Fun learning activities to celebrate Lunar New Year

More than one billion people around the world ring in the new year twice–first on Jan. 1, then again on Lunar New Year. This special holiday marks the start of the lunar calendar and symbolizes a hopeful transition from the cold winter months to the rejuvenating spring season. 

While Lunar New Year is commonly referred to as a Chinese holiday, the tradition is also celebrated by many other Asian countries such as South Korea and Vietnam. Whether you know it as Chinese New Year, Seollal, or Tết, Lunar New Year celebrations are always filled with food, fortune, and fun! 

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite activities and recipes for kids to join in on the excitement:

Make your own dragon and lion dances 

During Lunar New Year celebrations, performers traditionally parade down streets in lion or dragon costumes to spread joy and luck. If you can’t go out and see a performance, bring the festivity home with a dancing dragon craft or make a lion dance mask. Pull out the drums or cymbals and put on a mini parade of your own!

Discover Asian cuisine 

Food plays a big part in Asian culture and, of course, Lunar New Year celebrations. New Year feasts are often filled with simple dishes that hold symbolic meanings, instead of fancy dishes. 

Read about the significance of traditional New Year foods and bond with children while folding dumplings. Pair your homemade dumplings with warm Japanese rice cake soup or savory Korean pancakes for a fun way to get your veggies in!

Learn about the zodiac 

Animal lovers will rejoice when they find that the Chinese zodiac consists of 12 different animals! Introduce children to their representative zodiac animal through this lesson plan or have older learners use their reading comprehension skills to dive into the origin of the Chinese zodiac. After learning all about the lunar calendar, kids can choose animals to design their own

Craft paper lanterns

Bring some New Year’s luck into your home with paper lanterns! In Asian culture, red and gold lanterns are symbols of good luck and fortune. Instead of buying decorations, try this kid-friendly craft and display them around the house. Learners can also practice writing their wishes and goals for the coming year with this mini lantern template.  

Have firework fun 

Lunar New Year is widely celebrated by Asian communities around the world, so don’t be surprised if you hear fireworks or firecrackers around you! Traditionally, these loud explosions are meant to chase away evil spirits. 

If you’re unable to see a firework show near you, create an explosive at-home science project with soda or try a colorful art project using watercolor. Supplement the festivities with a history of fireworks worksheet to keep the learning going!

Can’t get enough of the fun? Explore’s Learning Library for more resources.