CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR

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With Chinese New Year just over a week away, now is the ideal time to plan how to celebrate this ancient festival within an Early Years setting. This year, Chinese New Year is on Saturday, January 28 and 2017 is the Year of the Rooster.

To celebrate, families wear brand new clothes - usually head-to- toe in red - to symbolise a new beginning and ward off bad fortune. Red envelopes containing money are often exchanged to scare away evil spirits and fantastic fireworks displays are held.

With these traditions in mind, here's a few suggestions for fun creative m activities using the minimum of craft supplies, games and snacks.

Chinese Lanterns

These paper lanterns are a great way for young children to practise their scissor skills. Red is the traditional celebration colour in China, but you can use any colour paper...and children can decorate them with crayons or glitter pens for added effect.

You will need: paper, scissors, sticky tape or glue.

Step 1: Fold a sheet of paper in half lengthways

Step 2: With the folded edge closest to you draw vertical lines, stopping 3cm from the top of the paper, at 3cm intervals

Step 3: Ask the children to cut along the lines

Step 4: Open out the paper

Step 5: Roll up the lantern and stick the ends together with sticky tape or glue

Step 6: Ask children to cut a thin strip of paper from the another sheet and stick it on to make a handle.

Chinese Fan

First created 3,000 years ago, Chinese fans were initially used to keep cool. Over the years they evolved into works of art, status symbols, theatre and dance props and romantic gifts.

You will need: a paper plate, large craft sticks, crayons, paint or glitter pens, glue or sticky tape

Step 1: Draw a line dividing a paper plate in half

Step 2: Ask the children to cut along the line

Step 3: Children decorate the plate half

Step 4: Glue or sticky tape a large craft stick on the back for a handle Red Colour Games

Since red is seen everywhere at Chinese New Year, use the celebration to review the colour with children.

Why not invite them to come to nursery wearing an item of red clothing, ask them to name as many red things as they can think of, play a version of 'I Spy' looking for red objects or provide a selection of red apples and ask the children to line them up in order from smallest to largest?

Snack Ideas

Food plays a major part in Chinese New Year and snack time is perfect for highlighting the festivities. Include tangerines, which are handed out during New Year to symbolise good luck, and rice cakes wrapped in red tissue to bring good fortune. Or you could create a Tray of Togetherness, an octagonal or round platter with eight compartments filled with sweet and salty snacks.

Each snack has a symbolic meaning to ensure a prosperous new year and includes things like candy melon, kumquat and lotus seeds. However, due to allergies and children's resistance to try new foods, you might want to stick to healthy snack foods they know such as banana, cucumber and carrots etc.