Zodiac animals explanation

There are 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and one animal represents each year and then it repeats the 12 again. Families on Chinese New Year have a special meal, have fireworks and children receive money in lucky red envelopes. The Lion dance is a form of traditional dance in Chinese culture, in which performers mimic a lion's movements in a lion costume.
To make a Chinese lantern take a piece of a4 coloured paper and cut out a strip of the paper to make a handle.
Cut slits in the paper all along the folded edge but leaving a gap at the top of the paper, and in between each slit.
Once you have cut the slits unfold the paper and roll it into a tube, cellotape or glue into place.
To make a garland, make lots of different coloured lanterns and then thread the string through each handle. For a fun game to play this chinese new year, provide the children or adults with a bowl each and a pair of chopsticks.
To make a beautiful fan, take a piece of paper and show the children images of chinese drawings or writings. Once it has dry, if needed, concertina the paper, folding it into strips backwards and forwards until you have reached the end. Fold down the last top triangle but do not tick it down til you have put in sweets or money inside. To make the envelope more colourful the children could decorate it before folding and sticking. Take a straw and place a blob of watered down paint on a piece of paper, whatever colour you wish. Using silver foil and tissue paper, tear up strips, roll up balls and layer the tissue and foil to make the fireworks. Either cut out one large yellow star out of yellow paper or paint it on to the flag into the top left corner.

Cut out or paint four more smaller yellow stars around the large star as shown in the picture. Ask the children to make a tree using the brown strips and glue them down on to a piece of paper. Scrunch up little pieces of pink tissue paper to make blossom and stick them down on to the bare tree. 1 small paper plate, 1 large paper plate, brown paint or red,yellow and blue paint mixed together , paint brush, black tissue paper, scissors, dark coloured paper, light brown coloured paper, string or wool.
Fun activities to play after could be playing on horse see saws, rocking horses, pretending to be horses and holding your own horse show jump obstacle course. Stick on the eyes and tongue using glue, it is best to put your hand inside the sock puppet whilst sticking so you can see where to place the eyes and tongue. Continue to link up all the strips of paper until you are happy with the length of the snake. Take the last strip and turn it to the side and thread it through the side of the last link and stick it in place.
Ask the child to draw on eyes on to the head, and then cut out a fork shaped tongue and stick it on to the bottom of the head.
As it is the year of the snake a great literacy activity is to introduce the letter S for Snake. A great fun activity could be as simple as pretending to be slithery snakes along the floor and hissing the sound of a snake. There is the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and boar (pig). The lion dance is operated by two people and the performers' faces are covered, since they are inside the lion. Ask them to imitate what they see on the images on their piece of paper using crayons, pencils or paint.
To make the fireworks look even more effective use a piece of cotton wool or your finger to smudge the chalk to make it look misty and smoky.

Mix together red, blue and yellow paint to make brown, our kids loved to mix the paint together themselves to see the change. Cut out a rectangle from the black tissue paper and cut some slits into it to make a fringe.
Cut out two ears for the horse from the light brown paper and stick them down on to the mask.
It is also known as the spring festival and the start of new life and the season of sowing and ploughing. Below is a picture of the lion head me and my daughter have made and we pretended to dance around like a lion and scare daddy J We used a nappy box as she could use the handles on the flaps of the box to hold it over her head. Ask the children to pick up the objects with the chopsticks (they may need some help) and the first one to place all their objects in their bowl wins. Move the straw in different directions as you blow to make the paint move in different ways.
Spread glue on the back and stick down on to the piece of A4 paper, make sure to leave space around the picture for the horses features. You could practice the phonic sound for S and practice writing the letter S or the whole word snake, by writing out the S or the word Snake using a highlighter and asking the children to trace over it. We cut out pieces of coloured paper and stuck them on to the box with glue and cut out two holes so she could see wear she was going trying to match wear their own eyes are. To make a Catherine wheel on the paper draw on a blob of chalk then using a finger in a circular movement smudge the chalk.

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