Kung Hei Fat Choi - Wishing you all a prosperous new year!
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.
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.
Here's our other sensory bin: pompons with jewels, tongs and clothes pins to work those fine motor skills.
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!)
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!
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!
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.
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.
For more Chinese New Year activities, please see my Chinese New Year Pinterest board, and see this post from a previous celebration.