Chinese New Year is one of my favourite festivals for lots of different reasons. First of all it comes just after Christmas when everything seems a bit gloomy, with not much to look forward to. It’s a great excuse to get together with friends and family, cook something a bit different and celebrate (again!). It’s also something quite easy to introduce to children – even if they are unfamiliar with Chinese culture. There are so many interesting things you can do that involve fun learning opportunities.
- This one is easy and fun for all the family. Use our Chinese New Year Mindfulness Colouring sheets to really relax and chat whilst spending time together. As it’s year of the dog this year, younger children will find this especially fun.
- Make a Chinese willow plate! For this you will need to buy some paper plates from your local supermarket and either use blue felt tip pens or paint with a fine brush. Vary the shades of blue for a better effect. It might be useful to show some examples on the internet first to your children, or prepare one yourself. Here are some examples that we prepared earlier!
What’s really fun is if you can challenge your children to write something in Chinese characters. We wrote “Chinese New Year” on our plates.
- Get hold of some chopsticks from your local Chinese supermarket and use them for fine motor skills practice! Boil some noodles and cool, place in a bowl with some objects and ask your children to fish the objects out with their chopsticks. You can use real food for example prawns or tofu, or ask your children to mould Chinese food from playdough. There’s lots of scope for this one. Compare the length of the noodles to see who has the longest, put them in size order…
- Set up a Chinese restaurant role play area in your home or setting. This is much easier than it sounds. All you need are some sample menus from your local Chinese takeaway, a small table with chairs, chopsticks, bowls, a pad and pencil to take orders. Write out some easy Chinese characters (e.g. Chinese numbers, just google them) for your children to copy on a whiteboard as well. Save leftover takeaway boxes for children to fill with their playdough creations and if you can get hold of a small wok (Ikea do a child’s version) so much the better. I always think that real food is better so let your children eat genuine Chinese food in their new roleplay area. Noodles and rice are fun to eat with chopsticks!
- If you have a tuff spot tray, you can pop some coloured rice in there and challenge your children to draw Chinese characters in the rice using small brushes!
- Make a paper plate hand fan – cut a paper plate in half and decorate with gold and red paint. Glue craft sticks to the bottom as handles – easy!
- We’ve got some really fun Chinese New Year Colour and Trace activities – it really can’t get any more straight forward than that!
Take a look at the rest of our Chinese New Year resources here!