Garden

Learning a Chinese Character through Nature

There’s something special about using nature for art.

When I invited my daughter to go leaf-picking with me, I don’t think she understood what I meant.

A few minutes later, with a little bucket and our sun hats, we were in our backyard picking leaves off our rose bush.

We talked about the colors of the leaves, why some leaves were turning brown and what that means. It was a great opportunity to learn new Chinese terms and was also a wonderful bonding experience for us.

It is fascinating to see the world through a child’s eyes. She sees every little detail and is constantly in awe of things that have become “ordinary” for me.

This activity is super simple and easy. All you need is some leaves, glue, paper, and voila! You have a fine motor activity ready for your toddler.

I printed out the character 葉 on a piece of paper and explained to my daughter that it means “leaf,” but what’s even more special about this character is that it is also our family’s Chinese last name.

For those who are wondering how my Norwegian-American husband has a Chinese last name, that post is coming soon!

As you can see in the picture, we used brushes to apply the glue to the leaves. This is just personal preference. You can definitely opt to use hands and fingers for this activity.

Another reason I love this activity is because it is an open-ended activity. There is no right or wrong way of gluing the leaves to the paper. My daughter decided where and how she wanted to place the leaves. She decided how many (or few) leaves she wanted on the paper.

She got to exercise her decision-making skills.

At the same time, I was able to increase her awareness of written text and promote Chinese literacy. And guess what, when I asked her what the Chinese character was the next day, she remembered! How awesome is that?!

Did you try this activity or have you done something similar? If so, we would love to hear from you!

Feel free to leave a comment or email us with your experience. Have fun!

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