Invite your children to enjoy this sensory play activity for Chinese New Year to explore mandarin oranges and develop their fine motor skills.
Sensory play Chinese New Year activity with mandarins
Mandarin oranges are one of the traditional elements of the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
They are a winter fruit representing abundance.
Mandarins are a great food for snack time during your Chinese New Year celebration, and can also be used for sensory play and other learning activities.
Learning through sensory play
In this lesson children can:
:: explore mandarin oranges and link it to their learning about the Chinese New Year
:: investigate using their senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch
:: develop their fine motor skills as they squeeze and manipulate the mandarins
:: use simple, practical tools including juice squeezers and tongs
:: develop their language as they talk about the mandarins and their play
:: extend their learning by using the mandarin juice in a variety of other activities
Mandarin sensory play with fine motor skills
:: mandarin oranges (and the option of other citrus fruit such as oranges, lemons, grapefruit)
:: juice squeezers
:: jugs and containers
:: spoons and pipettes
:: knife (to slice the mandarins, which can be done with the children or before they play)
Begin by setting out a number of mandarin oranges, juicers, tongs, jugs, and containers.
Introduce the children to the mandarin oranges and chat about how they look, feel, and smell.
Slice open the mandarins and investigate how they look, feel, smell, and taste inside.
How does the inside compare to the outside?
What words can your children think of to describe them.
Introduce the tools to the children: the juice squeezer and the tongs.
You can make links between the classroom and home by asking if they have already used the tools at home?
What food do they have at home that uses juice?
Invite your children to squeeze out all the juice from the mandarins.
By using the juice squeezer and tongs they have the opportunity to develop their fine motor skills.
They will be building their hand and finger strength and exercising their wrists.
You can let the children play freely with the juice as a sensory play experience – perhaps over a large bowl to catch the drips.
Add in jugs, bowls, containers, pipettes, and spoons as loose parts for the children to incorporate in their play as they choose.
Alternatively you can work to gather all the juice to make a drink or to use in the following activities.
You can combine the mandarins with other citrus fruit to make a sensory water tub.
You can use the mandarin juice as one of the ingredients in this smoothie making lesson which invites children to read, write, make choices, and taste new flavours as they create their very own smoothie recipe.
Download your ready-made Chinese New Year Unit
Download your copy of the Play Academy’s ready-made Chinese New Year Unit and you’ll have everything you nee to teach an engaging programme of Chinese New Year activities.
In this Chinese New Year Unit your children can:
:: learn about Chinese New Year: what it is and how it is celebrated
:: learn about the animals of the Chinese zodiac
:: learn about Chinese dragons and make your own dragon puppet
:: make Chinese-style paper lanterns
:: play lucky 8s, count to ten in Chinese and play red envelope math games
:: explore sensory painting
:: try a mandarin sensory taste test
Bonus Chinese New Year thematic unit printables
The Play Academy’s thematic units come with practical printables that make the lessons more engaging for your children and easier for you to teach.
No need to go searching for printables to accompany your lessons, they’re all included when you download your chosen unit.
In this Chinese New Year Unit you’ll receive these bonus printables:
:: a Red Envelope mat for math activities
:: three-part colour-in Chinese Zodiac Animals matching cards
How to download this Chinese New Year thematic unit
You can download this unit along with over 50 more from NurtureStore’s Play Academy.
If you are already of the Play Academy, you can download this unit straight away from our Library here.
If you are not yet a member, find out more and choose your first unit here. Your teaching is about to get a whole lot easier!