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  • Activities and Competitions

    Organizing activities and competitions is fun but there are times you need some fresh ideas. In the activity drop-down menu below, you can find heaps of ideas. What about a Paper Plane Competition?
  • Activities

  • TIP: Keep an action list

    I wasn't particularly good at it myself - I'm an ad hoc person - but it was one of my recommendations when I gave display workshops: Make a rough sketch of how the display will look like Write down what materials and tools you'll need Create a time-line / checklist: This week copying and laminating - Next week: buy or beg materials - Two weeks: covering display boxes with matching paper - Three weeks: collect books matching the display etc. till you reach D-day and start getting nervous....
  • TIP: Staple at an angle

    Removing old display items will be much easier when you hold the stapler at an angle when you tack items to the board. The staples will stick out at one side - perfect to get hold of and pull them out when you change displays.
  • TIP: Use a glue gun

    Glue guns are the most fantastic tools for creating displays. You can attach all sorts of materials like hard plastic, metal, fabric and everything else you can think off. Be careful with your fingers (blow - blow) the glue is very hot and you easily get blisters
  • TIP: Create a 3D effect!

    Create a 3D effect by hanging objects in front of the display board, like fish in a Sea Life display or lanterns in a Spring or Garden display.
  • TIP: Don’t overdue it!

    Too much text, images or books on display too close together distract the eye. It all becomes a blur. Each object needs its own space. Think of a shop window that is more than full with appliances, you can’t distinguish one object from the other, while carefully placed objects attract the attention.

China: vast and varied


It is no longer America but China that is the huge overseas supplier of materials, ideas and optimism. Free trade, dairy farms, two dollar shops and clothing, our economy these days is unimaginable without China’s input.


With over 55 ethnic minorities and a population of 133 million citizens, the Peoples Republic of China is a vast and varied country and its history diverse. Lots of Chinese novels tell the story of a harsh upbringing, unwanted daughters or of people who had to fight a civil war that was not theirs. For Chinese who migrated it could be equally difficult; language, cuisine, customs and education could be barriers that were and are hard to take in countries that are not always open to new influences.


To celebrate the Chinese culture I’ve made a display that is vibrant and inviting with its traditional Chinese fabric and bright red lanterns.


What you need:


        Chinese fabric for background display board (Chinese shop)

        Gold wrapping paper for headboard and little boards halfway up right and left display boards (Warehouse)

        Lanterns (Chinese shop)

        Dragon (Google images – enlarged and laminated)

        Title – black letters (size: 600 – font: Heavy Heap) laminated and cut out neatly

        Images such as map of China or images of pagodas, people and food (laminated and cut out)

        Pink and pale blue paper lanterns (Google images – enlarged, laminated)

        Carton box as book stand plus surplus fabric or wrapping paper to cover the box

        Long nails to hang the red fabric lanterns on and the pink and pale blue paper ones

        I used little shelves from a previous display(Mathematics; juggling the numbers) to attach to the boards of the display. You can use carton, corn flute or thin plywood to create three little shelves. If you prefer to leave them out you can fill the space with chopsticks, Chinese characters or the Chinese flag


What to do:


        Staple the Chinese fabric to the board. Make sure the sides are tucked in neatly

        Staple the gold wrapping paper to the headboard. (See: Display tips for how to staple best)

        Attach the little shelves. I screwed them to the board but if you use cardboard or cornflute you can use strong tape to attach to the side that goes to the board and staple the tape to the board. To keep the shelf up you can use a wire attached to two holes in the sides of the shelf so that it hangs or glue (glue gun) two triangle shaped items under the shelf. I used triangles (we have a surplus left by students in our drawers) and cut them to fit.

        Attach the pink and blue paper lanterns to the board using long nails to make sure they stick out a bit for a 3D effect

        Staple the laminated images to the left and right sides of the board

        Staple the dragon in the middle of the middle board under the shelf

        My fabric was not wide enough to cover the boards completely so I used gold wrapping paper to cover the few centimetres that were bare at the bottom

        Staple the letters of the title to the headboard, making sure they are in a straight line


        Hammer the nails for the lanterns to the headboard and attach the string of red lanterns to them

        Step back a few meters and view your display – make alternations if what you see is not satisfactory

        Arrange fiction and non-fiction books about China on the display shelves and on the little shelves as well



This is an easy to make display. You can of course substitute the more expensive fabric (8 dollars a meter) for wrapping paper or use Google images to find examples of Chinese fabric and print the required number of A3 sheets.


The string of lanterns is from a Chinese shop. The owner assured me that the wiring is OK, he used the lanterns for years without a problem in his shop, but he isn’t allowed to sell the lanterns with a plug because it has no NZ safety sticker. I bought the lanterns for 9 dollars, with a sticker they would be 69 dollars. For safety reasons I chose not to attach a plug and have them only as decoration.( though it was tempting)  


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