Chinese Fan Painting

I love these Chinese fans on sale in Daiso or any Chinese culture-themed shops. They are great canvas material for painting Chinese motifs, and creating awareness of the Chinese Culture.

First off, I showed my daughter some images of Chinese painted fans from the web, and asked her some questions like:

1. What objects do you see on the fans? (flowers, phoenix, peacocks, butterflies, goldfish, etc)

2. What are some of the colours you can see? (red, pink, yellow, blue)

3. Are the colours dull or vibrant?

4, Are the objects outlined with black? Do you see some Chinese characters written on the fan? What do you think it says?

5. If you can paint on a Chinese fan, what will you like to draw?

Once I tickled my girl’s interest in Chinese fans, she was eager to start working on it.
Given her fetish with flowers and butterflies, she readily shared her ideas with me about painting this motif on the fan.

First, she drew out the outline of the flowers and butterflies using simply a pencil.


With these lovely paint pots, she was presented with an array of subtle colours from which she could choose the colour from.


What I love about this project is observing how she focuses on filling the objects with colours, and training her fine motor skills of the pencil grip through holding the paintbrush.

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While painting, she was also narrating her own imaginative scripts of how the butterflies first met each other among the flowers, and soon became good friends and played as they fluttered in the sky. I love just being present through the art process and hearing out her own thoughts and ideas on the subject matter. It allows me a glimpse into her thinking process and creates a great opportunity for me to encourage her to express her ideas into words. The process of art includes not just visual, but also verbal expression of ideas. I could think along with her, and ask her leading questions to help her deepen and develop her ideas, and in turn add complexity and depth to her artwork.


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After a process of concentration and focus, my girl thoroughly enjoyed the creative process, and loved her end product. That’s the unspeakable joy of art-making! And it makes a perfect artpiece for display!

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Not A Box!

Title: Not a Box

Author: Antoinette Portis

Where to get: Available in public libraries and major bookstores

This book is one of my all-time favourites, a must-read book to tickle the imagination of a child! It is a picture book that is a great hit with adults too!


It tells of a rabbit who insists that a cardboard box is not a box! The rabbit then imagines it to be many things in his mind. From a robot to a spaceship, the character travels places as far as his imagination can take him! The examples below show how the rabbit sits in a box and pretends he is in a racing car. Another instance in the book portrays the rabbit standing on the box and transports himself to a high mountain.

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This book is highly creative and illustrates how children play with objects with boxes and engage in pretend play!

You will fall in LOVE with this book for several reasons:

1. Simple Text

It has a repetitive question and answer format echoing throughout the book. It provides predictability for emergent readers and the language chunks used in this book are great for children to pick up and use in their daily speech.

2. Clear Illustrations

It has simple colours like black, white, red, yellow that capture a child’s attention straightaway. The simple line drawings will also appeal to young babies and toddlers. These simple pictures will be especially visually helpful for children with autism or ADHD to pay attention to the story.

3. Taps on the child’s imagination

It offers opportunities for children to use their inferencing and predicting skills to imagine what the box can look like. They have to observe the visual cues of the pictures to imagine what it will represent.

4. Lots of teaching points!

You can use this book in many ways to teach different language use like prepositions (on, in, around), use of wh-question words (why, what) as well as the use of negation like the word “not”.

Look out for our next post on our own creative play episode with boxes!


Meanwhile, start collecting boxes for your child!