Chinese New Year activities for kids and Lunar New Year lessons, plus Spring Festival printables! We cover Chinese Lunar New Year history, traditions, Chinese New Year facts for kids, crafts for Chinese New Year, food and more! Awesome addition to your holidays studies and Chinese culture, inclusiveness, and diversity lessons for your curriculum or teaching resources for family fun at home or teaching for the new year lessons!
Chinese New Year Activities, Crafts and Ideas for Learning About Spring Festival
These are great ideas for Chinese New Year activities for preschool, elementary school and high school or if you’re looking for Lunar New Year activities and crafts for both home school and home! Fun Chinese New Year activities for adults and kids lesson plans Chinese New Year (lunar new year lesson plans / new years lesson plans / Chinese new year theme for children)!
So, how do you teach Chinese New Year?
What are some activities to do on Chinese New Year?
Creative Kids Activities For Chinese New Year At Home or Classroom:
- Make a Chinese dancing dragon that moves and dances like a full body dragon puppet! (learn how with our fun directions for dragon craft for kids / easy Chinese dragon DIYs!)
- Create your own Chinese paper lantern
- Make a paper plate dragon
- Do DIY paper fan crafts
- Give Red Envelope gifts (fun Chinese new year projects for teaching about traditions!)
- Learn about Chinese New Year superstitions and good luck symbols (like why can’t you wash your hair on Chinese New Year!)
- Try Chinese New Year painting (paint Chinese New Year greetings!)
- Make a Chinese New Year sensory bin for a new year toddler activity
- Have fun with New Year zodiac coloring pages
- Do a Chinese New Year drum craft
- Play Chinese New Year games / lunar new year games
- Make party crackers to represent fireworks
- Study the specific Chinese New Year animal
- Learn about the history and Chinese New Year traditions
- Read about traditional Chinese New Year activities
- Watch a short video of lion dances online
- Visit a local Chinese New Year celebration (search: Chinese New Year events near me)
- Watch online Chinese New Year activities and Chinese New Year celebrations from around the world
- Do Chinese New Year crafts for kids and adults
- Have fun with Chinese New Year writing activities
- Learn how to do Lunar new year origami
- Create Chinese New Year lantern activities crafts
- Learn what red lanterns mean to go with your Chinese new year lantern craft
- Learn the language with Chinese New Year counting activities and color activities (great for Chinese New Year activities for toddlers and preschoolers)
- Have fun with Chinese New Year Zodiac printable coloring pages
- Create Chinese New Year art or learn about traditional Chinese New Year art projects
- Make your own Chinese dancing dragon / Chinese New Year celebrations dragon (get directions below!)
- Do tiger crafts for Chinese New Year (or crafts of animals for that year)
- Make lion masks
- Learn to make traditional Chinese dumplings (recipe linked below)
- Make a Chinese fortune calendar
- Celebrate with a family dinner, following traditional rules for Chinese New Year food
- Read a fun new years kids book (see list below!)
- Create Chinese New Year celebration wishes for friends and family
- Have fun with traditional Chinese New Year decorations and make DIY Chinese New Year decorations
- Grab a free Chinese New Year activities printable (learn Chinese New Year printout below!)
Don’t forget to download free Chinese New Year printables!
Don’t miss the full Chinese New Year activities and easy Chinese New Year crafts & ideas below, along with a free Chinese New Year printable – all great for Chinese New Year lesson plan kindergarten / preschool Chinese new year and up!
DON’T MISS THE FREE PRINTABLE FOR KIDS AT THE END OF THIS POST!
KEEP SCROLLING FOR THE FULL LIST OF CHINESE NEW YEAR CRAFTS & ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS!
Let’s start with fun facts about Lunar new year…
Fun Chinese New Year Facts For Kids
What is Chinese New Year festival?
Chinese New Year Fun Facts:
- The Chinese New Year is also called Spring Festival and Lunar New Year.
- The festival is the longest Chinese holiday, clocking in at 15-16 days.
- Chinese New Year is the largest celebrated holiday around the world.
- Dates vary each year for Chinese New Year and is based on the first full moon, taking place on the second full moon after the Winter Solstice.
- Chinese New Year originally signified a time to pray to gods for a successful planting and harvest season.
- A monster named Nian is a myth that surrounds the Chinese New Year. According to the myth, a boy scared off the monster with firecrackers and everyone celebrated.
