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Playing Hide & Seek... The BrookieKids Way!

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

A little about M (and myself, Rachel, Mummy to M, and co-founder of BrookieKids) - we live in Melbourne and of course like many of you, I struggle with getting M (3.5 yo) to learn and speak Mandarin. Given that there is zero exposure in school, it has become my full responsibility to teach her Chinese/ Mandarin... With some consistent effort in the past year, although her command of the language may not be the best, she remains interested in the language - listening, speaking and recently, learning to recognise some words and write too! To me and all of us at Hummus Education too, interest comes before everything in learning! ✌️

Last week, we played the "Where is Ginseng" pack together. We played it over 3 days and here's how it went, including some learnings from our experience. ⬇️

Day 1

"I know 人参 is under the carpet!"

First time we played, I didn't hide the cards, I shared the cards with her, speaking to her in Mandarin (with some English to introduce the different locations - Bedroom, Bathroom, Living Room, Kitchen and Outdoors). Told her to scan any card to see where she could find ginseng.


  • ✅Answered in Mandarin: Started with bedroom and bathroom cards - She tried to answer all the questions in Mandarin (in her classic Aussie accent of course). Was also amused when she found out it wasn't Ginseng, and she pouted like Olive did in the story 😟

  • 💯Critical Thinking: Then she picked the living room card, in the middle of the story, she said "Mummy I know Ginseng is under the carpet." (Right, because the carpet is not flat), I pretended like I didn't know and told her to continue to see if it was Ginseng...

After finding Ginseng, I pointed to the game page and asked if she wanted to scan the remaining 2 cards, but she was losing focus, so we called it a day.

Day 2

"What's after 10, Mummy?"
“Is that word 人?"
"I want to play again, I'll hide the cards ok?"

This time round, I did 2 things differently:

  1. We actually played hide & seek! 👀

  2. Knowing which place (or card) Ginseng was hiding in, I kept the suspense going by getting her to scan this card last.

While hiding the cards around the house, in 5 different places, I heard her counting in English 1, 2, 3... When I asked her to count in Chinese, she tried and stopped at 10. "What's after 10 Mummy?"😂 That's right, I realised I haven't taught her to count more than 10 in Chinese, so she continued in English. I guess we can revisit this another day.

She went around looking for the cards, and I took the opportunity to introduce the various places in Mandarin again as she repeated after me.

After the end of each activity, I'd guide her in Mandarin, "Oh looks like Ginseng isn't in the kitchen... How about we go check out the bedroom next!" That got her very excited, a lot more than our first attempt. She probably felt like she was really playing hide and seek with Ginseng this time! Caught her screaming "卧室” (Bedroom) here:

Some memorable moments:

  • She covered her eyes whenever some suspenseful music started playing in the background, and she'd peep at what it was after the music ended. 👀

  • She spotted the "人" word on the card and asked me if it's “人” (Coincidentally I was teaching her how to write this word last week, good job M! Always feels nice knowing my effort is not going to waste 🙌 ).

  • Towards the last few activities, she became interested in the Chinese words, asking me what word was on the screen, "Is this 后?".

And... after going to all the different places (deliberately going to Bathroom last as planned by Mummy the Game Master)… Finally... We found Ginseng in the bathroom!

When she found ginseng, knowing that the the game has ended, she quickly said, "I want to play again!" Then she went on and on about how it's her turn to hide the cards, and she tasked Dad to find the cards.

I told her to tell Daddy where she hid the cards in Mandarin. She could only recall 厨房 (Kitchen). Well, fun fact! Olive's character was inspired by M, and she loves food more than anything in the world so, I'm not surprised at all! 😂

Day 3

"I want to make 人参!"

She came home from school and told me she wanted to play hide and seek again! I knew what she was referring to, she wanted to play hide and seek with Ginseng.

And because of this, she quickly showered, finished her dinner (all these don't usually happen as easily without some motivation. If you are also at or have been through this stage negotiating with a 3.5 year old every moment of the day, you'd understand).

I kept my promise. This time round she hid the cards, while I went looking for the cards. Although her version of hide and seek is tell and seek - she'd point to where she hid the cards before I even found them, probably can't wait to #scanspeaklearn ?

We attempted Level 3, although it was a little challenging for her, she managed to answer most of the questions with some help from me. If your child is 3 and below, I'd recommend you try L1 and L2 a few more times before getting to L3. Watch them attempt to answer differently each time, it can be fun too!

Again, I guided her so that we scanned the "Outdoors" card last (that's where Ginseng is in Level 3, sorry for the spoiler yet again😅)

That's not all, we have one more way to play Hide & Seek!

Then we ended with a little open ended play - we used play dough (or you could use the clay paint that comes with the activity pack) to make things to hide Ginseng on the activity cards.

I took the opportunity to speak in Mandarin again, although M was speaking in English because that's her strongest language. She said she wanted to make a blanket, so I'd repeat it in Mandarin, "好啊,我们做被单,把人参藏在被单底下。” The same happened for pillow, water and so on.

They all look the same to you? Yea, it does require some imagination... 🤣🤣

The one of the left is a pillow and the one on the right, "bubbles, water and soap" according to M.

And guess what, she said she wanted to make Ginseng too! This, I must say looked pretty decent! Well done, M!👏👏

Ready to play Hide & Seek? Here's a summary of my own learnings with M:

  1. Play REAL hide and seek using the cards! When designing this experience (and our other activity packs too), we had planned for it to help you create contextual learning opportunities, "make the environment come alive" as we liked to call it in the early days of R&D. I'm very glad it motivated M to keep trying all 5 activities to find Ginseng, that also meant she spoke a lot more Mandarin than usual without even knowing it, which was of course a big win for us!

  2. Keep the suspense... Scanning the card where Ginseng would appear last also helped drive her to complete the full set of activities. So do look out for the guide on where to hide the cards and which card to scan last when you unlock the pack on our app!

  3. Extend learning through open ended play - We made some items we saw in the stories to hide Ginseng on the cards... and even Ginseng too! Another opportunity to repeat, repeat and repeat the words learnt through the voice interactive stories. Check out M's creations above! ☝️☝️

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