Chinese New Year

Celebrate the Year of the Horse at the Bay Area Discovery Museum Today!

February 17, 2014

Dragon and Golden Gate BridgeGung hay fat choy! Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum opens on a Monday (something that happens rarely) for its annual Chinese New Year Festival. The festivities take place today, February 17 (Presidents' Day) from 9 am to 5 pm. At the this celebration of the Year of the Horse, the whole family can find something to do. Try your hand at traditional Chinese calligraphy, construct a kite, see a vibrant performance by the Chinese Performing Arts of America Youth Group, dine on delicious Chinese food, or make your own sweet wonton (they’ll even cook them for you).

You can also learn about the Chinese zodiac and enjoy an exciting performance by the Dragon Horse Lion Dance Team (10 am) and the lion dancers of the Marin Chinese Cultural Group (2 pm). Lion dance performances take place in the museum's Festival Plaza (performances will be in the Discovery Theater if it's raining).

Paper Lantern Craft for Chinese New Year

February 1, 2014

Paper lanternsChinese New Year, the Year of the Horse, started on January 31. We always decorate the house with some Chinese New Year crafts, like these cute lanterns. They're easy and fun to make, and make great playdate, school, or scout group activities. They'll also be perfect to have on hand while you watch the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade on February 15.

Here's what you'll need to make your paper lanterns:

  • Construction or other heavy colored paper (red is a traditional color for Chinese New Year)
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Tape
  • A stapler
  • Glue, glitter, stickers, markers, paint, sequins, and other things to decorate your lantern

Wonton Party for Chinese New Year

January 31, 2014

Fried wontonsToday marks the beginning of the celebrations for Chinese New Year: the Year of the Horse. It's a tradition in our house to make wontons, as dumplings are traditionally associated with the holiday. Wontons are easy to make, tasty, kid-friendly, and you can get everything you need at your local grocery store. Furthermore, they're something children can help make with minimal effort, and they even have a lot of fun folding the things.

So, pick up a pack of pre-made wonton wrappers and other ingredients and get ready to start your Chinese New Year wonton party! Our recipe is for chicken wontons, although you can use pork, shrimp, or other fillings, depending on what you like or happen to have on hand. Wontons can be prepared in a number of different ways, including steaming, boiling, frying, and can even be served in soup (our favorite).

Ingredients

The wontons

  • 1-1/4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into pieces
  • 1 package square wonton wrappers

Fun and Easy Paper Crafts for Chinese New Year

January 23, 2014

Dragon paper craftThe Chinese Lunar New Year, the Year of the Horse, starts next Friday, January 31. To kick off your celebration, create some neat Chinese New Year crafts, like these cute paper dragons and lanterns. They're easy and fun to make and perfect to decorate the house, and make great playdate, school, or scout group activities. They'll also be perfect to have on hand while you watch the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade on February 15. Have your own parade through the living room!

Paper Dragons

Here’s what you’ll need to make your dragons:

  • Gold stickers or paint (red and gold are traditional colors for Chinese New Year)
  • Crepe paper in red, yellow, or orange
  • Dragon head template (download here)
  • Heavy white paper or card stock (letter size)
  • Markers or crayons

A Book for Chinese New Year: Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts (Win a Copy!)

January 21, 2014

Lucky Bamboo Book of CraftsChinese New Year is coming up at the end of January, and it just so happens that we received a review copy of the fantastic Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts by author, illustrator, and teacher Jennifer DeCristoforo. This colorful, 136-page book is a perfect way for kids to learn about Chinese culture, and to have a lot of fun as they do it!

Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts is filled with over 100 fun projects that introduce children to Chinese culture and traditional fine arts. It includes projects relating to Chinese New Year and other festivals and holidays, Chinese folk toys and games, traditional performance and dance, and more. There are literally days' worth of projects in here to keep kids occupied, and activities range in skill level to fairly advanced (that is, Mom and Dad may have to lend a hand).

When our review copy showed up in the mail, my kids immediately claimed it and started looking through it to see what kinds of crafts they could create. They got out the scissors, stapler, glue, and construction paper and created the neat mini-lantern garland (on pages 98–99 in the book and pictured below) that we used to decorate the house.