- People have a real (traditional) birth date and a Spring Festival nominal age because everyone”grows” one year older on Spring Festival.
- Chinese New Year ends with the Festival of Lanterns.
- Festival of Lanterns is also called Shangyuan Festival (“first first festival”) or Yuan Xiao (“first night festival”).
- Happy New Year in Chinese is xin nian kuai le.
When is Chinese New Year 2023?
Chinese New Year Date is Sunday, January 22, 2023.
What year is 2023 in Chinese calendar?
For 2023, it is the Year of the Water Rabbit on the Chinese New Year Calendar.
How long is the Chinese New Year 2023?
The Chinese New Year is 16 days long in 2023, starting on the evening of January 22nd and ending on January 29, 2023, with the Lantern Festival.
LEARN ABOUT MORE FUN HOLIDAYS:
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Before we get to the all the fun kids’ activities, let’s take a closer look at Chinese New Year traditions and information, which is great to add to your theme lessons and new year activities elementary students and up!
When Is Chinese New Year? Learning About The Chinese New Year Calendar
So, when is Chinese New Year? Chinese New Year goes by the lunar calendar, so it coincides with the first full moon of the new year. This happens somewhere between the end of January and February. The Chinese New Year dates change each year based on the timing of the full moon. The Chinese New Year festivities end on the date of the full moon.
Each day of the festival has specific activities and traditions.
Also, the end of Chinese New Year is celebrated with the Festival of Lanterns and falls on the 15th day “of the first lunar month.”
[Watch a YouTube video about the Chinese Lantern Festival]
How do people celebrate Chinese New Year?
Have fun with some of these activities on Chinese New Year:
- Red is used in decorations because it is also thought to scare away monsters (like Nian).
- People buy new red clothes to start fresh and bring good luck.
- It is tradition to spend the first 5 days of the festival with your family and families can only go out after the end of those days.
- The day before the Spring Festival, people spend time cleaning so that they can “sweep away” bad luck and make room for good luck.
- Children receive money in red envelopes in hopes of transferring “fortune” from the elders to the children.
- People traditionally ate dumplings every single day during the festival, for every meal. However, in modern times most people just eat them for the New Year’s Eve dinner.
- There are special desserts and Chinese New Year desserts each have special meanings.
- There is a special New Year’s Eve dinner. The dinner has strict etiquette rules which includes where people sit, how they hold wine glasses, how food is placed, and how toasts are made.
- Set off fireworks! The most fireworks in the world are set off during Chinese New Year.
- Many light lanterns as a superstition to signify adding more children to the family.
What are some things you should not do on Chinese New Year?
What are some superstitions for Chinese New Year?
- During the first five days, people do not sweep or throw out trash because they don’t want to “sweep away” or “throw out” good luck.
- Do not throw out garbage on New Year’s Day because you are “dumping” good luck.
- People are not allowed to shower on New Year’s Day because they don’t want to “wash away” good luck.
- You are also not allowed to wash clothing for the same reason.
- Don’t go to stores. All stores in China are closed for at least the first five days of the festival.
- You cannot eat porridge because it signifies poverty.
- Do not speak “unlucky” words, like talking about death.
- Keep children from crying because it brings bad luck.
Do you give gifts on Chinese New Year?
Traditional gifts for on Chinese New Year include:
- Red Envelopes with Money
- Dried Fruits
- Healthy Foods
- School Supplies
- Flowers (like Orchids)
- Eight Oranges
Learning About Chinese New Year Animals For Kids
Every year, the Chinese New Year is assigned a zodiac animal.
There are 12 zodiac animals total, but one animal is assigned each year for the entire year.
(Keep reading to find out what is the Chinese New Year animal for 2023!)
The Chinese believe that the animal for the year you are born transfers their positive traits onto you.
It’s fun for kids to learn about their Chinese New Years animal — great for Chinese new year kindergarten activities / Chinese new year activity for preschool and up!
How Are Chinese New Year Animals Determined?
According to The Sun, “The animals were separated into two categories – yin and yang – depending on whether they have an odd or even number of claws, toes or hooves. They were then arranged into an alternating yin and yang sequence.”
Which animal is next Chinese Year?
What will be the Chinese animal for 2023? For the coming year, the Chinese animal for 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit. The Rabbit is the luckiest animal and symbolizes quietness, courage, and elegance. People born under the rabbit sign are believed to be calm and peaceful.
DID YOU KNOW:
Chinese Zodiac animals also make up a “Chinese clock” and can be used to tell time?
Chinese New Year Dragon
You’ve probably seen the awesome dancing Chinese New Year dragon, right? Chinese New Year dragons are an important part of the culture.
What does the Chinese New Year dragon symbolize?
The Chinese New Year dragon stands for power, strength, and luck. The dragon also is a “potent symbol of auspicious power” like typhoons, rain, and floods. The Chinese use the dragon during New Year celebrations and other festivals as a way to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck to the community.
Let’s learn how to make a dragon for Chinese new year!
CHINESE NEW YEAR CRAFT – How To Make A Chinese Dancing Dragon for a Chinese New Year Project
OK, listen up because one of the most fun holidays you can add to your studies is Chinese New Year activities for kids (aka: Lunar New Year activities) and this dragon craft does not disappoint!
It’s not just about the Chinese New Year animals (although that is an awesome part of this topic), but it’s also about cool Chinese New Year traditions and awesome culture, Chinese New Year food, and even the colorful Chinese New Year decorations during this celebration for kids to learn.
One year we made an awesome Chinese New Year dragon (get the Chinese New Year craft directions on our sister site – including printable chinese dragon craft template instructions).
(Oh YES. WE. DID. We really made this dragon crafts for kids! Isn’t it a cute Chinese dragon project for kids?)
It’s STILL one of those holidays craft projects my daughter talks about years later and is a great dragon preschool craft.
Honestly, kids of all ages will have fun with this dancing dragons craft — even fun for Chinese new year activities for adults to make with kids.
It’s like a Chinese Dragon Puppet you can dance around with! It really is one of the most fun Chinese New Year home activities and super fun craft you can do with kids.
It’s always fun to learn more about another culture and their traditions and celebrations and this is a fun way to do it!
If you’ try this Chinese New Year dragon craft, definitely tag us so we can see it!
Learning About Chinese New Year Food For Kids
When creating Chinese New Year For kids activities, you have to include food as part of the Chinese New Year celebration activities!
Food is one of the best (and most fun) ways to learn about a new culture, so definitely add it to your Chinese New Year activities for children!
Chinese New Year food often has symbolism associated with them.
Special foods have special meanings like:
- Fish means an increase in prosperity.
- Dumplings mean wealth.
- Noodles mean happiness and longevity.
- Sweet rice balls mean family togetherness.
There are also specific rules and ways to place and eat the food.
For example, when eating fish:
- The head should be placed toward distinguished guests or elders, representing respect.
- Diners can enjoy the fish only after the one who faces the fish head eats first.
- The fish shouldn’t be moved. The two people who face the head and tail of fish should drink together, as this is considered to have a lucky meaning.
DID YOU KNOW:
Fortune cookies are not really Chinese food! It is thought that they originally were created in California!
Traditional Chinese New Year food includes:
- nian gao (rice cake named after the festival)
- tang yuan (sweet rice balls)
- Turnip cake
- Chinese New Year Dumpling
- Chinese New Year Fish (whole)
- Spring Rolls
- Good Fortune Fruit (especially Mandarin oranges)
- Long Noodles
- Mustard Greens
- Whole Chicken or Duck (with head and feet still attached)
- Eight Treasures Rice
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR FREE PRINTABLE AFTER THIS SECTION!
27+ Chinese New Year Activities, Crafts, Lessons, and Lunar New Year Lesson Projects (Free Printable for Kids)
Best Chinese New Year Activities and Crafts
Ready for the Chinese New Year crafts and things to do for Lunar new year activities for kids?
Now that we’ve covered all the background of Chinese New Year, it’s time to have fun with some of these Chinese New Year lesson plans, Chinese New Year crafts (DIY arts and crafts for kids), lunar new year resources, and other projects that make a great unit study lesson plan for Chinese New Year.
There’s a mix of school age activities and free Chinese New Year worksheets here — from Chinese New Year activities for preschool / Chinese New year activities kindergarten ages and Chinese New Year lessons for elementary and up!
These are all a great way to add Lunar New Year fun to your kids activities at home or Chinese New Year classroom activities.
Don’t forget to get your Chinese New Year free printables after this section for fun kids’ Chinese New Year activities ideas!
