Montessori and Chinese New Year

In a Montessori environment, we study cultures and holidays sensorially with real objects, music, costumes, and food. The Chinese Lunar New Year  (celebrated from January 31st to February 14th--when there is a full moon and which ends with a lantern festival) is a great opportunity to create some activities for your children to do and explore, as well as arts and crafts. 
Photo taken & copyright by http://www.jasonboutsayaphat.com/
So here are some ideas in a nutshell, and links to more projects for Chinese New Year for your Montessori and homeschool environment.

Create a China basket or tray with various objects from China. If you have readers, make labels to match the objects. Objects can include incense, tangerine, red envelope with Gung Hei Fat Choi (which means "Best wishes and Congratulations. Have a prosperous and good year"), Buddha and dragon figurine... When older children take the basket to their table or a rug, ask them to get the Montessori colored world globe or world continent puzzle map and find Asia, or get the Asia continent puzzle map and find China, or look at a regular map or a globe.

Make a Chinese dish, like dumplings, egg roles, lettuce wraps, rice, or noodles. Listen to Chinese music (including this clip on YouTube!).

And of course, arts and crafts! It is the year of the dragon, and if you have butcher paper, make a big dragon using the Metal Insets oval or ellipse shape, or trace a dragon from a book with tracing paper, and advanced artists can free draw a dragon while looking a picture of a dragon.

Have fun reading and writing, or coloring in, Chinese numbers from one to ten with this free PDF from the BBC website.

More free non-Montessori printouts (tons and tons!) from Enchanted Learning here (you need to scroll down each web page to find what you want, way down, but it's worth it!).

Make a simple Chinese paper lantern here (from About.com) or here (from Origami-resources-center.com).

You can also try this PDF download Chinese New Year Unit Study (non Montessori) for $1.99 (39 pages) from Currclick.com described here.

Want to make some Montessori-inspired activity trays? Check out H is for Homeschooling's "Chinese New Year Tot Trays."

See our Year of the Horse blog post here!

Here are a few of my favorite arts and crafts links for Chinese New Year and the year of the dragon:

1. Classified Mom blog: "Kids Craft Hand and Footprint Chinese Dragon."
2. Fairy Dust Teachings blog: "Chinese New Year Ideas for Kindergarten..." and cut felt noodles!
3. The Joy of Home Education blog: "DIY EZ Chinese New Year Crafts."
4. No Time for Flashcards blog: "Paint and Paste Chinese Dragon."
5. Mama Mia's Heart2Heart blog: Make a handprint felt or foam dragon!
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You may also be interested in my recommended Montessori and homeschool books for parents and teachers on Amazon.com or my Montessori and homeschool programs for birth to nine-year-olds at Montessori for the Earth.

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