Chinese New Year

Kids Chinese New Year Painting Craft – (X Marks the Spot)

Did you know this is the most celebrated holiday in the world? Here’s a kids Chinese New Year painting craft that breathes fire. Well, not fire, but fun. We adapted this from a thumbprint painting activity at Fun Handprint Art.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

At this time of year, you may be fortunate enough to get up close to a Chinese Dragon parade. There will be bright colors, lots of drums and cymbals, and waves of movement as the dragon dances along. Either before or after, kids can make their own dragon with the colors and movement. If you have any little bells, drums, shakers, or other noise makers from the holidays, then they recreate that part too.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

This is a wonderfully easy craft using paint dabbers. Just like the spot that an X marks (for this series of posts using the letters of the alphabet, these spots mark a dragon. To start, about the middle on one side of the paper, kids paint a spot with two more just below like a triangle. This makes the head of the dragon. Continuing on down, they add a few sports to be a neck. Little Sister slid the dabber to be a line for the neck of her dragon. The next part is to paint lots of spots in the dragon’s middle, like a hump or mountain shape. After that, kids dab a long line to be the tail.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

Little Sister’s tail curved along the edge of the paper, back across the top, and curved over to meet the top of the hump. She was really into the activity. Big Sister only dabbed a small tail and then wanted to do all the colors of the rainbow. She doesn’t have the roy-g-biv order or the indigo but has the other colors. Once dry, kids can draw on some legs and add an eye or they might want to leave their kids Chinese New Year painting craft just as it is.

kids Chinese new year painting craft

Sometimes, there is a lion dance, with a large and colorfully decorated head of a lion and only the legs of the 2 dancers showing. The dragon is lifted high off the ground with many dancers carrying it on poles. Will your family watch, participate or celebrate Chinese New Year? What will you do?



Chinese New Year Activities for Kids

Any monkeys, er….kids need something to do today? Here are some fun Chinese New Year activities for kids.

Chinese New Year for kidsEach year the date of Chinese New Year changes. The lunar new year falls on the date of the new moon sometime between mid-January to mid-February. No matter when it arrives, there are lots of fun activities kids can do. Some of these activities may involve the whole community.

Will there be a Lion Dance or parade where you live? Kids can always make their own. Drums need two hands but here is a one-handed noisemaker. Put 2 or 3 plastic spoons in between 2 foil pie tins. Use a few pieces of duct tape to hold the pie plates together and let kids shake away. They can lead a parade in all the rooms of your house. Scarves are colorful on the back of your kid-dragon.

A Chinese lantern is a fun and easy project. Find a fairly stiff piece of paper and fold in half. Old cards work well. Adult hands can draw some lines about an inch apart starting from the fold and going up to almost the top. Draw a heavy, red stop line about an inch from the top. Kids cut along the straight lines but only as far as the line to stop. Once done, unfold the card. Make a circle on the top by placing one edge of the top over the other and stapling. Make a circle at the bottom the same way. Squish down a bit so the sides bend out, making the paper lantern.

Red is an important color for this festival. Kids can cut out decorations of whatever size and shape they like. With red crayons, markers, or paint they can make something red. Once dry, this can be used too.

Do any of these Chinese New Year activities for kids appeal to you and your child?

Children’s Books for Chinese New Year

There are many wonderful children’s books for Chinese New Year with bright colors and exciting pictures. Whether this is a tradition in your family or not, many kids will want to know more about this celebration. Many communities will have special events and kids will have questions about what is happening. Books are a great place for answers. children's books chinese new year

In Joan Holub and Benrei Huang’s book, Dragon Dance, the kids help the rest of the family “sweep, mop, and dust the old year away” and decorate the house. Plum blossoms are a cheery sign of spring, in places where they are ready.

children's books chinese new yearThe Chinese zodiac uses animals and this is the Year of the Monkey. Oliver Chin and Kenji Ono tell the story of tell the story of Max the monkey and his challenges at school in Year of the Monkey. Intelligent and curious, monkeys love to play. Sounds like most kids, no matter what year they are born.

children's books chinese new yearKaren Katz explains many traditions in her book, My First Chinese New Year. “Red means good luck and happiness in China.”  Red is the predominant color in fabric and paper decorations. Kids may want to use red paper and cut out some of their own. The illustrations in this book are done in a Chinese style with lots of flower and geometric patterns.

children's books chinese new yearAnother Karen, Karen Chin, tells the story of Sam and his gift of lucky money in a red envelope with a golden dragon. This is a book for older children. Sam doesn’t think his money is so lucky after all when he can’t afford to buy the soccer ball or other toys that he really wants. It’s only when he shares with a man who has bare feet in the winter time  that he feels lucky and grateful.

There are many other children’s books for Chinese New Year. No matter if your family joins in these traditions, we can all thankful for the return of spring and light and for what we have and for new beginnings. Will your family celebrate the lunar new year?