Activities and events for retirement homes part 2

Chinese New Year and activities for retirement homes
Looking for a simple yet exciting way to engage your residents in activities?
Have you thought about the upcoming Chinese New Year?
The 10th of February marks the start of The Chinese New Year and is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar. But it is also a great way to introduce residents to the unique traditions and customs of this culture in a fun filled way.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some easy and cost efficient Chinese New Year activities for retirement home managers to organize for their residents.
Decorative Chinese Lanterns
Chinese lanterns are a typical decoration associated with Chinese New Year. They are usually made of paper or even silk for a fancier effect. Red is usually the chosen colour, as it a symbol of happiness and good fortune. Homemade Chinese lanterns normally use a series of paper cuts to create a decorative effect. Another fun version is to use a printed template to create lanterns with illustrated designs.
Basic Chinese Lantern Template:
Dragon Lantern Template:
Dragon Lantern Instructions:
Play Mah-jong
Mah-jong is akin to the Western tradition of playing cards. It is often enjoyed among groups of people after a festive meal. The game uses a set of tiles imprinted with various Chinese symbols and characters. There are many stores (including several online) that sell sets of Mah-jong tiles and even playing card versions. Mah-jong typically involves four players per game. As with card games, it comes with it own set of rules and instructions for winning and scoring.
Not sure how Majong is played. Hale & Fun has a number of highly skilled Majong trainers who can help you and your residents understand this great game. Please contact Hale & Fun on or 02 8034 6945/0425282317 to organise some training sessions.
Mahjong Rules:
Make Spring Couplets
As with many other cultures, New Year in China is considered a celebration of renewal. It is a tradition to create decorative spring couplets, or chun lian. These are hanging banners that feature a poem in beautiful calligraphy. The words inscribed in the couplet usually contain sentiments of renewal and happiness for the upcoming year. To create spring couplets, start out with sheets of red paper. There are many websites that offer printable templates of Chinese characters for spring couplets. Print a few copies to allow residents to cut and paste them or use them as a painting reference guide. The characters should be painted on in gold or black paint. Finally, tie the dried paper to a stick and hang it up.
Spring Couplets Craft Instructions:
 The Chinese New Year is the Chinese community’s biggest and most colourful celebration, spanning 15 days altogether.  It is celebrated by both the mainland Chinese and the diasporic Chinese communities and is becoming a bigger and bigger attraction each year in Sydney. The Chinese New Year can also be an great time to get all of your residents active and engaged in all sorts of activities. One option that you should consider is Hale & Fun very own Chinese New Year Games Session conducted by Sandra Fong(B.A. UNSW in English literature and Chinese studies). Sandra Fong was born in Sydney and raised in Singapore, a South-east Asian country with a largely Chinese population.  She is proud to be a member of the Chinese diaspora. Sandra studied English literature and advanced Chinese studies at the University of New South Wales, and is currently pursuing an honours year at the University of Sydney. Sandra is bilingual in English and Mandarin Chinese, and enjoys celebrating Chinese New Year annually with family and friends of all cultural backgrounds. In her spare time, she writes songs influenced by the Asian popular and western classical traditions.
Sandra highly interactive course allows your residents to learn all about the Chinese New Year through an hour or two hours sessions of games and fun including:
Chinese New Year Trivia Challenge
Engage in some friendly competition and test your knowledge of the Chinese New Year celebration.
Cryptic Spring Couplets
Spring couplets are a special decoration put near doors at Chinese New Year.  Work in teams to create your own rhyming couplets (in English!) with some translation and help from the facilitator.
Chinese New Year Song Performance
Hear some traditional Chinese New Year songs and learn about the Chinese musical style. If you’re game enough, you could even have a go at writing a Chinese New Year song on the spot (translated into Chinese and sung/accompanied on keyboard by the facilitator). 
Fusion Food Treasures
Learn about the significance of the different foods people eat at Chinese New Year celebrations. Then, have fun imagining what an Australian ‘8 treasures’ Chinese New Year dish would look like. Points awarded to the most inventive dish, and prizes for everyone who tried things out.
If you would like to have Sandra conduct her unique Chinese new year fun and games session at your home, please contact Hale & Fun on

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  • Hale&Fun

    Hi Bloomer,Thanks for the words of encouragement. It has been one of the driving motivations behind Hale & Fun to make retirement as exciting and fun as possible. We are planning on having these sort of event orientated newsletters become a regular addition so stay tuned!