Fortune Cookie Mom https://fortunecookiemom.com Chinese Educational Resources & Bilingual Homeschooling tips Sun, 26 Jan 2020 14:46:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://fortunecookiemom.com/wp-content/uploads/cropped-fortune-cookie-momT-100x100.png Fortune Cookie Mom https://fortunecookiemom.com 32 32 110285196 Ten Best Activities You Can Do as a Family to Enhance Chinese Learning https://fortunecookiemom.com/ten-best-family-activities-enhance-chinese-learning/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/ten-best-family-activities-enhance-chinese-learning/#respond Sat, 25 Jan 2020 15:17:08 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=5921 The post Ten Best Activities You Can Do as a Family to Enhance Chinese Learning appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Most of the work and responsibility of teaching Chinese easily falls on the spouse who speaks Chinese or who usually stays with the kids most of the time. Am I right? But can you imagine if both spouses and all the kids thought about, planned and participated in activities while learning Chinese together? what amazing experiences and power will it come from doing it as a family.

In this post, I’m going to include 10 best activities that we all can do as a family to enhance and promote Chinese learning at home. And these activities are simple, super fun, and you can do them anytime, anywhere in the world. 

The post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link. See the Disclosure for more details.

 

It’s Crucial to Have Support from Your Spouse

Honestly, I can’t do everything alone without my husband’s support. There is so much more preparation, time, thinking, and teaching involved when it comes to raising my four bilingual/ multilingual kids.

Kids can sense that if they get support from both parents or just you. Their confidence will be increased if they know both parents are supporting their learning Chinese.

What a great life lesson you can teach your kids to overcome hardships and do difficult tasks by supporting and even participating in teaching Chinese at home, even if you are not fluent at all.

Besides, if I am the only one who is doing the talking and teaching all day long, my kids are sick of it anyway.

So having both parents in the game of teaching Chinese is crucial to speed up your process and results at home.

 

Tips to Make the Family Chinese Activities Seem Effortless

I understand how busy our life is with taking care of our family, ourselves, and others. However,

Let’s get ready to learn some tips

 

1. Set Goals: Setting goals is an important skill to gain a vision for any dreams your child has, so it’s good to start learning it early. You can simply hold a 15-minute family meeting to discuss and set 1-2 goals as a family. Or if you have young children, you can set those goals as long-term goals and guide your children to set 1-2 short-term and actionable goals from the long-term goals.
Click here to learn how I set long-term and short-term goals for my children

2. Preparation: I don’t think your children would enjoy any theme parks, nothing is ready for them to play when your children arrive. Out of the 10 activities that I’m going to show you, some of them need some extra planning and preparation, and some may only take you 5 minutes, so I know you can do it. On the other hand, preparing them for each new activity will be important so they are more likely to accept them and join in more willingly.

3. Involve the Children: The core of any family activity is to bond with all family members, so don’t exclude your little one, but figure out something to involve them. For example, they can help clean up after the activity, help carry the materials, set the table, distribute materials to each family member, etc.

4. Rewards: Rewards are the best motivators. They help us to remember our commitments and goals and help us to form habits and routines more successfully. You can simply create a very simple reward system, or print out any reward chart for motivation

5. Enjoy the Moments: Many times, after preparing everything, I was so tired that I didn’t even fully participate and enjoy that moment. It’s was like I checked off one thing. However, without me, their mother, it won’t be a family activity at all. Therefore, I’m trying my best to remind myself to play with my children and to enjoy those precious moments as a family. It’s even more encouraging for me to keep planning new family Chinese activities if I enjoyed and participated in the previous one. It is beneficial for now and for the future.

 

 

Ten Best Activities You Can Do as A Family to Enhance Chinese Learning

 

 

 

Play Games as a Family

Having regular family game night allows us to learn new things, work with others, overcome challenges, solve problems, and reduce stress.

It is also one of the best ways to enhance Chinese learning as a family. If you are playing board-games in Chinese, you and your family need to understand and do certain things in Chinese. Everyone will feel more comfortable to be themselves, try to speak or use Chinese, and even make mistakes together. Therefore, it’s great for families who are not fluent in Chinese to learn in a fun environment.

I have picked some of my favorites that you can get from Amazon.com.

I know it’s difficult to find board games board-games in Chinese, so if you can’t, it’s also ok.

For my family, if we only get a board game in English, I will try and speak Chinese first and encourage them to do it as well.

 

For Examples

  • I count each step in Chinese after I roll the dice.

「一,二,三,四…」One, two three, four…

 

  • I teach them basic Chinese phrases to use during game time.

「我們一起輪流。」Let us take a turn.

「在起點開始吧。」Begin at the start.

「輪到你了。」It’s your turn.

「你先開始。」You go first.

「到我了。」It’s my turn.

「你贏了。」You win.

「我輸了。」I lose.

 

  • I express myself and emotion in Chinese.

「太好了!」That’s awesome!

「我很緊張!」I’m nervous.

「不好了!」Oh no!

「怎麼辦?」What do I do now?

 

  • Praise each other in Chinese.

「你真棒!」You are awesome!

「恭喜你!」Congratulation!

「你到做了!」You did it!

「你成功了!」You succeeded.

 

Bonding and building a closer relationship as a family is the main focus. If you don’t have any regular family nights, I hope you will consider forming one and sprinkling some Chinese elements.

I have picked some of my favorites that you can get from Amazon.com.

Playing Chinese Music Together

Music is a universal language. We can communicate across cultures and linguistics even though we can’t speak the native languages.

Through learning the melody and the lyrics, we are able to understand the cultural background and content as well. Through musical repetition, We can all learn new vocabulary and phrases as well

As I was brainstorming these activities with Cantonese Mommy, she mentioned that there is a bicultural non-Chinese speaking dad who plays Chinese nurseries on his guitar, while the mom and their children sing along. That’s an amazing idea!

Turning on a Chinese song from a  YouTube channel isn’t as powerful as playing one-, even dressing up and acting out Chinese music/songs together as a family is far more beneficial

Here are some ideas for you:

  • If you can’t play any instruments, you can substitute it by clapping hands, playing with shakers, or acting as a conductor.
  • Dress up, act & sing Reflection from the Disney movie Mulan. It helps your child to visualize how she will look in Chinese dress, and how Chinese girls felt and acted historically,.
  • Search YouTube for Chinese nursery rhymes and sing along as a family
  • You can download some FREE Chinese sheet music here and learn traditional Chinese music as a family.

To sum it up, You don’t have to be a musician to play music with your family.  Simply enjoying family time by listening to Chinese music will make for a great experience as well when you incorporate dance and song.

  

 

Look at Photos Together

Thanks to advanced technology, we can take unlimited photos now, but how many times have we gone back and looked at those photos again?

Photos are such a precious and valuable form of memory. Looking at photos together as a family is one of the best family activities to help us remember the good old days, to be grateful for our blessings, and remember the sweet moments we’ve shared.

Here are some ideas of photos that you can look at. You can even make an album to  enhance the Chinese learning experience:

  • Places and cities from China
  • Chinese people and portraits
  • Old Chinese buildings, gardens (e.g. Chinese temples, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall of China, Temple of Heaven, etc.)
  • Chinese landscapes
  • The map of China
  • Animals from China
  • Chinese cuisine

If you are of Chinese heritage, it is an excellent idea to make an album, so you and your children can look at photos of their great-great-great-grandparents and other ancestors.

You can find FREE photos on Freepik, Dreamstime, and Unsplash.

 

Family Chinese Movie Night

ou don’t have to be fluent in the language to understand most of the movies. That’s the best part of watching movies. It’s entertaining and makes things real by providing visuals to the story. Now, since Chinese movies are more accessible on the internet, having a family Chinese movie night once a month isn’t a problem.

Our favorite program is Netflix since it allows you to change the settings into Chinese(Mama Baby Mandarin taught us how to change it), so we can enjoy watching movies and tv shows with different Chinese Preferences such as Mandarin Chinese  Cantonese with Traditional Chinese or Simplified Chinese subtitles.

Since some English movies that we enjoy don’t have any Chinese audio we can still have a chance to learn some Chinese when I change the subtitles into Traditional Chinese.

Of course, don’t miss involving your children in the planning and preparing of the monthly Chinese family movie night by letting them prepare popular Chinese movie snacks, and cleaning afterward.

  

 

Attending Chinese Cultural Shows  

Attending Chinese cultural shows is one of the most exciting things you can do with your family.

Your family will be able to get a taste of how Chinese people live and what their society feels like through different arts such as ceramics, architecture, music, literature, martial arts, cuisine, visual arts, philosophy, and religion.

Watching cultural shows in ancient China was also very popular for people in royalty. Through dance, music, and drama, Performers conveyed their feelings about their culture and society through their performance. Therefore, they are a very valuable part of the culture

The Content of Chinese Cultural Shows 

  • 中國舞 Chinese Dance
  • 中國音樂 Chinese Instrumental Music
  • 雜技 Acrobatics (丟擲雜技 juggling,
    操控雜技 manipulation: 頂缸 top cylinder, 蹬技kick, 頂技 balancing act on the forehead, 抖盤 shaking and balancing objects, 口籤子 bit on a small stick to pick up some huge objects, 飛叉, 踢碗, 拉硬弓
    平衡雜技 Balance: 獨輪車, 晃板, 走索, 晃梯,
  • 中國魔術/巫術 Chinese Magic走球
  • 舞龍舞獅 Dragon & Lion Dance
  • 粵劇/ 京劇 Canton/ Peking Opera 

神韻藝術團Shen Yun Performing Arts is a New York-based performing-arts and entertainment company that tours the world. If you have the opportunity to attend their live performances as a family, it will be a highlight of the year.
If not, you can still enjoy some videos on their YouTube channel.
Of course, you can simply search “Chinese cultural show” to find some videos to enjoy on the internet.

  

 

Celebrate Cultural Festivals and Holidays

When I served an 18-month LDS mission in Washington D.C., in the United States.  I saw the White House, the Capitol, and the Monument. They looked important, historical, and beautiful to me but they weren’t meaningful to me

However, since I had experienced  American culture by celebrating events such as the Fourth of July in the National Mall, and an amazing Thanksgiving dinner with the locals, etc. I started to become curious about the history and culture of the US.

After my mission, I went back to the United States to finish my degree at Brigham Young University in Utah, and I  took American Classes such as American Heritage, My heart and mind were opened to the history of American art and music. I instantly made connections with the experience I had living and serving in Washington DC.

Now, whenever we celebrate Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, etc. in the US, I gain more understanding and appreciation of  Americans. It prepared and helped me to raise my children as Americans as well.

There is magic through celebrating cultural festivals as a family. It helps our family:

  • Stay connected and build social relationships from the past to the future
  • Share and experience something different and unique
  • Promote harmony and happiness

 

How can You Celebrate Chinese Festivals with your Family?

  • Decorate your house with festival decorations
  • Get dressed up
  • Make or eat festival food
  • Try some new traditions
  • Attend cultural events nearby 

Even though these cultural festivals may be new and unfamiliar to you, you may not know where to start. Don’t be afraid to just pick one or two things to start with.

Join our Teaching Chinese Free Challenges to get more ideas and resources to teach Chinese at home during Chinese festivals with everyone.

  

 

Gardening

Gardening with children is a new educational trend. It engages all of our senses through fine-motor development, it promotes healthy eating, introduces scientific concepts and math skills, and teaches hard-work and responsibility.

Knowing all the benefits mentioned above, can you imagine how much fun gardening as a family would be?

Here are several ways to involve Chinese learning:

  • Plant fruits and vegetables to cook in Chinese food. For example bitter melons, winter melons, Chinese pears, small cucumbers, small eggplants, etc.
  • Read books about plants in Chinese gardens and then go searching for those plants in the Asian markets.
  • Make a “Chinese garden” out of plants each member of the family loves.
  • Make a reward chart in Chinese for each member of the family and their gardening responsibilities
  • Label different name-tags or signs for each plant in Chinese. 

 Examine each type of plant from your garden by harvesting, preparing, washing, cooking, and   And taking note of new vocabulary phrases in Chinese.

 

  

Cooking Cultural Food and Eat Together

I have asked some of my friends who are bilingual parents their favorite activities to do with their families and cooking and eating Chinese together is number one.

We can see that cultural food is very important to people because food is strongly tied to our identities and our cultural heritage.  different cultures are even often identified by the food they represent too, like eating Chinese refers to eating Chinese take-out for dinner.

There are also a lot of amazing Chinese food bloggers who share their Chinese recipes with step-by-step instructions, high-quality photos, and even videos for you and your family to follow.

Yi Reservation, Rasa Malaysia, Taste Hong Kong, and Angel Wong’s Kitchen are some of my favorites.

 

Here are different activities that you can as a family

  • Pick some Chinese recipes that your family wants to try, and make a collection in a folder. 
  • Print out the recipe your family is going to make together. Write down all the ingredients on a shopping list  and pick them up from the store
  • Teach your child some basic food preparation and washing skills
  • Introduce different popular Chinese condiments and seasonings by letting your child become familiar through smell and taste.
  • Show different Chinese kitchenware (a wok? I don’t know how to say) to your child and learn about their function together
  • Cook the dish with your children and show them how you follow the instructions through reading the recipe or watching a video
  • set up all the Chinese tableware at home and learn how to use it properly
  • Learn how to use chopsticks properly
  • Watch and learn Chinese dining etiquette together and practice it at home or at a Chinese restaurant
  • Plan to have a regular Chinese dinner every month and assign different responsibilities to each family member
  • Host some Chinese dinner parties with your neighbors

 

These are some of our favorite Chinese dishes to make with our kids

  

 

Going to Zoos, Aquariums, Botanic Gardens, Museums

This is a pretty typical family activity, but what can we do to turn it into a  Chinese learning experience too?

A happy, healthy family is also a family who loves to learn new things together. That’s why going to visit different places and even traveling to new countries are excellent family activities. We all can enjoy each other’s company within a relaxing setting, while we are exploring and doing something fun together.

 

Here are some suggestions for you to incorporate learning Chinese  into your family field trip

  

Travel to Chinese speaking countries

 

Yes! That’s the ideal family activity we all dream of if we can afford it.

that’s the number one best way to immerse your family in the Chinese culture through seeing, touching, eating, and living.

There aren’t many other activities that can replace it.

So if you don’t have money to visit like my family, we moved our family to actually live in Hong Kong for five years. If that’s not an option for you, plan for a family vacation to any Chinese speaking countries (China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong (part Mandarin & Part Cantonese), etc.

If that’s still not possible? There are a lot of bilingual families traveling to these places and even registering Their children for summer school

If you are interested, read the Taiwan recap 2019 blog post from Mandarin Mama.

 

Which Chinese Family Activities would you like to try in this coming year?

What outcomes would you like to see from preparing and participating in these family activities?

 

You Might be Interested

 

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

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I was raised and grew up in an all Chinese environment with my parents not speaking any English at all. Being fluent and passing all the exams in English was like the dream that I could never reach. It caused me a lot of heartbreak, pain, loneliness, and frustration all the time. (I still feel that way when I need to spend hours to write an in-depth blog posts or newsletter.)

So trust me, I know how hard it is to not have the environment to learn the language. I experienced it for the first 18 years of my life.

However, after becoming a bilingual homeschooling mom of four and to go from living in the US to living in Hong Kong, I was inspired to create a language-rich environment for my kids to learn Chinese, even in  my own home.

So that means regardless of where we are living in the world if we are living in Japan, China, South America, or even the North Pole. As long as teaching Chinese to my kids is my top priority in our home, my kids can be immersed in a language-rich environment wherever they are.

In this blog post, I’m going to go more in depth o creating a language-rich environment and show you how it is very possible for you to develop a better learning language environment at home as well. And you don’t have to move in the closest Chinatown or even to China.

 The post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link. See the Disclosure for more details.

 

A Brief Introduction of my Background

I am a native Cantonese speaker who is fluent in Mandarin as well, and my husband is a native English speaker, with fluency in Cantonese and the ability to read and write Traditional Chinese characters as well. (I know I’m lucky to have him in my life.)

After we had our first child, we had discussed how to raise our kids. And we decided English is their mother language and an academic language, so they would need a high level of English to be educated in school. For Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), I would love them to be fluent in speaking and reading it, knowing how to write it is a plus. The most important things are for them to love learning Chinese, and I hope they will keep learning on their own in the future.

So, my approach is

  • Keeping their interest and passion for learning Chinese with daily routine and habit
  • Providing activities in the languages
  • Gaining cultural experiences as a family

 

What do I mean by a Language Rich Environment?

I want you to think of it in terms of going to Disneyland.

Inside the Disneyland theme park, everywhere you look is decorated with the colors and the characters from Disney. There is Disney music, and Disney restaurants and themed food all over the park. Everything you do inside the park is also associated with different characters or movies from Disney. Even the bathroom is awfully cute that your kids won’t able to take over it.

You are right, it is a “Disney” rich environment. They surely did a great job of designing the whole park so that everyone is immersed and has a fairytale-like experience.

When your kid is immersed with an abundance of opportunity to use language and interact with Chinese books, posters, pictures, activities, and conversation in Chinese with parents, caregivers, and educators, a language-rich environment is created.

The key is how adults nurture and respond positively with love and care.

 

 

Why is Language Rich Environments Important?

 

  • Kids learn better when they feel comfortable
  • It’s easier to make connections and even increase the motivation in learning if we are in the right environment
  • Stimulates their senses, bringing out their curiosity
  • Creates a series of experiences
  • Because it’s fun! It keeps your child engaged and interested. 

By creating a language-rich environment at your home, the lack of motivation and resources will be solved just by having the environment at home. The next exciting thing you can do is to teach them Chinese or learn Chinese with them.

So think about if you took someone to Disneyland who has never watched any Disney movies or seen any Disney characters. What would she feel after touring the park for a day? What questions will she ask?

The most important thing is will she be ready to learn any of the Disney movies, characters, or anything related to them?

BIG YES!!

Because she was immersed in the “Disney” environment that made her feel very comfortable and happy,  she made connections with all those wonderful experiences in the park, just in one day.

After going back home, she probably watched all the Disney movies and books right away, singing songs from the Disney princesses, and even dressing like them. Who knows?

That’s the power and magic of creating a language-rich environment for your child at home.

 

What Should a Chinese language Rich Environment Include?

“Environment” seems like a huge thing that takes a lot of space, at least that what I thought before. However, I create one in my tiny apartment in Hong Kong with just a tiny corner. It worked nicely. And the items and objects I am going to talk about, some of them won’t take any space of your home either.

  • Diverse Home Library with a balance of fiction and nonfiction Chinese Books: Fill your home library with a variety of picture and chapter books, magazines, graphic novels, comics, etc.
  • Decorations: Purchase or DIY some decorations and objects to decorate your child’s bedroom or playroom’s walls, ceilings, floor, selves, etc.
  • A place to encourage pretend play, free play, and talk in the language: you may need to set up and DIY some props, toys, or objects, so your kid is willing to use the language while they are playing.
  • Forming routine and habit: having a routine helps the kid to adopt some new habits in a natural way. Maybe you can start by having 5 minutes reading Chinese books before reading a bedtime story in English. Having one or two Chinese related activities in the routine helps your kids start learning Chinese and living it.
  • Influence from role models: Kids need these two types of role models in their lives – peers (siblings & friends) and adults (parents, grandparents, caregivers, & teachers). Kids need to have these role models to show them how to adopt Chinese in their lives, so by making time with your kid, participating in any Chinese related activities, even letting your kid see how you learn Chinese on your own at home will help to create a Chinese language-rich environment within your home.

 

How Do I Create a Balanced Chinese & English Language Rich Environment at Home?

 

To me, I’m not only focusing on teaching my kids Chinese at home, but I’m also teaching them English as well. Finding a well-balanced method of teaching both Chinese and English is a much harder task for me now because I hope I can provide an education with the academically-rich level of English and conversational and foundational level of Chinese.

Since the goals of both languages are not the same, and I couldn’t just copy and repeat the same things from English to Chinese,  things get tricky.

I’m still in a long process of archiving these teaching goals for my kids, but I do have these five tips on how I created a balanced Chinese & English language-rich environment at home when we started.

 

  • Show my love and interest in knowing both Chinese & English when they are young: it’s a bit confusing for my kids to understand the different nationalities and languages both my husband and I know. They don’t really understand why their mom and dad know both English and Chinese but came from different countries. I try to explain it with my own experiences and stories and hope they will at least know how both languages have blessed me, improved my quality of life, and helped me to become who am I right now.
  • Have a Chinese bookshelf & English bookshelf: We all know having a home library, even a small one is important. By having both Chinese and English books at home and organizing them in a way so that your kids will love to read them both is vital for language learning. These books shouldn’t be a decoration at home, but they should be read, used, and even tore apart. So far I have tried separating both languages and mixing Chinese and English books together and organizing all of them into categories as well. I think mixing them together actually works well and sends a better message for my kids that both languages are our languages and we love them equally.
  • Talk to them in both languages in different settings: I don’t think to speak only Chinese at home works for our family since my kids spend most of their time learning at home, so they need to be exposed to both languages in different settings as well. So we use English or Chinese in different settings. If my kids are only with us, they will speak Chinese regardless if we are at home or outside. However, if my kids are with others that speak English, then they will speak English with them even while at home. I don’t want them to disrespect others by speaking only in Chinese. And that’s what real life is about, I switch between Cantonese, Mandarin, and English to match whom I’m having a conversation with, by using their language to show respect and understanding.  I hope my kids will learn to have the ability to switch languages and to respect others as well.
  • Respect my Kid’s interest and choice: I used to think about doing everything ONLY in Chinese was the way to go. However, when my kids grow up and they’re ready to make their own decisions, this won’t work anymore. They must be willing to use the language with a purpose. So I am learning to respect my kids’ interests and choices more, by showing them that learning Chinese is not the only thing in our family, but learning both Chinese and English is very important to us
  • Celebrate both Chinese & American holidays and festivals: having family traditions build unity and strong belonging (I don’t know how to say… Brooke, hope you will know what I mean.) I value all different cultural holidays and festivals because each festival tells us our ancestors’ beliefs and stories. So celebrating Chinese, American, and some Japanese festivals have become part of our family now. It’s also the easiest and most natural way to introduce culture and gain cultural experiences. And the best thing is that it is usually fun and unique. It gives my kids meaning and purpose to know the languages and stories behind these celebrations.

 

What Can You Do to Create a Language Rich Environment to Learn Chinese at Your Home?

 

You all can easily get a huge list of what to do to learn Chinese at home, like reading Chinese books, listening to Chinese music, watching Chinese movies, etc.

However, it’s easy to read the whole list without acting. (I speak from experience)

So, I created the FREE 5-Day Teaching Chinese at Home Challenge that will help you:

  • Be able to improve your home while creating a Chinese language-rich environment with parents and educators from all over the world.
  • Receive exclusive tools, resources, and printable for participants ONLY
  • Receive Daily emails full of tips and insights to keep you motivated

 

Sign up and Get ready to improve your language learning at home

 

You Might be Interested 

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

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Sweet Rice Dumplings for Chinese Lantern Festival https://fortunecookiemom.com/make-sweet-rice-dumpling-for-lantern-festival/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/make-sweet-rice-dumpling-for-lantern-festival/#respond Thu, 23 Jan 2020 07:07:21 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=5679 The post Sweet Rice Dumplings for Chinese Lantern Festival appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Have you ever heard about the Chinese Lantern Festival? I’m sure you have seen a video or movie where many Chinese people are releasing lanterns at night. This is the Chinese Lantern Festival. Do you know why we have this festival? Do you know how you can celebrate it at home with your family?

Since the Chinese Lantern Festival is not a public holiday, it is hard to make it an important, special holiday. When I was growing up, I didn’t really have a chance to go to any events for this festival because I still had to attend a school that day and the next. However, I heard and watched TV about 元宵節. As I learned more and more about it, I discovered that this is a beautiful festival filled with Chinese culture and traditions that I would like to share with all of you. 

 The post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link. See the Disclosure for more details.

 

 

When and Why do we celebrate it?

The Chinese Lantern Festival is the last day of the Chinese New Year. After celebrating the New Year for 15 days, the Chinese believe that ending the festival with the best celebration will ensure a great new year. On this day, there are lion and dragon dances, lantern lighting and watching, lantern riddles, and sweet rice dumplings. After that, the Chinese take down all of the New Year decorations because the New Year celebration has come to an end.

Click HERE to get my Chinese New Year Lanterns’ pattern for FREE!

 

 

My Favorite Part of the Lantern Festival

As I mentioned, I didn’t get to celebrate the Lantern Festival when I was growing up because it was not a very big thing in Hong Kong or for my family, and we still had school and work on this day.

However, my mom always made us sweet rice dumplings 湯圓/湯圆 (tāng yuán)  after dinner, and the best part was making them with her. I enjoyed kneading the dough, shaping it into balls, and watching them cook.

Sweet rice dumplings actually have a special meaning: 團團圓圓 (团团圆圆 / tuán tuán yuán yuan). The dumplings are round-shaped which symbolizes wholeness, togetherness, and reunion, so they express our hope that our family will be able to gather together as a complete family. (This is also why Chinese families prefer to sit at round tables when they eat.)

And guess what? You can make sweet rice dumplings with your kids too. These dumplings are super easy to make.

Today, I want to share my homemade recipe with you. You should have no problem making this recipe because your local store probably carries all of the ingredients.

Keep scrolling down to download my mom’s recipe for FREE!

 

 

Recipe for Sweet Rice Dumplings with Peanut Filling

Prep time:  20 minutes    Cook time: 20 minutes         Total Time:  40 minutes

Yield: 12 dumplings

  

 

Ingredients:

Instructions:

1. Mix the filling ingredients together in a small bowl, and mix until well combined. Divide the filling into 12 equal balls.

2. Put the rice flour into a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the water as you mix. Add just enough water so that it forms a smooth paste that does not stick to your hands or the side of the bowl. If the dough gets too wet/sticky, add a little more flour to get the right consistency. If it is dry and crumbly, add more water.

 

3. Next, roll the dough into a long snake and cut it into 12 equal pieces.

4. Dust your hands with a little rice flour, and then working with one ball at a time, flatten the dough into an oval. Place a ball of filling into the middle of the flattened dough – if it looks like too much filling, remove some (see note below). Fold the edges together to seal the dumpling, and gently roll it into a ball using both palms. Make sure the peanut filling is completely covered by the dough. Set aside on a lightly rice-floured surface and cover with plastic wrap.

 4. Dust your hands with a little rice flour, and then working with one ball at a time, flatten the dough into an oval. Place a ball of filling into the middle of the flattened dough – if it looks like too much filling, remove some (see note below). Fold the edges together to seal the dumpling, and gently roll it into a ball using both palms. Make sure the peanut filling is completely covered by the dough. Set aside on a lightly rice-floured surface and cover with plastic wrap.

5. Next, prepare the ginger syrup by bringing 3 cups of water to a boil. Add the ginger and simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat. If you want a stronger ginger flavor, you can boil it for longer until you get the flavor you like. Remove the ginger slices. Add the sugar and boil for another 5 minutes. Lower heat and reduce the syrup to about 4 cups of water. Add more sugar to taste.

6. Bring the syrup back up to a boil. Drop the dumplings into the boiling ginger syrup. Gently stir the dumplings to prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once the dumplings float to the top of the syrup, transfer them to serving bowls and top with some syrup. Serve immediately.

 

**Note**

  • You will be tempted to put a lot of filling into each dumpling, but don’t do it! If you put too much filling inside, you risk having the dumplings break and leak the filling when you cook them.
  • If you don’t want to use the peanut filling, you can try different fillings: black sesame and red bead are two other popular fillings.
  • If you can’t finish eating all of them at once, the uncooked dumplings can be frozen for later. Put them on a plate wrapped with plastic wrap and freeze until they are hard. Transfer them to a freezer bag to store. When you are ready to eat them, make your ginger syrup and add the dumplings to the boiling syrup. Bring the syrup back to a boil and cook until the dumplings float to the top.

Here’s My Family Making Sweet Rice Dumplings

 

My kids love cooking with me, but it’s hard to have them assist me when I am cooking Chinese dishes because the dishes often involve a lot of cutting, and deep-frying or stir-frying right next to the stove. However, sweet rice dumplings are a traditional Chinese food that is very kid-friendly.

My kids can shape the dumpling-like they are making playdough balls (which they are already good at). You can also make it more fun for your kids by putting in whatever filling your family likes, or you could add food coloring the dough. Since these are also so fun and easy to make, you’ll probably want to make them more often than just at Chinese New Year. In fact, I made this a lot when I lived in Utah and felt homesick because they are so simple to make.

I was pretty sure my 5-year-old could make these, but I was impressed by how well my 3-year-old did too! My toddler also enjoyed making dumplings with us. It was fun to make these with my kids, and this will always be a precious memory of our family gathering around our round table to enjoy this Chinese tradition.

I hope you also enjoy making sweet rice dumplings with your family and spending quality time together. 

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

The post Sweet Rice Dumplings for Chinese Lantern Festival appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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An Interview about My Homeschooling life in Hong Kong https://fortunecookiemom.com/interview-about-homeschooling-life-in-hong-kong/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/interview-about-homeschooling-life-in-hong-kong/#respond Wed, 22 Jan 2020 14:31:06 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=5538 The post An Interview about My Homeschooling life in Hong Kong appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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During the interview by the RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) about my homeschooling life in Hong Kong, they asked me tons of questions about the reasons I decided to homeschool, challenges I faced, and how I homeschool my kids, etc. My belief and value of homeschooling changed. I realized I was defending the ideas of homeschooling and gaining stronger testimonials and firmer beliefs during the interview without knowing. Those interview questions forced me to really think through what I am doing with my kids right now.

In this blog post, I would like to share more details and behind-the-scenes from the interview and my homeschooling life in Hong Kong. Also, you can read the transcript of the interview video in English at the end of this blog post. Enjoy.

 

an interview about my homeschooling life in Hong Kong

 

The post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you. If you make a purchase through a link. See the Disclosure for more details.

 

 

I had never heard about “homeschooling”  until I was in my early twenties in the US. As a full-time homeschooling mom, I had never considered this method to educate my own children before.

It was a very crazy idea of a  totally different lifestyle that what we are talking about. Life is always full of surprises. Here we are, I am proud that I am a bilingual homeschooling mom of four.

Click HERE to learn more about how I started my homeschooling journey.

Let’s go back to the interview from RTHK.  a lot of questions were cut out from the official video. So, I would like to add them back here to this blog post.

 

The Reasons I chose to HOME-SCHOOL my Four Kids in Hong Kong

 

I was raised and born and graduated from high school like a typical Hong Kong girl. We were always told that studying is our responsibility as students. We must work hard, get good grades, go to a good school, so we will be able to find a better job.

I finally realized I am a robot-like product from the Hong Kong education system.

This is not the education and learning experience that I want my children to have. Here are some reasons that I mentioned during the interview.

 

  • Uniqueness in the background we have: My children are half American and half Asian, so they are not a typical Hong Kong kid anymore. Since English is their mother language, and Cantonese is their second language, they aren’t fit for the local public school anyway. Plus we can’t afford to put them into any of the international schools in Hong Kong. So homeschooling is the best alternative option for us.
  • The public school system is not ideal anymore: The public school system does well to provide everyone a chance to learn and be educated, but it’s not an ideal system for us. We want more flexibility to choose our own curriculum, teaching methods, daily schedules for each of my children. With just my four children, they each have different personalities, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, and interests as well. Public schools won’t be able to give them the best education they want and need.
  • Better socialize environment: I know that’s one of the biggest concerns for everyone. I love the idea of a mixed-age learning environment. Kids should not be limited to socializing with just their peers most of the time. There are so many amazing adults, teens, and elderly with different races, gender, and interests that my children can learn from. Homeschooling provides them more opportunities to have the courage and be interested in different ages and types of people from all over the world. That’s real social life.
  • A more well-balanced family life for us: I really can’t imagine my life like this: Get my three children ready to school, drop them off and pick them up from schools 5-6 days per week. I can do chores, nurse and play with my youngest child, and prepare all the meals. In addition to helping my three kids finish all their homework and quizzes and texts daily, and even consider taking them to join some music or dance classes on the weekends or after school.

I am SO GLAD this is not my life at all. My kids get to play and learn at home all day, and I don’t need to worry about taking the time to pick them up and drop them off that often. No homework of course for younger kids. We have more time to spend as a family, and we can go to visit museums or other places during the weekday, away from the crowd or even at a cheaper price.

This list can keep going, but these are my favorite reasons and benefits of homeschooling my children.

 

Challenges that I have during my homeschooling life in Hong Kong

 

Fortune Cookie Mom

 

Breaking through the norm to be a homeschooling family with four isn’t easy at all. And homeschooling is not really supported by the government or anyone. These are the challenges that we face while we are homeschooling in Hong Kong.

 

  • Lack of knowledge of homeschooling: Since homeschooling is new to everyone, people often don’t understand it or have never heard about it. Most people think it is illegal while others have no idea homeschooling exists in Hong Kong. So, I have to provide a lot of explanation when I’m asked where my children go to school.
  • People can’t see the benefit of being a homeschooling mom: I am used to people asking me why I have so many children my own and amazed I even keep them and home-school them as well. They often suggest me to take a break from my children and put them in school, so I will have more personal time or even get a full-time job and earn more money. I’m sorry to say that’s not my priority at all. Having a happy family and well-educated and happy kids is my ultimate dream and future that I want both for my family and myself.
  • Underestimate my qualification of teaching my own kids: Since people here view homeschooling qualifications heavily based on how much schooling one receives, the only people who have the most schooling should be the teacher of their children. That’s not the idea of homeschooling. The ultimate goals of homeschooling are to educate my children so they will enjoy learning and learn how to learn independently. Most of the time, I am not the teacher for my children but historical people, famous authors, and composers, etc. from books they read. I am not the only teacher in their life.
  • Lack of Support: There are only one or two homeschooling organizations here as well as a small amount of Facebook groups to join. Most of the activities occur far away from our home. Therefore, it is pretty much impossible to take all four young children on public transportation on my own. And owning a car isn’t an option for us either, so we mostly invite other homeschooling families to our home, or we meet them in the nearby parks.

 

My Typical Day Looks Like Homeschooling in Hong Kong

 

I would like to show you the life of kids compares with homeschooling kids to Hong Kong kids going to public school.

 

an interview about my homeschooling life in Hong Kong

 

Isn’t that shocking?

Even though I am the product from the Hong Kong education system, I don’t realize how crazy my childhood was until I home-school my own.

 

What Do Kids Learn from School that My Kids Don’t Learn at Home?

 

How to line up in school!

It’s true. I remembered my children got complaints about not being able to line up nice and straight while they were really young. I’m sorry that because my kids didn’t spend hours every day to practice lining up and sitting still in the classroom.

On the other hand, there are things that our kids will do that others won’t do, so my kids will sometimes be told that they are wrong.

For example: playing in the rain will get you sick, climbing in the playground is always dangerous, or touching dirt and plants is gross and dirty.

I try my best to teach my kids to respect others. However, I also teach them to find out the truth for themselves. So they will look at books or  go to the internet research “Does  playing in the rain cause sickness?”

There are a lot of cultural and social skills to learn from this part. I’m glad it is part of our life to be different even though it’s not easy at all.

 

Our future of Homeschooling Plan

 

We have many reasons to home-school while we are living in Hong Kong. How about after we move back to the U.S.?

We are still planning on homeschooling our children.

I’m sure we will have better support and awesome activities to back me up, so we can truly embrace the homeschooling experience.

 

About the Interview & the English Transcript

 

I’m thankful to be in this video interview, so I can help spread the word and tell the world that homeschooling, even in Hong Kong, is possible.

I’ve known that I have the option of moving to the U.S. from the beginning, so I don’t really stress out about taking the public exams in Hong Kong. However, my friend, A-Yan from the interview,  is my inspiration. She cares for her children so much that she drew her kids out from public school as a Hong Kong mom. I don’t know if I would have had the courage like her at all.

I also hope more people will gain more understanding and respect for homeschooling families from all over the world. And for families who are considering homeschooling, you can be inspired and encouraged to try it out.

It is not easy or a short-cut at all, and it takes a lot of hard work, but the rewards are fruitful.

I hope you enjoyed reading and watching it and gain more understanding of homeschooling life in Hong Kong in 2019.

 

Watch The Interview’s Video here

English Transcript

Starting in September schools are back in session. While You’re getting to know the new teachers, your kids are breaking in their new uniforms. But the students I am visiting today have neither because the parents I am visiting with today have decided on an alternate schooling system.

 

Bilingual Homeschooling in Hong Kong

 

Po Tim has four children, ages ranging from one and a half to eight years old.  Being home-schooled means they don’t go to a school outside the home, instead, their home becomes the school. Where the parents or others become the teachers. Where lessons and materials are created based on each child’s needs and abilities.

 

Po Tim: Normally, we wake up, eat breakfast, and then start our school day. Usually each day, we do one group activity. Things such as crafts, drawing, dancing, and so on. We do one theme per month. We use themes because it makes learning easier for kids.

Po Tim: Right now, our theme is about the Royals, and in just a minute we will be having a tea party. The goal is to have them learn about manners, how to cook together and so on.

 

QUESTIONS: Hi, Po Tim, what made you decide to home-school?

Po Tim: I decided to home-school because I believe that children shouldn’t be forced to learn and that we should encourage them to learn naturally through their own curiosity. My kids are half American and half Chinese, and I don’t feel that schools here are a good fit for them. This allows me to accommodate their own learning styles whereas schools will not.

 

QUESTIONS: So how do you separate lessons?

Po Tim: First, we help them establish their foundation skills, such as reading, and math, that way they can start to learn from books on their own. When they get a little older more subjects like English, and History are added.  After lunch and clean up, they sit down and read books for quiet time. This helps them calm down and get ready for a nap. Most of the time my oldest will read to the others, but now her younger sister will take turns reading English books.

 

Social Skill + Play-date

 

Parents can teach them many things but to teach groups and social skills it requires the help of others.  To do this, home-schooling parents will work together and set times where their kids +can learn together.

Today, A-Yan has come with her three kids to join in so the kids can learn and play together.

 

Hong Kong Homeschooling

 

QUESTIONS: I want to ask you; I know that your daughter attended a local elementary school and quit after second grade, what prompted this decision?

A-Yan: She was very unhappy and rude. She would complain about headaches and stomach aches. We took to see specialists and participate in emotional support groups but there wasn’t any real improvement. We got to know some homeschooling families and had the chance to have our kids play together. When I saw their kids, I thought “why are they so bright and happy?” This is exactly what I wanted my kids to be like. So, after that, I decided to withdraw her from school and give homeschooling a try.

 

QUESTION: But Hong Kong law says that kids aged 6-15 must attend school, how do you register with the Board of Education?

A-Yan: When we first started, we tried to register formally with a letter or by phone, but after calling more than 20 different departments, no one could tell how to. It was a bit concerning, so we asked a lot of different families that were already homeschooling. They said that once your kids stop going to school the board of education will contact you.  Now the Board follows up with me on a regular basis, and always say they have the right to investigate us, and that there is no way to register.

 

QUESTION: What are your future teaching plans?

A-Yan: That’s hard to say, there are too many possibilities, like 10 years ago there was no way of knowing there would be so many You Tubers or that online shopping would be so big. I think the most important is for them to understand their potential and value.  Knowing this they’ll be able to achieve their dreams and be successful.

 

Field Trips for Homeschoolers

 

In addition to learning at home, parents will take their kid’s other places to learn. Not only do they go to science and other museums they go and take tours of other businesses and places.

 

One-on-one Time

 

Po Tim takes care of her four kids by herself until her husband returns from work. While dad helps take care of the younger kids, mom doesn’t get a break yet. She holds another class for her eldest daughter.

Po Tim: I feel that 1 on 1 time with each of them is important. The oldest gets a bit more since she is older. Normally, after the other kids have gone to bed, I will spend another 30-60 minutes teaching her things, she needs like Chinese. I don’t expect her Chinese to be like other kids here, but I do want her to have the basics of reading and writing down.

 

 

You Might Be Interested:

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

The post An Interview about My Homeschooling life in Hong Kong appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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100+ Chinese New Year Activities for Kids to Gain Chinese Cultural Experiences https://fortunecookiemom.com/chinese-new-year-activities-for-kids-gain-cultural-experiences/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/chinese-new-year-activities-for-kids-gain-cultural-experiences/#respond Thu, 16 Jan 2020 09:05:17 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=372 The post 100+ Chinese New Year Activities for Kids to Gain Chinese Cultural Experiences appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Chinese New Year is one of the most important festivals for Chinese people. This is also an essential festival for families and friends to get together to give blessings and good fortunes to each other.

Through making different Chinese New Year crafts, listening to Chinese music, reading Chinese New Year’s books, and even trying different activities, your kids can experience and immerse themselves in the Chinese culture. That’s great for learning Chinese.

I’m going to show you more than a hundred Chinese New Year Activities including printables, book lists, music, games, art projects, dragon and lantern crafts, STEM activities, pretend play ideas and more.

Are you can ready to create a fun and memorable experience learning Chinese with your kids?

*This post contains affiliate links.

Culture is like flowing blood to any civilization. It plays a significant role in defining every aspect of the formation of society and the individual’s life.

Before we go to our giant list of Chinese New Year Activities, I would like to explain how knowing the culture helps your kids learn the language. 

 

Why learning the culture is so important?

  • It’s easier to make a connection with any foreigners.
  • We can understand the belief, behavior, and mindset. Of local people.
  • It defines who we are and provides an individual identity for us.
  • It enriches our life, so we can learn different things, eat different food, and attend different festivals.
  • It Increases creativity
  • It provides more opportunities for leisure, entertainment, learning, and sharing experiences with others
  • We can learn to embrace different people and cultures in our life, and show appreciation of people who are different and unique

 

How does knowing the Chinese culture affect my child learning the language?

  • Children build self-esteem by communicating with the locals better, because they have something in common to talk about, and they also able to understand them   So your kids will use the language more efficiently.
  • It’s just more fun and meaningful. Your kids will gain more understanding and meaning while learning the language. For example, they will understand the history behind those Chinese characters, poems, phrases, etc, and it makes learning the Chinese language more real and practical.
  • Culture gives important context to all language skills. In other words, your kids might have difficulty understanding fully what has been said unless they understand the culture. By knowing the culture they will increase their comprehension through the use of different vocabularies and slangs.
  • The best part is your kids will be able to understand the context of any Chinese movies, songs, tv shows, and books. And they will advance to a higher level of the Chinese language.

 

So now we want to absorb as much of the  Chinese culture with our kids. That’s perfect!

You will find just about everything you need to prepare and participate before and during the Chinese New Year festivals at your own home or in the classroom. Let’s dive in!

Chinese New Year Art & Craft

Dragon Crafts

Awesome Cupcake Liner Dragon Craft from I Heart Crafty Things

Chinese Dragon Puppet from Made with Happy

Simple Chinese New Tear Crafts: Paper Plate Dragon from Kiddy Charts

Paper Plate Dragon Twirler from Red Ted Art

DIY Dragon Mask Printables from Red Ted Art

Chinese New Year: Multimedia Dragon Art & Puzzle from Kid Minds

How to Make an Egg Carton Dragon Craft from I Heart Crafty Things

Chinese New Year Craft (Handprint Dragon Puppet) from Baa Baa Beep( leave a comment in the blog)

Toilet Roll Dragon Craft from Learning and Exploring through Play

Recycled Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet from Pink Stripey Socks

Horned Chinese Dragon Art Ideas and Free Coloring Pages from Wise Owl Factory

Awesome Chinese New Year Dragon Kite Puppet from Pink Stripey Socks

Chinese New Year’s Banners Crafts

Free Chinese New Year Banners from Fortune Cookie Mom

Chinese New Year Banners for Decoration – Simplified and Traditional Chinese from Chalk Academy 

 

Chinese New Year Books

 

Chinese New Year Hands-On Activities

Sensory Bins

Chinese New Year Sensory Bin from Gift of Curiosity

Chinese New Year Sensory Spaghetti from Learning and Exploring through Play

Chinese New Tear Rice Sensory play from Learning and Exploring through Play

 

Slime

Chinese New Year Slime Recipe and Science Activity from Little Bins Little Hands???

Chinese New Year Slime & How the Carp Turned into a Dragon from Sugar Spice and Glitter

Golden Glitter Slime from Fun at Home with Kids 

 

Playdough

Playdough Inspired by Chinese New Year from Laughing Kids Learn

Chinese New Year Sensory Play with Spice Play Dough from Nurture Store 

Pretend Play

China Tuff Tray from Learning and Exploring through Play

Dragon Small World: Messy Play from Nurture Store

Dramatic Play Chinese Restaurant Theme from Pre-K Pages

Chinese Restaurant Role-Play Pack from Sparkle Box

 

Chinese New Year’s Music

 

Cultural & Traditional Activities

 

 Crafts for the 12 Zodiac Animals

 

 Chinese New Year Painting

Chinese New Year Dragon Art for Toddlers from Learning and Exploring through Play

Spring Blossom Tree Craft from Nurture Store

Chinese New Year Thumbprint Craft from Lesson Plans

Potato Stamped Pandas from I Heart Arts N Crafts

Fireworks Art for Kids from Kids Activities Blog 

 Chinese New Year’s Printables 

 More Resources for Teaching about Chinese New Year

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

The post 100+ Chinese New Year Activities for Kids to Gain Chinese Cultural Experiences appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Easy Chinese New Year’s Rounded Lanterns to Make with your Kids https://fortunecookiemom.com/cny-rounded-lanterns/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/cny-rounded-lanterns/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 16:01:12 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=270 The post Easy Chinese New Year’s Rounded Lanterns to Make with your Kids appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Hanging up lanterns is a common decoration you will find during the Chinese New Year. Traditionally, Chinese people hang lanterns and other decorations a few weeks before the first day of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). The day after New Year ends (15th day) is known as the Lantern Festival, and on this day all of the decorations are taken down because the Chinese New Year is officially finished for the year.

The Chinese believe that a great start and end of Chinese New Year will bless you throughout the entire year, so let’s embrace this wonderful cultural blessing, and learn how to make our own lanterns.

*This post contains affiliate links.
If you want to know more about The Lantern Festival, you can go here to learn more about the interesting Chinese history and customs behind this festival.

 

Rounded Chinese New Year Lanterns

If you remember, I shared a blog post about  Mid-Autumn Festival Lanterns last year, and I tried to make it as simple as I could. It was one of my most popular blog posts, so I guess everyone enjoyed making these beautiful lanterns with their kids and students.

This year, I would love to share a different kind of Chinese Paper Lantern pattern with instructions: round lanterns. The red-rounded Lantern is a symbol of a successful life and prosperous business, so they are hung during all the important festivals. Today, these round, red lanterns have become a worldwide symbol of Chinese culture, and you can easily find them in any Chinatown or Chinese restaurant.

 

Let’s Make the Chinese New Lanterns Together

There are a lot of ways to make a simple paper lantern, and you can find instructions all over the internet. This type of a round lantern is a little harder, so I re-created the patterns to make sure even my 3-year-old could do it, and I’m sure even older kids and adults will enjoy making them too.

  • For younger children, use the easier pattern and coloring pages, and they will probably need more time (at least 2 classes) to finish the whole lantern.
  • For older children, you can let them pick their own patterns and coloring page. They should be able to do it all by themselves as long as you show them the steps.

 

Materials that You Need

  1. Two sheets of A4 or letter construction paper.
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue stickdouble-sided tape, tape or stapler
  4. Colored pencilsmarkerscrayons
  5. Decoration {stickers, stamps, glitter, etc.} (optional)

 

Instructions

  1. Print out the lantern pattern (there are three level choices: preschool, kindergarten, and upper level), and an inner page (either colored or black & white).
2. Lantern Pattern: Cut along the outer dotted lines first. Set aside the top strip that has writing on it. Poke a hole at one star and cut along the dotted line to the opposite star, do this for each dotted line.
3. Turn the paper over and fold the striped bar edges in.
4. Inner Page: Using scissors, cut out the inner page. If you chose a black and white page, color the page.

5. Cut frills on the bottom stripe located underneath the striped bar.

6. Put glue or double-sided tape on the top strip (the bar with lines in it). Unfold the lantern pattern and align the striped bars. Align the top and left edges together. Secure into place.

7. Put glue or double-sided tape on the bottom strip (the bar with lines in it). Align the bottom and left edges of the striped bars together. Secure into place.  (The Lantern Pattern is larger than the inner page. This allows it to protrude outward.

8. On the right-hand side, there will be a strip of the inner page not covered by the lantern pattern. Place glue on this strip, wrap it around backward and secure.
9. Use the strip that was set aside to make a handle by attaching the ends to opposite sides of one end of the inner tube. You are ready for the Chinese New Year!

Let See How We Did

The trickiest part of making this rounded lantern was poking a hole at the star and cutting along the dotted line to the other star. It seemed difficult at first, and my 3 and 5-year-old refused to do this part.

However, I showed my kids how to use a pencil to gently poke a hole and cut the stripes. Then I held my 5-year-old’s hands and guided her while she cut her first three stripes. After that, she was willing to finish the whole paper on her own.

For my 3-year-old, I did the same thing, but because she is younger, I decided to hold her paper with her, so she could cut all the strips easily. In the end, both of them were so proud of themselves because they overcame their fear, and they did a great job cutting all the stripes and not breaking the lanterns.

The rest of the project was quite easy for them, and they were overjoyed when I helped them wrap the papers to form the round lanterns and when we hung them up to display. I think this is a great family activity to do with kids because of the easy steps and materials.

Want to try the FREE version? Click the button below and sign up!

Chinese New Year Lanterns Complete Sets

If you want more choices for the inner page, there is a full set of lanterns that has 3 lantern patterns and 7 extra inner pages (colored, and black and white).

The 7 extra inner page images are Red packets with Chinese New Year candies, Chinese New Year banners with a Chinese family, Lion Dance with two Chinese kids, and four the Chinese characters wishing for a prosperous new year (恭喜發財).

If you hang up all four of the lanterns with Chinese Characters together, it will look like the Chinese New Year Banners too!

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

The post Easy Chinese New Year’s Rounded Lanterns to Make with your Kids appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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The Best Chinese New Year Traditions and Activities to Do with Your Kids https://fortunecookiemom.com/cny-traditions-and-activities/ https://fortunecookiemom.com/cny-traditions-and-activities/#respond Wed, 15 Jan 2020 14:34:28 +0000 https://fortunecookiemom.com/?p=263 The post The Best Chinese New Year Traditions and Activities to Do with Your Kids appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year) is the most important traditional festival for the Chinese. This is also an essential festival for families and friends to get together to give blessings and fortune to each other.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you some best Chinese New Year traditions and activities that you can do with your kids, no matter where are you located. So we all can enjoy this awesome festival.

*This post contains affiliate links.

Our Chinese New Year

During the Chinese New Year, I usually have a longer holiday (besides the summer break), new clothes to wear, fun days traveling with my family, and tons of good food to eat.  I would also receive red packets and candies when I went to visit family and friends. Isn’t this like another Christmas for kids?

However, when I married and had two kids living in the United States, I found that keeping a traditional Chinese New Year at home was difficult without any support from outside. Also, my kids were so young that I was always wondering if it was worth having it. I thought maybe I should wait until they were older, so I just bought some Chinese dresses, put some chocolate gold coins in their red packets, and prepared a Chinese dinner on the Chinese New Year. Honestly, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as when I was a child in Hong Kong, but I knew it was a good start for my kids to learn about Chinese culture.

Fortunately, my husband was willing to move us all back to Hong Kong, so we are excited to have our 3rd Chinese New Year here. Since I’m homeschooling my kids, I would love to share some traditions and activities that we have done in the past and we are planning to do in the next few weeks to celebrate Chinese New Year.

NOTE: I strongly recommend for those who are not Chinese or have little to no prior experience with Chinese New Year resources and materials to pick and choose from the following activities. You don’t need to do everything that the Chinese traditionally do during the New Year. You can simplify these traditions to meet your needs as you plan your activities. Simple things like throwing a Chinese New Year party at home, or learning and experiencing the Chinese New Year for a few days will still be super fun but not overwhelming.

 

Chinese New Year Traditions that You can Try

  • Decorate your home
  • Buy and wear Chinese clothing
  • Use chopsticks to eat in a Chinese restaurant
  • Check which Zodiac animal you are
  • Attend Chinese New Year event if possible
  • Visit a Chinese temple
  • Give red packets to pass on fortune to others
  • Deep clean your house

 

Chinese New Year Activities You Can Easily Do

 

FREE Chinese New Year Banners

Making and decorating with Chinese New Year banners is one of the most common activities during the New Year. People buy them in the store, make their own, and even make them give to others.

The Chinese believe we can receive all kinds of blessings and fortune if we put these banners on the walls and doors of our home.

Since I personally love making Chinese New Year banners, I created 2 sets of Chinese New Year Crafts – 1 for free and a full version. You can try the free version first, and if you love them and want more banners to decorate, you can consider purchasing the full version.

I think it is much more fun to make the banners yourself, so the banners are all traceable (perfect for little kids and beginners), and they are very affordable. See how amazing they look. I’m sure they will bring the spirit of Chinese New Year into your home.

Chinese New Year Banners: Full Version

4 different language versions of the Chinese New Year Banners

(All the banners have an English translation)

  • Traditional Chinese
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Traditional Chinese with Pinyin
  • Simplified Chinese with Pinyin.

It also includes

  • over 20 pages of  traceable vertical and square banners
  • English translations
  • English instructions 

How Do the Chinese New Year Banners Work

You simply need to print them off, and then your kids/students can trace the Chinese characters on the banners with black markers, Q-tips & black paint, glitter, or even a Chinese paintbrush and ink.

After all the Chinese characters are filled, the banners can be cut out and hung on the walls and doors.

* We usually put TWO banners side by side, because it is not really fortunate if you only hang a  single banner on its own. Also, we love to match the meaning of the banners and put them in an auspicious place. For example, Chinese people love putting “出入平安” (Safe Travel) on the front door to have a safe travel, and “財源廣進” in the living room or front door so they can get rich, and “學業進步” on the wall by the kid’s desk, so their kids will have better grades. You are free to use your creativity to place the right banners for your family in your home. 

Sign up & Grab our Free Versions below

Other Styles of Chinese New Year Banners that You May Also Like

February 4th,2020 (TUE) 

10:00AM EST 

The post The Best Chinese New Year Traditions and Activities to Do with Your Kids appeared first on Fortune Cookie Mom.

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