Best Chinese New Year activities 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 culture and diversity lessons for your curriculum or family fun at home!
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 activities and crafts for both home school and home!
What are some activities to do on Chinese New Year?
What are some Chinese New Year activities:
- Learn about the history and Chinese New Year traditions
- Read about traditional Chinese New Year activities
- Have fun with traditional Chinese New Year decorations
- Give Red Envelope gifts
- Get party crackers to represent fireworks
- Study the specific Chinese New Year animal
- 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 about Chinese New Year superstitions and good luck symbols (like: why can’t you wash your hair on Chinese New Year)
- Create Chinese New Year lantern activities crafts
- Learn the language with Chinese New Year counting activities and color activities
- Have fun with Chinese New Year Zodiac coloring pages
- Make your own Chinese dancing dragon / Chinese New Year celebrations dragon (get directions below!)
- Learn to make traditional Chinese dumplings (recipe linked below)
- Celebrate with a family dinner, following traditional rules for Chinese New Year food
- Create Chinese New Year celebration wishes for friends and family
- Grab a free Chinese New Year activities printable (below!)
Don’t miss the full Chinese New Year activities and ideas below, along with a free Chinese New Year printable!
Before we get to the all the fun kids’ activities, let’s take a closer look at Chinese New Year traditions and information.
DON’T MISS THE FREE PRINTABLE FOR KIDS AT THE END OF THIS POST!
Chinese New Year History
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.
LEARN ABOUT MORE FUN HOLIDAYS:
When Is Chinese New Year? | 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.”
When is Chinese New Year 2022?
Chinese New Year Date is Tuesday, February 1, 2022.
What year is 2022 in Chinese calendar?
For 2022, it is the Year of the Tiger on the Chinese New Year Calendar.
How long is the Chinese New Year 2022?
The Chinese New Year is 15 days long in 2022, starting on the evening of February 1, and ending on February 15, 2022, with the Lantern Festival.
Fun Chinese New Year 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.
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?
- 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.
Chinese New Year Animals
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.
The Chinese believe that the animal for the year you are born transfers their positive traits onto you.
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 2022? The Chinese animal for 2022 is the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger symbolizes strength, power, bravery, willpower, prosperity, and competitiveness. The Tiger is also seen as unpredictable
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.
CHINESE NEW YEAR CRAFT: How To Make A Chinese Dancing Dragon
OK, listen up because one of the most fun holidays you can add to your studies is Chinese New Year activities for kids. (Also called Lunar New Year activities.)
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!
One year we made an awesome Chinese New Year dragon (get the directions on our sister site). (Oh YES. WE. DID.) It’s STILL one of those holidays craft projects my daughter talks about years later! 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 you can do with kids!
It’s always fun to learn more about another culture and their traditions and celebrations! Right?
Chinese New Year Food
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!
Chinese New Year food often has symbolism associated with them.
- 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!
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
27 Chinese New Year Activities, Crafts, Lessons, and Projects + Free Printable 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, and other projects that make a great unit study!
There’s a mix of school age activities here, from Chinese New Year activities for preschool / Chinese New year activities kindergarten ages and up!
Read Ruby’s Chinese New Year then do some Ruby’s Chinese New Year activities
Read Chinese New Year books and have Chinese New Year read aloud with:
Have fun with Chinese New year food recipes and make Chinese dumplings
Grab some Chinese New Year 2022 photo props for Year of the Tiger and create fun Chinese New Year photo memories
Learn how to use chopsticks with this HOW TO USE CHOPSTICKS printable
Complete a China and Chinese New Year lesson plan
And, do a lesson plan on Chinese Dragons
Learn about Chinese proverbs with this lesson plan
Learn about the music of Lunar New Year
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
Create a Chinese New Year story book pdf of everything you’ve learned
Free Printables for Kids: Chinese New Year Printable and Lantern Festival Coloring Page
Here’s a great free printable for kids!
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.