Chinese New Year

Teaching the chinese new year

As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, students are ready for the holidays! Between celebrating Christmas and the New Year, December and January are so exciting. However, it is essential that students learn how other people celebrate as well. Thus, students will learn all about the Chinese Lunar New Year. Here, they will learn the true meaning behind many symbols they may have already heard about, such as dragons and zodiac animals. Honestly, students will channel holiday excitement into an academic focus while learning about the Chinese New Year. 

What is the Chinese Lunar New Year? 

The Chinese New Year is the biggest festival in Chinese tradition! It begins when the new moon arrives and continues until the full moon. Thus, this tradition takes about fifteen days to celebrate. Ultimately, this celebration signals a fresh start with hopes for prosperity, wealth, and happiness. 

Chinese New Year activity

Ways to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in the Classroom 

Truly, there are so many ways to celebrate different holidays in the classroom! However, these celebrations often surround well-known holidays like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Easter. To help students understand how different cultures celebrate different holidays, it’s important to branch out. For instance, teaching students about the Chinese New Year will show how another country celebrates ringing in a fresh start. Thankfully, plenty of engaging and interactive activities help students understand the true meaning.

Lantern Festival and Dragon Dance 

If students know anything about the Chinese New Year, it may be about the lantern festival or dragon dance. This is because these are two of the prominent symbols of the holiday. Additionally, many places, such as zoos, often have lantern festivals filled with dragons during summer. Thus, students need to learn the meaning of this. For the lantern festival, students will learn they are used for more than just light. Students can study the design elements, such as riddles and zodiac signs that are on them.

Additionally, dragons are not just a fantastic design. Instead, they bring good luck, long life, and wisdom to the new year. Students can even study the design process and why specific colors are used! 

lessons to teach the chinese lunar new year


Symbolism and the Meaning of 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals 

Students may know the zodiac animal that represents their birth year. However, they may not know more than that. Thus, this is the perfect time to teach the meaning behind each animal. For instance, someone associated with a rat is often adventurous, charming, and bright. Students will have a blast learning the importance of their zodiac animal! 

Chinese Lunar New Year Activity 

Planning a new unit can always be tough! Thankfully, this lesson has everything needed to teach all about the Chinese New Year.

Students will use

  • print,
  • digital text, and a
  • flipbook

to learn about this important holiday.

Here, students will learn about the Chinese calendar, the twelve zodiac animals and their characters, and holiday traditions.


Additionally, they will gain the background knowledge needed to understand how the Chinese New Year came about. They will see how it differs from the one celebrated in the United States.


Students will answer comprehension questions and create an overview of each animal to show all they have learned. Students can even create their own flipbook! 


Teaching the lunar new year


The Chinese New Year is such a fun holiday to learn about! Between welcoming a fresh start and the festive decorations, students will love learning about the meaning behind everything. Best of all, students will remember the importance of respecting all traditions as they ring in the New Year.  

Looking for picture books? Check out these Chinese New Year books to add to your classroom library: 

🐉 BRAND NEW! The Legend of the 12 Zodiac Signs

🐉 Our Moon Festival

🐉 How to Catch a Dragon

🐉 Playing with Lanterns


You might also like 5 ways to engage students in the social studies classroom.

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