1 year old

10 Fun Ways to Play and Celebrate Chinese New Year


Happy Chinese New Year!  We may not be Chinese, but we do have a special connection to Chinese New Year because in 2011 it's the day that we found out that I was pregnant with Ethan (so he was born in the year of the rabbit), and in 2014 it was the day before Ivy was born (meaning that she was almost a snake, but was born in the year of the horse instead).  

So we have to make a little bit of effort to celebrate every year, and this year has been a bit hectic, but we're finding 10 fun and simple ways to play and mark this special day:

1. Playing with animal toys to represent each year of the Chinese calendar.  This one is more for Ivy, as she's just starting to learn new words and sounds it is really fun to play with little toys, telling her what each animal is called and what sound it makes and hearing her try to imitate the words that I'm using.

2. Playing with chopsticks like I did with Ethan a couple of years ago, and as we will be doing today.  We've got these lovely learning chopsticks that are great for Ethan to use, we've also been using some big tweezers to get the chopstick technique and to pick up small toys.

3. Make an animal craft to represent the animal of the year, a sheep craft like this cute Q-Tip Painted Sheep from Dabbling Momma, so easy for little ones to make but absolutely adorable!  Or a monkey craft like this cute Monkey Shaker from Make and Takes.

4. Bake some fortune cookies using this recipe from Martha Stewart.

5. Make a Chinese lantern like I did every year with my class as a teacher, as it's quick to prepare loads of them in advance and have the children decorate them at school and bring home.  Or try making mini Chinese lanterns like we did this year.

6. Make a dragon mask and do a dragon dance!  Just go over to Itsy Bitsy Fun and download their Printable Dragon Masks to colour in, then find a big sheet to cover yourselves in and dance around the house!

7. Make red envelopes like we did a few years ago and put all sorts of fun treasures inside!  I found some other cute printable ones from Activity Village that we might use this year.

8. Make a Chinese New Year sensory bin using rice as a base and chopsticks as well as little Chinese bowls and spoons.  You could even put some little toy animals, or maybe some dragons if you have them.  Or you could try this sensory play idea with play dough that I saw on Nurture Store, it's simple and looks really fun.  I think we'll be getting the red play dough out today!

9. Look up which year each member of the family was born in and draw pictures of those animals.  Ethan has already memorised that he is a rabbit, Ivy is a horse, Daddy is a dragon and Mommy is a monkey (which he thinks is hilarious!) so I may get him and Ivy to draw a family picture of the four of us as our animals today!

10. Eat Chinese food!  We'll take any excuse really, but I think that we'll definitely end our day with some spring rolls and some noodles and another chance to use our chopsticks!

Happy Chinese New Year!

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