Friday, January 15, 2010

Chinese New Year: Books, Crafts, and Activities

We have decided to take the kids to the Chinese New Year celebration in Philadelphia's Chinatown.  The girls are very excited because they have learned about the Chinese New Year in school. They can't wait to see the traditional lion dance.  However, Wes does not have any background knowledge on any of this.  Therefore, I thought I would plan some activities and check out some books from the library to help him understand.  Here is what I have come up with.


My First Chinese New Year
My First Chinese New Year - In this colorful picture book, a young girl prepares for and celebrates the Chinese New Year with her extended family, describing how she makes an altar to honor her ancestors, gets a haircut, feasts with her relatives, and attends a Chinatown parade. The tale radiates warmth and quietly builds up to the dramatic dragon dance and the traditional greeting of "Gung Hay Fat Choy!" The collage illustrations, cut from paper with colorful Asian designs, also include paint and other media to capture the joyful celebrants. ~ School Library Journal

Wes did not like this book as much as he liked Dragon Dance (see below).  It could have been because the main character is a little girl.  He is in this stage where he prefers to read books about boys.  I believe it is because it makes it easier for him to relate to the main character.  I, on the other hand, love Karen Katz, so I thought is was adorable.  The main character is extremely likable and very cute.  In addition, this book offers lots to learn.

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin)
Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year - This lift-the-flap book follows a family as they plan for the Chinese New Year and celebrate the traditions (red envelopes, p Garade).  This is a great book for preschoolers.  It is relatively short and the rhyming text is fluid and easy to understand.  Wes really enjoyed it.  He liked lifting the flaps (of course).  He also appreciated the detailed illustrations.  He spent a lot of time looking at them and asking questions.  Good Choice!
Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books)
Lion DancerIn brief, simple sentences, Ernie Wan describes his Chinese -American family's celebration of the lunar New Year. Ernie lives in New York City's Chinatown, where traditions are rooted in the culture of southern China. Ernie's father, a kung fu master, choreographs The Lion Dance, the center of the community celebration and a major tourist attraction. This year, Ernie dances in the place of honor under the lion's head. Color photographs depict private and public festivities. ~ School Library Journal

Wes loved the photographs in this picture.  This book really got him excited about going to the Chinese New
Year Parade and celebration.
Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-lan! (Ni Hao, Kai-Lan)
Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan - Join Kai-lan for a Chinese New Year celebration! Kai-lan and her friends get to carry the dragon costume in the big parade - but can they work together to make the dragon dance? ~ Product Description

Wes loves Kai-Lan, so I have ordered this for him.  I will let you know what we think.

Celebrating Chinese New Year
Celebrating Chinese New Year - Readers follow 10-year-old Ryan Leong and his family as they celebrate the Chinese New Year in San Francisco. Through big, bright photographs and a clear, easy-to-follow text, readers see the preparations and festivities and learn about the history and traditions. The author includes the symbolic meanings of the foods eaten and other customs, an explanation of the Chinese Zodiac, and an in-depth look at the Lion Dance. ~ School Library Journal

Samantha and Gracen enjoyed this one.  They especially liked the photographs and the fact that it is non-fiction.

The Chinese New Year Mystery (A Nancy Drew Notebooks Mystery) - The third-grade classes at Nancy's school are learning about Chinese culture, and they'll celebrate the Chinese New Year with a special parade. The highlight of the parade will be a dragon costume. Nancy's class is making it out of feathers, sequins, gold tassels, and red silk. But right before the big day, the dragon disappears! ~ Product Description

Samantha loves this series, so I have ordered it for her to read.   I will let you know what she thinks.


The actual date of the Chinese New Year for 2010 is February 14. 

According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2010 is the year of the tiger
.  Make a tiger paper bag puppet.

Chinese New Year paper dolls and clothes and more clothes.

Color the Chinese Flag.

Make a dancing lion or dragon toy.

How to make a Chinese lantern.

Practice using chopsticks.  Children can practice picking up food, craft pompoms, marshmallows, cotton balls, and small toys.  For young children - tie a rubber band around the chopsticks to make them easier to use.   Great fine motor practice.

Make a parade dragon puppet.

Lots of Printables for School-agers.

Activities and Printables
for Preschoolers.

Countdown to New Year
- On-line game

Musical Lanterns
- On-line game

On-line Tangram (originated in China) Puzzles

Cook some traditional Chinese New Year's Eve foods.

Do you have any fun Chinese New Year activities planned?  If so, I would love to hear about them.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Thank you for pulling this information together! I am just now trying to decide whether I want to take on China and Chinese New Year. Sounds tempting, especially since we have some parades near us too.

Gidget Girl Reading said...

we did a fun day for chinese new year last year it was fun and all. I'm skipping this year since its on valentines day.

Tristan said...

Hi Tara! Great resources for Chinese New Year. We're probably not covering it this year, but I was wondering something else - do you have any plans in the works for Winter Olympics? I'm trying to decide what we'll do next month still... I'll probably give the kids a list to choose from, but I love finding ideas on your blog.


Susana said...

Thank you Tara!! I so forgot about Chinese New Year--yes, I am embarrassed to admit that.

It has always been one of Hanna's faves to celebrate at school, so I know we will be doing crafts and reading books on it.

I needed this reminder and these great book suggestions!

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