Sunday, 19 January 2014

Chinese new year topic theme - activity ideas for children.

Chinese new year is nearly upon us again, this year will be the year of the horse. It is believed if you are born in this year you will display the characteristics of the horse. Which means you will be very hardworking and independent. You will be very intelligent and ambitious. You will also have the ability to work on many tasks at once, and carry on with a job until it is completed. With these Characteristics you will surely succeed in life :)

The Chinese new year begins on January 31st and ends on 14th February, with the festival of lanterns.
I have been researching different websites trying to find the best Chinese new year activities for you and your children to enjoy together. Once again I have tried to sort the EYFS activities into the area of learning which I feel they best sit in. You are more than welcome to move them around to suit your own planning.

Personal, social and emotional development:

  • Drape a  long colourful sheet over two children, have them try moving to the other side of the room following your instructions. This will encourage them to work as a team.
  • Find out what animal they are on the Chinese Zodiac wheel. Do they show the characteristics of that animal?
  • Learn how to write your name in Chinese.
  • Make a hand print Chinese dragon to take home.
  • Discuss the meaning behind the celebrations.
  • Discuss why they give and receive red envelopes filled with money.

Physical development:
  • Make a Chinese new year dragon by threading ribbon through colourful shapes.
  • Make paper fortune cookies 
  • Use scissors to cut paper to make paper lanterns.
  • Practice picking up pom-poms and mini marshmallows with chopsticks.
  • Act like an animal from the Chinese zodiac. The children could take it in turns to shout out an animals name, and the other children need to pretend to be that animal.
  • Play with some Chinese new year play dough. Try using red and green and adding sparkles. You could add some googly eyes and feathers so they could make a Chinese dragon.
  • Make up your own Chinese new year dance. Try dancing with streamers or your own home made dragons.
  • Fold paper to make fans.
  • Draw a giant dragon in chalk in the garden and try to balance on the lines.
  • Sew around a horse or dragon template.

Communication and language:
  • Follow verbal instructions to find the 'fortune cookie'
  • Sing songs relating to Chinese new year. click here to print out free song and nursery rhyme printable.
  • Talk about the importance of the colour red in the Chinese new year celebrations. ( red is seen as a lucky colour, and it is believed that it will frighten off Nian, the monster who comes out on new years eve.)
  • Go on a listening walk to see if you can hear a bird singing on New years day. This is thought to be a sign of good luck.
  • Follow instructions on how to make a fortune cookie.
  • Discuss which animal we would like to be out of the Chinese zodiac.

  • Write a fortune to put in a fortune cookie.
  • Colour in Chinese new year pictures.
  • Set up a free writing table, and include laminated print outs of Chinese symbols.
  • Practice writing zodiac animal names.
  • Paint Chinese symbols in gold and red paint.
  • Print out, or make your own Chinese new year word search.
  • Make your own Chinese new year menu.
  • Read stories and books about Chinese new year. You can find a list of story ideas further down this post.
  • Make your own Chinese new year alphabet line. You could use a horse or a dragon template.
  • Make up a poem about Chinese new year.
  • Draw different patterns from a dragons head to make its body. Encourage children to trace on top of the pattern.

  • Make pretend money to put inside a red envelope. Look to see who has more or less money. Encourage children to count the money.
  • Match the animals in the Chinese zodiac to the years that they represent. Look and see how many years go by before you get to the animal again.
  • Sorting pom-poms by colours. Try and use chopsticks to move the pom-poms.
  • Make a matching game using animals from the Chinese zodiac.
  • Measure pretend 'noodles' using a variety of mediums, try using unifix cubes, rulers, tape measures, hand span...
  • Make a pattern using red and gold paper.
  • Print out some Chinese new year dot to dot pictures.
  • Make your own matching colour dragon game.
  • Make a pattern using  different props which relate to the Chinese new year. Try using a horse, dragon, chopsticks, red envelope, money,paper lantern....
  • Colour in a horse picture and cut it into four or six pieces. Can you put it back together again? You could laminate it so the children can keep it as their own hand made jigsaw.
  • Sort the animals of the Chinese zodiac in a variety of ways. are they loud or quiet, big or little, do they have legs or not.....

Understanding the world:
  • Display oranges and tangerines in bowls. Tangerines symbol good luck and oranges symbol wealth. You could also make your own out of play dough. 
  • Try some different types of food, Chinese noodles, dumplings, fortune cookies.
  • Practice writing different Chinese symbols - find out what they mean and include the translation.
  • Have a Chinese new year display table, include animals, dragons, Chinese symbols, red envelopes, chopsticks, Chinese decorated bowls, Chinese flag, Chinese money....
  • Use the internet to find pictures and videos of people celebrating Chinese new year.

Expressive Arts and design:
  • Make a dragon puppet.
  • Dress like a dragon.
  • Make a dragon mask
  • Make a dragon kite.
  • Set up a Chinese new year sensory bin.
  • Make some Chinese drums.
  • Create a Chinese new year role play ares.
  • Create a Chinese restaurant with hand made menu's.
  • Make some Chinese fans using half a paper plate. Decorate then with lots of pretty colours.
  • Make a hand print horse picture.

Books and stories.
  • The dancing dragon by marcia vaughan dra
  • Long longs new year by Catherine Gower
  • Dragon dance by Joan Holub
  • My first Chinese new year by Karen Katz.
  • Celebrating Chinese new year by Sanmu Tang
  • Mr Frizzls adventure - Imperial China by Joanna Cole.
  • D is for dancing dragon - A China alphabet by Carol Crane.
  • The empty pot by Demi
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • Yum Yum, Dim Sum by Amy Wilson.
  • Dragon dancing by Carole Lexa Schaefer.
  • Legend of the Chinese dragon by Marie Sellier, Catherine Louis and Wang Fei.
  • This next new year by Janet Wong
  • The runaway wok by Ying Chang Compestine
  • Chelseas Chinese new year by Lisa Bullard.
  • Lanterns and firecrackers by Jonny Zucker.

Useful website links.

I hope you enjoy trying some of these Chinese new year activities with your children. Please feel free to follow me on pinterest or repin some of my pins on Chinese new year. Click here to find my pinterest board.


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