Friday, August 05, 2011

Let's Study Chinese People

So after a disappointing week of studying Castles (how many cardboard castles can one mum make? oh and what? I'm not an actual princess?), Chase decided she wanted to study Chinese people.

Now that we can do! Suddenly I found myself in craft-making/cooking heaven. And a week is definitely not enough time, but attention spans are short. Sadly there were no books at the library about Chinese history for children in English (can you believe it?) and no Mandarin CDs (that's okay, the girls have got that covered).

We started off by trying to make fortune cookies (I don't have a picture of the finished product, because, well, they stuck to the cookie sheet). Chase wrote the fortunes, which included "You will meet a prince" and "Have a happy day."

We made paper lanterns, which symbolize warmth, brightness and reunion and are supposed to ward away evil spirits.

We made paper dragon puppets ... The Chinese consider dragons the ultimate symbol of good fortune. There are actually nine major Dragons; each has a different role.

We made Chinese "Coolie" hats ...

And plum blossom trees, which the Chinese consider a symbol for courage and hope...

And Chinese hand drums from wooden spoons ...

I told Chase the story of the Terracotta Warriors (one of my favorite stories of all time). About how, so many years ago, a Chinese Emperor had his prisoners make thousands of warriors to protect him (and his treasure) after he died. Each Terracotta Warrior was different - hair, height - some looked to be from the North (high cheekbones), some from the South (rounder, softer face). Each had a weapon - some had horses.

The peasants, however, were terrified when they heard about the Emperor's great army that would protect him in death. So they stormed his grave and broke his army into tiny pieces, taking the weapons. And then his tomb was buried. And forgotten. Until 30-years-ago, when a farmer was thirsty and began digging near his well. And found a piece of a soldier. And another piece. And another. And he kept digging (along with others) and they uncovered millions of pieces of warriors. All brilliantly painted.

And within one week all the gorgeous, original color faded. To Terracotta. And no one on earth, to this day, can figure out how to preserve it. So archeologists have spent years putting together Terracotta Warriors. And there are thousands left buried, still to this day. Because they can't figure out how to keep the color.

And then we made our own Terracotta warriors.

Chase wants to study "the world" next week.