This year the festivities of the Chinese New Year started on the 25 January and I decided to talk about it with the girls through some crafts.
Originally, I was planning to make some printables concerning Chinese New Year (which is also called Lunar New Year) but I had no time so I picked 2 crafts that seemed fun.
The whirling dragon is very decorative and fun to make although my kids didn’t seem to last until the end of the project as it takes quite a while.
What you need:
- paper plate
- red paint and paintbrushes
- coloured markers/pencils
- dragon template from the Red Ted Art blog (it’s free)
You can follow instructions from the link above.
We painted the paper plates in two goes as one side needed to dry first, then we could go on with the other one. Well, the kids lost interest after the painting and a lot of waiting. (We dried them on the radiator)
I printed the templates and the got excited again so we coloured them together. At this point we checked the lucky colours of the Chinese New Year Festival to bring good luck to our home with the dragons. These were red, yellow, green, blue and white.
Again, they had enough of colouring, so I needed to cut out the pieces. This took even me a lot of time.
They returned for the stapling and a little bit of sticking. Little L. glued on the tail and legs then ran away. E. helped with the stapling but wasn’t in the mood to glue so I finished them off.
After having hung them in our hallway they admired the dragons, but all in all they were not as fascinated by it as I thought they would be.
Still, we talked a lot about the traditions, the animal zodiacs and the festivities in Asian countries.
Last December E. made some bird feeders at her one-day winter camp. She loved the idea of feeding the birds when they have real difficulty in getting any food during winter so much we needed to make some more.
The first bird feeder idea came from our Helen Doron school.
PINECONE+PEANUT BUTTER BIRD FEEDER
What you need:
- pine cones (you can buy them but easier to collect your own)
- peanut butter (of any kind)
- seeds (you can buy canary food in a pet shop, but we mixed our own: corn, sunflower seeds, millets, smashed walnut, sultanas, dried cranberries)
How to make it:
- Mix the seeds, dried fruit, nuts in a bowl
- Spread the peanut butter with the knife between the scales of the cone
- Roll the cone into the seed bowl
- Tie a string or thread so you can hang it up on bushes or trees
- Go to your garden, balcony or, as we did it, into a park nearby and hang out your bird feeders
We went back to check on the bird feeder and seeing the seeds and the peanut butter disappear gave E. tremendous joy.
We made the pinecones with our native nanny, N, in English. We spread them around E.’s kindergarten area with I.-Grandma in Hungarian. When we went back to check them we were in English again. So we covered a lot of vocabulary in both languages. (bird feeder, seeds, corn, hang out, hide, quiet-busy, visible, don’t migrate, robin, blackbird, finch etc.)
TANGERINE RIND BIRD FEEDER
What you need:
The same as above except for the pine cone and the thread. After pressing some orange/tangerine juice for the girls I kept the rind. Quite a lot of seed mixture remained from the previous bird feeder project so we used it.
How to make it:
- Take the pressed out tangerine (or orange) rind and line it with peanut butter.
- Sprinkle the seed mixture in it
- Place it on and under bushes or just in your patio or on your balcony.
- Return to check how fast the seeds are eaten up.
In the second case again we made the little feeders in English and the next day we went out into the snow to play (we were in Hungarian) and put out the tangerine bird feeders.
It’s a lovely winter project even with little kids and you can save the tiny song birds that do not migrate in the long, cold winter. Through this topic you can build your children empathy and teach them how to take care of nature and its creatures.
The winter workshop took place in the middle of November, before Thanksgiving, so that we could cover some Thanksgiving crafts apart from Christmassy and winter activities.
The workshop aimed to help mums with winter fun ideas, whose kids are about 2-3 years old, but 4-5 year-old children would find them enjoyable too.
There were 4 major topics that we covered (and this time we managed to cover them all)
- Santa/ St. Nicholas
I’m not writing about the details only the ideas I shared. if you have any questions about the activities please do not hesitate to contact me either in the comment section or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This time I got some photos from the mums taking part in the workshop. Thanks!
- Santa’s hat out of popsicle sticks
I made this free printable so just click and print it. Colour it with your child if you wish and glue a cotton ball on Santa’s beard every day until Christmas. As we celebrate on Christmas Eve there are only 23 places to stick the cotton balls on.
(I can’t find what we made so I have no picture of it. Here is a photo of the original source I’d found the idea at and you can go and have a look at it if you click on the link above)
- Paper plate Christmas door wreath
Originally I planned it with pompoms but we prepared it with pasta. I would have gone for a red base but E.’s choice was orange.
I prepared this colour matching activity that you can download on the link above. You just need some coloured buttons, pom poms or M&Ms to place on the printed buttons of the Gingerbread men. A simple colour matching task.
The last figure is left empty to draw coloured buttons of your child’s choice or use it as a play dough mat if you want to take further on this activity.
Other winter crafts
- Cotton pad snowman
- Decorating mittens
(We did mot finally make this activity but here is the link where you can see the details) UPDATE: We made the mittens (among other activities) after reading the lovely book The Mitten by Jan Brett
- Popsicle snowflake