Updated: Jan 23, 2020
Learning about different cultures and customs is important for children in the increasingly multicultural and global community we live. Benefits for young children include increased empathy, kindness and respect for others, as well as helping them to build their own sense of identity and self. With greater knowledge of the world around them, children are better equipped to communicate, cooperate and empathise with others- important life skills!
This weekend millions of people will begin celebrating the Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival. This Saturday will mark the beginning of 2020, the year of the rat. At Flying Colours we will be learning about this important Asian cultural celebration through art and craft activities that will help your child develop fine motor control, understanding of colour and composition and visual literacy.
As a parent myself, I know that the thought of getting paints and glue out can sometimes fill you with dread at the mess and time investment needed. Although we will be using paints, inks and glues to create our art in our first Art Club session, there are many easy ways you can help your child develop creativity and promote learning at home. Here is a simple craft idea that will help develop your child's fine motor skills. Lanterns are often hung in windows to decorate houses to scare away the Nian monster and bring good luck.
To extend your child's learning and make links with literacy, you can ask them to write out simple instructions on how to make the lanterns. Get children to to use time connectives (first, then, after, finally) and imperative verbs (also known as bossy verbs) in their writing, a key feature of instruction writing.
Cute Lantern Rats
You will need paper, glue, scissors pencil and ruler. If you do not have black paper, you can use a black sharpie or felt-tip to create the nose and eyes.
1. First, cut a strip of paper off the end of the A4 sheet of paper. I have used a ruler to mark a line in pencil so it is nice and even. Set this strip of paper aside for later.
2. Then fold the paper in half lengthwise, making sure the crease is neatly pressed down.
3. Cut straight lines along the fold, but be sure not to cut all the way to the end. You should end up with a series of lines like this.
4. After, unfold the paper and connect the top ends together using a glue stick. Repeat for the bottom.
5. Then trace and cut out 2 medium sized circles for the ears in red and two slightly smaller ones in white. (I traced my circles using a small cup). Trace and cut 2 small circles for the nose in black and 2 slightly larger white circles for the eyes.
6. Next, fold the ears so you can attach them to the lantern at the very end. Use the glue stick to attach the eyes, nose and handle. Finally, using the handle as a guide, glue ears to the lantern.
Use your lantern to decorate your house. It will bring you good luck!
For more information about Chinese New Year Celebrations visit: