This year is the year of the snake and Chinese new year is always a great vehicle to learn about a different culture. Lately my daughter and I have been playing pretend play airplane always landing in China to explore the great wall ( my idea) and local candy shops ( her idea) . This week we will make some Chinese food together , look at maps and read the books below. At the age of 2 the idea of New Year is still pretty tough especially when we already celebrated on January 1st. So instead I have explained it to her as a party and the snake is the special symbol for it and used the theme to explore China with her.
- Gather your materials. You will need some sturdy paper. I adore the canvas paper from craftprojectideas.com who graciously sent me this when I couldn’t find any locally. You will also need some paint, a paint brush ( we used a dish scrubber) , double stick tape ( if you need to tape the snake together) a googly eye, pipe cleaner, paint, glue and collage materials.
- Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out. OK now I admit my snake looks like a worm at best but my daughter couldn’t care less so I stuck with it. I cut mine out in two pieces and taped them together. I used tape so we could get to the project right away but glue would be fine too.
- Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.
- Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. then with your hands . My table was dirty so I didn’t bother covering it since I needed to give it a good scrub anyway. Have a damp cloth handy if like us you have to pass by carpet on the way to the sink.
- Let the snake dry. We were short on time ( almost nap time) and usually I’d let it dry during nap and finish we had a doctor’s appointment after nap so instead I dried it carefully with a cool hair dryer while my daughter washed her hands and played in the sink. It worked so well.
- Time to glue!
- Add the collage materials. I love sequins and buttons because my daughter is so patient picking them up and putting them on to projects. She also loves peeling them off after the glue is dry so if you saw this snake now days later you’d see a sad no eye no sequin snake. Interestingly my first thought was ” Well I can re-use those and it was great fine motor as she peeled them off too.”
- Add the eye.
- Poke a hole in the mouth area and thread a pipe cleaner through . Bend a Y in the end to make it look like a forked tongue.
- Let it all dry .
Books about Chinese New Year
My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz is a simple introduction to Chinese New Year for young children. It’s a board book so if you have let’s say a 4 year old who , let’s say has decided he thinks board books are only for babies, you may want to have him be a reading helper for this one.I had to cajole my son into helping me read this book to his sister but once I started he was into it and enjoying the simplistic way the author illustrator explains the Chinese customs. Even adults may learn something new. Did you know that cutting hair for a fresh start for the new year is a tradition? I never did! The illustrations are bright and cheery and for those of you who aren’t fans of the baby lift the flap books from this author you may want to give the author another chance because her holiday books are really great.
Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin is a wonderful book to explain Chinese New Year and some of the customs that comes along with it to your preschooler. The illustrations are bright and help explain the festivities and preparations that go into the celebration. The book culminates with a fold out page with a huge dragon briging in the new year. There is also a great explanation of the holiday for parents at the back of the book.
This Next New Year by Janet Wong is a great new to me book about Chinese New Year. I read it with my kids after dinner and they booth really enjoyed it. My daughter liked the illustrations and the text itself was short enough to keep my 2 year old interested too. What this book did a great job of doing was explaining a few of the differences between Chinese New Year and New Year of January 1st and lots of the traditions . My son related well to the main character, a little boy about his age, and had a ton of questions after the book that the author actually addressed in a authors note at the end. Great book for PreK and up.This post contains affiliate links.
I am so blessed , after giving birth I have had so many wonderful friends offer help and guest posts for No Time For Flash Cards. This one is from a dear friend Amanda from ohAmanda and Impress Your Kids , she is sure to impress you with this cute and tasty edible activity!
Is this the yummiest, cutest and most fun thing you have ever seen?! I saw this idea in a magazine and knew I had to try it. Well, after the panda-monium and panda-venture in the kitchen, I knew I had to share it with you! It’s an easy fun snack (or a full meal when coupled with some stir-fry) that introduces kids to new tastes and flavors, helps them with handling a knife and opens up conversations about pandas, other countries and cooking!
All you need is 1.5 cups of uncooked sticky/sushi rice, some celery stalks and a can of pitted black olives.
Cook the sticky rice according to directions. (We actually made ours with long-grain white rice by adding 3tb of rice vinegar, 1tb of sugar, 1.5tsp of salt after it was cooked)
While you’re waiting for it to cook, set aside a few whole olives for your panda’s ears. Then, give kids a butter knife and let them work on slicing the olives around its’ equator. My 4 year old could get about 3 cuts total on the olive.
My almost 2 year old? Well, he tried!
Then take a 1/4c or 1/2c measuring cup and firmly pack rice into it. Turn them over on a plate or waxed paper and carefully remove to leave a mound of rice!
Use your whole olives as the panda’s ears. Then take your slices and use as eyes, an tiny down nose and an upturned smile! Cut a few pieces of celery to resemble bamboo and you’ve got your own panda playmates!
My kids loved eating their pandas for dinner (along with soy sauce, broccoli and chicken). While they ate I read them two panda books that I just happened to have in our stash:
Panda Cakeby Rosalie Seidler
This is the cutest story about a Mama Panda who is making a special panda cake “that only pandas can make”! She sends her two sons to the market to buy the ingredients. The oldest panda decides to steal the ingredients from his animal friends (cherries from the birds, eggs from the duck, etc.) and then runs off to the fair to spend Mama’s money. While he’s gone, the animals visit Mama and demand their food back. But it’s too late—the panda cake has been baked. So, they all sit down to tea and cake! The animals are happy but when the young panda returns home, he’s sad to see his cake eaten up! This book has sweet illustrations and a fun cadence. It looks like it is out of print but I found it at the thrift store a few weeks ago and couldn’t pass it up!
Panda in the Park by Anna Milbourne
This was my daughter’s very first book. It’s an Usborne Look-Through book and tells the story of a panda playing hide-and-seek with his animal friends. It’s perfect for toddlers because of the bright colors, the bold questions and the fun holes and layers on the pages. It’s still one of my favorite books to read!
Amanda is a former Children’s Pastor turned stay-at-home mom. She blogs her crafty parenting endeavors at Impress Your Kids and her daily life at ohAmanda. She is also a 2010 Disney Mom, a bibliophile and long time lover of purple!
- Gather your materials. You will need a red piece of construction paper , some crayons or markers, scissors, double stick tape or stapler and some gold glitter glue.
- Cut a small strip off the end of the paper and set aside.
- Have your child color with crayons or markers. I don’t use paint with this craft because the paint has in the past made the lanterns brittle and they ripped.
- Add your glitter glue ! Using glitter glue makes it so the paper doesn’t get saturated and brittle. Let dry.
- Fold and cut into the fold, start about 1.5 inches into the paper and leave the margin on the other side too.
- Add double stick tape to one side ( top and bottom) and attach the other side to it.
- Using the strip of paper you set aside earlier, tape into a handle.