Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HedBanz! Learn Mandarin by Playing Board Games

A few weeks ago, we discovered that the game HedBanz (by Spin Master Games) is a great way to practice asking questions in Mandarin. 

We had been studying question patterns like these:

是不是 green olive?             shìbùshì green olive? 
                                               Are you or are you not a green olive?

喜不喜欢吃 green olives?   xǐbùxǐhuān chī green olives? 
                                               Do you like or not like to eat green olives?

有没有 green olives?          Nǐ yǒuméiyǒu green olives?  
                                               Do you have or not have green olives?

Click here to read more about how to ask affirmative-negative questions in Mandarin.

So what does this have to do with playing Hedbanz? 

This is how we played:

The kids asked questions about the card on their headband, as if they were playing the game by the original rules. But instead of asking questions in English, they practiced their new, fancy affirmative-negative questions patterns, and asked questions like this: 
  • 是不是 mammal?    shìbùshì mammal?     Am I or am I not a mammal?
  • 喜不喜欢跑步?      xǐbùxǐhuān pǎobù?   Do I like or not like running?
  • 有没有尾巴?          Wǒ yǒuméiyǒu wěibā?    Do I have or not have a tail?
They swapped in English words for any they did not know how to say in Mandarin, which was absolutely fine with me because the point of the game was to get them comfortable with asking these types of questions. 

Our one round lasted a good 15 minutes, which was slower than if we had played the game in English. It took time for them to think about how to say what they wanted to say in Mandarin, but they did not lose interest in the game. In fact, when I suggested stopping, they pleaded, "Just one more question!" 

We will definitely revisit this game when we need to review this question pattern or whenever we need a fun warm-up/change of pace. 

What games to you play to practice your mad Mandarin skills? 
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