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How to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Discover Fun Ways to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers. In this article, we provide a few ideas about how to celebrate Chinese New Year with preschoolers.

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Known also as “The Spring Festival”, the Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China and an excellent opportunity to teach children about the rich culture and traditions of Chinese civilisation.

In this article, we provide a few ideas about how to celebrate Chinese New Year with preschoolers.

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year marks the beginning of a new year in the Chinese calendar, and its celebration can last up to 15 days. 

In 2024, the Chinese New Year will be on the 10th of February, starting the year of the Dragon. This event is celebrated in regions like the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, North America and Europe.

Chinese New Year is when families honour their ancestors, clean their homes to chase away ill-fortunes, attract good luck and share moments like decorating doors and windows with red paper-cuts or eating dumplings.

The traditions of this event provide an excellent source for making children aware of the diversity and beauty of the world around them. 

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Here are our suggestions for activities to celebrate Chinese New Year with preschoolers.

create dragon puppet to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Easy to make, this dragon puppet requires a few materials and provides lots of fun for preschoolers who can learn about Chinese New Year traditions while playing.

Materials you need:

  • 1 white paper plate
  • 1 zip-lock plastic bag or paint brushes
  • 1 strip of red card, A4 size, cut in half and taped together
  • Gold and red poster paint
  • 2 lollipop sticks
  • 2 googly eyes
  • Glue

How to make a dancing dragon puppet: 

Sprinkle gold and red paint onto the paper plate and put it inside the zip-lock bag. Spread the paint across the plate with the help of your fingers, take it out of the bag and let it dry. Alternatively, use paint brushes to paint the paper plate.

Fold the plate in half and then draw a zig-zag line to split it into two parts – one bigger and one smaller. The bigger part will be the head, and the smaller one will be the tail. Draw a few small triangles on the head. Cut along the splitting line.

Fold the red card backwards and forwards to obtain a zig-zag. Draw a mouth on the head of the dragon and add the googly eyes.

Glue the head and the tail to each end of the zig-zag red strip and add the lollipop sticks to its bottom – one under the head section, the other under the tail section.

The dragon is ready! Your preschoolers can make him dance with funny or scary moves while you tell them about the significance of the dragon in Chinese New Year.

Activity adapted from Messy Little Monster.

How to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Writing is essential during the preschool years, and writing in the sand is a fun activity that will spark interest in learning about Chinese characters. This sensory experience will delight the little ones and will help you teach them about Chinese culture.

Materials you need:

  • 1 rectangular tray
  • Red sand
  • 1 paint brush
  • Gold glitter
  • 1 book for preschoolers about the Chinese New Year containing a few Chinese characters

How to set up the activity: 

Place the tray on a large, clear surface with the paintbrush and the book.

Pour the sand into the tray, and add the glitter. 

Show the children how to write with their fingers a Chinese character found in the book and then encourage them to do the same. Start a conversation about Chinese writing and Chinese New Year and talk about its traditions and significance. Use accessible language, and keep the children engaged by asking what is their favourite Chinese New Year tradition.

Activity adapted from Rainy Day Mum.

create drum to to Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Bolang Gu, or Chinese drums, are musical instruments often used to give more life to a story or a song. Their unique sound delights children, and making them from scratch is an excellent way to celebrate Chinese New Year with preschoolers.

Materials you need:

  • 2 red paper plates, size 18-24 cm
  • 2 ribbons, strings or cords 18 cm long each
  • 4 small plastic beads
  • 1 dowel of 3/8”, 10 – 12” long
  • 1 stapler
  • White glue
  • 1 hole puncher
  • Stickers reading “Good Luck” in English and Chinese characters.

How to make Chinese New Year drums: 

Staple the paper plates around the edges and leave a small space to insert the dowel.

Decorate the plates with the stickers any way you want

Punch holes at 3 & 9 o’clock

Put the ribbons, strings or cords through the holes you made.

Thread the beads and tie the knot at the end of the ribbons.

Insert the dowel, place a little glue into each of its sides and turn it to spread.

Wait for the glue to dry, hold the dowel between your hands and rub them together to turn the dowel. 

When the beads hit the faces of the drum, they will create that unmistakable sound that children love so much! While children have fun playing the drums, you can tell them interesting facts about the Chinese New Year.

Activity adapted from Pre K + K Sharing.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Preschoolers

Fireworks are a central element of the Chinese New Year celebration, and with help, your preschooler can turn this into an exciting art project!

Materials you need:

  • Cardboard rolls
  • 4 different colours of paint
  • 4 paper plates
  • Large paper sheets
  • Glitter

How to paint fireworks with cardboard rolls

Cut the cardboard rolls into thin, different-length strips, but without exceeding the middle of the rolls. The uncut part of the rolls will serve as a “handle” that children will hold when painting to prevent colours from getting on their fingers. The different lengths of the strips will create various-sized fireworks.

Place each colour of paint onto a different paper plate. Dip one cardboard tube into the paint and print it on paper. Use another cardboard (with strips of different lengths) to create another layer of fireworks. Repeat the process until the children are happy with the look of their fireworks. Spread a bit of glitter on top to give the fireworks their sparkly effect. 

While the preschoolers work on the project, share exciting facts about the Chinese New Year and its celebration. Leave the paper sheets to dry and display them in a place of your child’s choosing. 

This activity enables preschoolers to use their creativity, train fine motor skills, develop hand-eye coordination, recognise colours and create new ones.

Activity adapted from Learning 4 Kids.

