While searching on-line for resources for Tet, the Lunar New Year celebration in Vietnam, I found a wonderful poster a fellow adoptive mom made for her son’s class. I asked Priscilla Holberton to share her activity here. Priscilla tries to keep up with all things Asian and adoption in Washington, DC on her web site MyAsianKidDC.com and blog MyAsianKidDC.wordpress.com, where she recently wrote her own Kindergarten lesson plan using the toys that she has collected over the years. She is the adoptive mom of a five year old boy who was born in Vietnam.
Last year, when I decided I wanted to include information about the Chinese Zodiac in my presentation of Lunar New Year in my son’s pre-K, I searched on the Internet but never found a poster-size illustration. I have been looking again this year to no avail, so I decided to make my own. Continue reading
As part of the “Cinderella Around the World” series, I have chosen to look at Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China. Yeh-Shen, (also known as Ye Xian 叶限) is one of the world’s first Cinderella stories, and was published in the 9th century (!!!!) in an anthology of stories called Miscellaneous Morsels from Youyang. Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China is the adaptation of this ancient fairy tale, retold by Ai-Ling Louie and wonderfully illustrated by Ed Young. If you do not have access to the book, you can read the full text here. Continue reading
It’s Monday, January 23, 2012 and Lunar New Year is here! For the next 15 days billions (literally) of people will be celebrating 2012, as the year of the dragon. Here are two of our favorite books about Chinese dragons!
For an introduction to Chinese dragons, there is no greater book than Jin Jin the Dragon. Beijing-native Grace Chang has crafted a magical story about a dragon who is searching for his identity. With help from many wise animals he meets on his quest, he gets a name, and learns what he can accomplish with his inner strength and courage. Continue reading
Our guest writer, internationally known folksinger Daria has traveled the globe for the last two decades, learning, sharing and making music while building communities and encouraging a new view of hope and peace for all the world’s children. She writes an excellent blog called “Making Multicultural Music: Sharing Diversity Through the Arts,” and also shares her songs, videos, and instrument on her web site “World Music for Children.” Today she is sharing with us how to make a Chinese gong for Chinese New Year.
What is a gong? It’s a large hanging percussion instrument that you strike with a stick or a beater for a wonderful, loud resonant sound that will definitely make anyone around you sit up and take notice. In ancient China, it’s said that gongs called farmers in from the fields and some were so loud that they could be heard almost 50 miles away!
Supplies: a metal, disposable roasting pan; pipecleaners or yarn; a cardboard tube from wrapping paper; paint, stickers, glitter, glue, or textured paint for decorating the gong; 12-18″ wooden dowel; electrical tape. Continue reading
“Chinese New Year,” as it is known in English, is also known as the more encompassing name “Lunar New Year,” or the “Spring Festival” (春節 in Chinese). Besides China, it is celebrated in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Tibet, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Many countries with large Chinese populations (such as Australia, the US, and Canada) also have large Chinese New Year celebrations. Despite the diversity of the people who celebrate this widespread holiday, and their varied traditions, it is universal at this time of year to gather with family to start the new year. Teaching kids about celebrations around the world broadens their minds and increases their cultural awareness.
I have used this lesson plan for the past several years in my kids’ classes with success- the kids love the props, remember the different elements, and are engaged and having fun while learning about a very important holiday. I’ve included books, crafts, and adaptations for different grade levels, so all ages can learn about Chinese New Year! Continue reading
Posted in Asia, Celebrations, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, The Philippines, Tibet, Vietnam
Tagged Chinese New Year, education, multicultural
There are so many great ideas for Chinese New Year crafts! Hands-on crafts help make the celebration come alive to your children. Once your class has discussed the Chinese New Year celebration and the many symbols of the festival, it is time to make a craft. There are several simple crafts that I have used with children, from preschool through elementary.
Spring blossoms: simple painting project with brown and pink paint, paint brushes (for the twigs) and cotton balls (for the blossoms).
The same project for slightly older kids: Continue reading
(As always, the pictures in this article were taken by me unless otherwise stated. Most of these were taken in Chicago’s Chinatown, or in Beijing in the Forbidden City and the Temple of Heaven. For permission to use them, please email me.)
Chinese dragons (龙 lóng): kids, teens, and adults love them and they appear everywhere from books to tattoos to Chinese New Year Parades. Unlike European dragons, who breathe fire and must be defeated, Chinese dragons are well-meaning mystical beasts who breathe clouds, often appear in human form, and are frequent characters in ancient stories.
I love the anatomy of a Chinese dragon:
the head of a camel,
the horns of a stag (male deer),
the eyes of a demon,
the ears of a cow,
the neck of a snake,
the belly of a clam,
the scales of a carp,
the claws of an eagle,
the paws of a tiger. Continue reading
The rice cake gets away!
A simple and clever way to incorporate another culture while engaging kids in one of their favorite activities is to choose colorful and age-appropriate stories from around the world. This past February, I found a great book that does just that while captivating my kids.
In The Runaway Rice Cake, Chinese author Ying Chang Compestine pairs whimsical illustrations with a twist on the classic Gingerbread Man story for a new adventure that takes place during Chinese New Year. With the small amount of rice flour the Chang family has, they manage to make a single rice cake, which of course escapes by running away. After the adventurous chase, the story has a happy ending (for the people) that incorporates a lesson on sharing with those less fortunate. Continue reading