Invite your children to enjoy this sensory play Chinese New Year activity to explore mandarin oranges and develop their fine motor skills.
Sensory play activity Chinese New Year 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. Try this sensory play activity with your children.
This article is part of our Chinese New Year activities for children.
In this activity you 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
:: find links to more Chinese New Year activities and crafts to enjoy with your children
Ready-made Chinese New Year lesson plans, all in one place
This Unit includes lessons on Chinese New Year and how it is celebrated; the animals of the Chinese zodiac; Chinese dragons and how to make your own dragon puppet; how to make Chinese-style paper lanterns; math and literacy activities including playing lucky 8s, counting to ten in Chinese and play red envelope games; explore sensory painting and taking a mandarin sensory taste test.
In this Chinese New Year Unit you’ll also receive bonus printables including a Red Envelope mat for math activities and three-part colour-in Chinese Zodiac Animals matching cards.
If you are not yet a member of NurtureStore’s Play Academy, join us here to get this and over 50 more ready-made teaching units.
Chinese New Year sensory play using mandarins
:: 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)
Learning through the senses
Begin by setting out a number of mandarin oranges, juicers, tongs, jugs, and containers.
Introduce your 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.
This is a great finger gym for the week of Chinese New Year.
Add in jugs, bowls, containers, pipettes, and spoons as loose parts for the children to incorporate in their play as they choose.
More citrus sensory play activities
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.
The mandarin juice can be used to make scented paint.
You could use it in this sensory art lesson for Chinese New Year.
More Chinese New Year activities for children
See our full index of Chinese New Year activities for more ideas including how to make Chinese Lanterns, math and literacy activities using red envelopes, and sensory play activities for Chinese New Year.