1-2-3 Come Do Some Chinese New Year Activities and Crafts With Me.
There never seems to be enough time in the teaching day, so things like social studies and science don't get covered all that much anymore, if at all. This is truly a sad state of affairs, because our children are not as well-rounded as they used to be, when life was simpler and no one ever heard of CCSS or standardized testing.
For this reason, I really try hard to design things that cover the standards, while at the same time plugging in a few of the more fun extras. One of my Y5's favorite theme days was our Chinese New Year celebration. It was a great way to have my students learn about, compare and contrast another country. They were fascinated.
Even if you don't have time for an entire unit, many of the following activities can quickly and easily be added to your day. If nothing else, simply read several books about Chinese New Year during your story time, and have children locate Asia and China on a map.
I think you'll find it quite helpful, as it's a comprehensive annotated bibliography, where I explain and comment on each book.
It took me zillions of hours to put it together, and that was after I spent some time sorting through my huge collection, but I thought it was time well-spent, as most people are not that familiar with multi-cultural books.
I've also designed 4 Chinese bookmarks to pass out to your kiddos. Click on the link to check them out.
You can find a few of these stories being read on YouTube as well. A personal favorite, is Tikki Tikki Tembo.
My Y5’s were delighted when I repeated Tikki’s very long full name, and wanted to learn it themselves. Click on the link for an excellent animated version of this popular folktale.
Another wonderful YouTube fairytale video is The Story of Nian. It’s just 3 minutes and explains the meaning behind many of the Chinese New Year beliefs, because of this mythological half lion-half dragon.
This year, Chinese New Year is being celebrated on Friday, January 31st and runs for 15 days, which ends on our Valentine's Day, so there's plenty of time to try and fit something cultural into your lessons.
The Chinese typically don't refer to this celebration as Chinese New Year; instead, the festivities are known as Spring Festival 春節 or Lunar New Year 農曆新年 because their year is determined by the Lunar Calendar.
The Chinese aren't the only ones who observe it either. From late January to mid-February, Korea, Vietnam, Japan and other countries celebrate Lunar New Year too.
A fun way to add a bit of Asian flavor to your day, is with these Chinese dragon alphabet cards. Use them as flashcards, a bulletin board boarder, independent center or for group games.
I've included a 3-page tip list of things you can do with the cards. After laminating, cut up an extra set and make puzzles. Click on the link to view/download the Chinese dragon alphabet cards.
I found an awesome site "Free Chinese Name Translations" where you simply type in your kiddos names and they appear in lovely Chinese characters! The photo shows what my name looks like.
I copy and pasted my family's names in a document, so that I could shrink or enlarge them. I had such a great time diddling around here; my brain was going 90-miles an hour, thinking of fun things I could do with these.
A few names "could not be found" (my sister Kathie, for example) but you could adjust the spelling and see if that helps. Kathy did work. I simply corrected the spelling on my copy. If that doesn't work, you could also try a child's middle name.
These can be made into bookmarks, a certificate of praise, nametag, flag, greeting card, lantern, fan, or shrunk to make the center tag for a necklace, button, or magnet. The photo shows the fan I made.
To make one, enlarge the name card that you made, by cutting and pasting it into a Word or Pages document. I dragged the image to the full size of the length of the paper. Leave at least 2-3 inches of white border on the bottom when you cut it out, or your name won't show up.
When students are done, staple the bottom and gently pull apart. "Fan-folding" is an excellent fine motor skill that my Y5's really enjoyed doing.
Another quick activity your kiddo's could do when they were done with lessons, is to color a Chinese picture. Click on the link for the Chinese ChildBook site.
It has a large variety of Chinese New Year prints including these cute little Chinese children. Any of them could also be folded to make a prety fan.
Another simple way to add a splash of China to your day, is by playing some of their soothing music while your students work. There's something very calming in the melodic music that chinese instruments create.
I'm listening to "Music From The Tea Lands" as I blog. It's especially meaningful because 2 of our sons were born in Korea. If you don't have a CD, click on the link to hear 25 minutes of tranquil sounds from China.
As your students come through the door, wish them a Happy New Year in Chinese, and then teach them how to say: " Gong Hey Fat Choy." (gung-she-fah-tie)
After several hours of research, I made up a page of information that includes several ways to say Happy New Year in Chinese, as well as links for you to hear how it should sound, plus the Chinese characters that make up these greetings.
There are also some great links of Chinese children singing Happy New Year. This informational sheet is in the Chinese Bookmark packet. Click on the link to grab this FREEBIE. Choose which ever bookmark you like the best and tuck one in your students' desks or backpacks.
That’s it for today. I have so much more to share, but I don’t want these blog articles to get too long. Be sure and pop by tomorrow for some more great Chinese New Year Activities. Feel free to PIN away.
“A child’s life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark.” –Chinese Proverb