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Thursday, 19 January 2012

Lunar New Year Crafting

The Lunar New Year is only a few days away, and if you're like me, then you've just awakened to that fact and are looking for some kid-friendly activities. Or maybe it doesn't make a difference to you one way or another. We happen to live in a neighbourhood that includes a significant Chinese and Vietnamese contingent. In other words, there's lots of talk about the upcoming celebrations in my oldest's kindergarten class.

In fact, recently my little guy eagerly asked if we could do something to celebrate the Lunar New Year. I almost fell off my chair. A year ago, if I asked him if he'd like to celebrate some occasion, he'd look at me suspiciously and adamantly refuse all participation. (It didn't matter what the occasion was --it could've been a Thomas the Tank Engine circus-themed monster truck candy party-- he'd certainly say no.)

So, when he initiated a marking of the New Year, my mind immediately went to work trying to figure out how we could adopt some low-impact aspects. Some traditional activities I've opted to NOT do are lots of cooking and cleaning. Oh, I'm also choosing to not festoon the house with symbolic live plants. Or artificial ones for that matter. (I've shared what happens to Christmas trees here; it's basically the same for house plants.)

I did find, however, some idiot-proof construction paper Chinese lanterns on a crafting website. These are my kind of craft: at-hand materials, a minimum of steps, fully recyclable, and no essential preparation. I made two lanterns with three of my boys present in that late-morning time between peaceful play-time and lunch (you know, the period that starts around 10:30 a.m. and ends when the food reaches their stomachs?).

Now, before you react to my supposed ingenuity, organizational prowess and child-management skills, please note that it states "I" made two lanterns. Hmmmm. Yes. The picture becomes clearer: an infant screaming alternately in his high chair and in his play pen; a toddler defiantly wadding up construction paper and throwing crayons on the floor; and a four-and-a-half year-old waving a pair of safety scissors and whining, "Mawwwwmeeee, it's too haaaaard!" Ah, yes, another family-bonding moment realized thanks to the magic of creativity.

I can't decide if I'm excited or horrified-but-in-denial about our plans to shop for and make nian gao (rice cakes) tomorrow...

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