Chinese New Year is almost here and today we made a Chinese dragon to celebrate the year of the dragon. When I suggested we make a dragon today my son said ” Okay but it has to be huge!” My request was that it was a project that we could all do together. I also wanted a longer project since we are stuck at home in the snow and needed a long project to break up the at home day.
- Gather your materials. You will need some craft ( butcher block) paper, red, yellow and green construction paper , green paint, a rolling pin, cutting board, potato masher ( optional), scissors, glue, bubble wrap and a googly eye. Oh and painters tape to hold it down while you create.
- Start by taping the paper down and draw a dragon. I free handed the dragon and while perfect it’s not , I am trying to model effort not perfection for my kids and we are focusing on making something fun, not something perfect.
- Using the construction paper make triangles for spikes on the dragon’s back and head, long strips of red and orange for fire . If your child is cutting make some long strips with guided lines or blank strips thin enough for them to hold and cut easily. My daughter isn’t cutting yet but she still enjoyed ripping so I made sure some of our construction paper was in strips the right size for her to rip and even made little rip to get her started. Set these aside for later.
- Wrap bubble wrap around your rolling pin and grab a potato masher – both will give a reptilian like print when your child uses them to paint.
- Spread the paint on a cutting board .
- Roll and paint.
- They were both into it. I moved my daughter’s booster around to different parts of the dragon and my son moved around the table painting and printing.
- She loved the rolling pin.
- Let dry – I popped this up in my bathroom to dry while we played , went out in the snow and had lunch.
- Add glue
- Add the spikes!
- He had fun with the fire .
- Let dry and cut out.
- Hang up and celebrate the year of the dragon!
Books About Chinese New Year
D is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane is a in valuable book when teaching about China and Chinese New Year, it is more than a simple alphabet book, going into detail about lanterns, chopsticks, panda bears and so much more. What I love about these books is that younger children can be shown the pictures and given a easy to digest synopsis of the text, while older children can read the whole book. The illustrations by Zong-Zhou Wang will make the most reluctant traveler want to get on a plane to china, they are simply spectacular!
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.