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Chinese Toys for Kids

A list of Bilingual and Chinese Toys and Games for kids. Includes games and toys you can purchase as well as DIY bilingual games that you can easily create at home yourself.

Bilingual toys and games are widely used throughout the world when it comes to learning a second language. Most parents spend extensive research on which ones are the best for their children. As a parent of two multilingual children – English, Portuguese, Chinese and Spanish, we also try to find toys, games, and methodologies to provide language exposure. The truth is there is no perfect toy.

Depending on the activities, sometimes we pick one game and process it with one language entirely. In some other activities that are more functional based, we encourage our multilingual kids to use all the vocabulary including different languages to communicate with us. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the first part of this post: Traditional Chinese Games for Kids.

Learning Chinese

Teaching Chinese to my multilingual children has become one of the most challenging tasks after moving to Spain. Chinese characters are not based on an alphabet like Spanish, and they are rarely seen in Barcelona for an apparent reason. 

All Chinese characters are structured by a number of strokes. Each contains one or more pinyin pronunciations as well as meanings; when two or more characters combine, it can mean something entirely different from the Chinese character itself. 

Most Chinese learners begin by recognizing the characters as well as pinyin first, followed by writing. In other words, relying on close interactions and communications is not enough to master the Chinese language. Your bilingual kid will need to learn how to distinguish the characters with the correct strokes orders at some point.

Typical Taiwanese children learn 4000 characters by the end of primary school and move forward to advance Chinese such as poetry, literature comprehension, and exposition writing in middle school. 

DIY Chinese Bilingual toys and games

Bilingual & Chinese Toys and Games for Kids

Bilingual toys and games do not need to come at a high cost or a fancy packaging; it can be recycled from unwanted toys for more extended uses, even rent or purchase second-hand toys is a way of sustainable play.

Sustainable play can lower the environmental impact, and it also promotes an eco-friendly lifestyle to your children on how a simple act from home can change the world.

Find below 7 Bilingual and Chinese Toys and Games for Kids

1. Paper Fortune-teller 

Paper Fortune Teller DIY Chinese Toy

Paper fortune-teller is a fun and interactive origami game to predict someone’s future. It is a popular childhood game that I believe many of us have made these at some point in time. All you need is a piece of origami paper and a pen.

The teller will begin with the thumb and index fingers of each hand in the four pockets; the player will pick one number that shows on the top. The teller will begin to count the number by moving all fingers vertically or horizontally. At the end of the count, the player will select a number exposed on the inner flaps to find out the good fortune. 

The classic paper fortune-teller usually hides a list of fortune related messages. However, we can switch up to age-appropriate challenges, and these can be carried out in your target language. For example, the player can select a fruit instead of a number, pronounce apple蘋果in Chinese and spell out the pinyin “P-I-N-G G-U-O”.

DIY Fortune Teller Game
 Left: Task-driven activities; Right: Vocabulary-driven activities.

Recommended:
Bilingual Origami Activities

2. Storytelling board

We have created our storyboard from a recycle paper box and toys that have been left in the corner for a long time. The Storytelling Board begins with a piece of a white surface, and it allows us to expand creativity and tailor the story background according to our bilingual’s interest. We take a road trip, train ride, fishing, and jungle walk. This process encourages fantasy and imagination by proposing a storytelling methodology to improve vocabulary through interactions.

Chinese Toys & Games

1. Flashcards & Memory Games

Chinese flashcards and memory games are commonly used in kindergarten to introduce new words; the learning involves repetition, visual memory and identifying the differences. It is considered the most direct way to develop a vocabulary with a young learner.

Learning Chinese comes in three separate efforts; matching Chinese characters with the correct pinyin, followed by learning the Chinese radicals. Last but not least, combining each character to form meaningful words or sentences.

The CHINEASY Flashcards allow your bilingual child to learn the character, associate radicals with each character, as well as arrange the cards to make new words or sentences. (Play guide download) They also have a great Chinese MEMORY GAME as well.

2. Chinese Books

During early language development, my multilingual child started speaking later than the average children. As a first-time mom, I have to seek professional advice on how to improve the situation. Although books are not toys, educators continue to suggest that reading to children is vital for language development.  

We interact with our child through a Chinese storyline verbally to enhance listening and communication skills. Chinese have four primary tones and one neutral tone; many have struggled to hear some of the sensitive tones. Therefore, getting enough exposure to hear the tone is as important as reading and writing.

Ready-to-learn vocabulary books are useful for beginners, and bilingual kids can concentrate the effort within a specific word group. An interactive electronic book is also another exciting Chinese toy for your little bilingual to discover new vocabulary. This sound book features colorful animals with body parts, food, colors, and activities that come with pronunciation. 

Lesilie Patricelli’s good habit picture book series was one of our top bedtime story books. The illustration is simple, and the content we have used was focused on appropriate social behavior.

3. Chinese Board Game

Chinese board games are usually involved with a minimum of two people. It is a great activity to develop social vocabulary and social skills with the little learner. The most popular board game comes in Chinese characters is Xiangqi, which has been played in China for 3500 years. Most people start with the beginner class at age five and above.

As for younger Chinese learners, the below board game gives a slight twist from Monopoly; it contains 40 countries around the world, three oceans, and a breakpoint in each corner. Take your little bilingual learner around the world:  

Chinese Board games for kids

Instructions: 

  1. Find a boat, airplane, bicycles, or a token to represent each player’s moving piece.
  2. The player rolls two dice, and then adds up the total. The result is the number of boxes the player moves for each turn
  3. The player name country, spell out pinyin or even point out where the country located on the map.

4. Chinese Character Magnetic Puzzle

Chinese characters magnetic puzzle is an educational Chinese game suitable for advance Chinese learners. Through the game, children will puzzle the correct strokes order of each character and word.

5. Character Blocks

These Uncle Goose each contain a Chinese character, English translation, and crafted picture of the word, pinyin and stroke guide. Playing these Chinese character blocks help your bilingual child to learn Chinese characters and improve motor skills. In addition, other than the Chinese character on the block, parents can also engage by using Chinese to describe colors, shapes, the pattern and number of blocks. The Uncle Goose Chinese character blocks come in the Basic Version and also the Animal version.

Chinese Games and Toys for Kids

Learning is a journey and the best way to teach a kid a new language is giving guidance with structure. I hope this list of Chinese games and toys provides you with some ideas of activities to do with your kids learning Chinese.

Author: Hsin is a third-culture kid from Taiwan. Her husband was raised in a mixed Brazilian-Catalan family, and they have 2 daughters. As cross-culture parents, they want to establish family values of our own and embrace multiculturalism. Hsin writes at Nanani World.

Chinese Toys for Kids