Gamification in Learning Chinese: Let's Play Miming Game
    Date of publication :7/14/2020 7:24:31 PM


offering a unique progressive learning experience for kids.

 EDITOR: the blogger Hongxia will share here with us:

-       Miming game for memorizing and visualizing Chinese characters;

-       The importance of developing active learning ability

-       The  effectiveness and method of gamification in preparing children for happy  learning 


Every week, before learning new Chinese characters, I would help my son, Little Fatty ( Xiao Fei),  review what we have learnt the week before.  

Usually, the review focuses on dictation, stroke writing, making short phrases or sentenced orally by using keywords learnt. However, Little Fatty feels bored about those methods, more often he would fall into frustration if he could not write characters in its exact forms or in good stroke orders. 

This week, I decided to tackle this infamous problem of boredom and re-plan our review methods.  

First of all, weekly learning involves stroke order, word formation, and sentence making. We started with fingerpoint-reading, which is both a review of the glyph and usage (The sentences I specially designed are based on what we have learnt and related to Little Fatty's interests. Little Fatty liked those extended sentence reading! Yeah,  I’m quite proud of my own creation 😎).


While reading the vocabulary aloud, Little Fatty was encouraged to extend words into funny plots. For example, the following line can be read as:

蛛哒哒哒哒哒哒蛛蛛蛛 (zhu-da-da-da-da-da-da-zhu-zhu-zhu). This example can be replaced by any onomatopoeia and tone we like.

Little Fatty had a lot of fun with this kind of reading-aloud practice. When he made mistakes, he would laugh at himself embarrassingly. This kind of small mistakes was not a big deal, but can be a reminder in our future learning.

After the warm-up, we can use the self-designed vocabulary cards to play the entertaining miming game: miming the words-guess- writing practice).


How to play miming game:

-       Participants: 2 or more players

-       Material: printed or self-designed flashcards

-       Steps: The back of the vocabulary card is facing upwards. One participant         acts out the vocabulary they see on the card; the other participant then             guesses the vocabulary, followed by writing practices together.


Little Fatty likes pantomime, often using exaggerated expressions and gestures to act. I, alternatively, often use verbral description to explain the vocabulary on my card and then let him guess. Well,  ok, a little laid-back and a good rest for mum, but more practice of listening comprehension for child, my mimes would focus more on using other vocabularies to paraphrase the target words that we are supposed to revise. My little trick works well for two of us.  


As an "adult" player, I also need to be a master of " right timing" when Little Fatty mimes – if I guess too fast, he would feel no achievement; if guessing too slowly, he would play bossing, considering me is too bad at game to play with in near future.  Pretty challenging to maintain a level playing field! 


This game gives us a lot of fun! We share our ideas and refreash our memories of a certain expression, event, movie clip or simply a scene of our daily life.

 Let's have a look at our acting game: 

(monkey): Little Fatty acted as a monkey who loved climbing trees and eating bananas.  

(pig): It refers to the creature crawling on the ground, as well as the Mr. Pig in Monsieur Lapin that always replied, “I will eat everything”.

(bee): It is a poor creature flying here and there and will die after stinging others.

(fox): It is a ferocious animal that would bite off the ears of little rabbit.

(high): It refers to the Monkey King, who was crushed under the Wuzhi Mountain.

(bear): It is a very fierce animal but is still the baby of its mother in Lost in Russia.  

(shark): It is a huge animal that wildly eats people, fish and shrimps in the video game Crazy Shark that Little Fatty plays recently. 


Miming game as our new review method proves to be very effective. It not only helps us memorize keywords, but also learn more expressions of extra vocabulary. More importantly, playing this game is very enjoyable, preparing children for happy learning.


As a mother, I can't teach him everything, but my expectation is completely achieved if I can help him enjoy learning, and gradually develop the ability to learn actively. As the poet Gibran said,


“You may house their bodies but not their souls

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”


A friend once shared with me her anxiety: How should she arrange of her child's Chinese learning so that the kiddo can basically reach the same level as children in mainland China? From my angle of view, accepting reality is the first step: since we do not live in a Chinese language environment, it is difficult for our children to reach the same level as children in China. Then, helping kids to develop sense of curiosity and ability of learning is the most important gift that we parents can give to our children. With the combination of the two essentials, parents should not worry about whether children will  keep on lifelong learning.

Believe or not,  this miming game also allows me to slow down and enjoy the process of accompanying my child to grow up. During the confinement, my friend also shared with me a very positive thinking: be optimistic. The epidemic at least won’t let us miss our children’s development.


Indeed, having common memories with children probably means that we are not missing their growing up moments. 

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