Following on from the Chinese New Year ideas in the last post, we made a tiger finger puppets today. And we had so much fun making them that my daughter said ‘Can we make a thousand?’ Hope you like them too.
You will need: some card*, orange and brown crayons, a sheet of white paper, scissors, a craft knife, a glue stick, a black ballpoint pen
*The card needs to be thick enough so the finished tiger doesn’t flop over when you put your fingers in the holes.
Start off by drawing a tiger body and head shape onto your card. Include 2 circles (as shown in the picture) which will be the finger holes.
Cut the shapes out. I used the scissors to cut the outline, but needed the craft knife for the finger holes.
Then get colouring. My daughter selected all the orange and brown crayons from our box (good sorting practice!) and then chose her favourite shades to colour her tiger. Don’t forget to add some brown stripes, especially along the tail.
We cut out an oval from the white paper to go on the tiger’s tummy. As we used wax crayons we found a black ballpoint pen worked best to make the face. My daughter said at first that drawing the face was too hard, but with a bit of encouragement to have a try I think you’ll agree she did a great job.
Check the finger holes are the right size for your child – you can enlarge them with the craft knife if you need too. Then all tiger needs is a name and he’s ready to play.
Celebrating festivals from around the world is a wonderful way to introduce your children to the diversity of other cultures and religions. As festivals tend to be fun, family-centred events they’re the perfect way to involve your children. The Chinese New Year is being celebrated on February 14th 2010 and will mark the start of the Year of the Tiger.
1. As with most celebrations food plays a major part so why not cook up a Chinese meal and try using chopsticks. There are some recipes here that you might like. Or you could even try making your own fortune cookies and let the children write or draw the messages inside.
2. The traditional colour for the Chinese celebration is red so why not have a red day – wearing red clothes, eating red food, having a treasure hunt to find all your red toys and making a collage picture using lots of shades of red?
3. As it’s the year of the Tiger it would be fun to make tiger masks. We’ll be making one this week, so please come back and I’ll share how we made it.
4. In the Chinese culture the number 8 is considered lucky – so how about playing some number games based on 8s? You could draw a hopscotch grid using chalks in the garden working up from 1 to 8. Or write the numbers 1 to 8 on squares of card to make targets, lie them out in a line and see if you can throw beanbags on to the targets. Anyone who lands on the number 8 could win a small prize.
5. Red envelopes containing gifts of money are very often given at New Year. You could use this idea at home by drawing or writing messages on card, putting them into red envelopes and then posting them off to friends and grandparents. My children love getting real letters through the post so your child might like to address an envelope to themselves and wait and see how long it takes the postman to deliver it.
6. Although it’s the year of the tiger, the dragon also makes an appearance at New Year to chase away any evil spirits. You can watch a New Year dragon dance, and your children could even try to do one themselves.
7. You can also introduce the idea that people speak different languages and write in different ways around the world. Can your kids try saying ‘Gung hei fat choi!’ which means Happy New Year! You can see samples of Chinese script here and here, and even do some translation here. Nurturestore in Chinese is 哺育商店 .
More Chinese New Year activities
Raise a global child! Exploring festivals from different countries and cultures is a wonderful way to learn about the world. You can see our archive of Chinese New Year activities here.
February 14th is nearly here so we’re starting on our Valentine crafts with this carrot printing picture. It’s a simple craft for young children to try out, so long as they’re old enough to understand that this carrot isn’t to go in their mouth. You may have tried potato printing before but I find carrots are easier for little hands to grip.
You will need: a paper plate, some red and pink paint, a plate to put the paint on, a carrot, a craft knife or a kitchen knife with a sharp point, a ribbon and some sticky tape.
Cut the carrot in half and etch out a heart shape. A grown-up needs to do this part of course, but it’s fairly easy – I managed it! We did a small heart on one piece of carrot and a big heart on the other but you could do a cross shape for a kiss too.
If you level off the other end of the carrot you’ll be able to stand it upright when you’re not using it.
Put some paint on your plate and dip your carrots in.
Print out your hearts on to the paper plate.
Keep going using the red and pink paints until your artwork is complete.
Add a ribbon on to the back using sticky tape and hang your decoration for all to admire – or give as a present to the one you love.
More lovely Valentine’s Day activities for your children
Yoga is a wonderful activity for young children. They are naturally flexible and you often see them in poses a yoga follower would recognise from their practice. The picture above shows a position my daughter adopts frequently. Any yoga fans would recognise it as a Downward Dog but to my daughter it’s just a natural way to move her body.
Practising yoga with children should be like any play with them – with the emphasis on having fun. Little Lotus Yoga had a photo album of poses on their facebook page which you could try out, as we did today. We put on some music to create a peaceful environment and then simply had a try. My daughter loved it – she was giggling throughout!
We also have a favourite book called ‘My Daddy is a Pretzel’ which introduces different poses to children through a story where a group of children talk about what jobs their parents do.
From the yoga classes I’ve attended I’ve learned that anyone can do yoga – it’s about trying the poses and seeing how your body responds, not about comparing yourself with anyone else or having any specific expectations of what you ‘should’ be able to do. Yoga with children can help maintain their flexibility, and it can also help develop physical strength. It can help to calm children too, so could make a lovely addition to a bedtime routine. Why not give it a try?
We’ve just finished ordering seeds for the garden ready for the Spring (roll on!) and so have a few seed catalogues lying around. Rather than put them straight in the recycling bin we were inspired to make a garden landscape picture.
We used a long roll of white paper, but the back of an old roll of wall paper would be a good alternative.
With four artists at work we set up 4 stations along the roll with crayons and glue sticks. The older children went through the catalogues and cut out lots of the flower illustrations and then everyone set to work. The younger children enjoyed using the glue to stick on a bright collage of flowers.
The older ones concentrated on adding their own illustrations, with lots of talk about hanging baskets and mini beasts.
Messy play is a wonderful way for children to explore their senses and there are lots of materials you can use. With younger children you must always be aware of course that whatever they are playing with is guaranteed to end up in their mouths – so shaving foam or playdough is no good for the littlies. Children explore so much with their mouths that there’s no point trying to stop them, but instead you can provide a material that it’s safe for them to use. So what better than some jelly!
You can easily get hold of jelly which is made with natural food colouring. With babies you can start with just one colour. I usually pop on a cover-all bib and sit them in their highchair at the table. I put a mound of jelly on the highchair’s tray and then let them go for it. Watch them poke, squish and taste. Chat to them while they play and give them new words to try like wobble and squash. You could sing ‘Jelly on a Plate’ while you play.
With toddlers and pre-schoolers you can use 2 or 3 different colours of jelly and see what happens when you mix them together. This is a fun first lesson in colour combining, as you watch red and yellow jelly turn into orange. Let the children help you prepare the jelly so they can observe how it changes from solid to liquid and back to solid again.
Sometimes children can be reluctant to try new sensory experiences and may not want to touch the jelly. To overcome this and encourage them to experiment you could have a jelly lucky dip by hiding a few tempting treasures at the botton of a bowl of jelly for them to fish out.
You can also add props such as pans, plates and spoons to role play a kitchen or cafe. Spooning the jelly out onto plates is good hand-eye co-ordination practice.
This post is happily shared with weareTHATfamily in the Works For Me Wednesday carnival.