Chinese learning resources

Easy Chinese Characters for Kids

Posted by Julia Song on October 18, 2016

easy Chinese characters for kids

Have you wondered why Chinese students are much better at math than their peers of other nationalities? It is the photographic nature of the Chinese writing system that helps to inspire the thinking ability of children. When Chinese kids are learning the characters or other subjects by using characters, their intelligence develops better. So today I'll make a list of easy Chinese characters for your kids to learn.

There's no better place to get started than with the numbers 1-10. They are quite simple to write, useful to know, and are exactly the same in both the traditional and simplified writing systems.

一 二 三 四 五 六 七 八 九 十
yī èr sān sì wǔ liù qī bā jiǔ shí
One two three four five six seven eight nine ten

Now that your child knows these characters, he/she actually knows how to read and write all the numbers through 100. That's because Chinese follows a very simple pattern for counting:

11 = 10 + 1 = 十一 shí yī
12 = 10 + 2 = 十二 shí èr
20 = 2 + 10 = 二十 èr shí
28 = 2 + 10 + 8 = 二十八 èr shí bā
82 = 8 + 10 + 2= 八十二 bā shí èr
99 = 9 + 10 + 9= 九十九 jiǔ shí jiǔ

1. First Learn the Basic Components/ Characters

Chinese characters are based on an optimized learning sequence that actually makes them easy to learn. First you'll learn basic components:

口-日-目-月-儿-人
kǒu-rì-mù-yuè-ér-rén
mouth-sun-eye-moon-son-people

These six characters are also components of characters, which can be seen quite often as a part of another character. But have you noticed the difference among the first four characters? Kids might not realize that the characters rì and mù shown here are actually two different characters, not the same character written differently.

2. Then Learn Characters based on their Photographic Form

Chinese characters can be divided into two types: pictographic script and self-explanatory characters. Pictographic scripts are simple drawings representing people or objects referred to. They are derived from pictures of natural phenomena, people, human features, animals, plants and production tools or instruments for daily use that are easy to draw. In the process of the simplification and abstraction of scripts, however, renewed forms of the scripts are very different from the original. There is a great difference between the inscriptions on ox bones or tortoise shells of the ancient times and modern, regular Chinese script. As a matter of fact, the pictographic scripts have lost their original features and become pure written symbols.

There is only a small number of pictographic scripts, roughly making up five percent of the total Chinese characters. However pictography is the basic method of Chinese writing and the foundation of Chinese character formation. It is therefore important for learners to study them to better understand the origin and structure of Chinese characters.

Over 80% of modern Chinese characters were created according to the 'photo-phonetic' method. These characters include a phonetic component which suggests the sound and a radical component that suggests the meaning. Learning these characters as part of their phonetic series helps you see the logic behind the characters and means you can easily remember whole groups of characters.

方-仿-访-房-放
fāng-fǎng-fǎng-fáng-fàng
square-to imitate-to visit house-to put

半-伴-判-叛-胖
bàn-bàn-pàn-pàn-pàng
half-companion-to judge-to rebel-fat

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About The Author

Julia Song

Julia Song is a Chinese learning teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin. Julia Song excels at linguistic pedagogy and one-on-one instruction with 8 years teaching experience and her cheerful attitude and close attention to her students' progress make her an excellent Mandarin teacher for students of all levels.

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