I’m so excited to share our favorite Korean Lunar New Year crafts and activities with you! When my kids were younger, they learned Korean from our former nanny. Although they are no longer learning the language, I hope they can embrace their heritage despite living far from their Korean grandparents.
Finding Korean activities has been challenging for our family. Most people seem to know about Chinese Lunar New Year crafts, but the internet has less resources about other important Asian cultures.
After studying and reading great books on Korean culture, we put together this list of fun activities that you can try with your children or students. I hope this post can encourage more families and schools to celebrate Korean culture!
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What is Korean Lunar New Year?
A few years ago, my kids asked this very question!
In traditional Korean culture, Lunar New Year is known as Seollal (설날), and it is celebrated at the start of the lunar calendar. It’s different than the new year that we celebrate on January 1st, which follows the solar calendar.
This 3-day celebration is dedicated to gathering with family, honoring ancestors, and eating traditional foods, and playing special games.
Important Korean Lunar New Year vocabulary
For parents learning Korean with their children, below are a few important terms related to the Lunar New Year activities in this post!
- 새해 복 많이 받으세요 (Saehae bok mani badeuseyo / Happy New Year)
- 새해 = New year
- 복 = Luck
- 많이 = Many
- 받으세요 = Received (honorific way of saying 받다)
- 태극 (Taegeuk)
- 부채 (Buchae / Fan)
- 흔들북 (Heundeulbug / Drum) or 소고 (Sogo / Small Drum)
- 윳놀이 (Yut Nori)
- 공기 (Gonggi / Korean Jacks)
- 제기차기 (Jegi Chagi)
- 나랑 놀자! (Nalang nolja / Play with me!) or 같이 놀자! (Gat-i nolja / Let’s play together!)
What is the Korean Taegeuk 태극 / 太極 symbol?
South Korea’s national flag features a red and blue Taegeuk symbol, which represents balance in the universe. Making a complete circle, it divides into two parts, with each creating a comma. The upper red part depicts the forces of yang, while the lower blue part depicts the forces of um.
You’ll see that some of our Korean Lunar New Year crafts have a tri-colored variation of the Korean Taegeuk symbol. Red, blue, and yellow represent Earth, heaven, and humanity, respectively.
The best Korean Lunar New Year crafts and activities for kids
Let’s dive into these cultural activities. Not only will your child have fun, but they will be learning as they create and play. Pick and choose which ideas work best for your family or school!
Korean paper plate pellet drum craft for kids
In Korea, Japan, and China, pellet drums come in all shapes and sizes. Most were primarily designed for religious purposes. However, smaller versions are sold by street vendors as toys or noisemakers, especially for the holidays.
Our drum most resembles the Korean Do drum, which consists of a single barrel on a pole. Another Korean drum, Nodo, is two small drums fixed on a pole often used in ritual music. Like the Do, you twist them to play.
What you need to make this drum craft
- 2 biodegradable paper plates
- Acrylic paint (buy from Amazon)
- Paint brush
- String (eg, cotton twine)
- Tacky or wood glue
- Wood beads or jingle bells
- Wood chopstick or tree branch stick
How to make the drum
- Draw Taegeuk outline on back of one paper plate (second plate optional)
- Paint red, blue, and yellow as shown in above photo
- On the side without the Taegeuk, glue the chopstick or tree branch stick vertically in the center
- Glue a piece of string on each side of the paper plate
- Glue another paper plate over top
- Thread beads or jingle bells at end of each string. Tie a knot to secure them.
- Roll stick to rotate drum back and forth for pellets to hit drum (plate)
Korean taeguk fan craft
The fan has long been a key Korean cultural element. Traditionally used to cool oneself on hot days, the delicate nature of the taeguk fan has also turned it into a fashion accessory and decorative piece. You can see these fans in dance and art, most notably the Buchaechum Fan Dance.
A popular Korean tradition involving fans happens during the Dano Festival occurring on the 5th day of the 5th lunar month. Everyone gifts fans as an act of thanks and love and to combat the summer heat.
Originally made of mulberry hanji paper and bamboo, our Korean Lunar New Year fan is a much more simplified version that kids will have no trouble making!
What you need to make the fan
- Printable Korean taegeuk fan template from aerilynbooks.com
- Click on “Downloadable Resources”
- In the search box, enter “Paper Fan Craft” to get the template
- Cardboard (tip: cereal boxes are easier to cut compared to delivery packages!)
- Markers or paint
- Large craft stick (popsicle stick)
How to make it
- Print and cut Korean Taeguk fan template
- Trace fan shape on cardboard
- Glue fan template on cardboard
- Color red, yellow, and blue
- Enjoy fanning and keeping cool! 🙂
Alternative option: If your child is not interested in coloring, you can print out the template on red, yellow, and blue cardstock paper.
Listen to this: 100+ Popular Korean Children’s Songs and Nursery Rhymes
Korean Lunar New Year games
Here are fun traditional Korean games that have been recommended by relatives and friends:
윳놀이 Yut Nori Board Game
공기 Korean Jacks Stone Game
제기차기 Jegi Chagi Game
This fun game involves kicking a 제기 jegi into the air and keeping it up in the air. A 제기 looks similar to a badminton shuttlecock. You can make with paper wrapped around a small coin.
Korean hanbok coloring pages
If you’re busy cooking and getting ready for Seollal festivities, kids can keep busy with these printables from Aerilyn Books. My kids had fun coloring the Korean Hanbok coloring pages!
More Korean Lunar New Year coloring pages
For more Korean New Year fun, we downloaded these cute printables from Tigerboom Creative. The bubble Hangul letters are also a great way to expose kids to Korean language!
As your child colors, they can practice Hangul and learn about how Koreans celebrate the Lunar New Year.
Korean Lunar New Year books for kids
Last but not least, reading is one of the best family activities! Reading about the Korean Lunar New Year can help your children understand the history and culture behind the celebration.
If you have a group of kids at school, these books are great for read-alouds amidst the celebrations. But you can also read before bed as a way to wind down after a day of making Korean Lunar New Year crafts.
Finding books about the holiday can be difficult, so be sure to check out these 10 great Korean Lunar New Year books to learn more about popular cultural traditions!
Have you tried these Korean Lunar New Year crafts and activities?
If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!