Chinese New Year Crafts and Books

Ring in Chinese New Year with these fun kids crafts and my two favorite books about Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the rabbit so grab your cotton balls for some fun rabbit crafts. After being away all week I planned to have a Groundhog Day craft and book post ready but my head is still on Tennessee time and so is my baby, which  changed my plan. So if you have a ground hog day craft and want to be featured in tomorrow’s post ( I have books), please email me a link and I will be happy to add it.

Rabbit Ears

Paper Lantern

Cotton Ball Rabbit

Panda Bear Snack

Chinese New Year Picture Books


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.

Map M – Letter of The Week and Geography Lesson.

Letter of the week has been a popular feature on our blog for a few years now, but it’s not so popular at my kitchen table anymore. My son has known his letters for what feels like forever so to get him interested it takes something special… like a map.  He loves maps, and will often ask us ” How do you get to Nebraska? How do you get to Paris? ” So we find the map and we decide if we should fly, drive or take a boat. I capitalized on that love to do this simple cutting and letter activity.

  1. Gather your materials you will need an old atlas or map ( you will be cutting it ), kid scissors, a marker, piece of construction paper and glue.
  2. Start by looking at a map . We looked at a map of the US since my son is into learning about states right now. Choose a state or country to check out. He chose Utah, we don’t know why but he loves Utah, like a lot.
  3. Flip to it if you are using an Atlas. If you just have one map to use, take some time looking at it with your child, look for different points of interest . This activity is as much a lesson to familiarize kids with maps and geography as it is one for the letter m.
  4. Tear out the page and write an M, if your child is able to have them write it. It’s easy to turn it into a block M by adding to theirs.
  5. Cut it out.  This will take time.
  6. Encourage them when it gets tricky. This was the most line cutting my son has ever done, honestly I was pleasantly surprised he did it all. He was pretty proud too.
  7. Add glue
  8. “Slam Utah down” His words. Let dry.

It’s an easy project but the cutting takes patience and builds skills , the exploration of the map sparks discussion and the letter recognition comes along for the ride!

Learning at Snack Time Too


While my son flipped through the atlas I fixed him a snack.  I knew which state he was looking for and was just thankful it was Utah, I didn’t have enough ham for any other state.

Alphabet  Books

ABC USAby Martin Jarrie is another beautiful alphabet book!  Like most alphabet books it devotes a page to each letter with vibrant illustrations . Not everything in this book is by any means unique to the United States but most are. I specifically appreciated the I for Immigrants page, both from a historical and personal perspective, my son loved the J for Jazz and we both loved all the whimsical illustrations. There are a lot of learning opportunities presented as well, school age children could really benefit from it as well the 2 letters that stood out for me for further learning were U for Underground Railroad and V for Valley Forge.  How ever you use this it’s worth a look for certain.


All Aboard!: A Traveling Alphabet by Bill Mayer was more fun for my husband and I than for my son but that’s not a bad thing. It’s a book of pictures, with hidden letters in them. For example the letter O is overpass with loops of road and hidden in it is an O. Some letters were easy to find some were hilariously hard. We read this to my son tonight at bedtime and while we stared at the letter H ( highway) picture debating where the h was, he fell asleep between us in his bed. This is a great alphabet book for families with children just learning and those who have mastered the alphabet. Oh and the debate was settled , we were both wrong. The final page highlights the letter in each picture in a compilation of the whole alphabet.

Best of 2010

#6

Driveway Graffiti

This post from contributing writer Kim got such an enthusiastic response. I love to think of all the driveways that got facelifts because of this fun and messy activity.  I loved the combination of art and physical activity a perfect outdoor project!  If you haven’t already you will want to bookmark it for a nice day.

Which was your favorite post Kim wrote this year?

Paper Plate Pig Craft


Toddlers and young preschoolers will love painting the paper plate, but the small pieces to glue will require a lot of adult help but 4 and 5 year olds will love it!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a paper plate, 3 sections of an egg carton , scissors, some pink paint ( or red and white) , a paint brush , some black paper and glue.
  2. Mix your paint, I know I have been saying this a lot lately but this simple step of mixing colors is such a fast and easy color lesson and kids love to mix things!
  3. Paint the paper plate . While your child is doing this cut the egg carton into 3 pieces, one whole cup and two half ones. Also cut 2 small black circles and two tiny rectangles for the eyes and nostrils out of the black paper.
  4. Paint egg carton pieces. You need to paint the inside of 2 egg carton pieces and the outside of the other.
  5. Glue on the eyes.
  6. Glue on the snout.
  7. Glue the nostrils on.
  8. Glue on the ears.
Song!

Three Little Pigs

Three little pigs rolled in the mud,
Squishy , Squashy felt so good,
The farmer took one pig out,
Oink oink oink, the pig did shout!

Continue with 2, 1

No little pigs rolled in the mud,
They all looked so clean and good,
The farmer turned his back and then,
All the little pigs rolled in the mug again!

Books

” Grunt” by John Richardson is a classic running away from home story. This one is about a pig who is different from all his siblings and can only grunt instead of squeal, and thinks that because he is different his family must not want him. Of course in the end mama is overjoyed to see him come home and he discovers his family does love him. I am biased against books like this cause I just don’t like them, I don’t like that a child( or piglet) has to run away to find out they are loved. Maybe it’s just my own pet peeve , regardless this book is ok, but I won’t be adding it to my bookshelf.

” Pigsty” by Mark Teague is more my kind of book. Silly but with a good message. Wendell has a messy room and his mom calls it a pigsty, soon enough pigs start showing up! At first it’s cool , Wendell has fun with the pigs but it’s not long before the pigs are too much and even Wendell can’t take it. I think this book has a great message about responsibility, and how sometimes fun gets to be too much .

” Piggies” by Don and Audrey Wood is a great counting book for little guys. Toddlers love this book. You will probably notice your child touching their fingers as you read this delightful story about little piggies.

Shape Sun Catcher Craft



Believe it or not in almost 15 years of doing crafts with kids I had never done this! Thanks to Denise in Florida for the inspiration for this activity!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some contact paper, various colors of tissue paper and scissors.
  2. Cut your tissue paper into all different sizes but keep the shape consistent.
  3. Make your sun catcher by folding a large piece of contact paper so that the front and back piece would be connected by a seam, so for a square I cut out a large rectangle then folded it in two. You can make a triangle by cutting out a square and folding it in two.
  4. Peak back the backing only as far as the seam. You can see in this picture the backing is still on 1/2 of the contact paper.
  5. Stick your shapes on, encourage your child to over lap them, and notice that they make a new color when that happens.
  6. Peel the remaining backing off and seal it onto the other side.
  7. Go catch the spring sun!
Song!



The Shape Song!

Do you know what shape this is?
What shape this is?
What shape this is?

Do you know what shape this is I’m holding in my hand?

Books!

The Greedy Triangle” by Marilyn Burns is a funny story about a triangle who keeps adding more and more sides until he is confused, but your preschooler will be learning all about shapes while fun. The author is a bit of a superstar in the teaching world, I am a huge fan of not only this book but her methods in general. If you are a teacher , especially elementary aged and aren’t familiar with her you should be.

” My Very First Book of Shapes” by Eric Carle is a great introduction into shapes, but won’t loose it’s appeal as your child ages. The book is split so the fun begins when you try to match the shapes! Carle’s distinctive collage illustrations are a delight !


” Flip a shape: Go! “ by Harriet Ziefert will keep busy toddlers interested in all the shapes that are made with a school bus , boat and more! The simplistic and bright illustrations coupled with the movements of the flip a shape, this book will be a hit with your toddler!