Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Celebrating Chinese New Year

Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Kung Hei Fat Choi  -  Wishing you all a prosperous new year!
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
We celebrated Chinese New Year at story time this week, and as usual, we had a blast!

I got to lead story time, which is sooooo much fun!  I love reading to the little ones, and singing and dancing, and did I mention all the fun things we get to do afterwards?  While I'm sure some people think I'm doing this as an act of volunteerism, I have to admit that getting to hang out and play with small people is an absolute treat for me.

I put together some props to use while retelling the story of the Great Race - the story of how the years of the Chinese Zodiac were named for 12 animals. 
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-New-Year-Story-of-the-Zodiac-2377808
We started with the animals lined up on one side of the felt board, and as I told the story I moved each animal across.  The children helped me figure out which number each animal was, and I put up the numbered cards across the top.  (This modeled the left to right progression of our writing, as well as numerical order - but all the children saw was a fun activity.)  Can you see the dragon puppets flying by the animals in the lower right hand corner?  One of our guests really loved the shiny dragons.

How about these for shiny dragons!?  One of our sensory bins had golden dragons, red tinsel, gold coins, red envelopes, and some other shiny shapes hidden in it. 
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Here's our other sensory bin: pompons with jewels, tongs and clothes pins to work those fine motor skills.
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Here it is in action:
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Those little fingers are working hard, developing muscles that will later help these children to hold pencils as they learn to write.

Block play helps build hand muscles too, while also working on spacial skills, balancing, and learning about 3 dimensional shapes (with an occasional lesson in gravity thrown in for good measure!)
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Painting our dragon scenes was very popular this week, as friends used sparkly paint to create a background, and added dragons on top. At least, that's what I thought was the plan, but as usual the children took the materials furthar and in different ways than we poor adults can hope to imagine: beautiful silhouettes!
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

I was surprised to see that the favorite center this week was actually the tangrams!  This set of 7 shapes can be formed into a square, or any number of other creations.  I read a wonderful book, The Tangram Magician by Lisa Campbell Ernst (no, I'm not affiliated with any book sellers, the link is just for your convenience).  In the story a magician transforms himself into different animals and objects, which are all represented with tangrams.  The kiddos LOVED it!  I put out tangram patterns of all 12 animals of the Zodiac that I made, plus enough paper tangrams for everyone to make their own creation - and they did!
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Here's our graph that we made to show which activities each child liked best.  We looked at last week's graph, and introduced some great mathematical language: more, less, most, least.  Graphing their favorites is an easy way to introduce graphing, and all the math skills it entails - and it gives us great feedback that we can use as we plan future activities.
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Each child went home with a red envelope with a nickel in it (red envelopes with money are a traditional New Year gift), and one of our families brought in delicious New Year cakes that she made for everyone.
Learning about Chinese New Year wth Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 It looks like a very good new year indeed!

For more Chinese New Year activities, please see my Chinese New Year Pinterest board, and see this post from a previous celebration.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! Can you tell me where you found the story of The Great Race?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Deborah, I did a google search on the Great Race, and read a whole lot of different versions. There are some on youtube also. I didn't find anything that was exactly what I wanted, so I created my own, and that's what is pictured in this blog post. It's available for a very small amount in my Teachers Pay Teachers store: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Chinese-New-Year-Story-of-the-Zodiac-2377808

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