Preschool Prep Week 16: Chinese New Year or Asian Studies

** Updated for 2017** We had several neighbors growing up that were Chinese, and we would bake them cakes to celebrate Chinese New Year. Years later, my brother lived in Taiwan and then in Shanghai.  Mr. B's boss is Chinese, and my manager for years, while I worked in retail, was from Hong Kong. Kai Lan is a favorite show of Little Madame. She can even introduce herself in Chinese! Chinese culture is all around us, so I thought it would be fun to learn a little more about the biggest holiday of the year for the Chinese people: New Year!

This year's New Year starts on January 28th, marks year 4715 and it is the year of the Rooster. Those born in rooster years are hardworking, resourceful, courageous, and talented.
Fine motor skills: Practice with Chop Sticks source
Learn that to write in Chinese you need to use Characters. Show and practice how to write numbers. source
Chinese learning for kids - flash cards of chinese numbers: 1-6
Chinese learning for kids - flash cards of chinese numbers: 7-10

Chinese New Year starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with lantern displays and children carrying lanterns in a parade. I found this site, but Red is the important color, symbolizing fire, and good luck. So if you want make it with red paper. 
paper Chinese lantern Chinese new year

Make Red Envelopes (hing bao). Traditionally these are given to children and single, non working adults. Inside the envelope is money for the person to collect. Here's a general idea of a pattern, although probably not large enough. But you get the idea. Cut it out of red paper, and stuff with play money. Count the money inside. If you are doing this with multiple children, you could have each child go around and collect money from the others, then count it together. 

A dragon is often a symbol used in the New Year. Here are some dragon craft ideas. 
On this site is also a FREE template for the dragon head and tail. 

Tangerines and oranges are eaten, and given to friends and family. 
If the leaves are still intact it is a symbol of a healthy relationship moving forward. 
Long uncut noodles are a symbol of a life and prosperity. 
You can read about other foods served HERE

We did black ink drawings witk black water color. I had the kids paint by filling in a number 8 I had printed on paper. When they were finished we imprinted each paper with a foam stamp with each of their individual initials painted red similar to a Chinese Chop.

We practiced bowing to each other and noted how deep of a bow you make is in relation to the amount of respect you give a person.

We made bonsai trees by sticking pipe cleaners that had been twisted together halfway down to create a trunk and the top were twisted in different directions as the branches. I made cups with play dough and pushed the "trees" into the ground before they twisted the branches.

We made paper fans and listened to music that they could dance to with their paper fans.

We practiced writing in rice for the letters we knew.

We also built the great wall of China out of wooden blocks and talked about the significance of the wall.





Mommy of Many Hats said...

What a fabulous idea! I love it! I think I might use it all... probably next year, because I missed it this year, but still. What fun!

tidbits said...

@mommy of many hats you haven't missed it yet! Chinese New year is held on February 10th :) so you still have time if you want to do any or all of these activities.