Chinese New Year’s Crafts for Kids, Preschoolers and Toddlers

Yup, Chinese New Year is upon us, and I thought “Hey, this year, we’ll make a big deal and teach the boys to appreciate the Chinese culture.”  Then I learned it was on Valentine’s Day, and my mom said, “We’ll still do Chinese New Year; we have some great recipes and the color is red.”  Then we looked on the calendar and learned it was on a Sunday, which is the day my grandma cooks.  Yup, there’s no way she’ll do a Chinese celebration.  Catholic holidays come first.  But that doesn’t mean we aren’t doing crafts to get ready.

The rice painting and chopstick decorating are great for all ages.  They are simple and easy.  I even did rice painting with Tornado S back when he was a year and half.  Simple.  But the fortune cookie and dumpling crafts are harder.  They are not suitable for toddlers, and if you have old partially-dried glue (not that I would loose the cap and let the glue sit capless for months), your preschooler will hate these crafts.

Remember the ability of the child will determine how much the adult will or will not do.

Rice Painting

(I can’t remember what site suggested that I sprinkle rice on the paint for a “sparkle” look, but I tried it any ways.  It didn’t sparkle, but it gave a new texture that the boys LOVED.  Keep the excess rice; I have an idea!) 

Things you need:

  •       Smock
  •       Paper
  •       Paint
  •       Paint brushes
  •       Paper plate or pie tin
  •       Rice

Put the child in the smock.  Place the paint on the plate or in the tin.  Put down the paper.  Have the child paint.  When the child is done painting but the paint has not dried, let the child sprinkle rice on the wet paint.  When the paper is dry, tap off excess rice.

As for the excess partially or fully painted rice, it works well in a sand art.  Just have the child glue a pattern and then sprinkle the dried painted rice on the wet glue.

Decorated Chopsticks

(We did this when I worked with the Girl Scouts.  For the girls, they had a choice of decorating the chopsticks for hair accessories, which they could paint all the way down to the end, or chopsticks, which they could only paint half way down.  My boys are sword fighting with them.  Markers just wouldn’t do; so we HAD to use paint.  Because the boys are young, I didn’t break the sticks apart until after they were done decorating.  Older kids can decorate with them split.)

Things you need:

  •       Wooden chopsticks (you can get them at the grocery store or grab them at a Chinese restaurant)
  •       Markers or paint
  •       (if your using paint) smock, paint brush, dish for paint

Give the child the chopsticks.  Depending on the child’s ability, break them before or after the decorating.  Let the child decorate the sticks.  If you’re stuck for inspiration, go online and look at all the neat ones for sale.

Felt Dumplings

(Tornado S didn’t want to participate, but Tornado E did.  This craft would have worked out a lot better if I hadn’t used glue that was a little dried out.  After Tornado E was done, I tried doing the craft with a glue gun, which worked well as long as you didn’t burn your fingers in the process.  The boys are excited to add new food to their kitchen.  I got the craft here.)

Things you need:

  •      Tan felt
  •      Scissors
  •      Something to trace circles about 3” diameter (I used a can juice lid.)
  •      Marker
  •      Hot glue gun with glue or craft glue

Trace circles on to the felt.  Cut out the felt, keeping the trimmings.  (You may want to make the trimmings smaller for easier use.)  Have the child place a small pile of trimmings in the center of the circle.  Have the child glue all around the outer edge of the circle.  Fold the dumpling.  Hold in place.  If you want to leave it that way, fine.  Or you can make the indentations.  For those of you that used craft glue, wait until the glue dries to make the indentations.  Fold slightly the dumpling on the sealed part to make the indentations.  Use a drop of glue for every fold.

Felt Fortune Cookies

(These turned out super cute.  I think they are more suitable for children older than four, but then Tornado E was still frustrated over the glue.  The boys love playing with them.  I got this craft here.  And it has pictures {Even though I take step by step pictures, I can’t figure out how to upload them to the computer.  Sigh})

Things you need:

  •      Tan felt
  •      Scissors
  •      Something to trace circles about 3”  diameter (Again I used a can juice lid.)
  •      Marker
  •      Slips of paper
  •      Pen
  •      Hot glue gun with glue or craft glue

Have the child write or draw a fortune on the paper.  Trace a circle on the felt.  Cut out the circle.  Have the child fold the circle and place the fortune inside next to the fold with the ends of the paper sticking out.  Glue along the inside of the edge without gluing the paper.  Close and hold until glue adheres.  If using craft glue, wait until the glue is dried before following the next step.  Fold the felt so that the two ends meet and the middle pops out, resembling a fortune cookie.  Place a drop of glue in the middle of the crease and hold cookie until the glue sets.

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Valentine Crafts for Kids, Preschoolers and Toddlers, Part 2

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and my blog is being slammed by people looking for Valentine crafts.  (And some of them started right after Christmas!  Who are you highly organized, far-seeing people?!  I’m not worthy of you!)  I just couldn’t do the same old crafts, so I scoured the internet, racked my brain for some interesting crafts.  Zeemaid actually sent me this cool link about making a clay pendant, but I never went to get the clay.  Mommy fail.  But I hope you enjoy the other crafts.  Keep in mind that the younger the child, the more work you need to do to help the child; while older children will be able to do more of the craft than I plan for.  My sons are two and four when they did these crafts.

If you’re looking for more Valentine’s Day Crafts, check out my other post.

Heart Lawn

(Nothing says love like grass, right?  Ok, you figure out how to grow roses from a sponge.  The boys LOVED dumping the grass seed on the sponges.  They are waiting anxiously for the grass to grow.  You can change the shape of the sponge to use any time.)

Things you need:

  • Sponge
  • Marker
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Scissors
  • Water
  • Plate
  • Grass seed
  • Plastic wrap

Use the heart-shape cookie cutter to trace a heart on the sponge.  Cut out the heart.  Wet the sponge to make it damp.  Have the child pour grass seed onto the sponge.  You can use a bowl and spoon to make it less messy.  Cover the sponge with plastic wrap.  Check every few days to make sure the sponge is wet.  As soon as you see grass poking out, remove the plastic wrap.  In about two weeks, you should have a little grass lawn.

Sewing Heart Magnets

( I modified a craft I did in Girl Scouts all those years ago to make it easier on the boys.  And a tad less feminine.  That’s really the problem with a lot of Valentine crafts.  The boys enjoyed “sewing,” and Tornado E creatively made more of a net instead of going around the heart.  It turned out great, so let your child experiment.  I used a four inch cookie cutter.)

Things you need:

  • Red craft foam
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Ribbon ( we used white)
  • Tape
  • Magnet
  • Glue

You can buy pre-cut foam craft hearts, or you can make your own.  Trace a heart-shaped cookie cutter on the read foam.  Cut out the heart.  Hole punch around the heart.  For younger kids, make fewer holes.  Cut the piece of ribbon to two to three feet.  Tape the end to make it a needle, making it easier for younger children to sew with it.  Tape the other end on the back of the heart.  Have the child sew in and out of the holes.  (My son is two, and I held the heart so he could put it in the hole; then I turned it over, and he pulled the ribbon tight.)  After the child is done sewing, tape the end to the back.  For older children you can have the ends meet in the front in a bow.  Glue a magnet on the back.

3-D Heart Flowers

(I modified a Martha Stewart craft for this one.  I hope she doesn’t mind.  The boys thought it was really fun.  If you would like, have the child decorate the hearts before making the flower.)

Things you need:

  • Red, pink or white construction paper
  • Heart-shaped cookie cutter
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Pony bead
  • Pipe cleaner

Trace the heart-shaped cookie cutter on the construction paper, making four to six hearts.  Cut out the hearts.  Hole punch the hearts at the tip of the heart.  Have the child thread the pony bead onto the pipe cleaner, leaving about an inch of pipe cleaner above the bead.  Bend the pipe cleaner down and twist, securing the bead at the top of the pipe cleaner.  Have the child thread the hearts (how many the child wants) onto the pipe cleaner to the top under the pony bead.  Knot the pipe cleaner underneath the hearts.  Have the child spread the hearts to form a flower.

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