As Chinese New Year is approaching, I have been thinking of Chinese crafts for kids that I could try with my 2 year old, Mr R. We decided to start with fans as they are so easy yet look really effective.
I selected lots of different coloured sugar paper and we folded them into concertinas by folding one piece, the folding it back on itself, then folding another – until the whole paper has been folded. If your child is going to paint on the fan it can be easier to do this before hand, and Mr R enjoyed experimenting with painting within the fold lines and the slight dips that had been created even once the sheet was flattened out again.
Although Red is traditionally the prominent colour at Chinese New Year, we decided to use all different colours for the fans to add more variety , but stuck to using red paint.
I was inspired by a cherry blossom lantern craft by Laughing Kids Learn recently (definitely check it out, it looks amazing and was done by her 2 year old!) so I wanted to try something similar for a design on some of our fans. I drew some basic branches on the fan template with black pen and then Mr R used his fingers to add dabs of colour to make the blossom.
As you can see above, I really don’t have any artistic ability whatsoever! Luckily Mr R is too young to notice so he was happy to add his cherry blossom fingerprints onto the “trees” I had created for him.
He printed his paint on quite carefully, thinking where to place each finger print rather than just splashing it everywhere as he would have done when he was a little younger.
Here’s his finished cherry blossom waiting to be folded and taped.
We also did another cherry blossom design using pink and white tissue paper circles, to resemble some of the colours of blossom. Mr R stuck these onto this fan to make whatever design he liked.
PVA glue is better than pritt stick for this.
Next we decided to do some designs by using coins in the paint and printing them onto the fan templates – as coins are given for good luck in Chinese New Year. Mr R loved printing with the coins.
As you can see this activity was good to help along his fine motor skills by practising his pincer grip to keep picking up the coin out of the paint. These are plastic pretend coins from a set of play money from the pound shop.
I also wanted to try an activity to make a Chinese writing picture. This one did not work out in the end, but I’ll show you the idea and maybe you will have more luck with it. I searched for how to write some Chinese characters for Chinese New Year (you can see an example here, which is the word I wanted to use). My idea was to mark the words out on the paper in masking tape
Then Mr R painted all over the page:
The idea was that once the painting was dry, we could peel off the masking tape leaving the word underneath in yellow, surrounded by the red paint. Unfortunately, the tape I used did not peel off cleanly. It took some of the paint with it, and ripped some of the paper so that was a little disappointing. At least Mr R enjoyed painting on the masking tape anyway, as it was a bit different than just painting on plain paper. If you have any suggestions of what kind of tape would be better to use for this kind of idea, then do let me know in the comments.
Our final activity of the morning was to paint hand prints on to the page which we can later turn into a Chinese New Year’s dragon picture:
The dragon is not yet finished, so I will update with that another time but the basic idea was to put 3 handprints in a row facing downwards which gives a roughly dragon-ish shape!
Here are our finished fans:
Mr T and Mr Z were quite interested in them when they came home from school:
And Mr Z suggested attaching them all together to make a giant rainbow fan, so we did that:
Have you thought about doing any crafts or activities for Chinese New Year with your kids? Share your ideas with me in the comments.
My friend Eileen also posted about how to make Chinese New Year fans on her blog Et Speaks from Home, so have a look! Eileen is Chinese from Singapore and she has a whole series on Chinese New Year on the blog at the moment.