Opening Song: “I Am Here & You Are Here” by Peter & Ellen Allard (on Sing It! Say It! Stamp It! Sway It! Vol. 3)
Story: Bringing in the New Year by Grace Lin. Nice intro to some of the customs and symbols surrounding Chinese New Year. None of the kids were familiar with Chinese New Year, and they enjoyed talking about the different things they noticed in the pictures. They particularly liked the dragon parade – we tried to count how many pairs of feet were sticking out of the bottom of the dragon costume.
Song: “Chinese zodiac” – The symbols of the Chinese Zodiac sung to “Old McDonald.” I’m including the prop I use for this, along with the words and instructions. I wouldn’t do the whole thing in Storytime; it’s too long. We sang last year, this year, and next year, but the kids wanted to know about the other animals on the prop and hanging around the room, so we talked about the rest of the animals and the sounds that they make.
That’s the Chinese New Year portion of the Storytime. Now we move on to horses.
Story: Are You a Horse? by Andy Rush. Super silly fun. It does go on a bit long – may want to cut out some of the middle if the kids are squirrelly. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but they actually got more interested in the story as we went along.
Story/Song: She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain by Jonathan Emmett. It’s a story. It’s a song. It’s cumulative. With actions! Emmett uses the traditional words for lines 1, 2, and 5 and then switches it up for lines 3 and 4, but I just repeated the same thing (She’ll be coming ’round the mountain when she comes, she’ll be driving six white horses when she comes, etc.) for all five lines to keep it simple and allow participation. I actually had to stop in the middle of this one because the grownups were getting too chatty, but it finished up well.
I had planned to read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle as a lead-in to the painting, but we ran out of time.
Craft: I often do a Chinese lantern craft for Chinese New Year (you can tell this one is a few years old; the instructions reference the Year of the Rabbit!) – print out on red paper, decorate, cut, and tape.
This year, though, I chose to stamp oranges (for good luck and wealth) using red and gold paint (both washable, from Lakeshore Learning) on black construction paper. They were quite striking. A colleague recommended making a bowl for the oranges, so we glued on these bowls cut from patterned paper. They looked great, and gave the stamped oranges some context, but didn’t leave a ton of room for stamping – maybe a smaller bowl next time? This four-year-old told me that her oranges were “spilling out of the bowl.”