Posts tagged ‘fun’


Four Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey! According to lunar astrological calendar, every year in a twelve-year cycle is ruled by a different animal—and as of Lunar New Year on Monday, February 8, 2016, the monkey is in charge! The monkey’s place in the Lunar Zodiac was established in the mists of time, when the Jade Emperor decided that a different animal should rule each year and, to determine the order of the animals, challenged them all to an epic race. The monkey finished ninth, earning it the ninth place in the Lunar Zodiac. If you were born in 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 or 2004, this is your year. You’re known for being happy, confident and enthusiastic, no matter what place you finish in any race!

Cherished in China, Korea and beyond, Lunar New Year is a great way to introduce the children in your life to another culture’s traditions. Here are a few kid-approved ideas for celebrating Lunar New Year:

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

From The Great Race

Have a Lavish New Year’s Eve Dinner

Traditionally, the festival opens with a lavish New Year’s Eve dinner held in honor of deceased ancestors. This meal is a time for all living family members to come together with the deceased, creating a united community to celebrate past and present generations.

In the past, family members filled bamboo stems with gunpowder and burned them to drive evil spirits away; today, people use firecrackers instead. Each is rolled in red paper, as the color red is considered lucky.


Send Letters to Loved Ones in Red Envelopes

The use of red extends to red envelopes or red packets that are traditionally passed out during the celebrations. The packets almost always contain money­— sometimes chocolate coins— and the amount is always given in even numbers. The number eight, for instance, is considered lucky, as is the number six, because in Mandarin it sounds like the word for “smooth,” promising a smooth year.

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

From Lin Yi's Lantern

Make a Paper Lantern

The fifteenth and final day of the celebration is commemorated with the Yuan Xiao Jie, or the “Festival of Lanterns.” Gathering under a full moon, adults and children light up the sky with their lantern displays and a lantern-carrying parade. Like the children in the photo above, learn how to make a paper lantern in the informational notes in Lin Yi’s Lantern, a gorgeously-illustrated Barefoot tale from China!

Share a Story to Learn More About the Culture!

Research shows that children (and grown-ups!) often draw incorrect conclusions about other cultures. In order to help children challenge stereotypes and develop global literacy, it’s important for adults to educate themselves and correct their own misconceptions. It’s easy to get started: just share stories from other cultures with the children in your life. It’s a great way to prompt conversations about diversity!

Keen to explore East Asian cultures? You’ll experience the excitement of a rural market in Lin Yi’s Lantern (ages 5-9), discover the warmth and wisdom of Buddhist thought in The Barefoot Book of Buddhist Tales (ages 6+) and meet “The Beggar Princess” in The Barefoot Book of Princes Stories (ages 4-9).

And, of course, be sure to watch the Jade Emperor’s epic race unfold—and find out why there is no Year of the Cat—in The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac (ages 4-9). Find additional tales from China and beyond here!

Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kids | Barefoot Books

Want more ideas?

For more information on the traditions and customs of Lunar New Year, and for recipes and crafts you can make with the children in your life, check out our Pinterest board!

Want to find out which animal you are? Download a Lunar Calendar from The Great Race to use in your classroom, for fun at home or as a festive desktop wallpaper!

Do you have any Lunar New Year traditions? What is your Lunar zodiac animal? Share your stories in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter!

 


A spooky fruit and gelatin recipe straight from Dracula’s kitchen. Wash your hands before you start! Always have a grown-up in the kitchen with you when you cook. Ages 8 and up.

QUANTITY Makes 3–4 small glasses (tubs)

MATERIALS

• 1¼ oz packet unflavored gelatin (enough to set 2½ cups liquid); For a vegetarian version, use agar-agar, following the instructions on packet

• 1½ cups blueberries or blackberries, or any fruit you wish

• 2¼ cups dark red or blue berry juice (e.g. blueberry or cranberry)

• ¼ cups boiling water

KITCHEN STUFF

• Mixing bowl

• Measuring cup

• Teapot

• Tablespoon

• Containers (for gelatin)

LET’S BEGIN

1. Wash the fruit and pat dry with a paper towel.

2. Put the gelatin into the measuring cup. Pour ¼ cup boiling water over the gelatin and stir carefully with a spoon, to dissolve it.

3. Add the berry juice to the dissolved gelatin so that it fills the measuring cup up to 2½ cups.

4. Divide the fruit between the containers and pour the gelatin mixture over the fruit.

5. Put Dracula’s gelatin in the fridge for about 45 minutes to set.

Tip: Add more fruit than gelatin for set fruit.

The recipe shown in the picture is of Cran-Grape juice gelatin with blackberries. Yum! Download this fun Hallowe’en recipe and more here.

Looking for more fun in the kitchen?

Encourage budding chefs to create tasty meals with 40 laminated recipe cards that feature nutritious vegetarian dishes from around the world. Unique recipes ranging from the familiar to the exotic are divided into five color-coded categories to reflect the major food groups. Simple step-by-step instructions put kids in control as they learn that cooking is more than an art — it’s a science! Includes 8-page booklet with information on nutrition, kitchen safety and terminology. This edition has been updated with even tastier recipes.


