New Product – How to call your relatives in Chinese & Low prep Barrier game Printable

Story behind this creation:

I am teaching my 7 years old son to learn how to read and write the family member terms in Chinese.  I do not need to explain how confusing it can be for a young child to understand how to address the relatives, I find it hard as well because my dad has a big family.  I used to just memorise their names. 

When I decided to teach my son this topic the first thing that pops in my mind is a family tree.  I was looking for one that is easy to understand for kids, with clear traditional Chinese terms, on the internet. But I could not find exactly the one that I like. So I created some myself.  In this activity set, I have separated the maternal and paternal sides simply because they have different names for the relatives; it would be much easier to learn them separately, rather than one big family tree with both sides.

Next I included a Barrier Game to reinforce the terms in a fun way.  I designed many simple scenes to go with the game.  Barrier game is a wonderful tool to support a child’s speech and language skills.  For details please take a look at this post written by Talking Matters.

I have created a FREE version which you can download from here (link to Google Drive). This free version focuses on the basic family members namely, mum and dad, and brothers and sisters. It includes a family tree (1 page), “People”, “Word”, and “Definition” cards (3 pages total), and a picnic scene (1 page). Please feel free to download it and try it out. If you and your kids like it, a FULL VERSION can be purchased from my Etsy Shop.

Free Version

Basic family members: Mum, dad, brothers, and sisters.

FULL Version

Maternal and paternal grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins.

Please read on to find out more about this activity set. The followings refer to my FULL VERSION but can also be applied on the free one that you downloaded through my Google Drive.

How to set up the Barrier Game:

  1. Simply print (and laminate – optional) enough copies of the “scenes”, “people”, and “word” so that each player has one set. 
  2. Give each player an identical “scene”, and an identical set of “people” or “word” cards (depending on the level of difficulties, see below)
  3. Place a barrier (for example a large book) between the player so they cannot see each other’s scene and what the other player is doing.

Before the game:

Explain to the player(s) the aim of this game, which is to make their picture look the same as yours (or the other player(s)).  Explain that in order to do this, you have to be a good listener (if he or she is the one listens to the instructions) or a good talker (if giving out instructions). Tell the player(s) that the barrier is set up so that you cannot see what the other is doing, and so you have to listen carefully (or give instructions clearly).

How to play:

  1. One player starts by placing a “people” or “word” card on their scene, and give instructions to the other player(s) where to place their corresponding card (For example, “Put 爺爺 on the left of the picnic mat”) 
  2. The game continues until all the cards are placed on the scene.
  3. At the end of the game, the barrier is removed to see if the cards are placed at the right places.


  1. Give full instructions in Cantonese (For example 將爺爺放喺野餐墊嘅左手邊。)
  2. Start with 3 “people” or “word” cards, gradually increase the number of cards 
  3. Use “people” cards first as the EASY level. These are the rectangle cards with a person picture and the Chinese term at the bottom.
  4. Use “word” cards as the MEDIUM level. These are cards with the simple Chinese term only (for example “爺爺”).
  5. Use “definition word” cards as the HARD level. One player reads out the definition card (for example “爸爸的爸爸”) and the other player places the answer (I.e. the card labelled “爺爺” in this case) on the correct place.  These are harder to comprehend because they require the player to think carefully which relatives they are using. 
  6. The player swaps place and play again, either using the same set of scene and cards or change to different ones.

Why use Happy Minds with Busma teaching set?

  • The Family Tree is separated into maternal and paternal sides (rather than in one big tree) so it is easier for your child to understand.
  • It is in Traditional Chinese, with terms used in Hong Kong families.
  • Reinforce the terms using Barrier Game, which can be prepared in a breeze!
  • 10+ colourful scenes to be used with the Barrier Game. These scenes can also be incorporated in other Cantonese (or other languages) activities so your child get more exposure to the language in some fun ways.
  • Jyutping is included for parents or carer who are not confident in reading Chinese.


  1. I am keeping the family tree to “cousins” because this is what my son needs to learn at the moment.  I feel it is not necessary to learn any further (e.g. how to address your cousin’s children) for the time being. I might extend the family tree in the near future.
  2. Jyutping was adapted from CantoDict .

You can purchase this set (FULL VERSION) from my Etsy Shop .

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: