It is a tradition to visit one with the kids and let them experience the culture.
Since we moved back to the United States we won’t be able to visit one. So to keep the tradition up I created a Chinese Flower Market Pretend Play Printable.
It was so fun to have the kids set up the flower market, pretending to be customers or store owners.
This blog post will show you how to set it up. You’ll need the Chinese New Year Flower Market Pretend Play Printable (free/paid). You will also want to pick up some extra props. We will also cover how to make it engaging for kids, how to help them to learn the culture, speak Chinese, and have fun during the pretend play.
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Table of Contents
* Scroll down to the bottom to look at the freebies.
What is pretend play?
Pretend play goes by many names. You may know it as dramatic play, imaginative play, creative play, or make-believe play.
Children are naturals when it comes to pretending to play. When they daydream, imagine the floor is lava or anything of the sort, they pretend to play.
Examples of pretend play from kids
- Tie a long towel or blanket on their shoulders and pretend they are superheroes
- Assign roles to each other, and play “mom & dad” or “teacher and students”
- Hide in a big cardboard box and pretend they were driving or flying
- Name their dolls, robots, stuff animals, and take them on adventures
How pretend play benefits our child’s learning and development
These are some benefits our children development during pretend play:
- Imagination to create visual/ invisible objects
- Problems solving
- Social skill
- Taking turns
- and more
- Emotional skills
- How to react in different situations
- Showing empathy for others
- and more
- Gain cultural experience
- Increase language use
- Gain knowledge( what a doctor, teacher, shop owner, gardener, farmer, etc. does)
- Motor skills
- And so many other skills
Specific Benefits from Pretend play for learning Chinese
It helps my kids:
- Have a better understanding of Chinese culture. How people dress, act, and behave…
- Increase visual exposure by looking at recipes, signs, and books in Chinese
- Learn new Chinese characters and how to explain things in Chinese
- Better accent by imitating how native Chinese speakers speak
- Increase their vocabulary
- Gain confidence without any fear of making a mistake
- Increase motivation for learning about certain subjects
- Motivation to speak and be able to communicate
What is a Chinese New Year Flower Market?
It’s an annual event that starts a week before the Chinese New Year. It is a place people can buy all the flowers and lucky items they need to decorate their home for the Chinese New Year.
There are many different stalls. Some with flowers, fruits, plants, and others with toys, decorations, and snacks.
Flower markets are primarily held in the Canton region, like Hong Kong and Southern China.
You will also find them wherever Cantonese immigrates live. I have heard they have them in San Francisco, Vancouver, New York, and in many other places.
When I think of the Chinese New Year Flower Market is like the State Fair in the United States. Don’t you think so?
Why going to the flower market became a Chinese New Year tradition
For many people getting a Christmas tree for Christmas is a must. The same goes for Chinese New Year flowers and fruits. They play an important role in the celebration of the Chinese New Year.
Each flower and fruit are a symbol and have great meaning behind them. Chinese people believe the fortune of the new year depends on these items.
It is important to buy the right flowers and fruits and placing them in the correct spots in your home. It is all stems from the Chinese geomancy, which is feng shui 風水.
A lot of people like my parents don’t believe in feng shui.
They have no limitation to what flowers to buy or where to place them. They still enjoy the tradition but buy whatever flowers and fruits they want. They believe it will fill our home with luck and good tidings for the upcoming New Year.
A Simple Guide to Chinese New Year Flowers and Fruits
Explaining them to our kids will enrich their pretend play and help them learn the culture.
I’m going to lay them all out in a very simple way with some beautiful photos taken by my husband:
Mandarin Orange Shrub
年桔 (nián jú/ nin4 gat1)
– Abundance and happiness
五代同堂(wǔ dài tóng táng/ ng5 doi6 tung4 tong4)
– Five generations living harmoniously together
Narcissus/ Water Fairy Flowers
水仙 (shǔi xiān / seoi2 sin1)
– Good fortune and prosperity
蘭花/兰花 (lán huā/ laan4 faa1)
– Fertility and abundance
There are more…
- Plum Blossom 梅花 (méi huā/ mui4 faa1)- Endurance, perseverance, beauty, and purity
- Peach Blossom 桃花 (táo huā/ tou4 faa1) – bring romance and for businesses
- Pussy Willow 銀柳/银柳 (yín lǐu/ ngan4 lau5 ) – Wealth, and prosperity growth
- Bamboo 開運竹/开运竹 (kāi yùn zhú/ hoi1 wan6 zuk1) – Good fortune, happiness, wealth, and health
- Peony 牡丹 (mǔ dān/ maau5 daan1) – Richness, and peace
- Winter Jasmine 串串金 (chuàn chuàn jīn/ cyun3 cyun3 gam1) – Wealth, and prosperity growth
- Pomelo 柚子 (yòu zǐ/ jau2 zi2) – Fortune and family unity
Tips on how to have conversations about Chinese New Year Flowers
Now you know the meaning of each flower. Include them in conversations during pretend play with your kids.
