The Chinese Zodiac is a major part of Chinese culture and its calendar system. Based on a recurring 12-year cycle, each year corresponds with an animal. February 16, 2018 will mark the start of the upcoming Chinese New Year, the year of the dog. To help children learn about the relationship between the zodiac animals and the Chinese calendar system, I’ve created an Interactive Chinese Zodiac Wheel! My daughter has a lot of fun spinning it, counting how many years until it’s a certain animal’s year, and finding everybody’s zodiac animal! As with all of our printables, the Zodiac Wheel is available in simplified and traditional Chinese. I hope your family has fun learning from the Chinese Zodiac Wheel!
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In order, the 12 zodiac animals are as follows:
- 鼠 (Shǔ/ Rat)
- 牛 (Niú/ Ox)
- 虎 (Hǔ/ Tiger)
- 兔 (Tù/ Rabbit)
- 龙 ( Lóng / Dragon)
- 蛇 (Shé / Snake)
- 马 (Mǎ / Horse)
- 羊 (Yáng / Goat, Sheep, Ram)
- 猴 (Hóu / Monkey)
- 鸡 (Jī / Rooster)
- 狗 (Gǒu / Dog)
- 猪 (Zhū / Pig, Boar)
What you need to make the Chinese zodiac wheel:
Amazon affiliate links provided for reference.
- Chinese zodiac wheel template ***UPDATED FOR 2019!***
- Printer paper or cardstock (we used red & yellow cardstock)
- Laminating pouches
- Paper fastener
- X-Acto Knife
- Cutting board
How to make the Chinese Zodiac Wheel:
- Print and laminate Chinese Zodiac Wheel templates
- Cut along the edge of inner circle on first page
- Cut along the edge of outer circle on second page
- Place smaller circle on top of larger circle
- Insert paper fastener at center of both circles
I recommend laminating the Chinese Zodiac wheel for durability so your child can spin it frequently without worry!
Displaying the Chinese Zodiac Wheels
We put up two language versions of the Chinese Zodiac Wheels with painter’s tape on the wall! My daughter had fun studying the different years and animals, and my son had fun trying to take them off the wall!
Other Chinese New Year resources for kids
For more Chinese New Year ideas, check out the following:
- Chinese New Year Books and Audiobooks
- DIY Chinese Red Envelope (Free printable)
- 20+ Fun and Educational Chinese New Year Activities for Kids!
- Chinese New Year YouTube Videos in Mandarin Chinese