You will need two disposable aluminum foil pie pans for each gong. Let the kids use their creativity and decorate the pans first with paint, permanent markers, adhesive stickers, or glued on cutouts. They may even want to try Chinese calligraphy, Chinese zodiac animals, dragons (a symbol of strength and goodness), or red flowers. Have an adult spread a bead of Crazy Glue ™ all around the plate rims. Place a handful of dried beans or popcorn kernels inside and glue the two pans together, clamping it together with clothespins so it can dry. Poke a hole in the top to thread a ribbon as a hanger. With their "gongs" in hand, kids walk around the room and hit the metallic chimes with the eraser ends of unsharpened pencils. This colorful gong may also be hung outside as a wind chime.
Each year, one of the animals of the Chinese zodiac is represented. For example, in the year of the rooster, kids can make a neat paper bag puppet with a rooster face. You can find large pictures of roosters in coloring books or even draw one freehand. Place the head on the bottom flap of the bag and a mouth portion just under the flap. Glue these into place. Your child can place his hand inside the bag to manipulate this puppet. With little ones, talk about the rooster, the sounds it makes, how it walks, where it lives, and why it is chosen the symbol of the year's Chinese New Year. A great "how to" book with drawing templates is called Bag Puppets by Donalyn Easterday. Encourage your child to make other bag puppets representing the other animals in the Chinese zodiac.
On the fifteenth and last day of the New Year festival, family members carry lighted lanterns in a parade. The people march alongside friends, some of whom may be wearing a silk and bamboo-covered dragon costume.
Children can make their own lanterns with colorful construction paper. Fold an 8 ½-inch by 11-inch piece of construction paper in half lengthwise. Draw a line across the paper one inch from the top. Cut slits about an inch apart from the fold up to the line. Unfold, curve the lantern around, and staple. Attach a paper handle.
Egg Drop Soup
Egg drop soup is a traditional Chinese soup. This simple, kid-friendly version can be used as an appetizer to go with a delicious Chinese dinner—or you can just have some as a snack on a chilly day! To make it you'll need:
- 3 cups chicken broth soup
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- One-half teaspoon salt
- One-half cup frozen peas
Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan to a rapid boil. Add the salt first and slowly pour the beaten eggs, stirring with a wire whisk. Being careful to keep your child from being burned, let your child watch the egg form into shapes and flowers. Fold in the peas and heat thoroughly. Serve in small bowls.
Happy Chinese New Year!