I am bilingual and I would like both my children to learn Chinese, which is their mother tongue, as it will be very useful wherever they go. I am not great at teaching my children Chinese and have to find fun ways to get them to learn. We did this craft with our Lichfield Mandarin Club last year and this has proved to be a very useful way to teach children.
If you would like to know more about how the 12 animals were named in the Chinese zodiac, check out the explanation from wikipedia.
These are the 12 animals, in the order that they come:
Rat – 鼠
Ox – 牛
Tiger – 虎
Rabbit – 兔
Dragon – 龍
Snake – 蛇
Horse – 馬
Goat – 羊
Monkey – 猴
Rooster – 雞
Dog – 狗
Pig – 豬
To make this Chinese Zodiac stick craft, I have googled and found two templates to download. I took the cute animals templates from xcn-chinese and the Chinese characters from vectorstock. But please note that there is a missing stroke on the Chinese character Goat. Feel free to google and download free images that you think are more suitable.
To make this craft, you need:
12 ice cream sticks
Templates (animals and Chinese character)
1. Cut out all the animals.
2.Teach the children to identify the Chinese characters and ask them to match the animals with it. Also teach them the animal cycle by placing them in their order.
3. Glue the templates onto the ice cream sticks. On one side is the matching animal and on the other side is the matching Chinese character.
Instead of using plain ice cream sticks, I used coloured ice cream sticks: yellow, green, orange and purple and applied these in a sequence. It helps them to remember them more easily by using colours. These are the examples:
You can also make it in to a game by giving them three choices and guessing what comes next etc.
This is a very simple craft yet it can benefit the children in learning matching games and the Chinese zodiac. Hope this is useful for you and and your child/ren!