Celebrating Dragon Boat Festival with 10 activities

The last time I watched a dragon boat race was probably at least 7 years ago in Hong Kong before moving to Singapore. It brings back so much memories watching dragon boat races videos with my children, taking me back to the afternoons in Stanley (Hong Kong) where the annual boat race isn’t just about remembering the death of Qu Yuan but a full day of exciting sports events, LIVE music and food vendors.

This year is the first year I am celebrating 端午节 with my children. Sometimes life just gets so hectic you don’t realise how huge this festival is until photos and videos pop up on your social media feed! This year I was determined to introduce my children to one of my favourite festivals. Online resources have helped me prepare for this day, and I will include all my links here.

ACTIVITY 1: Read Aloud

To start with, I bought these two books that are both Luka compatible.

1. 小粽子,小粽子 2. 端午: 端午节 (中国传统节日绘本) My Story Treasury sells this set here, and Koko and Otto sells a similar set here

If you are interested in finding other books that related to Chinese culture and festivals, LahlahBanana has a great post on bookstores in Singapore (here). PS. She offers promo codes!

ACTIVITY 2: 端午节 videos (Kai 5 yrs 7 months, and Kei 4 yrs old)

However, even before reading these books, I showed my children many videos that explained Dragon Boat Festival since they really knew nothing about it. Spotofsunshine included a list of her favorite videos that I also saved onto my YouTube playlist (here)


After watching the videos my children got so excited. They started building LEGO dragon boats and pretending to have a race. It was wonderful to see them putting Qu Yuan in the water with the fish and rice dumpling, and re-enacting what happened when the villagers were searching for Qu Yuan, tossing rice dumplings in the water so the fish would not eat his body.

Activity 4: Origami

To maintain our family tradition, I also tried to make an origami wreathe with Kai. However, the videos were way too difficult, and so Kai only got to help out with the flag and rice dumplings. My videos are all listed below:

Dragon boat (here) Rice dumpling (here) Hexagon (here) Sun (here) Flag (here)

I thought out of all the wreathes that we have done, this particular one tells the story of Dragon Boat Festival very well. I taught Kai and Kei the elements on the wreathe using these beautiful flashcards from Lingobuddies (here)

Activity 5: Coloring (Kai and Kei)

Coloring is that both kids could do without assistance!

Activity 6: Matching Game (Kai and Kei)

I also purchased this wonderful Dragon Boat Bundle from Fortune Cookies Mom (here), and taught my 4 and 5 years old other dragon boat related terms using various games.

KAI– I taught the vocabulary words before playing matching. These Montessori 3-part cards have clear illustrations that are easy to understand. Matching games can be played to encourage speaking. Notice how I place all the cards facing up first, and have Kai look for the matching pairs by listening to the words I call out.

After playing one round of MATCHING with me, Kai played one round alone, naming the cards as he turned them over, reinforcing the vocabulary that he had just learned.

With Kei who only just turned 4, I introduced the vocabulary and played the game in a simpler way. I pointed to the card, called out the word, and asked him to find the matching pair while repeating it. You can watch the video on the right.

Activity 7- 拼字游戏 (Kai)

I really love this activity from Fortune Cookie Mom‘s package because the shape of the puzzle gives clues to how the Chinese words should be matched. By the time we finished reading the stories with LUKA, watched the videos, discussed the history of 端午节 AND played the matching game, Kai pretty much knows all the words by heart. This activity was simple yet effective, and prepares him for the writing that he did next.

Activity 8- Chinese Writing (Kai)

Kai has been working hard on writing Chinese everyday on grid papers, so I am glad I can print this out for Kai to work on!

Activity 9- Comparing a pirate ship to a dragon boat (Kai)

Kai loves pirate ships and how appropriate it was to do a little comparison between the pirate ship and a dragon boat! Since I have so many pirate books, it was not hard to find resources on this.

Activity 10- Looking at what is inside a rice dumpling (Kai and Kei)

Finally, we get to the FOOD! I love this book “小粽子,小粽子“ because it features talking rice dumplings! The story talks about the battle between sweet and salty rice dumplings. There is an important message for children in the end. I thought it was perfect to pair this book with an activity from LINGOBUDDIES (here)

Since I plan to use these activities year after year, here is how I am keeping everything organised:

I can’t wait to have rice dumplings with my kids next week. I don’t think I’ve had them since moving to Singapore!

Wishing everyone 端午节快乐!

Published by Ms Claudia L. Kimura

Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015 Primary school teacher, technology coordinator Not just a regular mom, but a teacher-mom Mom of 2 boys, stepmom of 3 boys

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