Chinese New Year Activities for Kids

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, is a celebration of the turning of the lunisolar calendar. This article will give you some ideas to share with your classroom as the Chinese New Year approaches.

Paper Lanterns

Cut the end of some drinking straws in strips to create a fun tool your students can use to paint shapes onto red construction paper. Once the paint dries, have them fold the paper lengthwise and draw lines perpendicular to the fold, about an inch apart from each other. While the paper is still folded, ask them to cut each line, starting at the fold and ending just before the other edge. They can then unfold the paper and roll the top and bottom ends until they form a circle. Staple the ends together.

While your students are working, use this lesson on Chinese New Year History to discuss the origins of this celebration with your students.

Chinese Food Day

Another great way to celebrate this day is by serving traditional Chinese food. While you will want to take allergies into consideration, a big bowl of sesame noodles or some sticky rice cakes will be a sure hit with your class. If some of the students are even more adventurous, you can prepare a whole fish.

To help your students discover the symbolic meaning of some of these dishes, check out this lesson on Chinese New Year Traditions and Food.

Cherry Blossoms

This easy crafting project can get even the artistically-challenged kids in your class involved. Using black paint, the kids can draw a tree and its branches onto a poster board. After pouring pink paint on a paper plate, give them an empty two-liter bottle to dip the bottom into. This creates a cherry blossom stamp that kids can use to decorate their tree and scatter extra petals across their landscape.

Chinese Zodiac

Every year of the Chinese calendar is associated with one of 12 different animals. It is said that people born under the year of a certain animal share its personality traits. Have your students figure out what their animal is, and see if any of their personalities match up. Because there will probably be a lot of similar results in your classroom, find your own Zodiac sign and compare it to your students'.

Help your students discover the folklore behind these animals' origins with this lesson on Chinese New Year Animals & Meanings, and explore their characteristics through this lesson on Chinese New Year Signs and Symbols.

Chinese History

While your kids are doing these activities, you can also discuss some facts about the history of China.'s courses feature several video lessons and quizzes you can use however you like. Take, for example these chapters from the Middle School World History course:

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