Here’s how to teach Chinese New Year with your kids (something for a wide range of ages – new year crafts for preschoolers and up for classroom activities for the new year!)…
ADD THESE TO YOUR LUNAR NEW YEAR LESSONS:
Best Chinese New Year Picture Books (Celebrating Lunar New Year with Kids)
Ideas for Lessons and Lunar New Year Activities for Students
Have your own Lunar New Year celebration party (ditch the printable Chinese new year decorations and use these instead!)
Read Ruby’s Chinese New Year as a circle time Chinese new year story and then do some Ruby’s Chinese New Year activities
Read Dragon Dance and How To Catch a Dragon and then make your own dancing dragon
Read Chinese New Year books and have Chinese New Year read aloud (great for circle time):
Celebrate Chinese New Year children’s book
Chinese New Year Wishes children’s book (great for Chinese new year books for kindergarten / preschool)
(Add in your other favorite books that cover Chinese traditions!)
Watch a video about Chinese New Year History
Have fun with Chinese New year food recipes and make Chinese dumplings for food fun activities
Learn about the Chinese Lunar calendar, the beginning of a new year / lunar year, and Date of the Chinese New Year, and show students how to use a Chinese calendar
Grab some Chinese New Year 2023 photo props for Year of the Rabbit and create fun Chinese New Year photo memories
Make a Lucky Money envelope (or grab some Chinese New Year Red Envelopes) and give gifts to your friends or family members
Play Tangrams (an ancient Chinese puzzle game)– great for Chinese New Year activities for elementary and up / for Chinese New Year class games
Learn about a traditional Chinese instrument that may be used in Chinese New Year celebrations – fun for Chinese New Year music lessons!
Do a geography study unit on Asian countries as part of your China activities
Learn how to use chopsticks with this HOW TO USE CHOPSTICKS printable
Complete a China and Chinese New Year lesson plan / lesson plan for Lunar New Year
Do a lesson plan on Chinese Dragons
Learn about Chinese proverbs with this lesson plan (worksheets on Chinese New Year)
Find your Lunar New Year birth year animal and learn about all the animals of the Chinese zodiac
Learn about a Bolang Gu, or the Chinese pellet drum (or make a Chinese drum as a fun Chinese New Year craft!)
Then, Have fun with a Chinese New Year drum
Download some PowerPoint studies on China
Make Chinese Lanterns (simple art red paper lanterns for an easy craft) – great for Chinese New Year classroom decorations!
Grant good fortune to someone (writing exercise)
Learn Chinese number and colors
Learn about the music of Lunar New Year
Get messy with Chinese New Year painting: Learn about Chinese characters (Chinese calligraphy) and paint a Chinese “Good Wishes” poster – great for a Chinese New Year art lesson / Chinese New Year drawing ideas! (Love this craft for Chinese new year for tweens and teens / older kids!)
Make a Chinese dragon mask craft (or look for other inspired Asian crafts and lunar new years art)
Make Chinese New Year firecrackers (and watch a video on how fireworks are made for Chinese New Year STEM activities)
Make fortune cookies and research and discuss how they are not really a Chinese food and find out why they are served at Chinese restaurants in America
If you can, visit a Chinese festival near you and learn more about culture of the Chinese people to honor different cultures
Have a great time creating a Chinese New Year story book pdf, scrapbook, or Chinese New Year lapbook of everything you’ve learned as your last Chinese New Year activity!
What should we add to our collection of Chinese New Year activities?
Chinese New Year History and Chinese New Year Celebrations
What is Chinese New Year and why is Chinese New Year important?
“According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the ‘Year.’
The ‘Year’ looked like an ox with the head of a lion, and was believed to inhabit the sea. On the night of New Year’s Eve, the ‘Year’ would come out to harm animals, people, and their properties.
Eventually, people discovered that the ‘Year’ feared the color red, fire, and loud sounds.
Therefore, for self-protection, people formed the habits of posting red Dui Lian in front of their houses, launching fireworks, and hanging lanterns at year end.”
The exact date of the beginning of the Chinese New Year is unclear and there is some dispute about this.
Some reports put it going back as far as 1766 BC.
Free Printables for Kids: Chinese New Year Printable and Lantern Festival Coloring Page
Here’s a great free printable for kids – Chinese New Year fun facts for kids and Lunar new year coloring sheet!
Think of it as a Chinese New Year “cheatsheet” that you can refer to anytime during your studies!
Click here or on the image below to get the Chinese New Year for kids worksheet (and lunar new year coloring pages printables).
Happy Chinese New Year / Happy Lunar New Year!