A craft to make you say “Ahhh!” Bring the friendly monsters from Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail to life with a paper plate mask! While you’re creating your mask, think about a Monster Story for your own monster. How will your monster sound? Is your monster friendly or misunderstood, like Grizzle-Tail? Let your imagination shape your mask and the story to go with it. Ages 5+

WHAT TO FIND

  • Paper Plates
  • Scissors
  • Tissue paper cut into small pieces
  • Glue, tape and a stapler
  • A small bowl with some water
  • Construction paper
  • Popsicle stick
  • Any additional art supplies you have

WHAT TO DO

1. Sketch out the monster you’d like to make on a paper plate. Have an adult help you cut out holes for the eyes.

2. Put a small amount of craft glue into a dish and add water in equal parts. Stir together and paint the surface of the plate with the glue mixture. Layer your cut tissue paper onto the wet glue. Secure any loose ends or overlapping pieces with additional glue where necessary. Set aside to dry.

3. Use construction paper to cut out features for your monster, like big eyes, a nose and mouth. Create pointy teeth by cutting out lots of triangles. Add ears and horns to your creature by glueing them on the back of the plate. Use paint, pipe cleaners, puff balls and your imagination to make your monster unique.

4. Glue a popsicle stick to the bottom of your monster and reinforce with tape. Make your mask sturdier by stapling another plate to the back. Have an adult use scissors to make sure you can still see out of the eye-holes.

5. When you’re finished, walk around the house and pretend you’re a monster! Then, share your masks with us @barefootbooks on Instagram!

Ready to scare? Download the activity here.

Check out these Monster Stories perfect for the Hallowe’en season!

Meeting monsters on the page helps children realize that many of the scary things in life are less frightening than they appear — and that monsters can have feelings too! Inspire young readers with these adventures that teach courage, compassion and kindness.

Buy Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail here or get the six book set and save!


From "Tales from Old Ireland" by Malachy Doyle, illustrated by Niamh Sharkey.

You can’t help but wonder at the mystery surrounding All Hallows’ Eve. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies film, Halloween has inspired popular culture for ages, spreading from Northern Europe to as far as Hong Kong!

But how did Halloween become the holiday we know today?

  • Halloween as we know it evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats for spirits who roamed the streets during a sacred festival that honored the dead, called “Samhain” in Ireland and “Nos Calan Gaeaf” in Wales.
  • Samhain festival-goers started dressing in ghost, witch and goblin costumes to escape the notice of real spirits wandering the streets. To this day, these remain revelers’ most popular Halloween costumes; just ask the spooks from our very own Barefoot Book of Giants, Ghosts and Goblins!
  • Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits on the Samhain holiday.

From "Tales from Celtic Lands" by Caitlin Matthews, illustrated by Olwyn Whelan

  • If you’re the last one frolicking about the bonfire on Nos Calan Gaeaf, watch out! According to Welsh legend, the spirits of a giant black sow and headless woman might carry you with them back to the spirit world!
  • According to tradition, if a person wears his or her clothes inside-out and walks backwards on Halloween, he or she will see a witch at midnight.
  • Scottish girls believed they could see images of their future husband if they hung wet sheets in front of the fire on Halloween.

Not so keen on wearing your clothes inside-out or hanging wet sheets by a fire? Celebrate instead with our monstrously fun Halloween craft, spooky recipes or scary-fun books! Befriend a not-so-scary giant (above), gallant heroes, fiendish folk and more in Tales from Old Ireland.

Wishing you and your family a safe and spooktacular Halloween!


Are you looking for a fun craft to create with your children this festive season? All you need is some felt, card, ribbon and glue to make these simple decorations in the shape of a bird, dreidel, star and tree.


Out of the Blue Activity | Seashell Picture Frame for Kids

In our popular wordless book, Out of the Blue, children comb the beach for seashells and other treasures, which they then use to create art. Where do seashells come from? How many different types of seashells are there? In this activity, learn fascinating facts about seashells, work on early math skills with sorting games and create a beautiful, beachy keepsake.

About Out of the Blue

This evocative wordless book about the mysteries of the sea invites readers to tell the story in their own words, which stimulates the imagination and helps develop visual literacy. Follow Alison Jay’s distinctive crackle-varnished artwork as a storm — and what it brings — transforms the seashore for a day.

Includes endnotes on marine life, lighthouses and the intriguing world of items that wash up on beaches. This book suits all ages.



Our best selling illustrator, Clare Beaton, was kind enough to create an activity just for us. It is such a treat to see her hand-drawn instructions!


I love the way books travel; the way they crop up in quite unexpected places. But when I went over to New Zealand last month to tread in my grandmothers’ footsteps, I never expected to encounter our very own Barefoot bear! You can probably imagine my surprise and delight when I learnt that Bear on a Bike was the very favourite book of two three-year-old twins whose Mum works with my cousin Jeremy Jones in Blenheim. Here are the twins, Isabel and Alice, with me and their grandmother and of course, Bear!

 


Try this craft from Micha Archer, the illustrator of Lola’s Fandango, and make your very own Lola doll! This craft suggests using red and white materials to recreate Lola’s costume from the book, but feel free to get creative with your colors and patterns. Let your duende move you!


Last month we shared with you the exciting news about Micha Archer, illustrator of Lola’s Fandango and The Wise Fool, and her magical decorations for a 10 foot tall Christmas tree, bringing Lola’s story to life. True to the story, big sister Clementina makes an appearance on the tree as well.