Have you taught your preschoolers about Chinese New Year? It’s the perfect time to start! You’ll find amazing ideas in this list of Chinese New Year Activities for preschoolers.

Engaging preschoolers in Chinese New Year activities can be enjoyment-filled educational experiences; they can learn about cultural diversity while honing their creative, cognitive, and physical skills. Through arts and crafts like making lanterns, storytelling of zodiac tales, and festive songs and dances, young learners get to appreciate the traditions and symbolism of Chinese New Year while developing their language, creativity, cognitive ability, and rhythmic sense.

Facts About Chinese New Year for Kids

  • Chinese New Year is also called Lunar New Year and Spring Festival
  • The date is based on the Chinese calendar and varies from year to year. The first day of Chinese New Year begins on the new moon that appears between 21 January and 20 February.
  • Chinese New Year 2024 will fall on Saturday, February 10th, 2024.
  • The Chinese calendar has an animal zodiac.  2024 is the Year of the Dragon!
  • Lunar New Year is celebrated in many countries, including China, Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, and many other surrounding regions.
  • Festivities last for two weeks, beginning with New Year’s Eve and ending with the Lantern Festival.  See a timeline of the festival dates.

Chinese New Year Activities for Preschoolers

Chinese New Year Montessori Activities | Trillium Montessori – Start your learning with this set of Montessori themed activities. It’s a great way to start your busy year off with fun learning!

Chinese New Year Montessori Trays | Pinay Homeschooler
Jae always has an amazing collection of hands on activities!  Check these out!

Symbols of Chinese New Year Playdough Mats | Welcome to Mommyhood
Add these cute mats to your playdough area and see if they prompt some new ideas for designs!  Yuliya has made these available for free!


Learn About the Chinese Zodiac

If there’s one thing we educators know, it’s that animals captivate the attention of our young learners. The Chinese Zodiac, with its 12-year cycle of distinct animals, offers a perfect framework to channel this interest into a meaningful lesson. Each zodiac animal, from the diligent ox to the swift horse, carries its own set of characteristics and stories. Introducing preschoolers to these animals not only taps into their natural curiosity but also provides a gateway to understanding a different culture. It’s a practical way to combine basic animal recognition with early lessons in global traditions. And let’s face it: any lesson that involves animals is bound to be a hit in the classroom.

Chinese Zodiac Animal Matchups | Preschool Activities Nook
Get this free printable and learn about the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  This is a simple matching activity that your younger students will enjoy!


Zodiac Coloring Lanterns | Totschooling – Print and create your own Zodiac themed lanterns this new year. Learn more about the animal of the year and the Chinese culture too.

You can find these printable zodiac animals on Etsy in Jiemeiandco’s shop.

Chinese New Year Dragon Crafts

The dragon is a central figure in Chinese New Year due to its significance in Chinese mythology and culture. Simple dragon crafts using construction paper, paint, googly eyes, and various decorations, can bring the children closer to understanding this unique facet of Chinese culture. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to promote creativity, dexterity, and colour recognition among the preschoolers.

Incorporating arts and crafts into your child’s Chinese New Year celebration not only enhances their creative abilities but also helps instil a deeper understanding and appreciation of the rich Chinese cultural heritage.

Recycled Dancing Dragon Craft | Oh Creative Day – This is a great dragon craft for your recycle bin! Grab a couple materials and get creative as you talk about a historic figure in Chinese culture.

Egg Carton Dragon Craft | I Heart Crafty Things – You’ll need your recycle bin for this dragon craft! Kids are going to love to decorate and and play with their new dragon!

Cupcake Liner Dragon Craft | I Heart Crafty Things – Isn’t this adorable? Cupcake liners are a fun way to craft this new year and the end product is absolutely gorgeous!

Dragon Puppets | Red Ted Art – Wow! I know so many preschoolers who would LOVE adding these dragon puppets to their pretend play area!

Paper Lanterns

When it comes to hands-on activities that blend cultural learning with craft time, paper lanterns are a top pick for many educators. These lanterns, often associated with Chinese New Year, are more than just decorative; they offer a tangible way for our young learners to connect with global traditions. Plus, they’re straightforward to make, even with a classroom full of eager preschoolers. As teachers, we know the value of activities that are both educational and engaging. Crafting paper lanterns ticks both boxes, providing a sensory-rich experience while also introducing a cultural touchstone. This is a fantastic activity to build those fine motor and scissor skills. Check out a few variations on how to create paper lantern crafts no matter the skill level of your kids.

More Preschool Activities for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year Sensory Bin | Gift of Curiosity – If your kids love sensory activities, this is THE bin to create for Chinese New Year! Sensory bins are a great way to introduce vocabulary and help strengthen little hands.

Celebrate with these Chinese New Year Activities for preschoolers! Craft dragons and Chinese lanterns with kids as a way to learn about Chinese culture.

Chinese Inspired Sensory Play | Nurture Store –  Help your kids learning more Chinese vocabulary as they build and learn with play dough.

Chinese New Year Inspired Slime | Little Bins for Little Hands – What a fun way to celebrate Chinese New Year! Create your own slime inspired by the Chinese culture.

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