Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Chinese Games

These are more for a 3 - 9 year old group: good manipulatives requiring fine motor work and one game that can be done in a classroom - or in a large field. For Sport-ier Games, see Chinese Games at Musical Mandarin. They might appeal more to children that are not so young.
  1. Chopstick practice is wonderful for fine motor development and concentration. Start with larger items like dry popcorn, pom-poms, and cotton balls and work towards smaller items such as dry beans.

  2. Make an abacus of beads of O-shaper cereal. Remember that Chinese and Japanese abaci are made differently! When the school year start around September, Chinese New Year often falls near the 100th day of school. You may be able to use that in your planning.

  3. Introducing the Chinese numbers is not difficult. I would recommend teaching all Chinese in Mandarin since it is the primary and official dialect. If you can teach someone to count to 10, they know all the words they need to count to 99! If fact, Chinese children are able to count to 40 long before their English-speaking age-mates because of this. Thirteen is literally ten-three and forty-seven it four-ten-seven. Finger-counting is another interesting aspect that can be added. As of February 2005, this site had nice number practice in Mandarin.
    (Perhaps you will use it to practice them before you teach your students.)

  4. Game: 1,2,3 Dragon or Catch the Dragon's Tail:
    (This is better with at least 10 children.) Have children line up in a row putting their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The first person is the dragon’s head and the last person is the tail. The head tries to catch the tail without the kids becoming tangled or undone. Change the head-child when the tail is caught or within a certain time limit – so that everyone who wants to will have a chance to be the head. This game fits in well with Chinese New Year celebrations when there are street festivals with dancing dragons. For another view, here is a description from some 6th graders.

  5. Game: Lame Chicken
    I don't know if this is a "girls' game" or played by "boys and girls" in China. If you do not mention it, I think it would be fine for any group!
    Divide the children into at least 2 teams. Each team lines up opposite their "ladder" of ten pencils, sticks or whatever you have placed about xx (25cm) apart on the floor. One at a time, the next child in each team is the 'lame chicken', and hop on one foot over all the sticks. Then the student turns, picks up the last stick, hops back and places the stick on the ground at the start. If both feet touch the ground, or if anyone touches a stick with their foot, they have to start over.

    The winning team can be the one that has everyone finish their turn first, or the team whose sticks reach/pass a certain point first. The later is especially good when the teams are of uneven sizes, but do watch that the sticks are placed about the same distance apart as they lay them down!

Last updated February 2007