- The customer can say “I need good health” and the shopkeeper would find the right flower or plant (bamboo).
- The shop owner can talk and advise what kind of flower and products to the customers.
Our Past Experiences with the Chinese New Year Flower market in Hong Kong
Even though it wasn’t a huge flower market, we got what we needed.
My girls (age 2 and 4) were super excited about the lucky windmills, balloons, and cotton candy.
We finally got both of them a windmill and cotton candies.
They ran everywhere in the market while playing and making the windmill move.
They had such a good time it became our annual family activity before the Chinese New Year.
Later, especially since my kids and I had a Chinese New Year Flower Market Pretend Play.
The flower market was one of the best cultural experiences for my kids and family. Even though we aren’t living in Hong Kong anymore I still want to re-create those memories and keep the tradition alive with the printable.
Chinese New Year Flower Market Printable
Who is the CNY Flower Market Pretend Play Printable for?
It’s for age 3 and above, even teens can benefit and learned in a role-play setting.
This printable contains 48 pages. It includes almost everything you need to set up a Chinese New Year Flower Market.
There is a total of 6 language versions for you to teach your kids Mandarin/ Cantonese.
Contents of the Printable
- Decoration for the Shop
- Open/ Closed Sign
- Flower Shop Prices
- Order Forms
- Products (flowers & other products)
- Phrases for Buying Flowers
- Role-playing Prompts
- Role Play Name Tags
- Pretend Money
The most valuable item of the entire printable! – role-playing prompts in MANDARIN& CANTONESE!
Our goal in setting up this Chinese New Year Flower Market is not only to play but also to learn and speak Chinese.
I created two role-playing prompts for you and your kids to read.
It will help model correct language usage. It will also help if you don’t feel 100% confident speaking Chinese during the pretend play.
The scenarios are:
How to order a delivery on the phone
How to order as a customer & seller
You can hang them on the wall, or put them on the cashier desk, so your kids can use them as they go. They are going to feel much more confident speaking Chinese the whole time.
How do you prepare and set up the pretend play
- For young kids, setup with/for them
- For older kids, before setup, discuss the meaning of flowers and items with them. Set up the entire flower market stall with them. Put price tags on each product, put up signs, and make some DIY flowers and toys together.
Extra props we used?
- Cash register
- fake flowers & plants
- Apron & gloves
- Fake Money
- Toy Phone
- Watering cans
- Vases & pots
DIY Chinese New Year Flowers
To those who can’t find any Chinese flowers close by, or love to DIY, here is some video to help:
- Medium-size Paper Plum Blossoms for Chinese New Year
- DIY tissue flower for Chinese New Year decoration (3 min craft)
- D.I.Y Cherry Blossom Flower for CNY
- How to make the Decorative Mandarin Oranges (裝飾桔子)
What other props and objects will you add?
I’d love to hear from you, so please add your items in the comments below.
What can children learn from the Chinese new year flower Market Pretend Play?
- Math (count money)
- Chinese culture (how Chinese people behave and how they talk and sell)
- Speak the language without being correct and nervous
- The motivation for learning more Chinese
- Creativity and imagination
- LOVE for Chinese New Year & the Chinese tradition and holidays
How to use this CNY flower market pretend play to teach kids Chinese
- Google some images and videos of what Chinese New Year flower markets look like
I found this YouTube video for you. It did a good job filming it.
3. Research and tell your child about why flowers are so important in the Chines New Year
4. Get your child involved in the preparations and building of your Flower market at home
5. Learn and practice Chinese phrases needed during the role-playing from the printable
6. Then, let your child lead the way and have fun.
Our Experience: Chinese New Year Flower Market Pretend Play
Our flower market setup
We set everything up on our dining table with a red tablecloth and a backdrop to put signs on.
I used a wooden flat box to organize all the Chinese toys and products from the printable
And a pink basket for all the fake flowers we got from the store in Hong Kong
My husband used a card box to make a cash register. It was a big hit because we have a cash register, it made the whole pretend play more real.
