite games. So much so that everyone completely learned the Minilingo cards now and we’ve moved on to Chineasy’s deck of 60 cards, which are a bit more difficult but just as colorful and exciting.

#3 Find my friends (Ages: 3+)

Company: Guaishou
Level: Beginner
Description: 100 English/Chinese language blocks to mix and match
How to purchase: Amazon (around USD18)

Children's Chinese language learning blocks

Game 3: Find my friends
Instead of finding perfect matches have your kids match Chinese words by category. For example, you could work with them to put all of the sea creatures or land creatures together. For older players have them place every single block into mutually exclusive categories–have them find categories that use all blocks, but where no block can be used more than once.

Review: The youngest loves playing with blocks and this was our attempt at incorporating language learning into the activity. These block from Amazon are hardy and work well the kids that are tough on their toys. However, be warned that this isn’t a great multi-player game if your kids are different ages. Just matching together blocks from one category is too easy an 8 year old, but creating mutually exclusive categories is obviously a non-starter a 4 year old.

#4 Build Characters (Ages: 4+)

Company: Jovi
Level: Intermediate
Description: form clay into the shape of Chinese characters
How to purchase: Amazon (around USD25)

Game 4: Build Characters
Write a new (or old) Chinese character on a standard 8½ by 11  piece of paper paper. Make sure to cover the entire page. Next, have your child use your writing as an outline to form a clay character on top of. You can do this activity with any materials (pipe cleaners, rocks, sand/salt, etc). You can even go paper free for more advanced students and have them form characters completely on their own!

Review: Is this one of the most exciting kids games for learning Chinese in the world? No. Does everyone prefer this to our regular character writing repetition exercises? Yes! More importantly, building characters with clay makes everyone more actively engage with character writing then just using a pen and paper – things seem to be sticking very well in the 6 and 8 year old’s memories. We use this vegetable based Jovi clay because it makes cleanup much faster than when we were trying the activity with salt, its reusable so we can play again and again, and its much safer than when we tried with rocks (the youngest likes putting everything in their mouth). Plus, the Jovi set has a ton of colors and that alone can amuse the 4 year old for a solid 5 minutes. The game would also work well with Play-Doh.

#5 Codenames (Ages: 8+)

Company: you!
Level: advanced
Description: DIY Chinese version of the hit game Codenames

Game 5: Codenames
If you have not played the English version of the game, then check out the rules here! You’ll be playing a modified version of the game using Chinese words on the board instead of English words. Hacking Chinese has put together an awesome excel sheet that will make these boards for you, which you can download here and follow their video tutorial on setting everything up. You can choose to either play by using English to describe the Chinese board or just go full steam ahead and do everything 100% in Chinese.

Review: Codenames is my partner’s favorite game and he’s overjoyed that our oldest can play with us now. The random generator sometimes picks words that are a bit difficult for the 8 year old to indirectly describe, but I’ve found that this makes for good learning experiences. We tried to play completely in Chinese a few times, but things fell apart fairly quickly. All that being said, this is our favorite game to play and the kids want to join in when we start it up. This is our favorite kids game for learning Chinese (the adults really love playing too).

Let us know in the comments below if you’d like to hear any more tips and tricks on teaching kids Chinese. If you liked this post please make sure to share itpin it, or tweet it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *