My daughter’s Middle School Chinese teacher is throwing a great Chinese New Year’s party for all her students — 60 of them plus siblings! She is planning crafts, games, cooking demonstrations and a pot luck. In addition, her students will perform — in Chinese — both skits and songs. It’s ambitious! Luckily, a lot of parents are also helping out.
The parent volunteer committee met to go over the activities.
Some are coming from this book: Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes by Nina Simonds
I am volunteering for this station. We will fold fortune tellers and cranes. I think that is enough.
2) Lantern Making
We are using the Lantern craft in the Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes book which is more complicated that the fold and cut red lantern craft you might have seen for Chinese New Year.
She demonstrated it to us.
Stiff cardboard for base cut into 4 inch circle.
Tissue paper (20 x 30 inches). Cut into 2 pieces of 15 x 20 inches.
Florist wire (soft, bendy wire)
Battery votive candle
Cut a large piece of tissue paper in half. Fold it back and forth, crisply, in 1/2 inch folds. Glue the edges of the tissue paper and adhere to the base of the lantern by glueing first folded edge over the base so that it covers the it.
Glue the sides of the tissue paper together.
Glue the top of the lantern around a circle of florist wire, roughy the same diameter as the base.
Attach string to the top. Insert one chopstick to the string as a stick to hold it aloft.
Put the battery votive candle at the bottom.
You can decorate the tissue paper lantern with markers if you like.
3) Chinese Calligraphy
Use Chinese brush and ink to write Chinese Characters. Here’s a video demonstration on how to write Happy New Year in Chinese Characters. We are asking parents who know Chinese to demonstrate. (Not me!).
4) Chopstick Marshmallow Challenge
This is a relay race in which two teams must transfer a bowl of mini-marshmallows from one side of the room to another using only chopsticks. If the kids know how to use chopsticks, try substituting wrapped hard candy for an extra challenge. This is the traditional Chinese good luck candy:
5) Chinese Character Game
This is a match game. You can create your own by matching up Chinese characters to their English translation or use Kingka, a Chinese memory game.
6) Chinese Yo Yo
It’s helpful to have an expert demonstrate how to use the Chinese Yo Yo as it’s not easy. If you don’t have someone who knows how, here is a video demonstration.
And here is Ryan Shi, a wizard of the Chinese Yo Yo, from the Chinese Yo Yo Show in Knoxville, 2010. He makes it look easy but, in truth, the basic Chinese Yo Yo moves are not so easy!
7) Chinese Shuttlecock
This craft is from the Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boatsbook above. The Chinese Shuttlecock is a Chinese version of the hackysack. You will need:
2 quarters per Chinese Shuttlecock
Cut the tissue paper into half, approximately the size of 15 by 20 inches. Fold it down the middle length wise. Make a row 1 inch lines on either side of the tissue paper up towards the center fold but leave 3 inches near the center fold solid. Cut up the lines — it should look like fringe.
Put the 2 quarters in the center of the tissue paper, gather up all the fringe and wrap the rubber band around it to form a “ball.”
Your Chinese Shuttlecock is done. Kick it in the air with any part of your body like a hacksack and see how many times you can hit it without letting it fall to the ground.
8) Prizes are Red Chinese envelopes filled with candy and fortune cookies. You can also put money in them which is traditional and is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity to recipients.
I’ll update this post with photos from our Chinese New Year’s party but — breaking news — we are in for the snowstorm of the century — so our party is bing postponed for a week. Wish us luck getting through 2 feet of snow coming down sideways!
Finally, here’s a really cool paper craft snake that can turn and twist! Pdfs of the pattern are here.
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.