Thursday, February 5, 2015

Easy Ideas for Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids

 This Chinese New Year Celebration shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NewYearFortune #CollectiveBias

Xīnnián kuàilè, or "Happy New Year", is one of the few things I remember from my Mandarin classes way back in college. I didn't have a chance to visit Beijing until the Summer months, so I never had a reason to use this popular New Year greeting. 

With Chinese New Year fast approaching (February 19th this year), it is the perfect chance to share some of the Chinese New Year fun with my children as we get set to welcome in the year of the sheep. It is an easy event for entertaining where guests wish each other "good fortune" for the coming year, enjoy simple foods, lion dances, and give out red envelope gifts.

This year I wanted get my older kids involved with a few simple crafts, food and a chance to learn about Chinese New Year. Here are my top 5 tips for creating your own kid-friendly celebration at home.

1. What's Your Sign? The Chinese New Year is based on a lunar calendar. a lunar calendar follows the cycles of the moon as opposed to the orbit of the Earth around the Sun. 

Each year is assigned an animal sign and the Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle. 2014 was the year of the horse, that also happens to be the sign of my birth year.

2015 is the year of the sheep. People born in this year are said to be gentle, compassionate and sincere. Entertain your guests and family by looking up everyone's birth year. Do you agree with the animal and personality traits of your friends?

Kids will love incorporating sheep into decorating for the party and learning about the Chinese Zodiac.

2. Grab a Book - I picked up an activity book that not only explained some of the customs and traditions, but also included some fun activities and word puzzles for my kids. Chinese New Year is a visually stunning occasion, so grabbing a book with photos or illustrations, or even looking up clips on Youtube of the customs will help children understand better.

3. Learn about the Lion Dance - If you are near a big city, you may even be able to go see a Lion Dance performed. It is quite a sight! Lion dancers are said to bring good luck, so we decorated out own Lion masks. 

4. Avoid the Number 4 - Displaying and eating tangerines and oranges for New Years is said to bring wealth and good luck. Just don't display them in groups of 4, that number is associated with death and therefor unlucky. 

I talked to my kids about lucky and unlucky numbers in our own culture. They love citrus, and it is always fun to add color the table with edible decorations.

5. Serve authentic Asian appetizers -  Since I wanted our time to be spent learning more about Chinese cultures and customs, I opted for fast and delicious Tai Pei® frozen appetizers. Ready in just minutes, the spring rolls and egg rolls are a traditional style and come in vegetable, chicken, pork or shrimp.

I enjoy them all, but opted for the Tai Pei® Shrimp and Pork Egg Rolls and the Mini Vegetable Spring Rolls. I love the savory filling, the crisp wrapper and that each comes complete with dipping sauce.

Okay, I enjoy these all year-round, but they were perfect for our Chinese New Year celebration! Finger-friendly, simple dishes are popular and these are perfect for my hungry crew or a crowd.

Baked as needed, you can make a few, or all of them. There is Tai Pei® Good Fortune in Every Box™

Be sure to get your Red Envelope under the Chinese New Year tab on the Tai Pei® Facebook page. There you can find a red envelope with a Tai Pei® product coupon. Also check your local paper on 2/8 for another chance to pick up a special Tai Pei® coupon.

I picked up my Tai Pei® frozen appetizers in the frozen case at Walmart. I also picked up up all the craft supplies I needed for the kids and our learning fun.

Looking for more kid-friendly fun? Here is a simple lantern craft perfect for making with your kids. Grab red or yellow card stock, or construction paper, scissors and a stapler.

Easy Lantern Decorations

  1. Cut a 1" strip off the top of the paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half
  3. Start an 1" inside the paper, cut down the folded side of the paper and stop about 1" from the edge.
  4. Open up the paper (the slits should be on the inside) and wrap around to create a cylinder.
  5. Use a stapler to secure the top, bottom and the 1" strop to the top to be used as a handle.
  6. Decorate your party with these easy lanterns for Chinese New Year.

Will you be celebrating Chinese New Year with your family this year? Which Tai Pei® frozen appetizer would you like to try?

Pin It