Thursday, 5 February 2015

Chinese New Year - 2015 Year of the Sheep

Chinese New Year kicks off on 19 February, with celebrations traditionally lasting 15 days. Families prepare their homes well in advance and spend their time cooking food, buying gifts and preparing for many different festivities. Each year is represented by different zodiac animal signs, with 2015 marking the Year of the Sheep. 
The Sheep:
In Chinese astrology Sheep are described as loving-peace and "kind" and "popular". With the addition of the wood element, the Goat characteristic is thought to love peace and to be helpful and trusting, but yet also to be "clinging" and of a nature resistant to change.
Make your own sheep:
Tanoshi - Repeat Crafter Me - All About AmiHarugurumi
Chinese New Year is the longest and most important of the traditional Chinese holidays and much like New Year in Western cultures, it begins on the first day of the first month within the Chinese calendar and ends of the date of the full moon. Throughout the weeks leading up to Chinese New Year and during the celebrations, you can get your little monsters involved in loads of different Sheep and  Chinese New Year activities: Chinese food tasting, role play, small world play, counting games and loads different Chinese crafts:
Numbers and Small Gross Motor Skills
Get your free sheep printable from The Basket.
This is a great way to engage your little monsters in number recognition, counting and colours. Our little monster like to small world play with them too. What you need to do: print your sheep, cut them out (laminate to make them last longer) and add pegs. You can leave the pegs blank, paint them to match the colour of the sheep or add patterns to the pegs (like we did for our Halloween Cats). If you add colour or patterns to the pegs, your little monster can engage in a little problem solving activity, while practice their small gross motor skills and numeracy skills.

Chinese lanterns are a quick and easy craft to do, with your little monster! They look great hung across the room and perfect for a Chinese New Year. Activity Village has a great step by step on making these paper lanterns, but we would recommend using a ruler to draw on the lines and letting your little monster practice their scissor skills! It wont look as pretty, but it will be their creation!

Money Trees:
We did our own version of Chinese Money Trees, using coins to stamp the leaves onto our branches! We talked with the children about what Money Trees are and about the Chinese belief that Money Tress will bring good fortune to the owner while still alive. The children enjoyed using real money to stamp with and got creative with the colours they used. We found it great for small gross motor skills too.
DIY: We just super glued coins to corks!!

Chinese Writing
The kids picked what symbol they wanted to do and enjoyed making the marks to create the symbol! It was a great way to introduce a different culture and work on their mark making skills!! We used painted brushes, but can easily be done with pens or even in a small writing sand box.

Role Play
Set up a fun and interactive role play area, with handmade amigurumi food, chopsticks, bowls, plates and fortune cookie boxes! You can make Paper Fortune Cookies too. This is a great way for your little monster to interact with different cultures and gain a better understanding of the world around them! 
Make your own Red Envelope Game - The Chinese tradition of giving money in red envelopes, during holidays or special occasions, is a great way to get your little monster exploring numbers, counting and amount
More Fun, Free and Easy activities and crafts:
Chinese Drums

Great books to help support learning and play:

Getting a laminator is a must (we think) - They're affordable and come in hand for loads of indoor and outdoor projects!

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