News and Features

Art&Seek Jr: Celebrate the Year of the Ssssssnake!

Art&Seek Jr. is one mom‘s quest to find activities to end the seemingly endless chorus of the “I’m Bored Blues” while having fun herself.  Impossible you say? Check back on Tuesdays for kid-friendly events that are fun for adults, too.

Last weekend, as we made our weekly pilgrimage to Super Target, Rose caught sight of a bit of real, live serendipity. We were stopped at the light at Northwest Highway and Audelia Road, and she called out from the backseat, “Look! A snake!” Expecting to see a sign or maybe some sort of bumper sticker, I definitely wasn’t prepared to see a large beady eyed reptile staring back at me. OK, it wasn’t a real snake, but my surprise was real, nonetheless. You see, someone turned a gnarly, broken, limb from an overgrown tree into open-mouthed viper. It was just a red strip of cloth and a few chalk marks, but the effect from this unexpected treat brightened both of our days. I’m not sure if this was the artist’s intent, but it also reminded me that it’s almost time for Chinese New Year. And this is the year of the snake (year 4711 for those of you keeping count).

You and the kids can see this reminder of the Chinese New Year at the NW corner of Northwest Highway and Audelia Road. Photo: Therese Powell

I was wondering why animals are part of the Chinese zodiac. A quick Google search told be that it was our good friend Buddha’s doing. According to legend, Buddha called all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came. Buddha named a year after each one and then proclaimed that people born in each animal’s year would have some of that animal’s personality. Those born in snake years are said to be wise, charming, gregarious, introverted, generous and smart.

 The Chinese New Year festivities generally start with with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and end on the full moon 15 days later. Activities commemorating the celebration are beginning in our neck of the woods in the next few days and will run through the middle of the month. Here are a few I found:
Celebrate the year of the snake on Thursday with Chinese New Year Storytime at the Haggard Branch of the Plano Public library. Besides stories about the reptile in question, the kiddies can also do crafts and activities.
 
If Friday is an early release day at your child’s school (FYI, Feb. 8 is early release for the DISD), I would highly encourage you to try one of the School’s Out Camps offered at the super cool Oil and Cotton.
This month’s project is an articulated snake/dragon using a variety of fun papers and mixed craft media. Kids will learn folding and cutting techniques, using positive and negative space.
 
The Crow Collection of Asian Art is having a super-duper Chinese New Year Celebration for the whole family on Feb. 15 as part of the Crow After Dark program. Kids can create paper lanterns and snake puppets and decorate traditional Chinese New Year envelopes. The red color of the envelope symbolizes good luck and is supposed to ward off evil spirits. You give the envelopes away to family and friends to wish happiness and luck. Later in the evening there will a glow-in-the dark dragon dance and a Kung Fu showcase.
 
Who knew a snake could be so much fun?
 

Therese Powell is an Art&Seek calendar coordinator and KERA-TV producer.  She spends most of her free time seeking out adventures for her 7-year-old daughter, Rose.  Tell us about your quirky kid adventures by leaving a comment. Or e-mail Therese at tpowell@kera.org.