A Book for Chinese New Year: The Year of the Horse

January 16, 2014

The Year of the HorseChinese New Year takes place this year on January 31, and one way you can get ready for the Year of the Horse is by reading Oliver Chin's Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series, The Year of the Horse (Immedium, 2014). This is the ninth book in this series by Chin, a local San Francisco writer and dad, and tells the story of the young horse Hannah, a boy named Tom, and a brave journey they undertake.

Look for cameo appearances by other animals from the Chinese Zodiac along the way!

The Year of the Horse tells a charming story and introduces kids to Chinese culture and art. It also offers message about friendship, bravery, and accomplishment. The illustrations, again by illustrator and cartoon character designer Jennifer Wood (who's done work for Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network), are delightful and infuse The Year of the Horse with a lot of appeal and charm. Both my children love the book and keep reading it over and over again.

The Year of the Horse is a great storytime choice for Chinese New Year, or any time at all, for that matter, and it's sure to become one of your favorite Chinese New Year books. Other books in Chin's Chinese zodiac series include The Year of the Snake (2013), The Year of the Dragon (2012), The Year of the Rabbit (2011), The Year of the Tiger (2010), The Year of the Ox (2009), The Year of the Rat  (2008), The Year of the Pig  (2007), and The Year of the Dog (2006).

Celebrate the Year of the Snake at the SF Zoo!

February 16, 2013

San Francisco ZooVisit the San Francisco Zoo this Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm to celebrate the Lunar New Year! Marvel at Chinese acrobatic performances, traditional Chinese lion and folk dancing, Chinese yo-yo tricks and much more. Go on a Zodiac Scavenger Hunt through the Zoo to learn fun facts about the animals found on the Chinese calendar. Everyone who completes the Zodiac Scavenger Hunt will receive a lucky red envelope with a special surprise inside.

Were you born in the Year of the Snake (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 and 2013)? Lucky you—you'll receive free Zoo admission on Sunday!
 
The Zoo's Chinese New Year festivities will be held at the Event Tent near the entrance to the Children's Zoo. Entertainment and activities are free with zoo admission.

A Book for Chinese New Year: The Year of the Dragon

January 15, 2012

The Year of the Dragon by Oliver Chin and Jennifer WoodChinese New Year takes place this year on January 23, and one way you can get ready for the Year of the Dragon is by reading Oliver Chin's new book of the same name with your kids. The Year of the Dragon: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac (36 pages, Immedium, 2012) is the seventh book in this series by Chin, a local San Francisco writer and dad, and follows the adventures of Dominic the young dragon as he meets the emperor and empress, befriends a boy named Bo, and enters a paddle boat (a literal "dragon boat") race with a crew made up of Bo and the other 11 animals from the Chinese zodiac.

The Year of the Dragon does a great job introducing kids to the dragons of Chinese lore, and offers a gentle tale of friendship, teamwork, bravery, and acceptance. The illustrations by illustrator and cartoon character designer Jennifer Wood, who's done work for Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, are colorful and dynamic and add a lot of appeal for both kids and grownups.

Celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at the Asian Art Museum

February 4, 2011

The Year of the Rabbit by Oliver ChinCome celebrate the Year of the Rabbit at San Francisco's Asian Art Museum this weekend! The museum has a full schedule of fun Chinese New Year acitivities on both Saturday and Sunday, February 5 and 6.

The museum kicks off its Lunar New Year celebration with author Oliver Chin and the colorful cast of characters from The Year of the Rabbit, the newest in his Tales from the Chinese Zodiac series. Meet Rosie the rabbit and her human friend Jai in this charming tale about their "hare-raising" adventures. After the reading, screen-print a reusable tote bag with an image from the book or make a cool button to pin on your favorite jacket. Then, hop through the galleries on a storytelling tour to hear classics like How the Years Were Named and Teardrop Dragon. Supplies are limited; one tote bag and button per person. Schedule: Reading with Oliver Chin 1–1:45 pm, hands-on activities 2–4 pm, animal zodiac stories 3–3:45 pm.

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