G2 had a fun day at school – they had loads of Chinese New Year activities but his favourite was the Zodiac Animal Hunt…
Zodiac Animal Hunt
In this activity, the children had to search for all the zodiac animals that were hiding around the playground.
Order of the Zodiac
The order of the Zodiac was a test to see if the children could put the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals in their proper order. Hint: if you can’t remember, try listening to The Race of the Zodiac on Story Chimes.
Zodiac Animal Jigsaw Puzzles
The children made their own Zodiac Animal Jigsaw Puzzles.
You can find instructions for this here.
Let’s Pretend Corner
This was a fun dress-up corner where the children could pretend to go visiting during Chinese New Year.
Making Paper Lanterns from Red Packets
You can find instructions for this here.
The children were tasked to practice their fine motor skills with a pair of chopsticks. The task? To pick up the mandarins with a pair of chopsticks and place them into the basket. It’s not as easy as it looks but some of the children were remarkably adept at it (and no, it wasn’t because they had practice using chopsticks at home).
The girls (and boys!) had a lot of fun with this one…
If you want to see how awesome this can get, you have to watch this!
What Lunar New Year is complete without a Lion Dance with drums?
I’m not sure how they made these at school, but you can follow these instructions.
Art: Plum Blossoms
When everything has faded they alone shine forth,
encroaching on the charms of smaller gardens.
Their scattered shadows fall lightly on clear water,
their subtle scent pervades the moonlit dusk.
Snowbirds look again before they land,
butterflies would faint if they but knew.
Thankfully I can flirt in whispered verse,
I don’t need a sounding board or winecup.
– Lin Bu (Song Dynasty)
In Chinese Culture, the Plum Blossom is the symbol of perseverance and hope because it blooms in the harsh, cold weather of winter when all other plants have shed their leaves. Standing alone against the stark whiteness of winter, the Plum Blossom is also a symbol of beauty and purity.
I thought this was one of the coolest activities… The kids have to trace an outline of their hands on coloured paper, cut out the outline, and stick it to the dragon to form the body. At the end, there is a dragon head connected to the tail with a body of children’s handprints.
Making Chinese New Year Ang Pao
Another significant feature of Chinese New Year is the “Ang Pao” (red packet).
Everyone who’s ever been present during any Chinese New Year celebration knows that it is all about food. Visit any open house and there will be an array of cookies to sample. The typical cookies that are often associated with Chinese New Year are:
There are others, but these are the ones we usually have. Another big feature of Chinese New Year is the Nian Gao (literally: Year Cake). These are usually cut up and coated with dessicated coconut before eating; but these are what they look like when they are prepared for the Chinese New Year offerings (top right)…
Write Your Name in Mandarin
The children had Mandarin teachers to help them learn to write their names in Mandarin. If you need help, this translator tool can help…
We usually make these for Winter Solstice, but the children got a chance to try their hand at making their own Tang Yuan Dumplings… I didn’t get a photo, but here’s one we made at home…
Chinese New Year Colouring Sheets
Make a Sheep
Since it’s the Year of the Sheep, the children got to make a cotton ball sheep. I didn’t get a good photo of this either, but this photo from Activity Bucket should be a good indication of how this activity works…
Play Doh Art
In this activity, the children had to use play doh to add the missing elements to the pictures – missing horns for the bull, missing tail for the cat, adding colour to the snake… you get the idea.
Making Chinese New Year Cards
Chinese Calligraphy is an art form in its own right with students practicing for many years to master the art. A master demonstrates how a character is written and the student strives to produce a perfect copy of the master’s work.