This week, we celebrated Chinese New Year’s coming up on the 25th. However, we also want our student to practice mindfulness and activities that will allow them to relax and calm down after school. With our younger class, our first activity was mindful breathing. We practiced breathing in and out using deep breaths and then short ones. We handed each student colored pencils and blank paper and asked them to draw what they thought their breaths looked like when they breathed out. This made the students slow down, concentrate on their breathing, and use their creativity to illustrate it. We did this for 5 to 10 minutes and then moved on to the next activity.
Many of our students are Chinese or of some Asian decent. We always want to celebrate the different cultures and holidays that each student may celebrate because it promotes our diversity and encourages unity. For this, we gave each student a pre-cut dragon mask. They finished up the class by coloring and attaching string to complete each mask. We also went around and asked questions about this holiday to promote discussion.
- What animal represents this year?
- What color is commonly seen in Chinese holidays?
- What day is Chinese New Years?
- What do you do to celebrate this holiday, or do you have any ideas of how people celebrate?
With our second class, we made paper fortune cookies. We had the class write out their fortune on a small piece of paper and then taught them how to fold a cut out circle around it to create the “cookie.” With was a quick activity so we were able to move on to the dragon masks for most of the class. While they were coloring, we quizzed this class as well on facts about Chinese New Years. We also brought in real fortune cookies that we handed to each student when they completed their masks.
This was a super fun way to announce Chinese New Years. Many of the kids knew a lot of the trivia, and even had some to offer as well. We also love when we are able to hand out small awards for their hard work, like fortune cookies. This teaches them about the different cultures, and we were able to incorporate mindful art with a diverse aspect that many of our students celebrate.