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Make a Lunar New Year wishing tree

Write some wishes to celebrate Lunar New Year.

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You’ll need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • String
  • Red paper
  • Sticks or twigs - you could also use sturdy potted plants

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Using this activity to celebrate Lunar New Year

  • Take some time to discuss some of the principles and traditions of Lunar New Year. For example, it’s an opportunity to sweep out the old and celebrate the new. The colour red is used to symbolise good luck and happiness.
  • There’s a very famous, ancient banyan tree in Lam Tsuen in Hong Kong. People travel at Lunar or Chinese New Year and during other festivals to leave their own special wishes. First, they write their wishes on colourful red wishing paper, then they tie them to oranges, and throw them up into the tree. If the wishes stick, it is thought that they will come true!

Making a wishing tree

  1. Use the twigs or stick to create your own New Year trees as a group or individually. You could use string to hang the trees up.
  1. Cut out sections of the red paper in different shapes, making sure they’re big enough to write different wishes on.
  2. Now, everyone should write their own personal wishes for the coming year onto the red paper..
  1. You could then use sticky tape and string to stick a loop of string onto the card and hang your messages onto the trees.
  2. Keep the wishing trees on display to look back onto the messages at different times during the year for inspiration, positive messages or as something to reflect on.

Reflection

This activity is a great chance to slow down and take a moment to think about the year that’s gone, and the year ahead.

Give people time to share what they’ve written if they want to and feel comfortable to. They can don’t have to share their wishes if they’d rather not. Either way it’s always good to give yourself time to think and reflect. Keeping your wishing trees around can be a great reminder to do just that, too.

Safety

All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Scissors

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

  • Wishing tree messages are personal to everyone involved, so you can make them as simple or as fancy as you like.
  • People could write single words, using drawings, collage, or create longer messages and complex symbols on the paper, whichever they prefer. You could also make any suggestions anonymous, so people feel comfortable sharing their ideas or thoughts.
  • You could use sturdy potted plants, or even mini fir trees, to have the trees ready to go rather than using sticks. You could also use an existing tree at your meeting place if you’ve permission to.
  • People should share in whatever way works for them, whether that’s writing, drawing, collaging or something else.
  • If anyone needs help or struggles with fine motor skills, give them the opportunity to work in pairs, with a young leader or an adult volunteer. Alternatively, swap out the items for something easier to handle. You could also consider using a phone or computer to type and print your messages or symbols if this’s more appropriate or easier for some people.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

You may want to look into more ways that Lunar New Year is marked and celebrated, decorate your meeting space and have your very own Lunar New Year celebration.

The wishes for the trees can be very personal, make sure everyone has the chance to share theirs or keep them private if they’d prefer.