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Mandarin Chinese: Play-Based Foreign Language for Little Ones

My young daughter loves to play and imagine.  She enjoys learning Chinese too.  One day earlier this week, we went to her bedroom to use the CD player for her Chinese lesson with My First Chinese Words.  I also brought along a sheet that the tutor gave me.  It listed basic conversation that matched and expanded on what my older boys were studying in the New Practical Chinese Reader  As I sat on her bed surrounded by little stuffed toys, I put aside her curriculum and just started to play – making the little creatures talk to my daughter and each other in Mandarin.  I’m not a Mandarin speaker so I had the piece of paper in view so I knew what to say.

It was fun.  Not only was it fun, but my daughter picked up several phrases quite quickly that way.  We practiced going to sleep and waking up saying good night and good morning in Mandarin.  We practiced basic greetings like “hello, how are you? and “I’m fine.” too.  I supposed the most favorite one of all was the clumsy stuffed toy that kept bumping into other animals and needing to say “I’m sorry”.

When it was time for Mandarin again today, I told my daughter and she excitedly ran to her bedroom again.  I just brought the conversation sheet with me again and we practiced some of the phrases we had done the other day and added a little more.  My First Chinese Words will help us practice more vocabulary and sentence patterns, but I think my daughter will learn best if we continue to learn those new words through play.

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