We did this Chinese New Year theme last year, but due to a broken computer at the time of doing the theme, I am just getting around to posting it…erm…now. Exactly one year later! At 7:30pm the night of Chinese New Year, and we haven’t even done our activities or read our books for this year. Sigh. Tomorrow.
At least we had Chinese takeout for dinner.
Husband was on top of that.
Amazingly, I remember all of the books!
Long-Long’s new year: a story about the Chinese spring festival by Catherine Gower- This was a great book. A boy goes to the market with his grandfather to help sell their vegetables, learns about the tricks other marketers play and helps his grandfather sell and get everything they need to celebrate new year.
My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz- Cute, easy and adorable in true Karen Katz fashion. Chinese new year in the city is introduced, traditions, parade and food are outlined in bright memorable colors.
The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine- This one was our favorite! A boy trades the last of his families eggs for a battered but magical wok! The wok causes all sorts of mischief and changes the town for the better.
Happy New Year Julie by Megan McDonald- An American Girl series book, this one deals with Julie’s best friend Ivy and her families celebration of Chinese new year in China Town, San Francisco. Maybe this book started the whole American girl doll fad the snug currently has.
Food and Recipes of China (Kids in the Kitchen) by Theresa M. Beatty- Not too bad, we actually only made the egg drop soup from this book and it was amazing! For me at least it was amazing, I think this was right around the time that the snug stopped liking eggs.
Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith- This book also takes place in San Francisco and is a non-fiction telling of a boy celebrating the new year with his family.
This is the book we are reading this year. No idea what it is about though, I mean specifically, obviously I know what the general idea will be. We won’t get to it until tomorrow.
The Denver Art Museum was having an incredibly Chinese exhibit, two exhibits actually. One about a Chinese Artist “Xu Beihong: Pioneer of Modern Chinese Painting” and one about textiles “Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China’s Last Dynasty.” The snug enjoyed all the horse paintings in the Xu Beihong exhibit, but we both enjoyed the textile exhibit a bit more. So many incredible designs woven into the fabric. The exhibits were amazing, so amazing that they didn’t allow photography (HA, I am not a photographer) but really they didn’t allow cameras, so I got a picture of an elevator instead.
The museum also has a children’s area, that is always applicable to the current exhibits.
They had a dress up area.
And a matching game, in which you set up plates in a big circle and matched up the designs painted on the plates. It was incredibly similar to most matching games.
Oh and tattoos.
Chinese Lanterns– These are huge in new year and many other celebrations in China, here is a super easy and reasonably sized ones to make.
All you need is construction paper, card stock paper, paper clips, tape, scissors, a ruler, glue and a pencil.
First cut a piece of construction paper in half width wise. Fold a half piece of construction paper in half and measure and mark even lines. You want to go from the fold towards the edge, but stop an inch before the edge of the paper.
Cut the lines.
Grab a piece of cardstock and cut it a couple of inches shorter than your piece of construction paper. Roll it into a tube shape, like a toilet paper roll and tape it. Wrap your cut construction paper around the roll and secure, by paper clip, tape or glue. Make a handle and secure to the top.
Repeat, until you have a desired amount.
Hang and enjoy.
Parade Dragon– These dragons are huge in size and significance during the parades for new years! They scare away any bad spirits, so the new year can start, positive, fresh and lucky! This dragon is much smaller, and easier to fly around the house.
Start with an egg carton, a cardboard type one works best. Separate the top from the bottom, cut the top portion in half and cut two egg cups out.
Grab some paint.
Pain the inside of the egg carton top. This will be the inside of the dragons mouth. Let dry.
Paint the outside. Glue together. It helps if you paper clip it temporarily while the glue dries.
Paint or color the eyes, glue them on and decorate your dragon.
Cute! I mean vicious!
Next take some large popsicle sticks and glue them together. This will be the dragons body. Grab some construction paper too.
Cut the construction paper into large squares. We did this by folding the top down to across the side. Then cutting off the bottom.
Overlap the squares and glue them onto the popsicle sticks. Once dry, forget about the project, for about a year.
Eventually the next time Chinese new year comes around, finish your dragon. Fly him around and smile at your imperfections. Also, only take blog pictures at night, with your phone, to ensure the worst quality.
Now on to the best part. We made some typical U.S. Chinese Food recipes.
Fried rice and egg drop soup. Then we made some awesome stuff.
Like Chinese character pancakes!
They are simple enough. First look up some Chinese characters and hope that they are accurate. Next grab a squeezeable condiment bottle and start cooking.
Delicious. Ridiculous. A very different way to teach Chinese characters.
Homemade Fortune Cookies-
I think we used the allrecipes fortune cookies recipe. Hard to say, here is the link to their recipe though, it looks familiar. Fortune Cookie Recipe!
The hard part isn’t the ingredients, it is what you do after they are mixed.
Spoon a super small amount of batter onto a tray and swirl into circles.
Bake but do not over bake!! While the cookies are still warm do the next step, but only do one at a time.
Grab a warm cookie and grab a fortune.
Fold the fortune in half and place it in the middle of your cookie.
fold the cookie in half.
Grab a glass and gently bend the cookie in half along the edge of the glass.
Place in an empty egg carton or muffin cup to keep shape until cool.
They are really easy, once you do the first batch. Just work fast.
Did you know fortune cookies are made in the U.S.A.? They are not from China at all and most Chinese food you get at restaurants in the U.S. are not the food you would eat if you were in China. Crazy! If you want to learn more about Chinese food, fortune cookies and a lottery mishap, I suggest reading The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer B. Lee.
Tomorrow the snug and I read our one new years book and make a snake out of toilet paper rolls!
Happy Chinese New Year and happy themeing!