Who doesn’t love an excuse to celebrate, am I right?
The lunar new year is celebrated by several cultures all over the world, and it’s a great way to perk up the atmosphere in a classroom in gloomy late January or early February.
The lunar new year marks the beginning of a lunar (or lunisolar) calendar year, whose months are moon cycles.
It’s most often referred to as the Chinese new year, but it’s also known by other names in other cultures, which makes it an interesting theme for classroom activities.
In this article, I’ll be sharing with you a hand-picked shortlist of my top favorite classroom activities centered around the lunar new year.
Much of what I’ve got for you here are fun colorful crafts that the kids will enjoy, but we’ve made sure to include some educational elements also to build skills in the arenas of math, literacy, and of course culture.
And without further ado, let’s get straight to it!
12 Best Lunar New Year Classroom Activities To Try Today
When I saw this, I knew I had to make it my number one pick due to just how many activities are included as part of the pack…
There are several posters that you can put up on the wall, coloring pages, Play-Doh mats, lantern and crown crafts for all of the Chinese zodiac signs, and you can print out activities ranging from wordsearches, acrostic poems, graphic organizers, crosswords, writing prompts and more.
And there are lots of digital activities as well, including puzzle matching, postcard writing, and a great many more.
There are 150 pages available altogether, and it can be used for grades from kindergarten through to 4th grade.
If you’ve already been looking through Chinese new year classroom activities, you are likely to have already seen a great deal of Chinese lanterns, but this fun activity is instead about making colorful Chinese good luck ornaments.
You can download the free printable needed through the link provided.
And then it’s just a case of the children learning about Chinese symbols for good luck, which are emblazoned on the printables, that they then get to have fun coloring in.
Then they get to cut out their designs, which are nice straight lines, before making and adding little red tassels.
This is such a great resource for teaching about the Chinese zodiac because it’s basically a 7-page script that children can play out, and learn “The Race for the Zodiac” story which is famous because it tells the story of how certain animals were selected to represent the Chinese zodiac and why they appear in that particular order.
If you don’t have the time to rehearse a full play, there’s no need to worry because you can still use the script for reading aloud, and this can be done in just 30 minutes.
It is an original script, featuring 16 speaking parts incorporating a few basic facts, and with the text being broken up with illustrations. It’s recommended for grade 4 through to 7.
Kids love to craft, and this is an excellent craft activity for kids to get their hands on, not just because it’s an easy craft, but also because it can be used to create a great little usable item.
Not only does it teach kids the correct order of the Chinese zodiac animals (which you can incorporate with the race for the zodiac story) but is also a great tool for showing which years fall into which zodiac sign, which is great for seeing at a glance not just their own Chinese zodiac sign, but also those of their friends and family members.
This is a great unifying activity for kids, because it teaches them how the lunar new year is not only recognized by Chinese cultures, but also how it’s recognized by cultures in Mongolia, Tibet, South Korea, and Vietnam.
The pack contains a comprehensive lesson plan, engaging informational texts, a lingo glossary, independent worksheets, featuring comprehension questions, writing practice, and more, and a red envelopes project in tandem with the Chinese tradition.
And of course, answer keys are included as well.
The children can reflect on what they have learned, compare and contrast traditions and cultures, compare the approaches taken by the authors, and write arguments drawing on evidence in the texts.
Some of the Chinese dragon crafting activities out there are kinda stiff and unmoving, but this one is quite different, because it has lots of moving parts.
It’s super colorful, with a colorful dragon’s face, complete with mouth, teeth and eyes, then a body made with a paper chain, feathers for the tail and beard, and chopsticks or straws to use as handles for making the dragon dance.
There is no charge for this activity, all you will have to pay for is your supplies.
This is a great 35-page pack of printables, featuring Dre the Dragon, who needs help to plan the Chinese New Year activities, all designed to get the kids understanding and calculating math problems which are presented as word problems.
There are four different versions of these problems for kids at different levels of ability or grades.
This begins with grade two level tasks such as adding up to 100 and adding money, all the way through to grade four and five tasks such as multiplication and fractions.
Students also get to color in Dre the Dragon and cut him out to make a fun decoration for the classroom.
Kids love fortune cookies, and the idea of foretelling their future in such a fun way, presented as a surprise that’s locked away.
But unfortunately, few classrooms are blessed with kitchen equipment. So to make up for that, this activity helps kids to make origami fortune cookies that are made with paper.
You can use colored paper or printed paper, or have the kids decorate the paper before making it into the fortune cookie.
This is a free activity to use, and there’s a handy YouTube video to show the kids what they need to do.
This is a fun and easy activity aimed at children from preschool age up to grade one and higher, that can be done with small or large groups of kids.
All the kids have to do is a little coloring, a little cutting, a little folding and a little gluing.
This is a fun and educational activity that’s great for large classroom sized groups, or even a combination of classrooms or groups.
The kids use the chart to determine the Chinese zodiac sign of all the kids in the class, and then record the results in a tally chart.
Once all of the data has been collected, the students can then create a bar graph to represent the number of children for each of the zodiac signs.
They can then answer a series of questions, getting them to interpret the data, followed by presenting the same data again, but this time in the form of a pictograph.
This is a no prep art project where the kids can design and make a Chinese fan, using the step-by-step instructions and template provided.
The kids get to practice their pattern drawing first, and you can make it even more fun by a random allocation of patterns to use in the fan.
The kids can either roll a dice and apply the result to a printable worksheet (there’s a printable dice template if you don’t have dice), or even take advantage of the digital spinner wheel to choose the patterns.
There are also two writing prompts you can use to tie the activity to literacy.
And here we have some lunar new year themed math. This time, the kids are presented with printables depicting the various Chinese zodiac animals on a graph.
They are then tasked with reading the graph, and are asked to provide the graph coordinates for each of the animals.
I hope you’ve enjoyed browsing through our round up of the best lunar new year classroom activities on the net.
But remember, in addition to these, you can also incorporate activities that are centered around the particular lunar new year you set out to do.
For example, 2023 was the year of the rabbit, and 2024 was the year of the wood dragon, and so on.
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