Count on Chinese Characters

Count on Chinese Characters lesson plan

Explore Chinese culture, language, and traditional symbols. Discover how to write numerals with Chinese characters.

  • 1.

    Locate China on a map. Find out about people in China today. When Mandarin Chinese is written, characters (instead of letters) stand for syllables or whole words. Find out how symbols in Chinese legends, such as the dragon, turtle, phoenix, and unicorn are depicted in traditional art and calligraphy. Here’s an idea to help you learn how to write numerals from 0 through 10 in traditional Chinese characters—and make a beautiful box in which to store them.

  • 2.

    <STRONG>Prepare your box.</STRONG> Tear or use Crayola® Scissors to cut colorful tissue paper into pieces. Cover your art area with newspaper. Mix equal parts of Crayola School Glue and water. Brush the mixture on a recycled tissue box. Cover the box with tissue paper. Be creative, using one color or layers of many hues. Air-dry the glue.

  • 3.

    Use Crayola Washable Markers to decorate your box with Chinese symbols. Add sparkles of Crayola Glitter Glue. Air-dry the glue.

  • 4.

    <STRONG>Create your cards.</STRONG> Cut recycled file folders into 11 (or more!) cards. With Crayola Markers, write an Arabic numeral from 0 to 10 on each one. Write the Chinese character for that numeral on the card, too. Concentrate carefully on the shapes and sizes of your lines. Choose a Chinese symbol, and draw as many as the numerals you wrote.

  • 5.

    Use markers to add details to your cards. When you’re not studying Chinese, or as you add more cards, store them in the decorated box.


  • Children research and use traditional Chinese characters to notate numbers.
  • Children compare and contrast Chinese calligraphy with Arabic numerals.
  • Children demonstrate their understanding of number concepts through their drawings and writing them in two different notations.


  • To make a memory game with your cards, make two sets or write a Chinese character on one side and an Arabic numeral on the other. Or create similar cards with familiar words and Chinese characters. Play a concentration game to match words or numerals.
  • Research how numerals are notated in other languages such as Japanese, Cyrillic, and Thai. Make cards for each system. Compare and contrast how they are formed.
  • Assessment: Check cards for accurate numerals, characters, and number of symbols.