Inside: A list of fun Chinese New Year activities for preschoolers and toddlers and download a free Chinese New Year theme printable pack!
Chinese New Year is one of the most important and most celebrated festival for Chinese all around the world. It's translated to Spring Festival (春节) in Chinese, and it marks the first day of a new year in the Chinese Lunar Calendar.
Each year in the Chinese Lunar calendar is also represented by one of 12 zodiac animals. The 12 animals are rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. 2021 was the year of the ox, 2022 is year of tiger and 2023 will be the year of the rabbit.
18 Fun Activities to Learn about Chinese New Year Festival, Stories and Traditions
As we celebrate Chinese New Year, I love to do some learning activities to let my children understand this important Chinese festival, the stories and its traditions. Scroll down to see all the fun Chinese New Year activities for preschoolers and toddlers, including a free Chinese New Year theme printable pack!
Chinese New Year Activities for Preschoolers and Toddlers
- Story of Nian: Nian (年) is a ferocious monster which attacks the villages every eve of Chinese New Year. It is afraid of red, bright lights and loud noises. Every New Year, the villages will hang red banners, lanterns and fire crackers to scare this monster away. Cut out the Chinese banners, lanterns and paste them on the door. Then cut small pieces of red paper and paste them along the black lines to create the firecrackers. (literacy, motor skills, discovery of the world)
- Abundance Year after Year Fish Art: The word "fish (鱼)" in Mandarin sounds like "abundance (余)". Thus fish are always seen in Chinese New Year banners and are popular dishes during Chinese New Year feast. Cut dot stickers in half. Paste them on the fish as scales. Colour the pair of fish.
- Mandarin Oranges Pair: During Chinese New Year, there is a tradition to exchange a pair of mandarin oranges. The oranges symbolize gold thus the gesture wishes prosperity to the recipient. The Chinese believes that even numbers (except the number 4) brings good luck (好事成双). Pair the mandarin oranges by matching the numbers to the number of dots on them.
- Chinese Dragon A to Z: Paste the dot stickers with matching letters on circles on the Chinese Dragon. For younger children, simply paste the blank dot stickers in the white circles or color with dot paint markers. Cut out the head, tail and body of the Chinese Dragon. Attach two popsicle sticks on the head and tail. Paste the head and tail to the body to make a Chinese Dragon puppet. (numeracy, motor skills)
- Chinese Zodiac Animal Puppets: Match the Chinese names of the 12 animals and arrange them according to their race positions. Read The Great Race story and pretend play with the puppets. Practice counting at the same time. (language, motor skills, discovery of the world)
Download the Chinese New Year Theme Printable Pack here:
Sign up for Happy Tot Shelf mailing list below and receive this Chinese New Year Theme Printable Pack and find many more fun learning printables inside our Printable Library.
- DIY Red Packet Puzzle: To make these puzzles, cut the front cover of any red packets and stick it on a piece of cardboard. Cut the cardboard into 4 to 8 pieces. The more pieces you cut, the more challenging the puzzle. (motor skills, numeracy)
- Number Matching Red Packets: Match the numbers on the notes with those on the red packets to practice number recognition and insert into the red packets. (numeracy, motor skills)
- Red Packet Matching: Keep all the used red packets and have your child sort them according to the designs. (numeracy)
- Crayon Resist Chinese Banner Painting: Write Chinese New Year greetings on painting paper with a crayon. Press hard. Then paint over with red water colors and see the words reveal magically! See below for a list of common Chinese New Year greetings. (literacy, art and sensory play)
- Chinese Greetings Match: Write Chinese greetings on red packets and on paper. Cut out each word in the Chinese greetings. Have your child find all the 4 words in each Chinese greetings and place them in the matching red packet.
- Chinese New Year Greetings Mix Up Toy: Paint a kitchen roll red and let the paint dry. Write 4 Chinese New Year greetings vertically on the kitchen roll. Cut the kitchen roll up into 4 parts. Each part should have 4 characters from the 4 greetings. Stack these rolls in a kitchen roll stand. Have your child rotate the rolls until the 4 characters of the Chinese New Greetings match up.
Common Chinese New Year Greetings
- 心想事成 (may all your wishes come true)
- 年年有余 (abundance every year)
- 万事如意 (may everything go with your wishes)
- 花开富贵 (when flowers bloom, prosperity follows)
- 恭喜发财 (prosperity and good fortune)
- 大吉大利 (good luck and great profits)
- 学习进步 (academic progress) and
- 步步高升 (promotion at every step)
- Fire Cracker Counting: Count the stripes on the fire crackers and find the matching number on the sparks. (numeracy)
- Chinese New Year Rice Sensory Bin: Play with a rice sensory bin and learn about the Chinese tradition of keeping the rice bucket full or '满' during Chinese New Year. It signifies that the rice bucket will remain full throughout the year and the family will never be hungry. (motor skills, discovery of the world, arts and creative expression)
More Chinese New Year Activities and Crafts
- Paper Fortune Cookies by Chalk Academy
- Lucky Chinese Red Envelope by Chalk Academy
- Chinese Lantern Sun Catcher by The Gingerbread House
- Folding Paper Orange by Buggy and Buddy
- Chinese New Year Banner Printables by Spot of Sunshine
More Chinese New Year resources for you
- Pinterest Idea Board: [theme] CHINESE NEW YEAR
- Unique Hashtag on Instagram: #cnyhts
- 20 Chinese New Year Books For Kids In Chinese And English by Chalk Academy
- Watch my demonstration on how to use the Chinese New Year Printables on my YouTube channel.
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? I hope you try some of these activities with your children too! Here's wishing all my friends the most Happy and Prosperous New Year! 新年快乐，万事如意！SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave
Love all of these original activities! So many fun ways to learn and celebrate Chinese New Year! Bonus that they are upcycled. I've pinned so many of them and scheduled to share this post on my FB page tomorrow! 🙂 https://chalkacademy.com/
wei ling tan says
Hi Fynn... Your ideas are awesome... May I know how to download the printable? I already subscribe
Hello Weiling, please check your inbox. I'll send it to you! =D
wei ling tan says
Thanks a lot dear... And happy cny to you and your family
Chea Ying says
Hi Fynn, can you please send those printables to my email? Thank
Hello, if you like you may sign up for my mailing list and receive the password to access all my printables.
Jess Kwek says
HI, activities is so creative !!! Love it so much. It's helpful for my children.
Can i have a printable?
Hello Jess, the printables are for my mailing list subscribers. There is a sign up form in the blog post and you can sign up for HTS mailing list and receive this set of CNY theme printables.
Hi Fynn, can you please send those printables to my email? Thank you.
Hello Jennifer, the printables are for my mailing list subscribers. There is a sign up form in the blog post and you can sign up for HTS mailing list and receive this set of CNY theme printables.
I love your Idea somuch , can you please send those printables to my email? Thanks.
Hello, the printables are for my mailing list subscribers. There is a sign up form in the blog post and you can sign up for HTS mailing list and receive this set of CNY theme printables.