It’s the Year of the GOAT, mamas! Our friends The Party Elves have come up with a few ideas to keep the little ones happy at Chinese New Year once they are baaa-kwah-ed out!
Chinese Zodiac Game
Print off some Chinese Zodiac Game Cards and you can play a few different games with the one set. You can also buy them from any neighbourhood toy store (in which case you will need at least two sets), or look for them online. We used these.
1. Play “Find Your Partner”
Pin one of each pair of cards to each child’s back and send them off to find their partner – but they must first figure out who they are by asking questions that can only be answered by ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.
2. Treasure Hunt or “Match Me”
A simple way to play is to see who can find the most cards. To make the game harder, print out both sets of cards: give one colour to the guest and tell them to hunt for the matching card in the other colour.
Games with chopsticks
1. Chopsticks race
Participants have to use the chopsticks to pick up a range of things, from plums and nuts to grains of rice. Play it in the style of an egg and spoon race – i.e. they have to pick up the item and run to the finish line without dropping it.
2. Chopsticks relay
If you have lots of guests put them into teams, arrange the teams on one end of the room with a basket of things to pick up and an empty basket on the other end. Each team member than takes a turn to pick up an item with their chopsticks, and runs to the basket to drop them in and runs back to give their team members a turn. The team that gets all their items in the basket first wins.
3. Pick-up sticks
A great game for the smaller ones that also helps develop fine motor skills! Get lots of cheap chopsticks in different colours/designs and play pick-up sticks in matching colours or designs. You could also use the chopsticks to play a match game like we explained with the zodiac cards.
If you are expecting a slew of families at different times of the day, putting out a selection of arts & crafts things for the children to get creative with while their parents mingle might be a better idea to keep them occupied.
Dragon or Goat masks
These are the easiest to organise. All you need is to find a printable drawing of a dragon or a goat (The Party Elves have kindly helped with a link to that!):
1. Print off a few (or 50 depending on how many kids you think will come).
2. Attach ribbons or rubber bands to each side. If that’s way too much work, just use a popsicle stick or disposable chopstick on the bottom).
3. Put out some paint, coloured markers, pencils etc and leave them to it.
If it looks like that activity is too easy for the older kids, challenge them to put on a show with their decorated masks – and voila! You’ve even got the entertainment sorted.
Paper plate drums
These are quick and easy to do, and can be as elaborate or as simple as the children want:
1. Tape/glue a wooden chopstick to a paper plate. Then tape/glue that paper plate to another one so they look like a pod. (You can use hot glue, but that would require an adult to be present.)
2. Punch a hole on each side. Cut ribbon/string so that it goes slightly past the center point & tie on. Tie a bead on at the end of each ribbon.
3. Put out red paper, paint, glitter and an assortment of markers etc and they can create any design they desire.
Don’t forget to make a sample one to display so they know what they can make!
Cherry blossoms are so pretty, and it makes such a fun group craft that the children could contribute to over the course of the day or two. Plus at the end you have a lovely piece of family art!
1. Get some black paint and draw black or brown branches on a large sheet of paper.
2. Set out pink, red, orange and yellow ribbons, crepe paper, tissue, pom poms, felt, buttons, bottle caps, sequins, basically anything that can be used to create floral designs.
Another idea would be to use the bottom of soft drink bottles and coloured sand (of sand art fame) or paint to resemble a flower.
1. Wet the base with a little water, dip into the sand, and print on the paper near the branches that you drew.
2. Make a few as an example, do up a little sign asking your guests to contribute to the flowering art work, and leave them to it!