7 Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year With Kids

From DIY Lunar New Year crafts to fun books, celebrate the Year of the Rooster with these kid-friendly activities

Published on: January 24, 2017

year of the rooster

Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, is not only celebrated in China, but also in many Asian countries and in the U.S. This year, Lunar New Year falls on January 28 and 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. Expect fireworks, parades, lanterns and delicious food during this multi-day festival.

Click through for ideas on how to bring this celebration home by reading about Chinese New Year, crafting paper lanterns and dragon puppets, making noise with homemade pellet drums, exchanging red envelopes, exploring a Chinese New Year Sensory Tray and tasting New Year foods. 

Photo credit: Dragon Dance

1. Chinese New Year books for kids

Why are many decorations associated with Chinese New Year red? What is the lunar calendar? Why do people give each other red envelopes on Chinese New Year? The blog Youth Literature Review offers a wonderful round-up of picture books answering all of these questions and more. With a wide range of story options appropriate for toddlers to elementary-age children, this post also gives a brief description of each book so that you can choose the right one to read with your child.

Photo credit: Doodlecraft

2. Chinese lantern lights

Decorate for Chinese New Year with these cute light-up lanterns. Natalie, the author of the Doodlecraft blog, offers easy instructions for making these Chinese lanterns from paper, tape and scissors. Natalie used string Christmas lights to make these beauties glow. Check her post for complete instructions. 

new year tray
Photo credit: Stumulating Learning

3. Chinese New Year sensory tray

Children learn through play and sensory trays offer hands-on fun. This fabulous Chinese New Year Sensory Tray from the blog Stimulating Learning contains many iconic elements associated with Lunar New Year celebrations. Kids can dig in the rice, develop fine motor skills with chopsticks, pretend to eat soup and explore red envelopes using all five senses. For older children, pair this activity with an age-appropriate book about Chinese New Year.

drum craft
Photo credit: Gift of Curiosity 

4. Chinese New Year drum craft

Drums and other noisemakers are a big part of Lunar New Year celebrations. Katie, author of the Gift of Curiosity blog, offers instructions for creating a kid-friendly bolang gu, or Chinese pellet drum. Made with paper plates and jingle bells, this drum won’t be (too) noisy! Check the post for instructions. 

dragon puppet
Photo credit: Made With Happy

5. Chinese dragon puppet

Dragon and lion dances are a common part of Chinese New Year parades. Your kids can create their own dragon dance with this homemade dragon puppet. The head and tail of the dragon are made from a printable available on the Made With Happy blog. Blog author Alli tells you how to put the puppet together, and even offers a how-to video. 

red envelopes
Photo credit: Amazon

6. Red envelopes

Gifts of money inside red envelopes are often exchanged during Lunar New Year. These long, narrow red packets are usually decorated with Chinese symbols or animal of the year. Check out these beautiful red envelopes and celebrate the new year with this unique tradition.

Photo credit: Happy and Blessed

7. Chinese New Year tasting menu

Do you want to celebrate Chinese New Year with yummy dishes, but don’t have the time or skill to cook from scratch? Hop on over to the Happy and Blessed blog for instructions on how to create a Chinese tasting menu from frozen products. The blog’s author even offers step-by-step instructions to get the whole meal on the table in 30 minutes. Read the rest of the post for printable Chinese New Year coloring pages and other holiday craft ideas.

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