Here's a brief summary of some Chinese symbols and their meanings. This is definitely not an exhaustive list.
And if you like the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, now you know how it is written in Chinese: 臥虎藏龍.
When I first starting learning to write Chinese symbols, I'd focus on learning characters that had special meanings to me. So for example, I like the ideas of happiness, family, laughter, love. And so I learned the Chinese symbols for each of those. Note there are many Chinese symbols for each of these meanings. These are just a selection of Chinese symbols and their meanings:
Note there are many Chinese symbols for each of these meanings. These are just a selection of Chinese symbols with positive meanings:
Some people like the idea of peace and harmony. There are more than a few Chinese symbols that have this meaning. Here are two:
The latter of those two symbols, 平 was one of the first characters I learned in a calligraphy class, and it's one of the first times that I thought to break a Chinese character down into component parts to make learning it easier.
This was even though it only has 5 strokes!
Short-tailed Bird: 隹
Goat, Sheep: 羊
囗 Box: 四口黽目鼎 (Four, mouth, frog, eye, tripod)
⺆ Cover: 殳皿骨 (Weapon, bowl, bone)
凵 Bottom: 匕 (Spoon)
厂 Left Corner: 斤臥馬臼鼠 (Axe, crouch, horse, mortar, mouse)
乛 Right Corner: 刀弓矛 (Knife, bow, spear)
丿 Slant: 矢缶笑魚龜牛隹千舌手和愛豸 (Arrow, pottery, laugh, fish, tortoise, cow, short-tailed bird, one thousand, tongue, hand, peace, love, badger)
丶 Dot: 心戈犬鳥鼻身血家鹿六龍 (Heart, halberd, dog, bird, nose, body, blood, family, deer, six, dragon)
𠄌 Hook: 樂 (happyness/music)
八 Hat: 八羊藏萬 (Eight, goat/sheep, hidden, ten-thousand)
十 Cross: 十七九聿 (Ten, seven, nine, brush)
丨 Vertical: 虎齒 (Tiger, tooth)
一 Horizontal: 一二三鬲五百豕平耳 (One, two, three, cauldron, five, one-hundred, pig, peace, ear)
For a dictionary of over 6000 Chinese symbols indexed using the Easy Lookup system check out the Easy Lookup Chinese Character Dictionary.