In the lead-up to Easter Sunday 2018, we put together a treasure trove of ideas to engage your child in Mandarin.
Easter Series Part #1: Story of the Chinese Character "Rabbit" 《兔》
Did you know that Chinese characters have a history of over 3000 years?
Roughly 600 (or less than 10%) of all Chinese characters are pictographs - stylised drawings of objects they represent. These are generally among the oldest characters. For example, to symbolize a person “人”, they used “”.
While words that are pictographs make up a small percentage of all the Chinese characters, they are still useful to learn. It is also an interesting and fun way to introduce Chinese to young children.
Try these conversation tips with your child:
- Rabbits are commonly associated with Easter.
兔子和复活节（fù huó jié）时常被联系（lián xì）在一起。
- Let’s watch how the word “兔" has evolved!
我们一起来看看 “兔” 这个字是怎么演变（yǎn biàn）成今日的模样（mó yàng）。
- Can you guess which part of the word represents the head, body, legs and tail of the rabbit respectively?
- You learnt a new Chinese word today. Wasn’t that interesting?
Easter Series Part #2: Classic story and song 《小兔子乖乖》
Have you told the classic story of 《小兔子乖乖》 to your children yet?
It is the story of Mama Rabbit and 3 little rabbits. Mama Rabbit has to go out of the home to find food for the little ones. So she teaches them to shut the door tightly while she’s gone and not to open the door to any strangers. The Big Bad Wolf comes while she is gone hoping to trick the little rabbits into opening the door for him. The little rabbits remember what Mama Rabbit has said, and stay safe!
This is a great story to use when teaching your children not to open the door to strangers.
Here we suggest 2 videos.
The first is a story version. There is some violence depicted in the story. Parents should pre-watch this video to determine if it is suitable for your children.
The second video is a song version which is suitable for all children.
(Some violence depicted. Parental guidance required)
Pro Tip: Young children will enjoy acting out the story. You can assign roles or let them choose.
- Let's role play this story together.
wǒ mén yì qǐ lái bàn yǎn 《xiǎo tù zi guāi guāi》 de gù shì ba
2) Song Version
Pro Tip 1: Watch the mama rabbit when she’s singing and observe her actions. You can also do the actions with your child while singing the song!
Pro Tip 2: Learn the song well yourself, so that you can sing the song to your child repeatedly over the day and over the week even without watching the video. The more he hears it, the better he will remember it.
Pro Tip 3: To spice things up, you can do different voices when singing the song. Sing it fast, sing it slow, sing it with a high voice (like Mama Rabbit), sing it with a low raspy voice (like the Big Bad Wolf).
Easter Series Part #3: Easter-themed books for the rabbit-lovers
Are you looking for some Easter-themed books to share with your child?Or do you have a rabbit lover at home?
Entice your children into the exciting world of Mandarin through these books.
Easter Series Part #4: How to Fold an Origami Rabbit 《折纸：小兔子》
Here is a video for you and your children to watch together. In the video, you will learn how to fold an origami rabbit.
(Suitable for 5 years old and older to do independently. Younger children will require some assistance.)
1️⃣️ Watch the video once with your child before embarking on the craft. Select "HD" under options if the video looks blurry.
2️⃣ ️Play the video with sound to listen to the instructions in Mandarin. Your child will benefit from this.
3️⃣️ Feel free to pause the video several times, whether to make sure you did the right step, or to help your child with his.
4️⃣️ Celebrate with your child on his effort regardless of the end result!
We hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it!
Easter Series Part #5:
Ok, we heard you.
Some of you are saying, "I get that Chinese is really important for my kids, and I wish to read them more Chinese books too. But, my Chinese is terrible, and I don't know how to choose books that are suitable. Help!"
This is the first of our book introductions, to give you a peek into what's inside our books, and to show you that it really isn't that scary reading to your kids! You can do it too!
A little bunny keeps running away from his mother in this imaginary game of hide-and-seek. Children will be profoundly comforted by this lovingly steadfast mother who finds her child every time.
The Runaway Bunny, first published in 1942 and never out of print, has indeed become a classic. Generations of readers have fallen in love with the gentle magic of its reassuring words and loving pictures.
This is an introduction video for The Runaway Bunny.
(Skip to 1:34 for the actual book reading if you are re-watching it)
Easter Series Part #6: More Ideas & Conversations Prompts
Happy Good Friday! While you are enjoying the public holiday and hopefully some quality time with your family and children, you can start making plans on how to include more Mandarin into your activities and conversations.
Here are some conversation prompts for you to use. You may use as much or as little as you choose. Hopefully this will give you an idea of how easy it can be to incorporate Mandarin into everyday life.
Do some large motor movements and have fun! If you have more than one child, you can even have a simple race/ relay race. (suitable for 1-4 yo)
- Can you hop like a rabbit/bunny?
nǐ huì xué tù zi tiào mā
- Hop to the right/left/front/back.
xiàng yòu/zuǒ/qián/hòu tiào
- Hop quickly/slowly.
kuài kuài tiào/màn màn tià
- Hop on one leg. Now use the other leg to hoop.
yòng yì zhī jiǎo tiào。 huàn jiǎo zài tiào。
- Let’s have a race/relay race!
wǒ mén lái bǐ sài/ wǒ mén lái gè jiē lì sài ba
See real rabbits (suitable for 2-6 yo)
Now we have been talking about rabbits for quite a while since our first Easter Series post here. This is a good opportunity to go see real rabbits, either at a pet shop, a friend’s home, or a farm. Depending on where you go, you may even get to feed the rabbits. Little children will be thrilled.
- Let’s go see some rabbits at the (pet shop/our friend’s house/a farm)!
wǒ mén dào (chǒng wù diàn/péng yǒu de jiā/nóng chǎng) qù kàn kàn zhēn de tù zi ba
- This rabbit has (white/brown/black) fur.
zhè zhī tù zi de máo shì (bái/kā fēi/hēi) sè de
- Would you like to feed the rabbit?
nǐ xiǎng wèi tù zi mā
- These rabbits are so adorable!
zhè xiē tù zi hǎo kě ài a
- This rabbit looks friendly/sleepy/scared.
zhè zhī tù zi kàn qǐ lái hěn yǒu shàn/hěn kùn/hěn hài pà
Talk about Good Friday and Easter Sunday (suitable for 4-8 yo)
Your kids might ask you about the significance of the holidays, and who celebrates them. Or you might want to talk about them to your kids.
- Today is Good Friday/Easter Sunday.
jīn tiān shì yē sū shòu nàn jíe/fù huó jié
- Why do Christians celebrate these festivals? What special significance do they have?
wèi shěn me jī dū jiào tú yào qìng zhù zhè xiē jié rì ne?
zhè liǎng ge jié rì yǒu shěn me tè bié de yì yi ne?
- Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death on Calvary.
yē sū shòu nàn jié shì jī dū jiào tú yòng yǐ jì niàn zhǔ yē sū jī dū zài gè gè tā bèi dīng sǐ shòu nàn de jié rì
- Easter or Resurrection Sunday is a festival celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 3 days after his death.
fù huó jié shì jī dū tú yòng yǐ jì niàn yē sū jī dū bèi dīng sǐ hòu dì sān tiān fù huó de shì jì.
- To Christians, Easter Sunday symbolizes hope.
duì jī dū tú lái shuō, fù huó jié xiàng zhēng xī wàng.