Of course, they were excited to be the owner, so they could put money in and get change out
These are some shopping lists, so when they were the customers, they could look at the list and find the items easier.
It’s also important to have tags. If you don’t have any Chinese clothing for the kids, these tags will do the trick and make the whole thing more real.
Also, my kids were taking much smoother turns with each other.
There are different tags for each person (boys and girls, women and elderly…). My kids had a lot of fun creating their own identity and background story for each of these people.
Amazing Results from Pretend Play
- My kids spoke Cantonese the whole time
- Dressing up in Chinese New Year clothes made a huge difference
- They loved doing math while playing with money
- Kept them entertained for more than a week
- Going to the Chinese New Year Flower Market became our annual Chinese New Year family activity
Experience from other families
I created this Chinese New Year Flower Market Pretend Play printable as one of the activities in my Chinese New Year 5-day Challenge in 2019.
It was one of the free challenges I did with 200+ families all over the world from my Facebook group.
We all received the printable and set up our own Chinese New Year Flower Market in our own home. After which we posted photos and shared our fun time with each other.
We had a blast that I’d love to share with you too.
Here are some of the highlight:
Download the Printable here
I’d love to share the free printable with 8 pages to set you up with two language versions to choose from.
- Traditional Chinese
- Simplified Chinese
You will get
- A couple of signs
- A flower market prices list
- 2 Chinese New Year flowers
Want to try the FREE version? Fill out the form below and sign up!
If you have already subscribed to my email list, you can find this freebie in the Chinese Resource Library.
Serious about motivating your kids to speak Chinese, and learn the Chinese culture? Then the free version may not be enough.
Full Version of this pretend play printable
- A total of 54 pages of printable
- All the signs, labels, tags, and forms
- Pretend money, products, and flowers
- Role-playing prompts (in Mandarin/ spoken Cantonese)
- A guide of Chinese phrases when buying flowers
What were your experiences of going to the
Chinese New Year Flower Market?
What is your favorite that you want to pass it on to your children?
Feel free to share your experiences below in the comment section, so my family can hear from you too.
Use the hashtag #fortunecookiemom or tag me @fortunecookiemom on Instagram and Facebook.
We can celebrate together.
More Chinese New Year Resources/ Printable
You Might Be Interested:
- 25 Lucky Plants And Flowers To Buy For Chinese New Year from The Singapore Women’s Weekly
- Paper Blossoms for Chinese New Year from Pink Stripey Socks
Chinese New Year Blog Post
- 100+ Chinese New Year Activities for Kids to Gain Chinese Cultural Experiences
- The Best Chinese New Year Traditions and Activities to Do with Your Kids
- Easy Chinese New Year’s Rounded Lanterns to Make with your Kids
- Sweet Rice Dumplings for Chinese Lantern Festival
- Learn Chinese while Making Homemade Fortune Cookies
- DIY Chinese New Year Red Envelopes Like a Pro
- Chinese New Year Flower Market Pretend Play
Homeschooling/ Teaching Chinese at Home Tips
- How to Start Teaching Chinese at Home
- An Interview about My Homeschooling life in Hong Kong
- How to Write a Year-Long Bilingual Homeschooling Plan (Series of Blog Posts)
- How to Create a Language Rich Environment to Learn Chinese at Home
- How I Motivate my Children Reading in Cantonese and English
- Writing Chinese Characters: 10 tips for teaching young children how to write Chinese characters
- Ten Best Activities You Can Do as a Family to Enhance Chinese Learning
- Homeschooling in Hong Kong: The Fortune Cookie Mom from Honey! I’m Homeschooling My Kids
Chinese Printable & Resources
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身为职业妈妈的我,常常牺牲睡眠来自作教材。版主全方位学习的新年教材真让我省下不少宝贵的时间找资料。四岁的女儿对中文学习有点抗拒。我们善用版主提供的迷你故事书和生字卡来增强她对语文的认识。版主的中文单词棋盘游戏更让女儿投入学习, 因为她想赢嘛！版主的教材可让小孩边玩边学, 太棒了。
This is the second 5-Day Challenge that we have done with Fortune Cookie Mom. Both have been very beneficial to our family. I am a homeschool mom of three little kids. We are not Chinese and do not speak any Chinese. With the help of Fortune Cookie Mom, we are slowly learning! The challenges have given me fun activities to do at home with the kids. Each one has reignited my kid's interest in learning. It has been a fun experience for everybody!