I made adorable mandarin orange patterned Chinese paper fans with Miss 21 months to beautify our home for Chinese New Year. Mandarin oranges are a traditional symbol of good fortune and commonly associated with the Chinese New Year.
Miss 21 months loved every minute of the art creation process! When I started folding the artwork to transform it into a fan, she was absolutely intrigued and could hardly wait till I was done to explore the fan. She couldn't resist folding and unfolding the creases a dozen times to find out how the folding fan works!
In doing so, she accidentally made a number of tears in the fans (despite the use of gentle hands lol) but I didn't mind doing the repair work because I could tell there was so much learning going on!
Adorable Chinese Paper Fan Craft Toddler Art!
Here's how you can create a memorable, auspicious and vibrant mandarin orange patterned Chinese folding paper with simple art materials!
- A4 piece of construction paper
- Orange paint
- Recycled bottle cap (Serves as the 'mandarin orange' stamp!)
- Paint palette and paintbrushes
- Black marker
- Double-sided tape or hot glue gun
- Encourage your toddler to apply orange paint to bottle cap with a paintbrush and stamp the bottle cap onto the construction paper to make round orange circles. Stamp until satisfied with the artpiece.
- Wait for artwork to dry. In the interim, guide your toddler with the clean-up and washing up.
- When artwork is dry, use the black marker to draw little criss-crosses (the 'pedicel', otherwise known as the flower stalk) on the oranges. You can add a few dots on the orange peel to show the bumpy texture of the orange.
- Turn the paper such that the width (shorter end) of the paper faces you and is closest to you. Turn the paper upwards and press down along the entire width to fold a long slim rectangle.
- Press the rectangle backwards and press down again to make a second crease.
- Continue making creases until you reach the top of the fan.
- Fold the fan into two at its width. Use double sided tape or hot glue gun to secure the two ends together.
- Gently unfold the fan to reveal the beautiful creases. The fan should extend to form a semi-circle.
Ways to Enjoy the Fan
- Teach your toddler a fan dance! You might like to seek some inspiration from Chinese fan dances on Youtube ;P Then play some oriental music while attempting the fan dance with your little one.
- Play peekaboo with younger toddlers. Use the fan to cover differently parts of your face and teach about body parts!
- Blow things off the table top with the wind generated from vigorous fanning! This makes for a nice STEAM lesson on physics.
Initiate Conversations in Chinese
Since the intent of this activity was to show Miss 21 months a slice of the Chinese culture, I made it a point to speak Chinese and describe the steps in Chinese. These were some of the things I talked about in Chinese:
I talked about the symbolism of mandarin oranges and how their Chinese name "橘" sounds similar to “裕” ("富裕" means wealth).
I also described how the orange color of the fruit symbolises “gold” which is an auspicious and lucky color for the Chinese, which explains why it's necessary to stock up mandarin oranges in the house for Chinese New Year.
I named the fan in English first, then shared its Chinese name "扇". I translated "folding a fan" as "折扇子", and as I folded each crease of the fan, I did counting in Chinese too - "一二三四有五六七七八九十".
As I seldom speak Chinese in my daily interactions with Miss 21 months (I'm trying to speak more now!) and there's no Chinese-speaking person around us, I know Miss 21 months has little practice in Mandarin Chinese and does not comprehend it well. I hoped that my deliberate attempts in speaking Chinese during this activity helped Miss 21 months understand a few more words in her mother tongue.
Benefits of this Toddler Craft Activity
Crafting the paper fan with your toddler provides these benefits:
- Art projects encourages self-expression and creativity
- Painting boosts fine motor development
- Co-creation of artwork with caregiver enables the child to feel that her input is valued, building a sense of self-worth and accomplishment
Using the paper fan in play helps the toddler with:
- Motor planning and hand-eye coordination
- Exploration of a new object
- Problem-solving to figure out how best to work the object
- Invent new ways to play and utilise the object
Other Paper Fan Decoration Ideas
There are various ways to fold a paper fan and decorate it! Here are some of the memorable ones I've come across in the blogosphere:
- Chinese character paper fans by Chalk Academy
- Vegetable prints Asian folding fan by First Palette
- Popsicle stick fan handles for DIY paper fan by Activity Village
- Kids drawing paper fan by Little Passports
I hope you enjoy crafting these adorable paper fans with your toddler! I sure did. This craft activity brought back memories of my primary (elementary) school days when I participated in co-curricular Chinese dance classes and was thrilled to dance with long ribbon sashes for the first time. I hope Miss 21 months would get to see a real Chinese fan dance someday.
To follow our play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram), save our pins or join A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.