"You are so creative!" I have heard that phrase constantly since I was little. DIY, Refashioning, Crafting, Sewing, Woodworking. I love it all! Now I have a place to keep my favorite projects or ideas organized and share them with you!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Lunar (Korean) New Year! Make a Yut Nori Game.

Its that time again! Time to eat duk gook and get a year older! Yep that is correct the Koreans believe that if you eat a bowl of this special soup at midnight on New Years it is so good it ages you a year. I am not sure I want to eat duk gook in that case.

While I am not making duck gook this year, we decided on a little Bee Bim Bop for dinner tonight.
We make the Linda Sue Park version with Spinach Sprouts and Carrots. Skinny Strips of marinated beef, and fried egg ribbons on top. Bee Bim Bop means Mixed up Rice. So you mix everything together in your bowl and eat it all up.

 Then we have to hurry off to Taekwondo. I guess no one told the instructors at Taekwondo it is supposed to be a holiday. :)

Taekwando is after all the official national martial art for Korea. My daughter and I have been enjoying a free month of Taekwondo lessons at a local studio. We have been attending three days a week, this is our second week and we have been enjoying it.
Lunar New Year, more well known as Chinese New Year, is celebrated not only in China but in Korea and a few other Asian countries as well. While each country might celebrate a bit differently with different traditions and activities there are also many similarities.
The Koreans still have the same animal symbols for each year. This year is the year of the Dragon. Considered to be the most lucky of all the years.

My son was born in Korea and we celebrate Lunar New year at home usually with some home made Korean food. We dress in traditional Korean clothing called Hanbok, well everyone except my husband who doesn't have one. Here is a photo of our family last year on Lunar New Year.

Here is a Hanbok I made for my daughter last year. Click here to read about that.

Here are my boys this year!
 My youngest just got a new haircut and looks so much older now then in last years photo.  (wipe tear) His first hanbok still fits him. He got it from his foster mother in Korea. He will be ready for a new one next year, so I had a friend of mine buy him a new one when she was visiting Korea this year. It actually fits my older son so he was excited to wear it this year.

We do the traditional bowing to the parents that they do in Korean culture. This is a traditional sign of respect and it is an exciting thing for the kids because traditionally if they have been good that year they get "lucky money" from their parents. In our house we don't give money but we do instead each child is given a little gift that is from Korea. It might be a book, or a toy, just something small, but a present none the less, which makes the whole traditional bowing worth it to them.

If you want to learn how to do the traditional Korean Bow for Lunar New Year. I suggest watching this short video.

This year we decided to go to my daughter's classroom to share about Lunar New Year. We brought along the hanboks and did a taekwando demonstration. We will told them about Korea and some of the traditions they have for Lunar New Year.

 My daughter was most excited to share that in Korea, everyone turns one year older at the same time at Lunar New Year. Everyone in their class at school is the same age at the same time in Korea.  So a baby can be born the day before Lunar New year but will turn ONE at midnight the next night just like a baby who was born the day after the previous Lunar News Year. Everyone born in the same calendar year is always the same age. Fun and interesting huh?

I decided to teach them a traditional Korean Board Game. Yut Nori. Here is our game we purchased in Korea.

You play the game by gently tossing four sticks in the air onto the ground. One side of each stick is flat. You count how many flat sides are up and that is how many spaces you can move your game pieces. Traditionally you have four pieces you move around the board, but I simplified the games I made so that the first graders could play. You move around the outside of the board trying to get to the HOME space. If you land on a corner or in the middle of the board at the end of your move. You can choose to switch directions at that point. This can give you a short cut by going through the middle making you get home sooner than the other players. Also no two players cannot occupy the same space on the board at the end of their move, so if someone lands on a space you are on, you must start over from the beginning.

It is a game for all ages. It can involve a lot of strategy for older players by having multiple choices of pieces to move. And even little toddlers can be a part of the came by tossing the sticks.

I know we won't have time to play it in class and we only have one board so I made up some little game boards out of cereal box cardboard and for the sticks I marked one side of 4 Popsicle sticks so it has a blank side and a side with the words Yut Nori on it.

I added 4 different colored buttons so 4 kids can play at once on each board. and put all the pieces in a Ziploc with simple directions written on it.

 Now when they stay in for inside recess this week because it is too cold to go out. They will have a new game to play in their classroom.


  1. This is wonderful! and exactly what I was looking for for our "Winter Holidays Around the World" craft table at our public library. Thank you so much for the game instructions and ideas for making the game.

  2. adopting other races, and bring them in your family, in white countries.
    i hope you'll have an horrible life

  3. I've never heard that the dduk gook is supposed to be eaten at midnight. This may not be the case.

    The popsicle-stick yut nori is too cute.