Chinese New Year activities and crafts for children

February 7, 2018 Published by


China will welcome the Year of the Dog on February 16th, with huge and exciting celebrations lasting 15 days. During this time families will get together to wish each other peace and prosperity for the New Year.


Chinese New Year activities for children


Getting your child involved in Chinese New Year provides a great opportunity to experience a different culture – this helps them learn how people’s beliefs differ and can encourage a good attitude towards diversity.

A good starting point is to get your child to find out what their Chinese Zodiac sign is – they could look up the signs for friends and family too, which can start a discussion about what year people were born, how long ago grandparents were born, and so on.

Colours are symbolic in Chinese culture, so encourage your child to incorporate this into their craft designs. For New Year’s, the colours used are red (which symbolises luck, happiness and joy) and gold (for wealth and riches).



Activity ideas


Act out the story of the Chinese Zodiac



 Do you know why the zodiac signs are in a specific order? You can find a version of the legend of the Jade Emperor and his animal guards here. You could read the story with your child and have them retell it with their own comic strip, play, finger puppet show, or stop motion animation. Performing is good for building children’s confidence, will develop their communication skills, and really bring the story of the Chinese Zodiac to life for them and their audience.



Try some Chinese cuisine



Introduce your child to some new flavours! Getting your child involved in the preparations will mean they are more likely to try food that’s a little out of their comfort zone.

Take a look at these simple Chinese meals to try at home. Get really into the culture by practising Chinese dining etiquette too!


Learn to count in Mandarin 

Chinese Numbers: Learn How to Count 0-10 in Mandarin

Learn to speak Mandarin with the Yoyo Chinese Beginner Conversational Course! 200 short video lessons, organized into a 6-month course, with interactive flashcards, audio reviews, and quizzes after each lesson. Watch the first lesson now: The easiest way to learn Chinese tones: Learn your first 3 Chinese characters in FIVE MINUTES: See how to say each sound in Mandarin with our FREE Video-based Pinyin Chart.

China is home to 56 ethnic groups and around 297 different languages; however, Mandarin is the most commonly used language.

Children can quickly pick up a little Mandarin with this silly rap song that will get stuck in your head.

Explore with sensory play  


Make some red play dough and add some Chinese spices so your child can experience some new smells. Put some accessories alongside it for the children to explore: chopsticks, gold coins, bamboo, gold pipe cleaners, gold and red glitter.  This is a great activity for discussing the Chinese culture while strengthening hand and finger muscles and promoting curiosity. 



Craft ideas


Chinese coin tree

(Craft Idea from First Palette)

This coin tree is made by using coins to stamp gold paint onto red paper. Hang it up on the wall as a decoration or give it as a gift to share the luck and prosperity.


Paper Chinese dragon

Chinese Paper Dragon Crafts

(Craft Idea from Top Marks)

The dragon is a symbol of power, strength and luck. These eye-catching paper dragons just need some colourful card, glue and sequins.  For younger children, you can create templates or pre-cut pieces for them to use. It’s a great way for children to practise their scissor skills, which promote dexterity and finger strength.


Chinese fans  

Chinese Fan Craft Ideas

(Craft Idea from Actitivty Village)

These Chinese are a simple and effective craft, and they’re ideal for children who enjoy doing a bit of doodling. Just draw a design and fold!


Chinese paper lanterns 

Make your own Chinese paper lanterns

(Craft Idea from Nurture Store)

Another great scissor skill activity, children can make as many beautiful red and gold lanterns as they like – how about making some giant lanterns, or some miniature ones?


Paper folding (zhezhi)

Easy Origami for Kids

(Craft Idea from Easy Peasy and Fun)

 The name origami is a Japanese term from the words oru (to fold) and kami (paper). In China, the art of folding paper is referred to by the Chinese name zhezhi. 

This is another great activity for encouraging children to listen, concentrate and follow instructions – it is also great for fostering a sense of achievement once children have made their final piece



Photo Credits – Main Featured image – London Chinese New Year dragon Puppet licensed under CC-BY 3.0


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This post was written by Claire Gillies

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