Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chinese New Year Recaps + A freebie

In my last post, I talked about my first Chinese New Year holiday without my family, living in China, and how we celebrated this awesome holiday at the international school I teach at.  Today I will share some of the crafts and activities we did to celebrate CNY.

In our ECC lobby, each student decorated a paper plate to add to our dragon body.  I love how it turned out.  Our principal and her husband (an art teacher) created and designed the head.  We got this idea from this site.
 We punched a hole at the top of the paper plates and used a paper clip to attach the plate to a wire string hanging on the ceiling.
I gave my students a bunch of different materials to decorate.  They could use markers, crayons, feathers, glitter, stickers, pipe cleaners, etc.  I let them use both glue and tape since the tape could hold the bulkier things down.

Since it is the Year of the Horse, we made CNY horse signs to hang up by our door.  The Chinese like to surround their door with good luck and well wish signs for the new year.  This always reminds me of the Bible account where people would paint their doors with blood during the Passover.
This craft was simple.  You can download the horse templates {here}.  Print the big octagon on red paper and the small octagon on white paper.  Add yarn or ribbon with some beads (I used yellow and red to match the Chinese color schemes) and glitter.  The Chinese character above the horse is called "ma" in Mandarin.

Another day we made a famous Chinese snack in our city and many others called Tanghulu.  Tanghulu are sugar candied fruits on bamboo skewers.  The most famous fruit the Chinese use are hawthorns.  But you can also use small oranges, strawberries, or kiwis.
Hawthorn berries are very tart and sour.  The candied sugar coating helps sweeten the fruit.  When biting into the Tanghulu,  sometimes the hawthorn is still sour causing your face to squish up.

Here's how to make this easy, yummy treat. First get 1 part sugar and 1 part water (I believe the TAs used about 1 cup of each ingredient) and let it sit and boil in the pan.  DO NOT STIR the mixture.  The mixture bubble up.  I think we waited about 10-15 minutes.
As you are letting it boil, start skewering the fruit.
 Then dip the skewered fruit into the pan and let the sugar harden.  The sugar should be hard like a lollipop.  It might take another 10 minutes to completely dry.  Use a Styrofoam ball or vase to stick the skewers in or the sugar will get stuck on the plates.
Tanghulu is typically sold on the streets as a snack.

Another famous Chinese snack we made were homemade dumplings or in Chinese it is called Gyoza.  Our kitchen staff made the meat filling and dumpling dough.  Then we had one of our ayi's (school helper) teach us how to roll, fill, and wrap a dumpling.  It is a lot harder than it looks.  
Here's a YouTube to show you how to do it.

Here are some pictures of my kindergarteners folding their own dumplings.  We boiled them and ate them when we were finished make them!

Link back and let me know if you tried making Tanghulu or dumplings at home or in school!  Many of my students (including some Chinese students) never had this before until we made it. 

I linked up with TBA's Freebie Friday!

Freebie Fridays


  1. Yummy! That tanghulu looks so pretty and delicious!

    1. It was! A little tangy though but I want to try using strawberries and tangerines next time.

  2. What are you using to cook the dumplings in? Is that a rice cooker?

    Diary of a Second Grade Teacher

    1. Yes, it's our school's large rice cooker that we cooked our dumplings in. We also used a regular pot to boil them in too.


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