Chinese New Year Fun

I will admit… with my face hidden behind my hands… that I know nothing about Chinese New Year.  When Daria from asked if she could write a guest post about Chinese New Year I was thrilled!  Now you and I can learn together.

Have you ever noticed how there are many ways to mark a new year?

Most folks in the USA celebrate New Year on January 1st?  But there are lots of other ways to mark a “year”. Many of us start a new school year in September and we all start a new year on each birthday.  There’s a special Jewish New Year as well as a holiday in Israel called Tu B’Shevat, a new year for the trees!  In China, the new year is a big celebration marked by lots of tradition and excitement.  This year, Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 23rd and we welcome in the year of the dragon.

So what are some exciting parts of Chinese New Year?

Out With the Old, In With The New
There’s lots of cleaning before the new year is welcomed in.  It never hurts to take some time to clean the house or one of your rooms to prepare for a wonderful celebration.
Special Foods
You can read all about the wonderful foods that are prepared and served in a Chinese New Year celebration in Amanda “Miss Panda’s” post below.  But if you’ve never cooked these dishes, you can simply find your favorite Chinese foods at your local grocery, market or restaurant and serve them up for a special feast.

Make A Gong
How do we know the celebration is started?  Or dinner is served?  Or it’s time to come in from play?  The answer is simple.  Bang a gong!  If you make your own gong out of household items, (complete instructions below) you can have a great time calling everyone to order.
Are You A Pig, A Dog or a Rat?
You can decorate your gong with symbols from the Chinese horoscope. Choose a dragon for the year of the dragon or look at your birth year to see what animal is listed for your year. There is a complete chart of years below and 12 symbols you can print out for decorations.
A Dragon Parade
One of the main events of a Chinese New Year celebration in any city is the presence of a huge dragon inhabited by many people dancing up and down the street.  In the Kids World Citizen post below, there are some amazing crafts that share the fun of a dragon parade.  The little dragon puppets are perfect for small hands and for creating a miniature dragon parade at home or in the classroom.
What would Chinese New Year be without fireworks?  You can find some simple and safe sparklers to burn or you can do what one preschool teacher suggested. She would allow one child to bang the gong while the others had handfuls of bubble wrap and were allowed to pop them at certain times to sound like fireworks!  What fun!
Learning about other cultures can be really exciting.  Especially when it’s done around the time of a special holiday!  And don’t forget to check out some of the great books for young readers that share holidays, cultural traditions, folklore or children’s stories.  These are wonderful ways of letting your child feel like they’ve gotten to experience what life might be like in another culture or country- even one that might seem very far away!
Make Your Own Gong Activity:
12 Symbols in Chinese Astrology and a chart of birth years
(Pages 2 – 8 of this pdf)
Daria’s Monthly Song Page – Free Songs and a Tibetan Bowl Give-Away Contest:
Kid World Citizen  – Post on Chinese New Year Crafts
Kid World Citizen – Chinese New Year With Props and Stories
Award-winning children’s performer, DARIA (Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou) has five cd’s that have won national honors.  She has the most awesome job of traveling the world to sing for kids and peace.  Her website; located, was given a 2009 Parents Choice Award for its musical and cultural content.


  1. Love this post and all of the great ideas in it. I know that kids love to look up what animal they are by their birth year. Would be fun to save those paper place mats from Chinese food restaurants, laminate them, and use them for meals this week.

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