Celebrating the Chinese New Year

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chinese-new-year-speech-activitiesMany families will be celebrating the Chinese New Year on February 19, and 2015 is the Year of the Sheep. Take the time to reach out to families that celebrate and ask them to share some of their traditions for the holiday. While it may have already passed, it is not too late to embrace the day and share it with other children during speech and language sessions.

Year of the Sheep Craft

To make a paper tube sheep, you will need a toilet paper tube, cotton balls, hole puncher, black pipe cleaners, construction paper, black foam pieces, glue, paint brush (for glue), and googly eyes. There’s Just One Mommy blog has a great tutorial to follow to make your own model to share with the kids. Bring all of the items into session and have a station ready for kids to follow along step by step with your directions.

Once the sheep are complete, take time to talk about them. Give everyone a moment to introduce their own sheep. For a twist, have words for them to randomly draw from a basket to work into their story. These can be specific to each child and work on their goals for articulation, vocabulary, or more.

Lanterns for the New Year

The lantern is a symbolic part of the Chinese New Year. On the final day of the celebrations, there is a big Lantern Festival. Make lanterns together to hang up for your own Lantern Festival. Sophie’s World has a wonderful set of instructions to use for making paper lanterns for the Chinese New Year. You may also want to add extra paint, glitter, or other decorations to make the lanterns more unique. String the lanterns up around your space. As a tie in to take home, have children place words or sounds that they are working on around the lantern. They can go along the sides and when finished being used as decorations be sent home for practice.

When finished, spend some time reading a story about the Chinese New Year. Take a book walk through one of the following stories:

  • Lanterns and Firecrackers – A Chinese New Year Story by Jonny Zucker
  • Bringing in the New Year – by Grace Lin
  • Bella’s Chinese New Year – by Stacey Zolt Hara
  • The Dancing Dragon – by Marcia K. Vaughan
  • Celebrating Chinese New Year – by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

Encourage children to share how they celebrate the Chinese New Year and to bring in any special items from home. Embracing multicultural members of individuals is important and will help children to be proud of who they are and to reinforce their self confidence.

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