Considered to be a symbol of good fortune, the Chinese bamboo tree is both respected and appreciated in China. Bamboo strips, about 7-12 millimetres wide were written on vertically by the ancient Chinese. It must have been difficult to write calligraphy on bamboo strips so thin! These strips can also be bound together with pieces of string, to make a scroll. Our kids made their own Chinese bamboo scrolls and enjoyed trying to write calligraphy, though they both found it a little difficult.
Check out the list of materials that we use with this activity.
Chinese Bamboo Scrolls
To make these scrolls, I used Super Paddle pop Sticks. These paddle pop sticks were 20cm long and about 2 cm wide.
First, I drew a line 2 cm from each end of the stick. I used a pair of scissors to cut out a small wedge on each side of the stick (4 in total). You could also use a stanley knife (exact knife).
Once I had done this to 9 sticks, I lined them all up together. I measured a piece of string the was 3 times the length of all nine sticks together. (You will need 2 of these lengths for one scroll). Folding this in half, I started from one end and placed the folded end of the thread into one of the notches. I then tied a double knot around the stick.
Then slide the next stick and line up the notches and double knot it into place, continuing until your scroll is complete. Then do the same for the other end. I used 9 paddle pop sticks in each scroll.
I made these scrolls while the boys were in bed, so they were ready for them to write on the next day. Children may find it a little hard to knot themselves and may need an extra hand with this.
To practice writing Chinese characters, I printed out worksheets from Education.com. Our boys practiced each character, then wrote it onto their scrolls.
They practiced with a felt tip pen, but wrote onto their scrolls with a permanent marker.
They wrote the Chinese character and then wrote the English word next to it, so they know what it means.
When you are finished, you can roll up your scroll and tie it together!