The Chinese New Year of the Sheep (or goat as it’s also called) began Feb. 19, 2015. CNY or the spring festival, concludes with Lantern Festival. In 2015, that’s March 5. Here’s a CNY Lantern Festival party planner with games, crafts, recipes, food, activities and curriculum tie-ins. Organize you Chinese New Year party in activity stations. Divide students into groups. Rotate groups through stations.
China Exploration. Arrange Chinese artifacts and hands-on materials that children can explore independently. This is a good activity for special needs and preschool students. Get donations and loans of Zodiac place mats, jade and ivory pieces, porcelain, bamboo, tea sets, chopsticks, photos, garments, silk, fans.
Chinese food samples. Set out Chinese foods to taste: ginger root, bok choy, tea leaves, almond cookies, cellophane noodles, ramen noodles, wasabi, lo mien, chow mien, sushi, dim sum, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, sushinori, kelp, smoked salmon, mung bean sprouts, hot mustard. Check the international section of your local grocery store.
Chinese music. Play recordings of oriental music in the background. You can use Youtube or Pandora radio. Set up a video of Chinese dance, theater and cultural venues. Make Chinese style string instruments by stretching rubber bands over various-sized box and container openings. Make shakers by putting rice, beans and popcorn in recycled pill bottles.
Children’s literature from China. Dress in simple Chinese costume. Read a story. Check links below for CNY kids’ book suggestions. Here’s a link to an online recording of the Legend of the Animals of the Chinese Zodiac from Topmark. Zodiac animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat (or sheep), monkey, rooster, dog and boar (pig). This site has free pritnable CNY crafts, too.
Dress up. Set out materials to create animal costumes. Use free printable Chinese zodiac animals masks. Have kids act out the legend of the animals. Distribute musical instruments for the children to play when each animal is mentioned. Or use a series of masks as you read the story.
Lantern crafts. Fold an 8 x 11 sheet of colored construction paper in half the long way). Cut nine 3-inch slits through the fold beginning one inch from each edge. Staple long edges together, fold outward so slits form openings. Decorate with lace, curled ribbon and recycled stuff. Hang over lightbulbs.
Chinese game. Form a “dragon” of children. Have kids line up, place hands on shoulders and follow the head or leader. Do what ever she does. Take turns being the head. Blindfold older children. Follow by sensing what the person ahead is doing.
Chinese refreshments. Serve foods like hot or iced flavored tea, cherries, lychis, almond cookies, coconut macaroons, egg rolls, fried rice, egg drop soup, fortune cookies, pot stickers and fish. Dumplings, lettuce, and whole fish are traditional new years foods which symbolize prosperity in the new year. Check out recipes in links below.
Light off fireworks or floating paper lanterns. Responsible adult handles fireworks and pyrotechnics!
Kung hey fat choy!