Teachers, the goal of this exercise is to introduce students to international New Year’s celebrations. While Australia is the first to celebrate what is known as a traditional New Year’s Day, other cultures and countries chose to celebrate New Year’s on different dates throughout the year. One example of the non-January 1st celebrations is the Chinese New Year, which is typically celebrated in February.
The Chinese celebrate their New Year with lots of traditions, costumed dancing/parades and fireworks (China is where fireworks were first discovered). Additionally, they select a featured animal each year to predict the year’s prosperity. While these practices sometimes viewed by westerners as superstitious, the Chinese believe in good luck and fortunes. A good example these beliefs is fruit, with oranges representing wealth and tangerines representing good luck. These fruits are a part of the Chinese New Year meal. Suggested reading to teach your students more about this holiday includes the book, The Chinese New Year, by David F. Marx. Afterwards, incorporate the western tradition of noisemakers with the Chinese symbols of their new year by making Chinese New Year Noisemakers.
Craft Project’s Title: Chinese New Year Noise Makers
Recommended Ages: five to ten years with adult assistance
Materials Needed: 2 clear plastic cups per child, ¼ cup of mixed dried beans, rice, macaroni (for different sounds), colored tape, colored markers, Chinese New Year stickers (optional), blowpens to simulate fireworks (optional), stickers of fruit and or animals found in the Chinese Zodiac (optional)
Step one: Pass out 2 clear cups per child and the colored markers. Children will decorate Chinese New Year theme pictures or writing on the cups. Happy Chinese New Year! Animals of the Chinese New Year, Happy Chinese New Year 200-, Fireworks ect..
Step two: Add ¼ cup of the dry ingredience to one cup.
Step three: Place the two cups together at the wide tops and tape completely around them making a tight seal.
Step four: Children can now shake their New Years Noise Makers and say Happy Chinese New Year!
Options: You can also use the cups decorated already colored and substitue paper confetti in different colors, sizes or shapes and assorted glitters. I would use smaller cups for these projects. Additionally, if you wish to incorporate a science lesson into this idea, use paper, recyclable cups and discuss how the fruits of the Chinese New Year celebration as a renewable resource.