Shihyi Hsueh, a language teacher from San Jose, CA has announced a fundraiser campaign on Kickstarter for her dream project, Nian. It is a flip flap Chines learning game designed to make it easy for kids to learn 50 Chinese characters and Chinese New Year culture, including greetings and taboos, in a fun and cooperative way.
“As a language teacher, I am of the firm belief that learning of a new language can lead kids into a different world and a whole new horizon,” says Shihyi Hsueh. “I have created a fun way of learning 50 Chinese characters that has been interspersed with Chinese New Year culture through an interesting narrative. The game also has elements of cooperation and unity which teach kids the importance of working together as a team.”
Project Nian is an innovative idea that makes use of the age-old concept of storytelling. Nian is a ferocious monster that is planning an attack on villages and aiming to hurt the inhabitants. It always attacks and loots villages during the Chinese New Year. However, the villagers finally crack the secret of how to scare away Nian. They do this by posting couplets on red paper and setting off firecrackers among other things.
Shihyi Hsueh has woven an interesting tale around Nian and seamlessly combined it in an interesting manner with the Chinese language and Chinese New Year culture. The story helps kids learn 50 Chinese characters while they enjoy Chinese New Year culture with Nian. Both these tasks can be combined at the same time. All players have to work as a team and participate collectively to learn Chinese characters and accomplish the tasks necessary to fight the ferocious monster, Nian.
This is a picture-assisted learning process. There are interesting picture cards and characters in Nian that provide explanations and stories for memorization in a very simple and clear manner. According to Shihyi Hsueh, these picture cards tell the origins and meaning. The character cards on the other hand, tell more about the writing and pronunciation part of the language. By listening to stories as depicted in the pictures, kids can know more about certain Chinese characters than through the conventional strokes.
In Nian, the picture cards have been created to demonstrate the meaning and origins of the character to make learning easier and more exciting. By pairing the right picture cards with character cards, players are exposed to repetitive reinforcement of these characters. This can help them learn these Chinese characters efficiently while having fun with the game.
Children find the game exciting and interesting as there are multiple ways of playing with the cards. In this way, Nian can become a versatile tool for learning Chinese. The Nian kit comes with a manual, map, five pawns, 50 characters, 50 picture cards and a Chinese New Year culture learning sheet. The whole thing comes in a portable Nian bag that can be carried anywhere conveniently.
Nian is a flip flap Chinese learning game designed and developed by Shihyi Hsueh, a language teacher. It offers a fun way of learning 50 Chinese characters and Chinese New Year culture, including greetings and taboos, in a fun and cooperative way.