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Learning Chinese the Fun Way with Busy Bags 百宝袋 (Plus Giveaway!)

N is currently in an international school here in Jakarta, and unfortunately, his school doesn’t offer Chinese lessons. This means that I’ve been really stressed about his Chinese standard, especially since we plan to return to Singapore in a few years’ time. I’ve got all the textbooks, workbooks AND assessment books from Singapore, but it’s really not easy getting him to remember all the Chinese words when we don’t speak the language at home. I’m also afraid that he will become even more disinterested in the language if I push him too hard, so I want to make learning Chinese fun for him.

I’ve come across Play乐学 a couple of times on Instagram, but I never really got around to buying any of the products because we’re based in Jakarta, so I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Oh Purple Light on Instagram is based in Indonesia and could ship the busy bags to us! If you live in Indonesia, you’ll know EXACTLY how difficult it is to come across Chinese materials, and good quality ones at that, so please go browse through her collection on IG, and participate in my giveaway on IG too!

Honestly, I thought that the materials (Numbers, Colours, Body Parts, and Chinese Strokes) might be too easy for N, since he learnt all those words in his preschool, BUT I was wrong. He had already forgotten so many of the words, and I had to paste a smile on my face while working on the materials with him so that he wouldn’t know just how much I was freaking out. I didn’t want him to be demoralised or to lose interest, so I came up with various ways to use the cards with him.

Getting ready to learn with the four different busy bags!


Each busy bag comes with:

– 10 double sided dry erase character stroke cards bound by metal ring – 1 Whiteboard marker – 5 wooden pegs for the pegging activity – A plastic button pouch that is easy for children to open and close (makes independent packing up easier)

I like how convenient it is to pop one of these busy bags into my bag for on-the-go learning, and I brought a set along on our recent KL trip. Joey of Play乐学 shared with me that I could have actually packed all four sets of the cards into one plastic pouch, since the marker and wooden pegs can be used for all of them. Wish I thought of it myself when I was packing for the trip!

Writing practice



Learning with Didi


Apart from getting N to trace the Chinese characters, read the hanyu pinyin, and find the matching illustrations, I tried to make things more fun for N by coming up with some other activities. Since C’s second language is Malay (he is Malaysian by birth), his Chinese isn’t great either, so I got N to compete with C to see who could write the Chinese characters that I called out first, then I got them to read the hanyu pinyin aloud and write the Chinese characters.

For the Body Parts Busy Bag, I pointed at the body parts on myself, then asked him to imitate me while telling me what it was in Chinese. Another game we played was to mix up all the cards, then both of us closed our eyes, and opened them after I called out a word to see who could grab the correct card first. I’ve saved the photos and videos under ‘N Learning’ on my IG Highlights, so feel free to check them out there.

Some other ways to use the cards



I like that these busy bags can be reused, and I fully intend to use them with the twins when they’re older. I’ve also been taking out a set every now and then to do some revision with N, and it’s good for short sessions when he’s too tired from school. He still can’t get some of the words right, but I’m hoping that with enough repetition and practice, he will be more confident, and be less negative about learning Chinese.

PlayLeXue and Oh Purple Light have a variety of other learning materials, so do check out the PlayLeXue website if you’re based in Singapore, or Oh Purple Light’s IG page if you’re in Indonesia. Happy shopping and learning!

Buy the Materials from Play乐学 in Singapore

Giveaway Time!

We have one set of the ‘Busy Bags Bundle of Four’ to be given away to one INDONESIAN reader of Growing with the Tans! To participate, please visit our Instagram page. Terms and conditions apply.

Terms and Conditions: This giveaway will end on Monday, 10th December 2018, at 2359h, and is open to readers with an Indonesian mailing address only. The winner will be contacted via the particulars provided when entering this giveaway, and will have 24 hours to respond, failing which a new winner will be selected. All incomplete entries will be disqualified, and all entries will be verified before the winners are announced. To be fair to our sponsor, please note that all fake Instagram accounts (accounts set up purely to take part in contests, with no or very few real posts), will be disqualified. This giveaway is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.

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