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. Tuesday, February 5, 2019 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 created an interactive Chinese Zodiac Wheel! This printable Zodiac Wheel is available in simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, and English.
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! I’ll also share some matching games that I did with both of my children to demonstrate how you can teach to various ages. I hope your family has fun learning from the Chinese Zodiac Wheel, too!
This resource is part of a series on how to teach kids clock and calendar skills:
- Interactive Perpetual Calendar
- Calendar Wheels: Days of the week and Months of the Year
- Months and Seasons Paper Plate Puzzle
- Chinese Zodiac Wheel (This article)
- Teach Kids Time with Simple, Hands-On Clock Activities
This post has affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy for further details.
- 十二生肖 (Shí’èr shēngxiào / Chinese Zodiac)
- 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 to KaiTi font for 2019!***
- Printer paper or cardstock; In 2018, we used red & yellow cardstock in 2018. In 2019, we printed on white paper and colored it in.
- 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
- Optional: 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!
Here’s another way that the Zodiac printable can be presented!
Zodiac matching activities
Older kids can learn a little math through various matching games as shown below and on my CHALK Academy Facebook page! Here is how I set it up one on our easel.
The Zodiac wheel along with our calendar wheel printable helped my daughter understand the relationship between last year, this year, and next year!
More FREE Chinese New Year resources for kids
- 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
Advice on how to teach kids Chinese
- Tips on creating a Chinese learning environment at home
- Teach Your Child a Second Language at Home with 5 Key Steps
- Raising Multilingual Children as a Non-Fluent Parent: 7 Lessons Learned in 2018
- How To Get Your Child To Speak the Minority Language
- Encourage A Child to Love and Speak the Minority Language with 5 Strategies
- How to Find a Foreign Language Teacher for Your Child
- 5 Reasons Books are the Best Gifts for Multilingual Kids
- Teaching kids how to read Chinese