Chinese New Year party, Chinese New Year arts and crafts, Chinese New Year Party for Kids, Chinese New Year crafts for kids,

Chinese New Year Crafts for Kids

Chinese New Year 2013: The Year of the Snake

My daughter’s Middle School Chinese teacher is throwing a great Chinese New Year’s party for all her students — 60 of them plus siblings! She is planning crafts, games, cooking demonstrations and a pot luck. In addition, her students will perform — in Chinese — both skits and songs. It’s ambitious! Luckily, a lot of parents are also helping out.

year of the snake, happy chinese new year, chinese new year snake painting, grasshopper and sensei

Grasshopper and Sensei’s Year of the Snake painting.

The parent volunteer committee met to go over the activities.

Some are coming from this book:
Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes  by Nina Simonds

1) Origami
I am volunteering for this station. We will fold fortune tellers and cranes. I think that is enough.

2) Lantern Making
We are using the Lantern craft in the Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats: A Treasury of Chinese Holiday Tales, Activities & Recipes book which is more complicated that the fold and cut red lantern craft you might have seen for Chinese New Year.

She demonstrated it to us.

You need:

  • Stiff cardboard for base cut into 4 inch circle.
  • Tissue paper (20 x 30 inches). Cut into 2 pieces of 15 x 20 inches.
  • Florist wire (soft, bendy wire)
  • Glue stick
  • String
  • Chopstick
  • Battery votive candle

Cut a large piece of tissue paper in half. Fold it back and forth, crisply, in 1/2 inch folds. Glue the edges of the tissue paper and adhere to the base of the lantern by glueing first folded edge over the base so that it covers the it.
Glue the sides of the tissue paper together.
Glue the top of the lantern around a circle of florist wire, roughy the same diameter as the base.
Attach string to the top. Insert one chopstick to the string as a stick to hold it aloft.
Put the battery votive candle at the bottom.
You can decorate the tissue paper lantern with markers if you like.

3) Chinese Calligraphy
Use Chinese brush and ink to write Chinese Characters. Here’s a video demonstration on how to write Happy New Year in Chinese Characters. We are asking parents who know Chinese to demonstrate. (Not me!).

4) Chopstick Marshmallow Challenge
This is a relay race in which two teams must transfer a bowl of mini-marshmallows from one side of the room to another using only chopsticks. If the kids know how to use chopsticks, try substituting wrapped hard candy for an extra challenge. This is the traditional Chinese good luck candy:

5) Chinese Character Game

This is a match game. You can create your own by matching up Chinese characters to their English translation or use Kingka, a Chinese memory game.

6) Chinese Yo Yo
It’s helpful to have an expert demonstrate how to use the Chinese Yo Yo as it’s not easy. If you don’t have someone who knows how, here is a video demonstration.

And here is Ryan Shi, a wizard of the Chinese Yo Yo, from the Chinese Yo Yo Show in Knoxville, 2010. He makes it look easy but, in truth, the basic Chinese Yo Yo moves are not so easy!

7) Chinese Shuttlecock 
This craft is from the Moonbeams, Dumplings & Dragon Boats book above. The Chinese Shuttlecock is a Chinese version of the hackysack. You will need:

  • Tissue paper
  • Rubber bands
  • 2 quarters per Chinese Shuttlecock
  • scissors
  • ruler

Cut the tissue paper into half, approximately the size of 15 by 20 inches. Fold it down the middle length wise. Make a row 1 inch lines on either side of the tissue paper up towards the center fold but leave 3 inches near the center fold solid. Cut up the lines — it should look like fringe.

Put the 2 quarters in the center of the tissue paper, gather up all the fringe and wrap the rubber band around it to form a “ball.”

Your Chinese Shuttlecock is done. Kick it in the air with any part of your body like a hacksack and see how many times you can hit it without letting it fall to the ground.

8) Prizes are Red Chinese envelopes filled with candy and fortune cookies. You can also put money in them which is traditional and is supposed to bring good luck and prosperity to recipients.


8) Rainbow Creations has a Chinese flower painting you make by blowing the paint and then adding the flowers.

Chinese flower painting,

9) Wildlife Fun 4 Kids has two great posts on snakes.

Teach Your Kids to be Snake Safe

Eight Great Ways Appreciate Snakes

Wildlife fun for kids, 8 great ways to appreciate snakes

10) Red Ted Art has an easy paper chain snake craft for kids.

chinese new year snake craft for kids, paper chain snake craft, chinese new year's party

I’ll update this post with photos from our Chinese New Year’s party but — breaking news — we are in for the snowstorm of the century — so our party is bing postponed for a week. Wish us luck getting through 2 feet of snow coming down sideways!

Finally, here’s a really cool paper craft snake that can turn and twist! Pdfs of the pattern are here.

p.s. Here are a few more Chinese New Year posts.

Chinese New Year Red Envelope Crafts and Background

Chinese New Year Books for Kids

p.p.s. I’m thrilled to be included in this link up hosted by The Educators’ Spin on It.

Click on book or items to view or purchase at Amazon.

Chinese New Year party, Chinese New Year arts and crafts, Chinese New Year Party for Kids, Chinese New Year crafts for kids,

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Pinned these great ideas. FYI, your blog always loads really slowly for me. It could be a problem on my end, but just thought I’d pass on the info.

  2. Mei Chiu

    Hi Mia,

    What’s usually written on the red envelopes? Is it ok to write the character snake on the outside? Or would the characters for luck and prosperity more appropriate?

  3. Alexandra

    This looks like quite an enterprise! I have never participated in celebrations of Chinese New Year and neither have my little ones, this looks like so much fun though! And what was the reason you volunteered for origami station :)?
    Alexandra recently posted…Social skills vs developing good habits. Part IIMy Profile

  4. What a wonderful unit! I love your activities!
    JDaniel4’s Mom recently posted…{Lunch} Valentine’s Day Ideas for KidsMy Profile

    • Thanks JDaniel4’s Mom,
      Unfortunately, our Middle School Chinese New Year party just got canceled. It was scheduled for the blizzard and it’s been tough to reschedule since everyone is so busy and a school vacation week is coming up. Oh well. Perhaps we can persuade the teacher to try again in March.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Monthly Blogging Goals Check UpMy Profile

  5. Thank you for such a great resource! I have a Chopsticks Challenge for the kids at school and it is always a hit. Chinese yo-yo is a lot of fun, too. I am looking forward to having a traditional one so it can make sound when it goes faster. Happy Chinese New Year!
    Amanda recently posted…Chinese New Year Blog Party and Giveaway!My Profile

    • Hi Amanda,
      Happy Chinese New Year to you too! The Chopsticks Race is fun! And the Chinese Yo Yo is surprisingly difficult. They make it look so easy but we had trouble just rolling it back and forth on the string. Glad you liked the activities! Thanks for stopping by!
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…International Book Giving DayMy Profile

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