Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Celebrate Chinese New Year's!

You can celebrate Chinese New Year's Day in simple ways.
These lanterns are so easy to make. Use a piece of paper -construction paper, oragami paper, cardstock or heavy gift wrap are good choices of approximately 8.5" x 11" in size. Fold the piece of paper in half, lengthwise, making sure you line up all the edges. If your paper has a 'right' and 'wrong' side, you will want to make sure the wrong side (the side that will be on the inside of your lantern) facing out at this point. Draw a line along the open, long edge, of the paper, about 3/4" of an inch from the edge. Now, take your scissors and, starting at the folded edge, cut a strip from the folded edge up to the line you drew. Make the first strip about 3/4" away from one of the short edges and continue to cut several strips along the piece of paper. Once all your strips are cut, you should unfold your piece of paper and refold it lenghthwise so the pencil mark will be hidden on the inside. If desired, you can now color or embellish the outside of the lantern. To assemble the lantern simply roll the paper into a tube shape as shown in the photo above and staple or tape the edges together.
The handle is made from a strip about 3/4 " x 6-7 ". Attach the handle by taping or stapling the ends of the strip of the paper just inside the top of the lantern. Your completed lanterns can be hung up or set on a table for decoration. These lanterns are only for decorative purposes and should not be used near open flames such as candles.

We usually buy Chinese take-out so that we can have a relaxed day, but it also might be nice to spend the evening preparing some Chinese dishes with your kids.
Orange Chicken
Chicken and Mixed Vegetables
Chinese Fried Rice
Also, using chopsticks can be fun to do. We really like these beginner chopsticks until they get the hang of it. Kids can learn it alot faster than adults and it is great fine motor practice!
We have found the activities in this book to be fun, simple and educational.
They can be used with a wide-range of children.

Click to play
These felt fortune cookie instructions  are easy because they don't require sewing. To make lasting and reusable felt fortune cookies, trace around a drinking glass to make the circles. Put glue on about an inch of one side of the felt, so that you have a half circle glued together at the top with both ends open. You could use a clothes pin to hold it until the glue dries, but I just stuck them under the edge of the bowl that holds fruit on my table. Once the glue was dry, I folded the half into a quarter, but this time I only put a drop of glue on the fold, so that the ends were free. I stuck them back under the bowl to dry. Meanwhile, I went online and found some Chinese characters.

 My daughter had fun putting two characters together to make short little fortunes like "Good Morning" or "Happy Home." Once the glue was dry, the fortunes were folded and inserted in one end of the felt cookie.
When the fortune cookies were given out, I provided them with an answer key so they could figure out what their fortunes said.

Traditionally the Chinese celebrate the New Year for fifteen days. The fiftheenth day (today) is the Lantern Festival. There is a full moon in the sky; the first one of the New Year. All lover the streets and squares of towns and villages people hang colorful paper lanterns . Since the markets are held late into the night, the lanterns are lit. During the whole New Year celebration families display a variety of fruits and treats for visitors and a candy box servs as a centerpiece. The traditional candy box is made of wood and is round to symbolize family unity. Some, however, are six-sided because the Chinese believe that 6 is a lucky number. We made seven, each family member making one and made a traditonal display by combining the 7 boxes to form a flower.
Click to play Lantern Festival
One year we ordered this packet, which was a lot of fun and was educational. We used some of the items for decorations that year.
 The red envelope held real modern Chinese Money. Their dollar is worth about 15 American cents.
 The red scarf worn by school children in China...
lots of decorations...
including a small cloth Chinese flag...
It has many more items. It was a great start for our celebration of Chinese New Year next week.
Go here to order this China Kit.

Journey Into Unschooling has a great tutorial on how to make this great Chinese Pinwheel.


  1. I love the felt cookies - what a great idea!

  2. GREAT ideas! Thanks for sharing!


  3. I love your felt cookies! I keep meaning to make paper lanterns like that with my kids - thanks for the reminder!

  4. I love the felt cookies idea! I am kind of divided whether to celebrate Chinese New Year this year or not - my parents are here, and I don't want to interrupt daughter's unstructured play with any educational activities. Maybe we will reuse some of your great ideas next year.

  5. This is so neat to see a family celebrate this. We had been planning to head to a Korean adoption yahoo group get together but due to my situation, we are staying home.

    You have some very lovely plans here. Good job!

  6. So fun! We'll be heading to Chinatown for a big festival, can't wait -- we've never gone to it.


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