Skip to main content

3 easy ways to get your kids excited (and learning) about Chinese New Year

Family-friendly ideas to get everyone excited about Lunar New Year

If your kids don’t know a lot about Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year) and you’d like them to learn a bit about the tradition, here are three easy ways to educate them and keep them having fun in the process. Chinese New Year is the biggest and most festive holiday celebrated by Chinese people, and it’s right around the corner. It’s a time for friends and family to gather together to bring good luck for the new year and do away with the old.

If you’d like to introduce the holiday to your kids, there are a few easy ways to help them understand the meaning and tradition behind the celebration and join in on the fun.

Kids crafting
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Create a Chinese calendar

The Chinese calendar consists of a 12-year cycle, and each cycle is named after an animal (similar to our zodiac signs). To start educating your little ones about the tradition, have them draw out a Chinese calendar. You can use colorful paper and numbers for the years and have them draw each animal on a different piece of paper.

There are those who believe people born in each year keep some of the characteristics of the animal associated with it, so take it one step further and have them circle which animal their birth year falls in. Then, you can list out any characteristics you think they may share with that animal.

Oranges for everyone

Oranges are a symbol of good luck and mean good fortune for those who receive them during the Lunar New Year. Why not get your kids involved in the festivities of giving and sharing using oranges as the theme? You can buy nectarines at the store and have them tape messages to them and hand them out to friends.

You can also get crafty by cutting out oranges and hanging them from their bedroom door. Depending on the age of your child, you can have them just cut orange construction paper into circles or use an accordion method (shown here) for more advanced hands.

Mom and kids cooking together
Evgeny Atamanenko / Shutterstock

Get in the kitchen

Because there are so many festivities and friends and family gathering together, it’s a perfect opportunity to teach your kids about traditional Chinese foods they may eat during Chinese New Year. One popular snack that most kids enjoy is sweet rice balls (or tang yuan). To celebrate the holiday, fill them with an array of ingredients like sesame, nuts, and red beans. These are easy to make for kids of all ages. This recipe from Serious Eats is simple to follow and only requires a handful of ingredients.

Traditionally, Chinese New Year lasts for 15 days, so there is plenty of time to get the kids involved and learning about this special time of year.

Editors' Recommendations

Julie Scagell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
I am a freelance writer based in Minneapolis, MN. My passions include my dogs, talking about my dogs, and taking pictures of…
Try a homemade treat: 5 easy Valentine’s Day desserts the kids will love
Forget the boxed candy and try one of these easy Valentine's Day desserts for the kids
Valentine's Day cookies on a table with a bowl

Valentine's Day isn't just for couples. Kids love Valentine's Day too. Remember those parties in school with the red cupcakes and cards from classmates? Kids and teens also enjoy Valentine's Day treats. Valentine's Day is about showing the ones you care for a little love.

This Valentine's Day, skip the boxed candy. Kids usually just squeeze the pieces to find out what's inside and then leave them. Instead of wasting money on candy you don't want them to have, get baking instead. Valentine's Day desserts for kids are a sweet and simple way to show the family how much you care. With these easy Valentine's Day dessert recipes and ideas, you won't have to spend a lot of time in the kitchen either.

Read more
Your local library will help you stick to your New Year’s goals and so much more
How to check off all your New Year's goals using only your local library
Woman tutoring a middle school student in the library

Was one of your New Year's resolutions for this year to learn a new language? Find a new hobby? Check out every museum in your area? Do you know what can help you get all of your goals checked off? Your local library! It amazes us how many people don't know all the awesome (and free) things to do through your library and with your library card. We know, we're as excited to tell you as you are to know how your library can help with your New Year's goals.

Sign your kids up for free classes
Your library's calendar should be incorporated into your family's schedule. There are classes for infants, toddlers, school-aged children, and teens. Whether your children like crafts, science, art, book clubs, or themed activities, your library has a class for that. If you homeschool, your library even has special days and times for those children.

Read more
6 easy muffin recipes for kids to make with or without your help
Healthy muffin recipes that are so easy to make, your kid can be the chef
Two kids having fun baking in the kitchen.

While kids would prefer to eat dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets partnered with mac and cheese for every meal, sometimes parents want to see their children eat something a bit healthier. That’s where we'll help. If you thought all muffins have to be either loaded with sugar or taste like dry cardboard, you're going to love us.

We found six healthy muffin recipes for you to make with your younger kids, but they are also simple enough that your older kids could make them for you. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice when it comes to flavor. Make one (or all) of these delicious easy muffin recipes that your kids will enjoy as much as you will.

Read more