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January 22, 2014 Classroom Crafts to Celebrate the Chinese New Year By Alycia Zimmerman
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    This year, Chinese New Year begins on January 31, and at my school, we celebrate with a dragon parade through the hallways, a “lucky penny” red envelope for each student, traditional ribbon dancing, and an abundance of traditional Chinese treats. Even if your school is not planning a similar extravaganza to celebrate, the Chinese New Year is the most important holiday for more than 20 percent of the worldwide population. Here are some fun and easy ways you can bring some auspicious Chinese New Year fun into your classroom.


    Chinese New Year Craft Project: Dancing Dragon Puppets

    In this video, I work with George while he demonstrates a simple paper craft to make a dancing dragon puppet. All you need is construction paper, popsicle sticks, and this dragon template, and you’re ready to usher in a year of good luck with your very own Chinese river spirit. According to legend, the longer your dragon’s body, the more good fortune you’ll have coming your way in the new year!


    Download the Dancing Dragon Body Parts template to make the puppet pictured above.



    Chinese New Year Craft Project: Red Envelope Flower Lanterns

    In this video, third grader Ivory demonstrates how to use a dozen red envelopes, some string, and a stapler to make an elaborate decorative “Flower Lantern.” The final product looks intricate, but with Ivory’s step-by-step instructions, even young children can create this beautiful traditional decoration.



    More Ideas for Chinese New Year Fun!

    My students love digging through a bowlful of Skittles or M&M’s looking for the “lucky” red candies. The challenge is to lift out the red candies only using a pair of chopsticks. Students who successfully pick up a red candy can choose four more candies as a treat. There’s nothing like candy to incentivize chopstick practice! (Of course, you could use Cheerios, Goldfish, or even grapes for a healthier snack option.) Here’s a printable worksheet that teaches how to use chopsticks.


    For another Chinese New Year dragon craft, this paper-chain dragon from Scholastic Month by Month is an easy-to-craft classroom decoration.

    Here is a printable reader’s theater play to use with small groups of students. (There are nine characters in the play.) In the play, two squabbling siblings learn that the Chinese New Year is all about peace and kindness.

    Fish are symbols of luck for Chinese New Year. Here is a simple craft project to create colorful fish ornaments.

    Want updates about my latest blog posts and classroom resources? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter! And I'd love to hear your plans for Chinese New Year. Please share your thoughts, questions, and suggestions in the comments section below!


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