Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles & Sensory Tray

Chinese New Year puzzles are a fun way to learn important Chinese New Year greetings!

My daughter loved the craft stick color puzzles in my last post, so I made more puzzles for the important Chinese holiday.

This activity is fun for preschoolers and elementary school-aged children who are learning to read Chinese characters. 

Since my 16-month-old son felt left out last time, I added a sensory element so that he could also take part.

I’ll show you how this activity can be enjoyed by children of different ages!

Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles and Sensory Tray, Chinese New Year activity for kids, Learn to read Chinese, Teach Kids Chinese characters

This post may have some affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, I earn a small commission which supports our educational tips at no additional cost to you. Please see the disclosure policy for details.

Important Chinese New Year vocabulary in Chinese and English

For this activity, we focused on learning the Chinese phrase 恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái / Wishing you happiness and prosperity).

Here are some other important Chinese New Year greetings:

  • 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo / Happy New Year)
  • 新年快乐 (Xīnnián kuàilè / Happy New Year)
  • 春节快乐 (Chūnjié kuàilè / Happy Spring Festival)
  • 吉星高照 (Jíxīng gāozhào / Fortune will smile on you (‘lucky star high shines’)
  • 大吉大利  (Dàjí dàlì / Lots of luck and profits)
Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles 恭喜发财

Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles: What you need

  1. Natural Jumbo craft sticks, natural mini craft sticks (we used these), or colored craft sticks
    1. Note: If you don’t have craft sticks, you can also use cardboard or thick cardstock paper for durability
  2. Pencil
  3. Black Sharpie marker
  4. Painter’s tape
  5. Pom poms
  6. Tray
  7. Paint brush
  8. Red paint: My favorite is acrylic paint because it dries quickly and leaves a vibrant color, but please note that the smell is rather strong when the paint is wet.
Setting up craft sticks for writing Chinese characters

How to make Chinese New Year Puzzles:

  1. Paint craft sticks red
  2. Allow paint to dry
  3. Tape craft sticks together with painter’s tape
  4. Write corresponding Chinese character name on craft sticks in pencil – children who are learning how to write can take part in this step!
  5. Trace with black Sharpie marker (Note: you can write directly on the craft sticks, but I recommend writing with pencil first to avoid mistakes).
  6. Create a control in 2 ways:
    1. Number the craft sticks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. &/or
    2. Take a photo of the completed puzzle so your child knows what it should look like in the end
  7. Present completed puzzles in a tray so that child can see how the characters appear when completed. I presented the puzzle in a tray and decorated it with pom poms so my daughter would be curious and excited about the new activity!
  8. Mix up puzzle pieces. As the child solves each puzzle, name each word (or ask him or her to read it if they know it).
Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles and Sensory Tray, Chinese New Year activity for kids, Learn to read Chinese, Teach Kids Chinese characters
Chinese character 发 (fā)

Ideas on how to extend the activity:

  1. Hide the puzzle pieces under pom poms.  Search for right craft stick puzzles!
  2. Have a race to see who finishes the craft stick puzzles
  3. Have children make puzzles for each other!
Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzles and Sensory Tray, Chinese New Year activity for kids, Learn to read Chinese, Teach Kids Chinese characters
恭喜发财 (Gōngxǐ fācái / Wishing you happiness and prosperity)!

Younger siblings who are too young to do puzzles, can enjoy the different textures of pom poms and wood pieces.

My son had fun trying to insert the wood pieces and pom poms in the tray handles and also trying to peel off the gold star stickers!

Toddler playing with craft sticks

Did you make these Chinese New Year puzzles?

If your child has fun with these Chinese New Year puzzles, please let us know!

Leave a comment and don’t forget to tag @CHALKAcademy on Instagram and Facebook!

We love to see how other families do Chinese activities!

CNY Crafts and Activities for Lunar New Year

More Chinese New Year resources for children

新年快乐, 恭喜发财!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *