Best 20 Chinese New Year Activities and Crafts for Home and School!

To celebrate Lunar New Year, my kids and I are having fun with Chinese New Year crafts and activities! Lunar New Year is the most important holiday in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. People all over the world – like the United States where my family lives – celebrate Lunar New Year, too!

Through Chinese New Year crafts and activities, my family has learned so much about our heritage. But no matter your background, these projects are great for home and school. Several have printable templates to save time and guide you through each step!

This post was originally published in January 2018 and has since been updated with new information.

Lunar New Year versus Chinese New Year crafts

Asia is an incredibly diverse continent, and Lunar New Year traditions vary in different countries. While we generally prefer to say “Happy Lunar New Year” to be inclusive of other Asian cultures, we use “Chinese New Year” to describe the projects here.

Contrary to popular misconception, Chinese-specific activities do not represent other Asian traditions. Using a broader term would be misleading here.

Since my kids are part-Korean through my husband, we’ve learned about special Korean traditions, too. You can read about Korean Lunar New Year crafts and activities here!

How do you celebrate Chinese New Year with kids?

Traditionally, for a fresh start to Chinese New Year, houses are cleaned and decorated with lucky colors, red and gold. In addition, Chinese lanterns and banners have messages of fortune, happiness, wealth, and longevity!

Food is also a huge part of Chinese New Year. Many families enjoy dumplings, noodles, and tuan yuan, just to name a few favorite dishes. In addition to crafts and activities, you can also celebrate by reading Chinese New Year books. If you want to see the festivals in action and hear popular songs, watch these videos about Chinese Spring Festival!

Although Chinese New Year is traditionally a 2-3 week long holiday, you can make it as simple or elaborate as you like. Do as little or as much as you have time for at home or school!

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The best Chinese New Year crafts and activities for kids

Chinese Lunar New Year Crafts and Activities for kids at home and school

I’ve organized the best Chinese New Year activities into the following categories:

  • Chinese culture: red envelopes, banners, lanterns, paper fans, and more!
  • Chinese literacy: calligraphy, coloring pages, word puzzles, word-matching
  • Chinese zodiac animals: printable animal activities and crafts

Although the internet is saturated with many lists of Chinese New Year crafts, we aim for authenticity. Specifically, we have tried to exclude ideas that could be offensive to our culture (eg, rice sensory bin, stereotypical images).

Chinese New Year crafts about cultural traditions

Printable Chinese lanterns for Lunar New Year

visual of how to make paper lanterns with printable template
Chinese paper lanterns

We love making these easy Chinese paper lanterns with our helpful template. These lanterns take less than 1 minute to make in just 5 steps! It’s a great craft for a wide age range -preschoolers and even grown-ups!

Fun printable Chinese red envelopes

Chinese New Year Red Envelope (Chinese Red Packet) Free Printable
Chinese New Year red envelope

Red envelopes 红包 (also known as red packets) are extremely important for Chinese New Year! Our festive printables feature Chinese characters including 福, 囍, 寿 or 壽, 家, 春, 好, 恩 plus Christian phrases for those who are interested.

Download our printable Chinese red envelopes, show your kids Chinese words (translations and instructions included in the printable pack), and decorate with gold! Bonus: red envelopes with cash are also the gift of choice in Chinese culture.

Chinese New Year banners

Chinese New Year Banners from CHALK Academy - free printable in simplified and traditional Chinese
Chinese New Year banners

Pairs of red Chinese banners (couplets) are popular decorations for Lunar New Year! Our printable Chinese banners also come with information sheets and English translations for kids to learn more about culture at home or school. This is a great activity for all ages.

Chinese firecrackers Lunar New Year craft

How to make Chinese firecrackers for Lunar New Year
Chinese firecrackers craft

With red paper and gold tape, you can make your own lucky Chinese Firecrackers for Lunar New Year! Firecrackers are a really fun decorations!

Paper fortune cookie template with printable bilingual messages

Paper fortune cookies craft template and bilingual messages

Save time and use our template to make paper fortune cookies! Fortune cookies became popular in western Chinese restaurants, and getting a surprise fortune is always exciting. Our printable template includes special bilingual English and Chinese proverbs and positive affirmations for kids.

Chinese paper folding fans

DIY Chinese folding fans easy craft from CHALK Academy
DIY Chinese folding fans craft

Want to make the easiest Chinese paper fans with your kids?  You can even turn scrap paper into something beautiful. Click here to learn how to make Chinese paper fans!

Chinese peach blossom number bonds

Peach blossom number bonds Chinese Lunar New Year Activity for Kids!

