Chinese New Year is the most anticipated time of celebration on the Asian calendar so why not introduce it in preschool? You don’t have to necessarily celebrate the holiday to introduce kids to it either. Embracing the traditions of another culture can be a valuable and enriching time of learning for young ones. This also doesn’t mean you need to stick to dragon masks or lantern crafts either! Check out these creative preschool activities focused on celebrating Chinese New Year to ensure a fun-filled festive season this year.
1. Chinese New Year Yoga
Yoga is always a fun way to introduce various topics into the preschool environment. There are yoga poses associated with the zodiac signs that would make a great start to every day during the Chinese New Year celebrations. Poses like downward facing dog, cobbler’s pose, and cobra pose are easy for kids to do and helps them start their day off on a relaxed note.
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2. Paper Plate Dragon Twirler
The time around Chinese New Year will undoubtedly be filled with tons of dragon art activities. Keep it fresh with a few fun variations like this creative paper plate version that can hang from the ceiling to decorate the classroom.
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3. Fire-breathing Dragon Craft
These are fun dragon crafts for preschool to get kids in the spirit. They will jump for joy when they see their creations “breathe fire” when they blow through the toilet paper tube.
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4. Paper Plate Dragon Puppet
This is an easy activity for kids and works on their fine motor skills as they cut, fold, and glue all the pieces together. The Chinese dragon puppet is a fun craft that can do a charming dragon dance.
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5. Chinese Paper Plate Drum
Nothing spells Chinese New Year quite like some rhythmic music from a Chinese drum. This drum craft seems easy but kids can let loose with decorating their instrument and everyone can join together to make music once it is done.
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6. Paper Lanterns
It isn’t really Chinese New Year if there isn’t a Chinese lantern or 10 hanging around. This colorful craft is easy enough for most kindergarteners but cutting on the dotted line will require tons of concentration.
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7. Red Envelope Counting Cards
Red envelopes, or Hong Bao, are a key part of Chinese New Year traditions. These cute envelope printables make for a great hands-on math activity. Kids count the coins in their envelopes and place a clothespin on the correct number on each card.
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8. Sand Tray Writing
Teaching kids a few mandarin words or numbers goes a long way in promoting respect for the language. Use a sand tray to let kids practice a few characters that are connected to the new year’s celebrations.
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9. Chinese New Year Sensory Bin
This is an activity for toddlers and kindergarteners alike. Let them explore a few Chinese icons like coins, chopsticks, panda toys, candy, and decorations in a celebratory sensory bin.
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10. Learn Songs and Rhymes
Songs and rhymes are always a great way to connect preschool themes. Check out this fun list of songs to teach kids during the festive period. Kids can chant these songs while making their Chinese dragon craft or let their dancing dragons bop around to the beat of the music.
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11. Read a Book
Ruby’s Chinese New Year is one of the most popular books on the theme. Expose kids to as much reading material as you can and let them find their favorite book relating to the Chinese New Year.
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12. Fireworks Painting
Firework paintings are the perfect activities for preschool to commemorate the holiday celebration. Lay out traditional Chinese colors like red, green, and yellow, and use cut-up toilet rolls to create beautiful firework displays.
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13. Chinese New Year Bingo
Bingo cards can be a fun introduction to Chinese culture surrounding the new year. These free printables make for awesome Chinese zodiac activities and you can use fortune cookies as the bingo markers for a yummy activity idea.
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14. Zodiac Animal Match Up
You can also opt for an animal-matching activity to introduce the various zodiac characters. Matching activities for toddlers can also be turned into a memory match game for slightly older children.
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15. Chopsticks Motor Skills
Replace Chinese dumplings with cotton balls to get kids working on their fine motor skills and pincer grip abilities. These activities for kids are great for counting activities or spontaneous races to have some fun in the classroom.
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16. Chinese New Year Memory Game
Another reliable way to introduce preschool themes like Chinese New Year is with a handy pack of memory cards. Print out these memory cards for a fun introduction to the culture surrounding this sacred holiday and see how many items kids can memorize on each card.
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17. Hidden Pictures Worksheet
Hidden picture worksheets are ideal activities for toddlers as they get to concentrate on coloring in all the small details while looking for a few hidden pictures. These free printables feature all the animals from the Chinese zodiac taking part in all sorts of new year’s celebrations.
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18. Chinese Numbers Lego
This is another easy introduction to Chinese culture, and you probably already have all the supplies! Kids can use Lego blocks to create Mandarin numbers and gain valuable insight into the beauty of the language.
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19. Zodiac Reading Activity
This is another crafty take on an animal-matching activity using characters from the Chinese calendar. Print out the names of the animals with the Chinese pronunciation and let kids match their animal toys to the correct word.
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20. Chinese New Year Addition Puzzle
This math activity uses pictures to help kids practice addition and counting. Educational activities should be extra fun and colorful during this time of cultural celebration so swap boring counting cards for this Chinese-specific activity.
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