Creative Child

Kids Activities: Chinese New Year

Why limit the fun to just one night? In China, the Lunar New Year is feted with fifteen days of fantastic foods, elaborate celebrations and dazzling displays of color.

It’s flashy, alright, but at core, this four-thousand-year-old festival is all about reconvening family and friends. Ancient Chinese marked the end of winter by reuniting for feasts and fun and the tradition continues into the present day.

Introduce your elementary-aged kids to the richness of Eastern culture and spice up late February with a Chinese New Year activity or two.

1. Let Go of Grudges. Reconciling differences is another important part of the Chinese New Year tradition. It’s a great opportunity for bringing feuding siblings together to resolve gripes, or simply for encouraging kids to forgive and forget any wrongs they endured in 2014. If you’ve got a fireplace, you might even have kids write down their grudges on a piece of paper, then toss it (carefully!) into the flames. Then, watch those old differences go up in smoke!


2. Play Chopsticks. Not the piano duet; the Chinese utensils! Primary school kids are ravenously curious about the world beyond their home city. They’re also just plain ravenous. Pair a cultural encounter with tasty edibles and you’ve got a recipe for a singular Saturday afternoon. To avoid frustration, start them off with easy-to-grasp snacks like marshmallows and dried apricots. Kids can practice picking them up and eating them or dropping them into a bowl, then graduate to grasping smaller morsels like popcorn or springy pasta.


3. Have a “Lucky Money” Ceremony. The Chinese celebrate many of life’s milestones by handing out “Lucky Money” — little red envelopes full of cash — and a new year is no exception to the tradition. At Chinese New Years, children often pay respects to their parents or grandparents by bowing several times before receiving the envelopes, which are stuffed with a modest amount of paper money in an even denomination. Other families place the lucky money under a child’s pillow on New Year’s Eve. The Lucky Money is said to promote health and long life.


How to make a Paper Lantern Tutorial. 

4. Straighten Up and Clear out. Looking for a way to get rid of post-holiday clutter? Cleaning house is also a time-honored tradition at Chinese New Year, as tidying up is believed to sweep away lingering bad luck to make room for good luck. Help your kids get rid of old and broken “bad-luck” toys, then clear the dust and cobwebs out from inside corners and under beds. You’ll all breathe easier, and you’ll be ready to welcome in the new.


5. Pay Off a Debt of Gratitude. In the Chinese New Year tradition, the settling of debts isn’t just about money; it’s also about making good on intangible IOUs. Together with your kids, pick a friend or relative who went above and beyond the call of duty for your family in 2014. Then, invite them for a dinner of noodles or stir fry and rice to say, “Thank You.”


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Want More Chinese New Year Activities:

- Year of the Sheep

- Chinese Lanterns

- Chinese New Year Snacks

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