I love this hands-on math activity from Tot School with OSH! Learn number bonds with Chinese peach blossom flowers! If you don’t have wood numbers and silk flowers, you could recreate this by drawing or making a flower craft.

Yin Yang paper plate puzzle

Yin Yang Paper Plate Puzzle CHALK ACADEMY
Yin yang paper plate puzzle

The famous Yin Yang symbol represents harmony and balance in Chinese colors. We had fun making a paper plate yin yang puzzle and learning about the symbolic meaning! This could be fun for Chinese New Year or any time of the year!

Paper plate Chinese drum for Chinese New Year

Chinese Paper Drum Craft from Gift of Curiosity
Chinese paper drum craft

Ring in Lunar New Year with a fun and easy paper plate Chinese Drum craft! Learn how to make a paper plate Chinese drum here.

3-dimensional Chinese paper cutting 春 craft for Chinese New Year

 Chinese Paper Cutting Spring Craft from Miss Panda Chinese
Chinese paper cutting craft

Miss Panda Chinese has a template that you can cut to create a 3-dimensional 春 (chūn / spring) Chinese character. In Chinese culture, Lunar New Year marks the start of spring. Therefore, Lunar New Year is also known as 春節 | 春节 (Spring Festival). Get the template and instructions here.

Chinese paper cutting for Lunar New Year

Chinese Paper Cutting for Lunar New Year of the Rat
Chinese paper cutting for year of the rat

Want to keep exploring Chinese paper cutting? Pink Stripey Socks has a kid-friendly tutorial for the Chinese zodiac animal here!

Learn Chinese characters for Chinese New Year

Happy New Year coloring sheets in Chinese!

2022 Happy New Year coloring pages in English and Chinese

Coloring can be a calming brain break for kids (and grown ups)! Download our printable Happy New Year coloring sheets in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese!

Chinese water calligraphy for Chinese New Year

Chinese Calligraphy class with Bilin Academy
Chinese water calligraphy

Chinese calligraphy is a beautiful and artistic form of writing that is highly respected in Chinese culture. My kids always have fun with magic water calligraphy, a reusable and eco-friendly way to practice writing!

Kids and adults alike can use this calligraphy mat. See examples of how we used the magic writing cloth for Chinese writing practice here.

Chinese New Year craft Stick puzzle for kids

Chinese New Year Craft Stick Puzzle educational activity for kids!!
Chinese New Year craft stick puzzle

Learn the important Chinese New Year Greeting “恭喜发财” with this festive craft stick puzzle! You can also adapt this puzzle to other words.

Chinese zodiac activities for Lunar New Year

Chinese zodiac wheel – learn about the 12 animals

Printable interactive Zodiac wheels in English and Chinese
Spinning Chinese zodiac wheel

To learn the Chinese zodiac, this interactive wheel shows you which animals correspond to which year. The printable Chinese zodiac wheel is available in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English.

Chinese zodiac animal crafts

Chinese Zodiac Animal Crafts from DailyNoodles Chinese Activity book for kids
Chinese zodiac animal crafts

DailyNoodles Chinese Activity book includes simple crafts for all 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals!

Chinese zodiac animal matching

Chinese zodiac animal matching
Chinese zodiac animal matching

Happy Tot Shelf has a clever Chinese Zodiac animal matching activity with egg cartons! Learn more about the fun Chinese zodiac activity here!

Whirling paper plate Chinese dragon for Chinese New Year

Paper Plate Whirling Dragon from Red Ted Art
Paper plate dragon

Chinese Dragon crafts just got more fun with this bouncy, whirling paper plate dragon craft from Red Ted Art!

Dancing paper roll Chinese New Year dragon craft

Paper Roll Chinese Dragon Craft from Oh Creative Day
Paper roll Chinese dragon craft

Vibrant dragon craft made from upcycled materials and colored with acrylic paint! Save all of your toilet paper rolls, because longer dragons = more fortune!  Learn how to make this Chinese dragon here!

Paper chain Chinese dragon puppet

Paper Chain Chinese Dragon Puppet for Lunar New Year
Chinese dragon puppet

This is a cute DIY Chinese dragon craft made easy with this printable template!

新年快乐, 恭喜发财! / 新年快樂, 恭喜發財!

Happy New Year! May you have a prosperous new year!

Chinese gift guide for kids, families, and teachers

More Lunar New Year resources for kids

Happy playful learning, friends!

4 Comments

  1. What a fabulous collection of Chinese New Year craft projects! I love the beautiful red envelope design! Your Chinese language and culture display is filled with fun. Thank you very much for including us!

    1. Thank you!! It was an honor to have you as part of the Chinese New Year round-up! We had so much fun decorating our home with the Chinese character for spring!

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