This weekend it’s Chinese New Year, a great opportunity to mix up your schedule and provide the kids with some insight into a completely different culture.
This year it’s the turn of the Dog, and those born into it are known to be trustworthy, popular in social circles, loyal and honest. Just like this article.
If you’re born in a Dog year, you don’t need me to tell you that you’ll need to spend the year avoiding the number one and the Southeast (watch out for Canterbury) and focusing on the number seven and the colour blue.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some great ways to teach your children about the festivities.
You can start by explaining a little about China to the children; use visual aids to point China out on a map and you can tell them they’re looking at the most populated country in the world! If you can get a hold of a few chinese children’s books, they could be a fun addition to your story time. Here’s one or two that focus specifically on Chinese New Year – time to raid those bookshelves!
Do a little research on the different personalities of the Dog, this can be an engaging way to talk to the kids about how to socialise and interact with the other children, working on those all important social skills.
2. Guess the animal
Print off some colourful pictures of the 12 Chinese New Year animals and see if the children can guess what they are, and what noise they make. Some of these are going to be trickier than others (we’re not even sure what noise an ox makes). This is a great way to engage the children with different animals, both common and unfamiliar.
Once you’re done, you can print off some black and white templates and have the children colour them in. Once they’re done, hang them up around the classroom to get in the colourful new year’s spirit.
3. Chinese Foods
Why not use this as a chance for the children to try out some different food. See if the kitchen can whip up some chicken fried rice and spring rolls; they’ll be suitable for most kids, and they get to understand what people are eating in a different country.
What’s more, you can easily sneak in lots of veg to both (don’t worry, we won’t tell if you don’t).
4. Animal Letters
Back to those animals again! Help your kids understand the different sounds by sounding out each animal and seeing if they know which letter it begins with. The Ox is a good example of those pesky Xs too.
This can be a great start to some other word games, one on on or in a group, where you ask the children what else starts with each letter. You can develop their communication skills and their understanding of the alphabet too.
5. Chinese Lanterns
It’s arts and crafts time again! These simple Chinese lanterns will look great up around your nursery at this time of year. Either get the kids to help you make them (watch out for the scissors) or make them in white and have the kids paint them.
Get some white and red paint, and help the kids to mix their own colour of red, a fun way to understand the way different colours work – just don’t forget those paint bibs!
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