Exploring Chinese New Year with Weekend Box
I’m a bit of a slack crafter. I love doing crafts (cards, jewellery, crochet) but actually getting something out and thinking of it from scratch isn’t my forte. As for children’s crafts? Well, let’s just say that Weekend Boxes come to the rescue in terms of inspiration.
We did review a Weekend Box last year, not long after they launched. So I was interested to see the newer boxes, and see how they’ve changed. In a nutshell, you can subscribe to the boxes, and your child gets set an activity box regularly – a great way to get them away from the screens, especially if it’s a rainy or snowy day. Weekend Box had mentioned that the new boxes had been improved and could now be kept closed after opening, although I couldn’t work out how to do it.
The box we were sent was Chinese New Year themed. I like the idea of themed boxes, it really helps bring a box together and help focus a child on learning about a new culture or specific activities. Compared with last year, there’s now 4 different characters, each of whom introduces one of the activities. N’s learnt a bit about Italy with me last year and Australia at nursery as part of Australia Day, so we’ve now added China to the mix after reading the notes and facts on Chinese New Year that’s included in the box.
I loved the look of the activities in this box and over the week we’ve all 4 activities. N loves Weekend Box because it’s bright and colourful, and is a little package that comes to him through the post. It’s not often he gets something posted. He’s also not usually that excited about crafting, but for all of these activities, it’s been N who’s asked to do them, and picked out the one he wants to do.
I seem to recall having made similar when I was a child, but without the inside. With most of the items included in the relevant envelope, all we needed to find was the toilet roll (plenty of those waiting to be recycled) and a tray to mix the paint in.
N got stuck straight in with the painting, and despite the straggly looking paintbrush provided, it did the job fine. The paint dried really quickly and we were able to get chopping the paper…and this is where we got a bit stuck.
The instructions take you through each part, but I got confused as to what to chop for a handle. There was plenty of ‘spare’ paper in the box so we just chopped away, thinking we’d get some out of our craft stash if needed for the other activities. N drew on the handle for decoration and we attached to the tube. Then N insisted on doing the cutting to make the lantern parts, and we were ready to stick. And got stuck again.
All I can say is, it’s a good job I’m not a Blue Peter presenter. The glue dots were a nice idea, but they didn’t stick to the loo roll, and just pulled off the sugar paper, so we gave up with those and used sellotape. I don’t think the lantern’s worked very well with the loo roll in, they’d have been better off with just card then they’d sit nicely and stick out (like the ones we used to make as children). Not that N was bothered about our severely lacking lantern
I was surprised that the paper plates for the drum fitted in the Weekend Box, but no, everything we needed was included. N enjoyed sticking gems (I used my stash of glue dots) and stickers onto the paper plates, and he then did a bit of squiggling on them. Blue tack was provided to stick the 2 plates together as a drum but we had to use sellotape as it wasn’t going to stick, especially in trying to keep the handle attached.
N enjoyed threading the beads on to the ribbons, after saying he couldn’t do it and after a short time his drum was ready….
or maybe not quite ready for his aggressive and enthusiastic twisting and waving around to make it sound. I think the idea behind this is great, but ours (even with sellotape), didn’t last so it’s definitely a one afternoon wonder.
I love fortune cookies. Not so much the taste, because they are pretty rank, but the idea of them, and the excitement at finding a weird little saying or proverb inside. I thought they’d really appeal to N as well.
We only had to add paper to write our messages on (not quite sure if we were meant to use the paper included – don’t think so), tortillas, a bit of oil and some chocolate, plus a template or cookie cutter ring to make the circles (now I’ve said that, there’s a lot we needed, luckily we had everything in the larder). Provided was a packet of sesame seeds and freeze dried strawberries.
I’m going to do a separate post on them because I love the idea so much, and this post is mammoth, but they’re so easy to make and look really effective.
We also found time to make the Chinese Dragon puppet too. N was able to practice cutting a shape out, and then did some folding, before decorating and sticking the dragon together. He’s really been proud of what he’s made, which shows that they’re spot on with the activities and the age range of 4-6. Obviously getting a sticker for doing each activity and then finishing all four was a highlight for N too.
If you’re short on ideas or want some prompts for activities to do with their children, then Weekend Box activities are a great idea. £7.50 isn’t bad to pay for a box with so much included to do the activities, especially if you stretch the activities over several days (unlike N who did 2 in one day!).
What we loved
- Doing activities together
- learning something new – whether by topic, or about specific activities
- practising fine motor skills
- getting creative
- being proud of our creations
What could be improved
- The instructions a couple of times in this box weren’t that clear or seemed to be missing something. We got round it, but could have been clearer
Disclosure: We were sent a weekend box for review purposes. All works and opinions are my own.
Love the sound of the fortune cookies. Everything in the Weekend boxes is always a lot of fun! Thanks for linking up with #TriedTested
They’re great because it’s usually activities you’d never think of. I’m loving the theme idea box too.
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