World Tour – Chinese Calligraphy

We’ve been studying China this week, and today we had a special calligraphy lesson.  My mother-in-law, who knows calligraphy and can do all sorts of fancy writing, researched the Chinese language and the characters used in the written language.

She prepared packets for the children with the characters for ‘love,’ ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘family,’ and ‘thank you.  First, she showed us what a few characters looked like and how the writing works.  Chinese writing is done vertically, top to bottom, left to right.  This character means ‘love.’

My Little Man chose to color in this character next.  He used green, one of his favorites, and a regular short marker.  Since he is just learning to write his letters, this was great fine motor practice for him – and he stayed in the lines very well.

After that, he explored the way a wedge-ended marker made different kinds of lines and headed off to race his cars.

My Big Helper, on the other hand, colored in a few of her characters and then took a wedge-ended marker to try making the characters on her own.  She really enjoyed this and wrote several of them over and over.  She liked the way that the wedge shape changed the lines as she drew.

When her daddy came home this evening, she told him all about how her name would be pronounced in China.  Hearing her takeaways from this activity was really neat – and she was so excited about her Chinese characters that she asked to hang them up.

**Our library did not have many books about the culture of China that were aimed for the ages of my children.  We did talk about the photographs in a few books that they had, but our favorites for learning about China were:

Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures:  Imperial China by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen

Day of the Dragon-King (Magic Tree House #14) by Mary Pope Osbourne

We also enjoyed designing our own giant panda habitats at this site:

http://nationalzoo.si.edu/Education/ConservationCentral/design/default.cfm

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