The Chinese New Year starts on 5th February and lasts until January 24th, 2020. This year it will be the “Year of the Earth Pig” and the pig is the 12th sign in the Chinese zodiac. Legend has it that all the animals were invited to a party, but the pig overslept and turned up late, so had to settle for 12th place!
Unlike the 12 astrological zodiac signs which change every month, the Chinese zodiac signs only come around once every 12 years, so the next year of the pig will not be until 2031.
In China, the pig is not thought to be a smart animal since it likes to eat and sleep a lot, but on the positive side, it also does not harm others and has a happy disposition. The pig is thought to bring luck and affluence and is regarded as a good omen, signifying wealth.
To help you celebrate Chinese New Year in your setting, we have devised 5 craft ideas to bring some happiness and affluence to you and your children.
SENSORY PLAY DOUGH
This is a fun, sensory craft which uses natural homemade play dough.
- Mix the following ingredients together:
1 cup of flour
¼ cup of salt
- In a separate jug, mix the following together:
½ cup of water
3 to 5 drops of natural food colouring - pink is good for pigs!
- Gradually add the coloured water to the flour and salt, mixing it carefully until it is not sticky
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- Draw and cut out 2 circles of paper, making one slightly larger than the other
- Draw and cut out 2 triangles
- Draw and cut out 4 rectangles
- Assemble the pieces together to form the pig
- Fold over the ears
- Draw on eyes and a nose
- Add a curly tail using a pipe-cleaner or string
Once you have made your pigs and lanterns, string them together to form a mobile to decorate your setting. You could also add some cardboard gold coins to the mobile to signify wealth.
PIG AND LANTERN MOBILE
Chinese lanterns are synonymous with Chinese celebrations so why not combine the year of the pig theme with these easy-to-make favourites?
- Fold a rectangular piece of paper in half, along the long edge
- Draw straight lines from the fold about 2/3 of the way up the paper
- Cut carefully along the straight lines
- Unfold the paper and roll it to form a cylinder, sticking the edges together
- Attach ribbons or strips of paper to the bottom edge of the cylinder and squash gently to form the lantern shape
- Add a strip of paper to the top to hang
PAPER PLATE PIG MASK
This fun and simple craft which starts with a paper plate. You can use pink plates or simply paint some white ones using colours of your choice.
- Use one paper plate for the base of the mask
- Carefully draw on and cut out some eye holes
- Cut out a smaller circle and 2 triangles from a second paper plate to form the nose and ears
- Stick these onto the first plate to add the nose/eye details
- Attach a string or elastic to the sides of the plate to tie the mask to the face
6. Once you have all created a mask, why not have some fun making pig noises and running around the farmyard! You could make it an active play game by playing ‘catch the tail of the pig!’
Chinese writing is a great way to introduce children to different cultures, languages and ways of communicating. Practicing Chinese writing can also help encourage mark-making and fine motor skills and is perfect for a painting session.
Choose from some common phrases below and create a display to celebrate their work.
Create your own picture of a pig using the things you have collected. You can create a wild art gallery in the park or your garden but remember to take some photographs of your creations to display in your setting later.
A variation of this is to collect the elements from outside and bring them back to create the artwork in your setting. You could give each child a piece of paper or paper plate to create their design.
WILD ART PIGS
This is a great way to combine some outdoor play time with marking the Chinese New Year. All you need to do is dress up in warm clothes and go outside into the park or your garden space to look for items to make some wild art.
Some good things to look out for include:
- Leaves in different colours
- Pine cones
- Acorn shells
- Seed pods
- Flower petals
- Wool (caught on a fence)
- Stones and pebbles