Sunday, January 26, 2014

Learning about: Chinese New Year 1

Moira has been anxiously awaiting our unit about China. We decided it would be the most fun to line that get together up with Lunar New Year, for added, extra excitement.

Moira and the lion
We are lucky to live near the Wing Luke museum, so we took a bus to the International District and spent the morning there. Moira was excited to see that they had their dragon and lion puppets out in the lobby. Sadly, the children's section was closed so they could set up the exhibit on New Year celebrations in different cultures, but we are planning to learn about the Thai New Year later this year, so we will go back.

Finding footprints
New since the last time we were there was this scavenger hunt to find all the footprints for the Chinese zodiac animals which lead a trail to the children's section. Moira even found the extra animal (cat) hidden in the gift shop.

Story papers
This is my favorite thing at the Wing Luke. Each of those papers is an immigrant story. It looks like birds from the lobby, and when you are standing under them it's magical.
After we were done at the museum, we went out for dim sum, where both my kids decided that they suddenly like calamari. I'm sure it was a one off experience, but I'm sad that that means Walker and I might have to start sharing ours. We also grabbed some bubble tea before heading home.

To do list
Moira has been really interested in Chinese culture for a couple of years now, so she had a lot of ideas for things she wanted to do for the New Year's party. We started this list so that we wouldn't forget anything. Fortunately, we have a lot of good Asian supermarkets near us, so we went to (what in my head) is the ORIGINAL Seattle one, Uwajimaya where we were able to collect the lanterns, Tray of Togetherness, and red envelopes. We also got a little box of rice candies. Moira bought her own pack of Hello Kitty red envelopes so she could give them to her extra special friends.

Sweeping bad luck out
There were times when we were cranky and out of sorts, and Moira would return to the list to see what kind of activity we could do. I had to walk away from them sweeping the bad luck out of the house because they kept fighting over the three brooms, with both kids wanting to use both big ones, the small one was too small. They seemed to feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards which was nice.

Practicing Mandarin characters
On Moira's request, I bought some red banner paper and an ink stone set. She wanted to write her own spring couplets to hang outside our door. We looked online to find characters for each of the words, and I write them on the banners. I hope no one who actually reads Mandarin ever looks at them because I'm sure it ended up being gibberish. But, she was super proud, as she should be.

Ink painting
The two couplets we hung up were, "When the spring falls spring couplets are hung to welcome the new year in," and "When the summer blooms children get to play outside after dinner."
She enjoyed the inkstone, especially that the tint of the ink depends so much on how long you rub. I got some rice paper to paint on and she was interested in why it was so thin compared to the paper she's used to.

Part 2, part 3 coming soon.

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