Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chinese New Year (Spring Festival) Preschool Craft: Hanging Fish

The New Year has already begun according to the Gregorian calendar, but Chinese New Year won't be until January 31st this year, since the traditional Chinese holidays still follow their solar-lunar calendar. Everyone here is gearing up for Spring Festival, their biggest holiday of the year.

Last year as part of our study and celebration of Chinese New Year, we made a bunch of the decorations that are commonly used over here for the most important Chinese holiday.

Because all of their decorations are associated with bringing in good luck or keeping out bad luck, we didn't display them in the front of our house, but used this as an opportunity to talk about how these decorations can't actually help anyone.

The decorations are pretty and if you are wanting to learn more about Chinese culture and their Spring festival this is a fun way to introduce the topic for young children.

Fish are a symbol of plenty and prosperity for the new year. At spring festival time fish is commonly served at family gatherings and fish decorations are commonly seen every year, regardless of the zodiac animal.

These cute little fish won't bring you prosperity, but might liven up a room for a Chinese New Year celebration.

Chinese New Year Fish

  • Red paper
  • Pencil
  • Pen or markers for decorating the fish
  • Glue and glitter or glitter glue if desired
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Stapler and staples (or some other way to attach the fish to the strings)
  1. Trace an outline of fish on your red paper. I did a profile view of the fish with a flat bottom, and hung them in pairs, because that is pretty similar to the standard fish decorations here.
  2. Cut out or have your preschooler cut out the fish.
  3.  Decorate the fish. We wrote the Chinese symbol for fish (鱼, pronounced Yú) because I am always looking for fun ways to practice writing characters. You could also write happy new year (新年好,Xīnnián hǎo if you wanted. Or just decorate the fish in some other way. We also did a little bit of gold glitter, because glitter is pretty and fun.
  4. Cut a length of string.
  5. Staple or otherwise attach the fish to the string. Punching holes and stringing them fish could also be a good fine motor activity.

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