Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Chinese painting and calligraphy workshop

We're approaching the Chinese New Year and learning through fun activity could not be easier!
Working with 毛筆 máo bǐ (hair writing brush) has been one of the most popular activities and I came up with the idea of combine that into a cute little gift box. It was happened to be one child's birthday today so we had a little treat in each of them inside.

On the box it said 大吉大利 dà jí dà lì (means super lucky & super profits).

Chinese like to play words that share the same pronunciations but might be different meanings. People would say nice wishes to each other during the Chinese New Year (especially for those who have businesses for this particular one).

吉 jí means luck and oranges hold a symbolic meaning.

利 lì means profits and pineapple represent that.

Many dishes we normally have on the Chinese New Year's day (some family will have it on CNY's eve) have very similar effects.

We have to have a whole fish as the word 魚 yú (fish) has the same pronunciation as the word 餘 (remain or surplus / having leftovers of money).

餃子 jiǎozi (dumplings) have the shape of 元寶 yuán bǎo (gold ingot), also the word jiǎozi shares the same pronunciation with 角子 jiǎozi that is a small coin used in old times.

年糕 nián'gāo (Sticky Rice cake), also called Chinese new year's cake. It is considered good luck to eat nian gao because it has the symbolism of increasing prosperity every year.

全雞 quán jī (whole chicken) - family fortune and togetherness of the family (chicken with its head, tail and feet symbolizes completeness).

There are many many more!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

窗花剪紙 chuāng huā jiǎn zhǐ (Window flower paper cutting)

Paper cutting is one of traditional Chinese art and it's popular during this time of the year. Homes and schools will be decorated with lots of red paper cutting arts. I ran out of red papers so I am using green for the door panels of this Chinese New Year greeting card.  We enjoy this time of the year not for its weather but for the fun part.  The hanging decoration has 6 sides and we learn how to fold the paper and how many folds we need for varies designs before we cut it too.
The theme we have planned for children is to cut these: 火花 huǒ huā (fire works),春 chūn (spring),蝴蝶 hú dié (butterfly),心 xīn (Heart),燈籠 dēng lóng (lantern),隨意 suí yì (free style) and guess what was the most popular one - free style of course. It's because of the surprise of what their artworks would turn out to be when they open it up!
I found some more red paper and "free style" this one. Turned out that children think it looks like the head of Chinese Lion Dance.
What a surprise!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

What!!?? It's our term to the stage!! 什麼??!!該我們上場了!sh me ??!!shén me!!?? gāi wǒ men shàng chǎng le !

What!!?? It's our term to the stage!! 

 什麼??!!該我們上場了!shén me       gāi wǒ men shàng chǎng le !

I wonder what are they planning to put on the show for our Chinese New Year celebration for the year of Snake (2013)!

Coming up is our Chinese New Year which is landing on Sun 10th Feb this year where the year of snake will begin, there will be some fun stuff for children to do too!

There will be more update on this website I hope re the celebration in Dublin.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Mandarin Chinese Learning Apps

From the activity of “story chain” we have this week, I learnt that many children got brilliant gadgets for Christmas so I thought to make the most of it (Maximise the screen time!!!), I should recommend a few FREE apps to you.

These series of audio books are called Kung-Fu Chinese, they are popular children stories (i.e. Noah’s ark etc). The pain I found is each app is one story only.

Children’s Chinese reader.  This app has 39 short lessons with phrases and games.

Mandarin Madness (learn lots of words and phrases via gaming)

Discovering Chinese - Mandarin for Beginners

By Better Chinese

Google translate

You can download Google pinyin IME or similar if you haven’t got the Chinese input methods on your gadget already.

There’re 4 courses you can take online and found it quite good myself. The apps are not available yet I am afraid.