Chinese or Lunar New Year Activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten
Lunar New Year Books
Activities to Celebrate the Lunar New Year
Red Envelopes Red envelopes containing money are given on special holidays such as the Lunar New Year. Red symbolizes good luck and is believed to ward off evil spirits. The money contained within the envelope usually adds up to an even number which is considered lucky. Materials: printable envelope pattern, red construction paper or cardstock, glue stick, scissors, gold glitter glue, pretend money or chocolate coins. Copy one red envelope pattern per child on red paper. Cut out each envelope and glue the flaps down leaving the top flap open. Invite the children to use gold glitter glue to decorate the front of the envelopes. Place play money or chocolate coins in each envelope. Gold represents wealth and good fortune. Download the free printable envelope template HERE. Firecrackers Traditionally, firecrackers are set off during Chinese or Lunar New Year celebrations to scare away bad spirits and welcome the new year. Materials: one small cardboard tube for each child, red paint, gold glitter glue, red tissue paper, red ribbon, small treats to place inside the tube. Invite the children to paint their cardboard tubes red. When dry the tubes can be decorated with gold glitter glue. Next, place small treats inside a piece of red tissue paper and tie the ends with ribbon. Insert the tissue paper package into the cardboard tube. Invite the children to shake the tubes to make pretend firecrackers for the Lunar New Year. At the end of your celebration you can invite the children to open the tubes to discover the treats inside. Oranges and Tangerines Oranges and tangerines are frequently given during the Chinese New Year because the Chinese words for these items sound like luck and wealth. Materials: oranges or tangerines, red tissue paper, ribbon, printable leaf pattern, scissors, hole punch, green cardstock or construction paper Give each child an orange or tangerine. Invite the children to wrap their orange in red tissue paper and help them tie a ribbon around the top. Next, print the leaves on green paper and cut out, then punch one hole in the top of each leaf. Insert the end of the ribbon in the hole in each leaf and tie the leaf securely to the wrapped orange or tangerine. Invite the children to give their “gifts” to their friends. You can download the free printable leaf pattern HERE. Dragon Puppet Materials: brown lunch bags, outline of dragon face, glitter or sequins, crayons, markers, glue, scissors. Have each child color the dragon face, cut out, and glue on the bottom of the paper bag. You can glue glitter or sequins to the puppet’s body to create “scales”. Dragon Mask Materials: outline of dragon face, watercolor paint, brushes, paper plates, large popsicle sticks. Have each child watercolor his or her dragon picture. When dry, cut out the pictures and glue to a paper plate. Attach a large popsicle stick to the bottom and you have your very own dragon mask. The children love to use these masks to dance to traditional Lunar New Year music. Asian Zodiac Signs Materials: pictures of the different animals in the Asian zodiac, one copy of the animal for the current year for each child, crayons. Have each child color the picture of the animal that represents the current year. Lanterns Lanterns are used to signal the end of Chinese New Year celebrations; a lantern festival is held during the first full moon. Lanterns light the way home for guests and also represent the blessing of harmony, order and unity to remain throughout the year. Materials: red construction paper, scissors, glue/stapler. Fold a long piece of construction paper in half “hamburger style”. Make a series of cuts along the fold line. Don’t cut all the way to the edge of the paper. Unfold the paper and glue the edges together folding “hot-dog style”. Glue or staple a strip of paper across one end of the lantern to make a handle. Hang the lanterns from the ceiling in your classroom for good luck. Lunar New Year Classroom Party We have a Lunar New Year celebration in our classroom every year. Here are some of the things you can do to make your day special:
- Wrap and pass out oranges.
- Eat noodles for longevity
- Wear red for good luck.
- Sing Lunar New Year songs and dance with our masks and firecrackers.
- Pass out red envelopes and say “Happy New Year” to each other in Chinese.
- Hang lanterns from the ceiling.
- Read Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan’s Chinese New Year and dance around the classroom or school to traditional music.
You might also be interested in the Dramatic Play Chinese Restaurant kit, it can be found HERE.
Lunar New Year Resources