Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chinese New Year

The New Year is just about to's a good time to introduce the kids to the Chinese New Year which really isn't about to happen for a couple more weeks but it's a good time to explain to the little ones about how in western and eastern countries observe different new years.

We started off the day by Tie Dying which has nothing to do with the Chinese New Year which will be another post. We spent this whole afternoon reading about Chinese New Year, Chinese Culture, Picking up Fireworks, and Eating Yummy Chinese Fried Rice for dinner.
Book Time
Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn (This is one of my favorite books-the message at the end of the book is very powerful!)
Sam can hardly wait to go shopping with his mom. It's Chinese New Year's day and his grandparents have given him the traditional gift of lucky money–red envelopes called leisees (lay-sees). This year Sam is finally old enough to spend it any way he chooses. Best of all, he gets to spend his lucky money in his favorite place — Chinatown! But when Sam realizes that his grandparents' gift is not enough to get the things he wants, his excitement turns to disappointment. Even though his mother reminds him that he should appreciate the gift, Sam is not convinced — until a surprise encounter with a stranger. With vivid watercolor paintings, artists Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu celebrate the sights and sounds of festive Chinatown streets. In her picture book debut, author Karen Chinn tells the affecting story of a child who discovers that sometimes the best gifts come from the heart.
Notes: I read this book to the kids tonight in hopes of introduced them to the Chinese New Year and about the importance of giving. I'm happy to report that the kids got the message, learned about giving and appreciation, as well as were introduced to Asian culture.
Ms. Frizzle's Adventures-Imperial China
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5–Ms. Frizzle is off to Imperial China in this spin-off series in which she travels through time to bygone cultures. During a Chinese New Year's celebration, the teacher; a Chinese-American student, Wanda; Wanda's older brother Henry; and the ever-reluctant Arnold travel back in time 1000 years and arrive in a farmers' village. While there, they learn to grow rice, eat with chopsticks, and make silk. Ms. Frizzle is as curious and irrepressible as ever as she and her students travel north by barge, cart, and foot to the Great Wall and finally to the capital city. The endnotes explain which aspects of the story are historically accurate and where the author and illustrator have taken small liberties. The cartoon illustrations, done in a mix of pen and ink, watercolor, and colored pencil and gouache, continue the frenetic, zany humor of the Magic School Bus series. Small panels on each page highlight facts about Imperial China, such as items first invented in China, how to bow, and the basics of writing. Like previous books featuring Ms. Frizzle, this one is destined to find an avid audience and may spark interest in Chinese culture.–Suzanne Myers Harold, Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR

Notes: My boys are huge Magic School Bus fans, we came across this new series last year. We were so excited when we located the book at the library. I love Ms. Frizzle's new adventures books are very similar to the magic school bus books instead of a bus changing its a watch that send her back into time travel. The book does a great job talking about Chinese New Year and her travels thru ancient China.

Cooking Time

Fried Rice
2 TBPS oil or butter
3 cups of cooked cold rice
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 c. frozen peas and carrots
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 eggs
1 cup of diced ham
1 tablespoon butter in skillet or wok
Scramble eggs in butter, breaking up the cooked eggs into small pieces.
Set aside.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in skillet or wok.
Saute onions and/or green peppers in butter for 3 minutes.
Combine eggs, onions, rice, and meat.
Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil until color of rice is uniform.
Stir in carrots and peas.

Eating Time

Everyone at the dinner table enjoyed the dinner. A kid friendly and super easy dinner to make that only required one dish to get dirty. The kids really wanted to eat dinner with chop sticks but we weren't able to find any at the store next year I will plan ahead a little bit better and pick some up at the Chinese restaurant in town.

Dessert Time

A fortune cookie is a crisp Asian American cookie usually made from flour, sugar, vanilla, and oil with a "fortune" wrapped inside. A "fortune" is a piece of paper with words of faux wisdom or a vague prophecy.

The evening ended with the kids opening up their fortune cookies. Landon pulled out his slip of paper and was confused by what it meant. The fortune stated he would succeed. He was so mad because he didn't know what that word meant...once I explained that the word succeed meant a good thing it meant he would accomplish what ever he set out to accomplish.

Leah really struggled to get her fortune cookie to open up. As you can see she had to really work at it. Her fortune said that she would make a name for her self but I wasn't surprised. Leah always makes a huge impression on people. I'm not sure it's aways in a good way.

I ended up learning just as much as the kids about the Chinese New Year...Look'n to do something different with the kids. Pick a culture, grab some books, and make some ethic food. Turns into a fun learning experience and the kids don't even realize you're trying to teach them something.

p.s. the boys decided at the last moment that they want to make their own great wall of china out of paper. If they decided to make it...I will post pictures later.

Also, when Logan gets older he wants to travel to China to see the great wall.

We will be setting off the fireworks on New Years Eve!

1 comment:

tomlewilsoner said...

Do you like 'Fried Rice', its Chinese name is 'dan chao fan'. Why not try to know more about Chinese culture and history by learn Chinese on I Love Chinese Magazine. Read some Chinese culture stories, communicate with Chinese people to learn Chinese online