Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Eep! I know I promised another post in my big list of outdoor ideas, but I wanted to have a quick interlude to share my excitement about our Chinese New Year activities!

I'll start by admitting that I wasn't really going to do a whole lot with my children to celebrate Chinese New Year. I had set up an interest table which had been (and continues to be) very popular and that was that. I wrote up my planning as usual which, although educational, wasn't very exciting and thought nothing more of it... 

Then, as I lay in the bath on Sunday night, my brain started buzzing ' Why was I not following the children's interests?' 'Why was I not providing depth of learning?' and most importantly 'Why was I not planning activities and experiences that are FUN?' 
That settled it, and last thing on Sunday night, I scrapped all of my hard work and started again. This time it didn't feel like a chore and as I flicked through pinterest and other web pages, I jotted down more and more ideas on the topic of China! Roll on Monday morning!

Oh and guess what? The activities that I was excited about, the children have been excited about too! As I explained the day's activities to my group, I was thrilled to hear one of my more challenging children say "Yes, this is going to be so fun!"

So here's what we've been up to:

As I mentioned before, we have an interest table which, at present, consists of a beautiful red tablecloth, some oriental bowls and plates, chopsticks, a bamboo steamer, a Chinese newspaper, the delightful story of 'Lanterns and Firecrackers' and some lovely traditional Chinese dressing up clothes.

We have created some stunning Cherry Blossom pictures simply using crayons to draw branches, and scrunching up pieces of pink tissue paper.

We made Chinese lanterns by decorating paper, cutting slits in it and bending it into shape.

The children developed their mark making and fine motor skills while also learning about different cultures as they tried their hand at painting and writing Chinese characters.

The children (and Staff) discussed some of the traditions that surround Chinese New Year, for example the colour Red which is considered to be lucky, and the red envelopes that can be given and often contain money.

We all learnt a new song together "Gung Hay Fat Choy"

We coloured China as well as our own country, Scotland, on a map to build on our awareness of the world around us

We learned about The Great Wall of China and even had a go at building our own 'Great Wall'

And lastly, today we had our very own Chinese Tea ceremony! The children helped to decorate an area outside (we chose an area underneath the trees as it was raining quite heavily) using brightly coloured materials and some of our paper lanterns. Then we all sat down together and the children were allowed to take a small taste of tea. We tried regular breakfast tea, peppermint tea and camomile tea. The children were very eager to try each of these and were fascinated to watch the tea leaves (inside the tea bags) swirl and mix until the water became infused with the flavour.

We have many more activities planned for the week, including making a traditional Chinese Dragon and taking part in some traditional ribbon dancing as well as tasting some Chinese foods and learning about Pandas!

I hope you're having as much fun as I am! Gung Hay Fat Choy - Happy New Year!

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