Chinese traditions have always sparked the interest of people around the world. The uniqueness of this ancient civilisation can be taught to preschoolers during Chinese New Year, and one or more of the activities listed in this article will surely help you convey to children the complexity and beauty residing in this Asian culture.

If you are in Auckland or Hamilton, check out our “14 Fun Toddler Activities in Auckland” or “9 Fun Toddler Activities in Hamilton” articles for ideas over Chinese New Year!

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Tanya Vester
Tanya Vester
Our sons attended Bright beginnings early leaning Centre and absolutely loved it. They attended Manuka and Kowhai rooms, and later also Pohutukawa room. The teachers in all three rooms were just SO lovely, caring, attentive and supported their learning journeys and communicated the children’s achievements with us. We are so thankful for the time our kids were able to spend there, and the kids made great memories for life. We highly recommend BBELC to anyone looking for a child care center. We had to leave due to moving overseas and will miss BBELC so much!!!
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
Sukhpreet Singh Mediratta
"I don't think I can express in words the gratitude I feel towards you all. My child, Amrin have learnt so much in your care that will stay with her for life. I believe their fondest memories of childhood will include many of you - I truly hope you are all extremely proud your efforts with our children. Thank you for all the wonderful support and care you have given to my daughter. This Centre is a very special place and she has grown so much in your nurturing, inspiring and challenging environment. You are really helping her to prepare for her school foundation." Actually, this is a second home for Amrin, she started her journey from BBELC, Auckland and will leave for school from here. Thanks to all the teachers, If I start typing the names, the list will be so long. In last especially I should not forget Nikita, who is so understanding and caring towards kids as well as families. Thank you with much love."
Anaru Pui
Anaru Pui
We've had our daughter Waikohu pui in the center for over 1 year now And she has Developed into such a beautiful kind person and has gained some great life skills and experiences thank you to all the teachers for there support and care with our baby girl making life alot easier knowing shes getting great education and Aroha (Love) from all the teachers at her Kura ( school ) thanks again ❤️ from the Pui whanau
Jagroop Kaur
Jagroop Kaur
Teachers are very kind and patient. Also they encourage children to learn in different indoor and outdoor activities. I am so pleased in POHUTUKAWA room the teacher do the school transition program, which is really helpful to the kids enter the primary school in the future. Thanks all teacher who support VIRASAT and other kids there quite well.
anne dela cruz
anne dela cruz
We have been with BBELC Hamilton since 2020 during the peak of pandemic and I never doubted to bring my children here knowing that they are on a safe place and the team are all aware of the best health and safety plan to ensure that everyone in the centre are safe. The centre is the BEST for me in terms of CLEANLINESS (the place os very tidy), SAFETY OF CHILDREN (only parents/caregivers can enter the premises on their pin coded door), FRIENDLY STAFF (you will be greeted by a very friendly receptionist, you can talk to the teachers about your concern with your child), OPEN DOOR POLICY (Manager’s door is open all times for parents for any concern or question), NUTRICIOUS FOOD for our kids, SCHOOL READINESS PROGRAM (table activities, book reading, sharing with others, simple literacy), MAT TIME IS THE BEST as the kids learn to socialize, listen to teachers, story telling, yoga, dance time, music time,etc. and they also held PARENTS TIME where we can chat with the teacher about our kids, meet other parents, share experiences and strategies, parents gets treat and gift on special occasion like mother’s day and father’s day that will definitely make your day as a parent. And lastly for few years now, my kids have enjoyed their Christmas party where they get gift and enjoy bouncy castle, it’s simple but the experience and memories will be lifetime. THANKS TO ALL THE STAFF AND TEACHERS OF BBELC Hamilton! KUDOS TO ALL YOUR HARDWORK AND DEDICATION. CHEERS TO MANY MORE YEARS OF SUCCESS! - DELA CRUZ Family ( Robb and Reuben)
I love BBELC and my child love it too. As parents ,my husband and I deeply appreciate the staff being friendly ,kind ,patient ,role models and caring .The educators work well with parents to achieve the children’s developmental goals , the manager Leonie and Teachers Mari, Kathryn, Summer and Emma really care about the children and very welcoming. The childcare is secure and this gives us peace of mind in knowing that our little ones are in good hands and safe . The classrooms are clean and nicely decorated. I highly recommend sending your child to this center. It’s become our second home.
BBELC is an awesome environment for my daughter to learn and grow through different types of activities. All the staffs are friendly, supportive and helpful. Highly recommended to all.
Neda Bolouri
Neda Bolouri
A safe, happy and caring place for our children.
Norvega Bantang
Norvega Bantang
Bright Beginnings Early Learning Centre - Hamilton is like a second home to my 2 little girls. They are very supportive of the children’s early learning and individual development. The rooms are spacious, warm and cozy and provide different kinds of resources for the children to explore. My girls are always excited to go to kindy every morning. Since I have also recently become part of this centre, it’s good to know and see for myself how things work in the centre and how very passionate the staff are in looking after every child like they are family. As a parent, it gives me the peace of mind that my children are in good hands and are well taken cared of. Definitely made the right decision to enroll our children here.
Diana Villa-Ignacio
Diana Villa-Ignacio
BBELC is a wonderful centre which caters to quality care and learning of children. We take pride in our relationship with parents , whanau and children having positive environment, open communication, flexibility, catering to children needs and working alongside parent's aspiration for their children. Feel free to come and see our Hamilton centre. We will be happy to show you around and be part of our Bright Beginnings Family.

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