We have started gearing up for the Lunar New Year of the Dragon first by reading & looking at books about Dragons, showing them the costumes/puppets used in the pardes, and then setting up some wondrous invitations to create! While children’s books open children’s eyes to differences, actual experiences such as creating art have the most profound influence on what children think and believe throughout the rest of their lives.
The beauty of learning about celebrating different cultures is that it can help children understand, respect similarities and differences, and they understand who they are in context of race, ethnic group, culture, religion, language and familial history. It also provides children with meaningful worldly information and can introduce concepts from anthropology, history, religion, geography, etc. Whether it is celebrating the art, music, food, symbols, traditions, and so on of a culture, exposing children to different elements of a culture provides more knowledge and understanding of the world while making every child feel seen and heard in their community.
Lunar New Year, which includes many Asian Countries, is filled with festivities, customs , and plenty of feasts where the arrival of spring and the start of a fresh year is based. The upcoming year’s dragon sign is perhaps the most popular zodiac creature, associated with a host of positive qualities such as nobility, wealth and wisdom.
Here are two ways we created Lunar New Year Dragons.
1. Recycled Dragon Process Art: We created a dragon with recycled items, provided paint, golden stickers, colorful confetti, and glue. The children were invited to paint and create!
2. STEM + Loose Parts Dragon: We provided loose parts (party cups (small & large), translucent + colored pebbles, acrylic rocks, gem cubes, flat marbles, gold coins, lucky envelopes). The children were invited to create their own dragons or whatever they felt like creating.