The 2013 Lunar New Year begins on Feb. 10, and this year is the Year of the Snake. For a library program, you can include both books and activities on the traditions of Lunar New Year, Chinese Culture, and snakes. Here are some ideas:
Crafts: I think paper lanterns are the easiest craft – even a preschooler can do this. Here are instructions: http://www.jellyfishjelly.com/?p=766
For older kids, make these lanterns using eight red envelopes: http://www.squidoo.com/Chinese-New-Year-DIY-Lantern
You can also make snakes our of clay, or snakes made from paper chains: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mpaper-chain-snake.htm
Make a snake from a paper plate: http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mspiralsnake.htm
Games: Chopsticks Game: This is a relay race, where the child transfers something from one bowl, across the room, to another bowl, holding the object with chopsticks. The object can be a marshmallow, feather, piece of candy, etc. Here are the instructions: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/the_chopsticks_game.htm
Tiu-u (Fishing): This is very similar to dominoes; plus, you make the dominoes out of popsicle sticks. See the instructions here: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/tiu-u.htm
Chin, Oliver. The Year of the Snake.
Compestine, Ying. The Runaway Wok.
Lin, Grace. Bringing in the New Year.
Schaefer, Carole L. Dragon Dancing.
Yen, Clara. Why Rat Comes First.
Yu, Li-Qiong. A New Year’s Reunion.
Science Activities: For your science area, focus on snakes. You may be able to “borrow” a snake from a local pet store or nature center. Other snake science activities can include a computer set to the Natural Geographic for Kids site: http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/ .
Refreshments: Simple Mandarin oranges or Clementines are great. Almond cookies are also traditional; Fortune Cookies are not (they originated in the U.S.).
Useful Websites: Enchanted Learning crafts: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/chinesenewyear/ Activity Village: http://www.activityvillage.co.uk/chinese_new_year_crafts.htm DLTK: http://dltk-holidays.com/china/index.htm