Celebrating Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year is a spring festival celebrated in China. It follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar and falls between mid-January to mid-February each year. This is an excellent opportunity to expose children to the Chinese culture, as well as focus on the year's animal. Here is a list of Chinese New Year Start Dates and Animal Signs.

Chinese New Year Songs

Lion Dance Song (Tune: Mary Had a Little Lamb)
See the lion dance and prance,
Dance and prance, dance and prance.
See the lion dance and prance
On Chinese New Year's Day.

Hear the firecrackers pop,
Pop,pop,pop; pop,pop,pop
Hear the firecrackers pop
On Chinese New Year's Day.

Chinese Dragon (Tune: Frere Jacques)
Chinese dragon, Chinese dragon,
Breathing fire, breathing fire,
Happy, happy new year,
Happy, happy new year,
Gung hay fat choy,
Gung hay fat choy.

Five Green Dragons Poem
Five green dragons, Making such a roar 
One danced away, And then there were four 
Four green dragons, Dancing 'round a tree 
One danced away, And then there were three 
Three green dragons, Dancing 'round you 
One danced away, And then there were two 
Two green dragons, Dancing in the sun 
One danced away, And then there was one 
One green dragon, Having lots of fun 
She danced away, And then there were none

Chinese New Year Art Activities

Dragon Puppets
Make dragon puppets out of the small brown paper bags. Have children cut out rectangles for "scales" and glue all over their drgaon. Let them use their imaginations to add eyes, horns, teeth, etc. with a variety of materials.

Rice Painting
Mix paint and glue together. Have the children paint with it then sprinkle rice on the wet paint.

Marble Art
Tape a piece of paper inside a shoe box. Dip one marble in black paint and one marble in red paint. One at a time, put the paint covered marbles in the show box and let children roll them around. They will have a unique design when done.

Chinese New Year Math and Science

Chinese Abacus
Make a Chinese abacus using Cheerios. Have the children count out ten cheerios and string them on yarn. Attach this to a piece of paper to create a Chinese Abacus. To make a larger abacus put all of the children's yarn on one piece of paper.

Chopstick Practice/Sorting
Provide children with chopsticks, variety of sizes of cotton balls or colored pompoms and several empty Chinese food cartons. Let children practice using the chopsticks to pick up cotton balls or pompoms, sorting them into the containers by size, color, etc.

Shiny Pennies
In the Chinese New Year Tradition, red envelopes are given to children containing brand new money. Make old pennies shiny and new by using 2 oz of vinegar and adding 2 T of salt. Drop pennies into liquid then wipe off with towel (or dip tooth brush into vinegar and then into salt). Use the mixture to scrub the pennies, rinse in water and dry. This will make them shine! The children place the pennies in red envelopes to keep for good luck.

Chinese New Year Movement

Human Dragon
Have children line up in a row putting their hands on the persons shoulder in front of them. The first person is the dragons head and the last person is the tail. The head tries to catch the tail with out the kids coming un-hooked. Let the children take turns being the head.

New Year Animal Charades
Put the name or picture of the Chinese Zodiac animals next on small slips of paper. Have children randomly choose an animal and act it out, while letting the other children guess what animal it is. (The 12 signs of the Zodiac are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.)

Red Walk
Since red is seen everywhere at Chinese New Year's time, take children on a Red Walk. Have them look for and point out red things around your home or school.

More Chinese New Year Resources