10 Lunar New Year crafts and activities for kids

Lunar New Year is among one of the most important celebrations for Southeast and East Asian cultures. The new year on the Lunar calendar is marked by the first new moon that appears at the end of January. An animal and an element are both tied to each year’s celebrations and this year is slated to be the year of the rabbit! And, what better way to start the festivities than with Lunar New Year crafts?

Sometimes referred to as Chinese New Year, this celebration begins on January 22 and spans 15 days. From baking special foods to wearing red, there are many ways to participate in the revelry. Just like Thanksgiving crafts or Christmas games for kids, Chinese New Year crafts and Chinese New Year activities are a simple and fun way to get little ones involved and excited for this special time. Scroll through for easy ideas to make the most of this Lunar New Year!

Toast to the year of the rabbit with these 10 Lunar New Year crafts

1. Dragon masks

In Chinese culture, dragons are a symbol of good luck and no Lunar New Year crafts list would be complete without them. Click this link for a range of free, printable dragon masks. Your child can color their mask however they like before cutting it out. Then, you can punch holes on either side of the mask and weave a string through it or, you can simply glue or tape the cutout to an empty paper towel roll.

2. Paper lanterns

Illuminate your house with these easy DIY paper lanterns. Simply fold a sheet of paper long ways (hotdog style) then cut strips along the fold towards the end but not quite all the way. Then you fold it over to create a cylinder and attach the corners together using glue, tape or a stapler. To create the handle, use a long strip of paper and attach it to your lantern. Your child can color their lantern beforehand or you can start with colored paper from the get-go.

3. Red envelopes

Gifting a red envelope is just as exciting as receiving one. These little pockets of surprise are a wonderful way to get children excited. You can print your template directly on red printer paper (or cardstock) or you can print on regular white and let your child color it red. You can use this free, printable template here. Then, use metallic or glitter pens to add Chinese characters or simply, write “Happy Lunar New Year” on the front.

4. Chinese New Year themed sensory box

If your child loves sensory play then this is one of the Chinese New Year activities to put at the top of your list. Use Tupperware or simply any empty box for this activity. There are plenty of options to fill it with but to stay on theme you might use some red food coloring to dye a cup of rice or you could also cook a box of red lentil pasta. If your child likes mushy and they can’t stay away from putting it in their mouth then pasta might be your best bet! Keep it simple with just a few gold coins or add anything else you usually supply in their sensory play bin.

5. Rattle drums

Little ones will love this musical drum. Color or paint the back side of two paper plates. Once dry, flip one plate over and tape a long cylindrical stick to the middle. You can hunt in the yard or just use a chopstick. Take two bells and tie a string through the hole at the top of each bell. Tape one string (with the bell hanging on the end) to one side of the plate then repeat to the other side. Finally, attach the second plate with tape or staple it where the string is taped.

6. Paper fans

Start by letting your child decorate the front and back of a piece of paper by coloring, painting or drawing. Then fold the paper in about one-inch strips backwards and forwards like an accordion. Press firmly on each fold! Once that’s done, pinch the bottom where the folds meet to create a little handle.

7. Firecracker tubes

First, take a piece of red construction paper and cut it into quarters. Fold each piece into a cylinder and glue or tape the ends to attach. To create the gold top and bottom liners, you can use a gold glitter pen to draw it on or tape a piece of glitter gold construction paper. Take a string of red ribbon and tape one side to the inside of one tube and tape the other end to the inside of a second tube. Repeat until you have as many pairs as you want. Then take a long string of red ribbon, create a loop and knot it so you have a hanging loop. Then take each tube pairing and tie the ribbon around body of the hanging loop. You should have a beautiful cascade of firecracker tubes! All that’s left is to hang it up.

8. Egg carton dragons

Cut an egg carton along the length so that you have multiple strips. Then turn the strips upside down and let your kiddo paint the body of their dragon. You can use fun pipe cleaners in sparkly gold for whiskers. And for the eyes, google eyes or even stick on gems. You can make it a fire-breathing dragon by taping small strips of red and gold tissue paper or construction paper to the inside of the head.

9. Paper fortune cookies

If your child is old enough to write then start by writing fortunes, short, positive phrases or sentences, on tiny strips of paper. Then choose any colored paper to draw and cut out a circle. Fold the circle in half once and attach the ends with a small dollop of glue where the tips meet at the top. Then insert the strip of paper with the fortune written on it into the folded circle. Then, gently push the center in and pinch the two sides down to create that authentic fortune cookie shape. To keep the fold in shape, use another small drop of glue in the inside fold. Hold it for a few seconds and you’re all done!

10. Paper plate bunnies

Flip a paper plate upside down. Twist three pipe cleaners around each other so they are attached at the center. Glue them to the center of the plate and once dry, glue a pom pom on top to hide the knot. Now, you have whiskers! Then, cut out ear shapes from colored construction paper. Glue or tape the ears to the top of the plate, so they’re sticking out. Then, stick on some google eyes and draw a mouth with a marker.

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