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Chinese New Year Recipes, Crafts and Activities

Chinese New Year is the most revered holiday in China and is also celebrated in many other regions within East Asia. Also called Spring Festival or Lunar New Year, this festival spans 15 days. Families celebrate with food, gifts, activities and family get-togethers. To celebrate Chinese New Year in your home, here are recipes, crafts and activities that both kids and adults will enjoy!

SPECIAL CHINESE NEW YEAR RECIPES (4-6 servings each)

Recipes and photos republished with permission by Allison “Aixin” Branscombe, author of All About China: Stories, Crafts and More for Kids. Read Bicultural Mama’s review of this book HERE.


Long Life Noodles

 Kid-Friendly Long Life Noodles


Ingredients

  • 1 lb. fresh Asian-style long life noodles, either rice or wheat
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely diagonally sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter added in Step 2 (optional)

Directions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions, without oil and salt. Rinse with cold water, drain and set aside.
  2. Combine all remaining ingredients except green onions in a small bowl. Stir until mixed.
  3. Add mixture to noodles while gently stirring.
  4. Sprinkle green onions on top of noodles and serve either hot or cold.

Soy and Ginger Chicken

Soy Sauce and Ginger Chicken


Ingredients

  • 1 large whole chicken
  • 8 large cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tablespoons peeled, sliced fresh ginger plus 1 teaspoon peeled and diced fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili oil, to taste
  • Green onions or cilantro for garnish

Directions

  1. Boil 5 quarts of water in large pot with 5 cloves of garlic and sliced ginger.
  2. Put the whole chicken in the water, return to boil and simmer for 1 hour.
  3. Drain, cool, remove skin (optional) and cut chicken into pieces.
  4. Finely crush the remaining garlic and diced ginger. Add soy sauce, vinegar and chili oil to form a marinade.
  5. Toss the chicken pieces in the marinade and keep in refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.

Almond Jello

Auntie Lili’s Festive Almond or Mango Jello


Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons Knox unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 5 cups milk
  • Mangos or mandarin orange slices for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Mix the gelatin into 1 cup of cold water.
  2. Boil the sugar in 3 cups of water until it dissolves, then pour it into the gelatin mixture.
  3. Add the almond extract and milk. Stir well.*
  4. Pour the mixture into serving size bowls or a jello mold.
    Refrigerate overnight.
  5. Serve with sliced mangoes or mandarin oranges if using.

* To make mango jello, add 2 cups of pureed mango before Step 4.

Serving Suggestion: The center of the plate contains the mango jello with almond jello surrounding it. A small cupcake baking pan can be used as a mold for the almond jello.


CRAFTS AND ACTIVITIES

Red Envelope

 

Lucky Red Envelope

Reprinted with permission by Jennifer DeCristoforo, author of Lucky Bamboo Book of Crafts. Read Bicultural Mama’s review of the book HERE.

Jennifer DeCristoforo writes, “Giving lucky money (hong bao or lai see) is a Chinese traditional custom. When the lunar new year is coming and especially on New Year’s eve, elder generations always give lucky money to young children expressing their best wishes to them. Symbols of wealth and luck are often on the outside.”

Customs for Red Envelopes: Use crisp new bills when giving money, offer with both hands, receive with gratitude and don’t open in front of the giver, and young children are usually given less money than older children and teens.

Materials:

  • Glue stick
  • Scissors
  • Copier machine
  • Red bond paper 8.5 x 11”

Instructions:

  1. Copy black and white template as pictured below on to red bond paper (you can reduce the size and do two per page if necessary).
  2. Cut out contour of envelope.
  3. Fold crease at the center and on the dotted lines by the flaps. The design should be on the outside.
  4. Fold in the panel and glue down the side flap, then bottom flap to form envelope. Don’t forget to leave the top flap open to insert gift money before sealing.

Bonus: Find a free printable for the Year of the Goat at www.luckybamboocrafts.com.

CNY activity book

Chinese New Year Activity Book

The Chinese New Year Activity Book [Penguin Group] by Karl Jones is a great way to not only teach children about this important cultural holiday, but also to keep them busy for hours.It’s chocked full of information about the holiday, explaining the traditions alongside beautiful illustrations. 

Kids can have fun with games and mazes, create indoor “fireworks” and pinwheels, and cook up steamed Chinese dumplings with an easy to follow recipe. Press-out lion and dragon masks and lion dance pieces make the holiday come to life. The book also includes two full pages of Chinese New Year stickers for kids to decorate their crafts.

To purchase, please visit Amazon.com. Paperback $8.99.

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Chinese New Year | Multicultural Kid Blogs
This post is part of the Chinese New Year series and giveaway on Multicultural Kid Blogs. Enter our giveaway to win one of these great prize packages, and don’t forget to link up your own posts about Chinese New Year on our main page!

Giveaway begins Jan. 21 and goes through midnight ET on March 5, 2015. Enter below for a chance to win! Remember you can make a comment on the blog post of a different co-host each day for an additional entry.

First Prize Package

All About China
From Tuttle Publishing, All About China: Take the whole family on a whirlwind tour of Chinese history and culture with this delightfully illustrated book that is packed with stories, activities and games. Travel from the stone age through the dynasties to the present day with songs and crafts for kids that will teach them about Chinese language and the Chinese way of life.

Long-Long's New Year
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Long-Long’s New Year, a beautifully illustrated picture book about a little Chinese boy named Long-Long, who accompanies his grandfather into the city to sell cabbages in order to buy food and decorations for the New Year. Selling cabbages is harder than Long-Long expects, and he encounters many adventures before he finds a way to help his grandfather, and earn New Year’s treats for his mother and little cousin.

A Little Mandarin
From A Little Mandarin, a CD featuring a collection of Chinese children’s classics – songs loved by families in China for generations – given new life with a contemporary sound and voice. The 15 tracks fuse rock, pop, dance, ska, and hip hop influences with playful lyrics to make it a unique and fun learning companion for all ages. Featured on Putumayo Kids Presents World Sing-Along.

Second Prize Package

US shipping only
Celebrating the Chinese New Year
From Tuttle Publishing, Celebrating the Chinese New Year, in which Little Mei’s grandfather tells her the stories of Nian and the monster Xi for Chinese New Year.

The Sheep Beauty
Also from Tuttle Publishing, The Sheep Beauty, which brings to life the kindness and generosity of those born under the sign of the sheep in the Chinese zodiac.

Chinese Zodiac Animals
Also from Tuttle Publishing, Chinese Zodiac Animals, a fun and informative way to learn about the ancient Chinese Zodiac, explaining the traits of each animal sign and what luck the future might hold for the person born under that sign.

Monkey Drum
From Tiny Tapping Toes, a monkey drum, plus a free pdf of a craft version. World Music children’s performer DARIA has spent the last two decades performing in the USA and around the world, creating music to inspire all the world’s children and allowing children to become a part of the celebration and the fun of exploring world cultures.

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