The Chinese New Year is upon us and we have some fun ways to celebrate the 'Year of the Dog' with your kiddos. As you may know, the Chinese New Year follows the Lunar calendar, which usually places the date somewhere between late January or early February. In addition to the date changing, the animal sign also cycles from Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Pig and, this year, the Dog! In this blog you'll learn about this year's zodiac animal plus how to engage your kiddos with new fruits and food art.
Family: In Chinese culture, including children in festivities is a huge part of the Chinese New Year celebration. One of the activities is to teach kids about the animal sign, their personality traits, their lucky symbols (e.g., lucky color, number, flower, etc.) and, most importantly, how to draw that animal. This can be a fun activity to share with your kiddos! Learn how to draw the zodiac animals (especially the dog) by taking a step-by-step tutorial online with your kids.
Feast: Like most holidays, food has an important role in the Chinese New Year. There is a special mealtime called the ‘reunion dinner’ where the entire family eats together to reflect on the past year. The meal is accented with the color red (using table cloths, napkins and dishes) to signify happiness and bring good luck to the home. Sometimes the food and accessories are displayed to represent the animal sign of the year. Growing up in Asia, I was taught how to incorporate animals into food art, so I hope you enjoy my ‘Year of the Dog’ design in our Mini Bowl! I used two types of cheese, candy eyes, chia seeds, yogurt, raspberry and an edible black marker. Try making some easy food art with your kids this holiday and check out our book Making Mealtime ezpz for some ezpz inspiration!
Fruit: Gifting fruit is a common tradition during the Chinese New Year. Families usually give and receive fruit baskets or miniature potted fruit trees to symbolize happiness and good fortune for the entire household. Some common fruits during this celebration are oranges, kumquats, pomelos, grapes and plums. But every child growing up in a Chinese household is most excited about receiving a cherished mandarin orange and a red envelope (money from their elders), which is placed by their pillow at night. You can celebrate this special Chinese tradition with your kids by presenting some of these yummy fruits at mealtime or by leaving an orange at their bedside.
Food: Chinese New Year is the longest public holiday in the world, so you can imagine that there are many traditional foods served during this time. A few examples are dumplings, fish, spring rolls and moon cake. To celebrate with your little ones, try a couple of these holiday favorites the next time you order takeout and host a family taste test challenge!
Does your family celebrate Chinese New Year? What is your child’s animal zodiac sign? Tag us with your mealtime ‘Year of the Dog’ creations with the hashtags #ezpzfun #ChineseNewYear2018.
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz