This week, I’m sharing with you the China lesson plan I used with my homeschooled kindergartner.
From pandas to dim sum and exploring the art of Chinese writing, China is an exciting, fascinating study for littles.
It’s never too early to start learning about international affairs. Beginning with basics like where China is located and what languages are spoken lays a foundation for later study of things like its geopolitical relevance and economic impacts when your child reaches middle and high school.
Here’s some ideas to get you started.
Practice the art of Chinese writing.
I know, I know. If you don’t actually speak or read Chinese, practicing Chinese characters feels intimidating.
But there are tons of resources for kids learning how to write in Chinese.
Here’s a bunch of free worksheets to get you started.
Personally, with my kindergartener, my primary goal centered on getting him to understand that not all languages use our alphabet and helping him to recognize that simple characters actually represent linguistic meaning.
Later, I plan to help him learn to distinguish between Japanese, Korean, etc (which often look similar to people who use Greco Roman-based alphabets–but of course, they’re totally different!)
Cook and try new foods.
Every country unit study we do includes some kind of culinary lesson.
(My favorite as of late were the Kenyan pancakes we made for this lesson).
Personally, I’m always torn about whether to visit a restaurant that specializes in a particular international cuisine or to try to make our own. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
Going to a real restaurant means experiencing the food directly from a cook/chef with expert knowledge of the food. These restaurants also often have decor from that culture which can enrich the experience and give you talking points for the lesson.
But making the food yourself together teaches your child real kitchen skills—and it’s usually a lot cheaper. 🙂
Either way, try to go with something authentic!
Build the Great Wall of China.
If you have a little one who loves to build stuff from Legos or blocks, learn about the Great Wall of China, and then encourage your kids to build their version of it!
It’s a super fun way to bring this famously magnificent symbol of China to life.
Start by learning some basic facts about The Great Wall together.
All about fireworks.
Who doesn’t love to play with fireworks?!
If you have some old ones in the garage from your last 4th of July celebration, now’s the time to use them up!
Take kid-friendly sparklers into the backyard and let them play. Then, explain that the Chinese invented fireworks over 1,000 years ago!
One way to incorporate science into a geography lesson is to highlight a feature animal from the region.
In this case, China’s people prize their native panda bear highly.
Try making a panda project. Here’s a whole bunch to explore:
Discuss the panda’s natural habitat, its diet, and its role in Chinese culture.
Learn some Buddhist mythology.
Kids love to learn through storytelling.
So, for this lesson, I chose to include a little literary side trip and told my son the story of Kwan Yin (or Guanyin).
I found (affiliate link —–>) Kwan Yin: The Princess Who Became the Goddess of Compassion by Maya van der Meer an especially beautifully illustrated and well-written kid’s book.
You can build in a more elaborate lesson about the history of Buddhism in China, or just let it stand on its own.