Chinese New Year – Celebrating the Year of the Monkey in Early Childhood Settings

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This year feels extra special to Bonkers and now we know why: it’s the Year of the Monkey!
The Chinese New Year is here on February 8, and 2016 sees us enter the Year of the Monkey (specifically, the Year of the Fire Monkey or Red Monkey).
When the Year of the Monkey arrives, it is said to reflect the character of the animal – cheeky, clever, and inventive. Monkeys are also well-known for being problem solvers and very playful. Sounds like 2016 will be exciting and a lot of fun!
As always, we like to find ways of incorporating the cultural calendar into early childhood settings. While children in your centres won’t have been born in the Year of the Monkey as the last was in 2005, it is still fun to incorporate the animal into your art and craft activities. In fact, you could talk about all 12 of the animals involved in the 12-year cycle Chinese calendar – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat (or sheep), Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig.
The Chinese New Year is also a time for feasting with family and celebrating, so you might like to offer some Chinese cuisine. Kidspot has plenty of Chinese food ideas for children.
Activity Village guides you through the following Chinese and Monkey themed craft activities that are perfect to try out:
Chinese Lanterns
Chinese Drum/Rattle
Paper Plate Monkey 
Monkey Mask
Tree Monkey
Want to know which animal you are according to the Chinese Zodiac? Click here to find out and read more about what the Chinese believe the year has in store for you!
It’s also worth noting that International Mother Language Day is coming up on 21 February. Take these opportunities February presents us to get talking about language, culture and diversity with children!
Kung Hei Fat Choy (Happy New Year) everyone!

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