We’re squealing with excitement over the upcoming Lunar New Year. This family-centric celebration starts on the first day of the new moon on the Chinese calendar (Jan. 25!), and we’ve searched high and low for ways to involve the whole crew. From paper lanterns and red envelopes to lunar calendars and more, scroll down and find your favorite Chinese New Year crafts to celebrate the year of the Rat.
Cracker Box Mouse
Chinese New Year is celebrating the Year of the Rat, so this little mouse craft is perfect for young kids, even toddlers. Be sure to save a few cracker or cereal boxes in advance of setting up; you can see what other materials you'll need, and how to get started over at No Time for Flashcards.
Light up your new year with these simple sparkle Chinese lanterns made from colored paper, jewel stickers, tape, and glue. Put them up in pairs, but remember—four is an unlucky number! If your little crafter is on a roll, eight lanterns strung together are lucky and bring wealth. Heidi over at Happiness is Homemade gives us the how-to-do.
Have the littles get into the New Year spirit by creating toothpick firecracker art like this one by Kristina Buskirk over at Toddler Approved. Make these with construction paper, toothpicks, and paint. Once done make a little noise with bubble wrap and pop those evil spirits away. Grab the instructions here.
Your little reveler can bring good luck and have fun creating this paper dragon craft. It's easy to make with things from around the house: paper, paint, a rolling pin, bubble wrap and googly eyes. Psst ... this can be an afternoon activity if you make a really big dragon! Get the step-by-step at No Time for Flashcards.
Since the Chinese Calendar is based on the lunar calendar with each month beginning on the first day of the new moon, have your little ones fill out the different phases to see where the New Year's month begins. You’ll need a calendar, circle stickers, and scissors. Find a quick tutorial, here.
Tangerines and oranges symbolize good luck and wealth for the new year. Your little moon can bring this bright and vibrant happy color into the house with this cute craft by Chelsey at Buggy and Buddy. It’s easy to make with colored paper, brown yarn, scissors, and glue. As luck has it, you can go here to find the tutorial.
What tot can resist those red envelopes? Usually filled with money (of even denominations) and given out at the celebratory dinners, if you have time, you and your crew can make these little envelopes and decorate them too. We love the version from Sue over at First Palette because it comes with a printable template! Head over to First Palette to get started.
Cherry Blossom Fans
Chinese New Year is also known as a Spring Festival, so what better way to celebrate than by letting your little artist finger paint cherry blossoms on Chinese fans? Just grab some colored paper, a black pen, paint and tape. Click here to see the instructions from In the Playroom.
Your little scribes may not be ready to master Chinese characters, but you can still introduce them to the art of calligraphy. Once you've gathered the basic supplies of a pen, ink, and paper, you can follow Rachelle Doorley's guide over at Tinkerlab.
Get musical by making a Chinese-inspired gong, like this one from Kid World Citizen. You can even experiment with different pan sizes for different types of sounds. You'll need to collect a few items to put this together, and you can find directions here.
Chinese New Year Sensory Bin
Let littles get hand-y Chinese New Year-style exploring in this sensory bin. First, color the rice red to bring good luck (A quick how-to, here.). Then add chopsticks, old Chinese coins, teacups, spoons, Chinese New Year sayings, red envelopes and our favorite, a Buddha.