We enjoy learning about and taking part in celebrations from around the world, and probably the biggest and best well-known celebration is Chinese New Year. Every country I’ve lived in has had Chinese New Year celebrations, and in big cities you can find China-town areas. This post includes affiliate links for your convenience.
This year the Chinese New Year will fall on January 31 and be celebrated until February 7th. We had a fun time last year making these snakes.
The last time it was the year of the horse was 2002 and it was my first New Year’s in Japan. Although the shops in Japan decorate for Christmas, the New Year is the big celebration. Even the bakery goods were decorated!
Our craft for this Chinese New Year are table decorations with added fun for the kids. It’s also a bit of a mix between Chinese and Japanese.
The first part of our craft involves making chopstick cases. These are deceptively easy to make and look beautiful.
They only take a couple of minutes and can be decorated and personalised in any way to make each one unique and meaningful.
You’ll need only a piece of paper, we used some scrapbooking paper (roughly 21.5cm x 16.5cm) and some double-sided tape. The embellishing (if you decide to add any) are up to you.
Fold your paper in half length-wise. Open your paper and fold each long end in towards the center line and crease.
Take your top corner and fold it to meet the first line. Fold your bottom corner up to meet the center line.
Then fold over the top and keep folding it down and secure the seam with some double-sided tape. Fold up the bottom edge slightly and tape it down, too.
If you want to add some stickers or other embellishments, it might be easier to do that before taping the case closed.
Turn over your creation and slip some chopsticks into the envelope. Simple elegance! These will look great on any table. (Please don’t look too close, I concentrated on not having the Chinese characters going sideways on this case, but then I folded the wrong ends down so the writing is upside down!)
We decided to add more to our project, specifically for the Year of the Horse. Celebrations are always more fun when the children are happy, so Tristan and I made some little horse finger puppets for him and Kallista.
I haven’t provided the template I made because I’m sure you could do better, my drawing skills leave a lot to be desired (but I’d be happy to share them if you’re desperate, just leave me a comment below).
Tristan and I went through our felt stash and found some colours we thought would work well for our horses. We traced the templates onto the felt twice and cut the pieces out.
Place the felt pieces together and carefully hand-stitch them together as close to the edge as you can so there’s enough room left to get a small finger in the puppet. Tristan can’t quite get his finger in his puppet so little sister will use it and he’ll use the one I’ve made.
Tristan and I made different styles of horse finger puppets. For his he also cut another piece of felt out to be the front of the head. He glued this piece onto his finger puppet after it was stitched. He glued on some googly eyes and used a permanent marker to make some nostrals. I think his little horse turned out great!
My horse is a side-view so I included a bit of a mane. To do this we used 3 pieces of yarn that had fallen out of the pompom on Tristan’s toque (winter hat to non-Canadians). I folded them in 3 and stitched the tops of them together to make it more secure and a little easier to sew into the finger puppet.
I’ve also added felt triangles for ears and Kallista chose blue sequins for eyes.
These little packets will both look great and keep the little ones entertained before and after your Chinese New Year meal.
What is your favourite cultural celebration?
- The Gingerbread House has a tea light holder
- Me and My Shadow has made a Chinese firecracker decoration from ‘junk’.
- Peakle Pie has a simple craft for toddlers with her paper fan, as well as a fun paper plate dragon puppet.
- Tried and Tested shares their photos on Facebook about their China-themed day.
- Makiedo has a dragon puppet theatre.
- Don’t eat all those candy canes yet! Domestic Goddesque has cute little candy cane horses.
- Kids Chaos has a moveable dragon shadow puppet.
- Diary of the Evans Crittens shares several crafts.
- Pink Oddy has a toilet roll horse.