Chinese New Year Curriculum

Here’s a fun movement idea for Chinese New Year. Last year was the year of the horse, and, since this celebration incorporates the use of firecrackers and the legend of the monster Nian, at circle time, I pretended to wave my magic wand and turned the children into firecrackers, monsters and horses. They loved pretending to be all these things.

We fold the paper that chopsticks come wrapped in into a small square. Place it between the two chopsticks and wrap with a rubber band. They are now more like tongs and easier for children to use. We let the children try to eat ramen noodles with these. This idea was shared with us from a teacher from Thailand who says that this is how children there learn to use chopsticks.

Instead of just one child being the dragon, we let all the children be the dragon. Find a good outline of a dragons head (enlarge if necessary, on the photocopier) and copy for each child. Each child color and cut out their dragons head. Then have them staple to a tag board strip. Staple to tag board to fit each child’ head, and they have dragon hats.

For Chinese New Year Preschool Story times we read: Chili Chili Chin Chin (Belle Yang), The Greatest Treasure (Demi) and Sam and the Lucky Money. The kids especially loved Chili, Chili, Chin, Chin. We made our own leesie, putting chocolate coins in them and sharing them with friends and family. We made Chinese dragon masks and had a parade. We used the Five Green Dragons finger play and the Lion Dance Song. I purchased Zoo Sticks (one piece chopsticks with animals on the top) from Oriental Trader and made Chinese noodles for the kids to eat with their chopsticks. They loved it!!!

We celebrated Chinese New Year at our Preschool this year. We made a dragon head out of a Kleenex box. We let the kids help decorate it. The eyes were made from Styrofoam balls with pipe cleaner antenna’s. We used lots of red paper and streamers. Then we tied streamers on all the kids arms and played a traditional Chinese children’s game called chase the dragon tail. All the kids lined up and held the hips of the child in front of them. The child at the head of the line wore the dragon head and tried to tag the child at the end of the line. It was a lot of fun and our large dragon line looked really neat. After the game we sat down and tried to eat Chinese food with chop sticks. We also had someone from our town who had been to china come and share her experience with the children. She brought lots of items she had gotten from her trip. I was surprised by the children’s interest in this world so far away. It was a hit and we plan on doing every year from now on.