Snake Craft – Chinese New Year

chinese new year craft for kids year of the snakeThis 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.

  1. 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.chinese new year craft for kids
  2. Start by drawing a snake and cutting it out.chinese new year craft for kids snake 2 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.Chinese new year craft for kids 3
  3. Next step . Time to choose your paint colors.chinese new year craft choosing colors
  4. Next it’s time to start painting. First with the scrubber…. chinese new year craft for toddlersthen 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.chinese new year year of the snake craft for kids
  5. 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.
  6. Time to glue!cheinese new year craft snake craft
  7. Add the collage materials.chinese new year sequins 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.”chinese new year adding buttons
  8. Add the eye.chinese new year add eye
  9. 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.chinese new year snake craft for toddlers and kids
  10. Let it all dry .year of the snake craft for kids

Books about Chinese New Year

My First 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

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.

next new year janet wong

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.

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Hamsa – Crafts From Around The World

by Katy

In this project we were studying Africa and created a Hamsa as part of that study. A Hamsa is an ancient good luck sign that has been adopted by almost every culture and religion in North Africa and Central Asia. They are often created at stained glass pieces and hung in windows to help protect the home. I decided to make ours in a similar fashion.

To make the Hamsa, you will need:

An assortment of light colored crayons (red, yellow, orange, etc.)
wax paper
black and white construction paper or sticky foam
A hair dryer (may substitute another heat source like an iron if necessary)
pencil sharpener
dark permanent marker

The first thing you do is turn your crayons into shreds. A really easy way to do this is with one of those little hand-held pencil sharpeners, but before I figured that out, I was just snipping at it with a pair of scissors and that works too.

You want to get a lot of shavings, and it’s best to stick with light colors. The darker colors just read like black or brown when they mix together. Once you have a nice little pile of shavings, place them between two sheets of wax paper.

Now, most of the crafting books I’ve read suggest using an iron to melt the wax. I tried this, and it was a complete disaster. Wax ran everywhere, residue got on the iron, and I was a little afraid I was going to catch something on fire. I found that pointing my hair dryer at the wax paper worked just as well, felt safer, and created a lot less mess.

Once your wax is melted and cooled, take your child’s hand and place it on top. Hamsa’s are traditionally thought of as right hands, so go ahead and use their right one. Then, cut out the hand.

Create and eye with your construction paper and attach it.

And that’s it! You can hang it in a window to catch the light if you’d like.

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Katy is a mom of three who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracles at Bird on the Street.