Preschool Chinese New Year Theme

This Preschool Chinese New Year theme is to help children learn about the spring festival celebrated in China.

It follows the Chinese Lunar Calendar and falls between mid-January to mid-February each year.

You'll find more themes to help you with your planning on my preschool themes page.

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme

There are 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals that represent a 12 year cyclical time cycle in the lunar calendar.

This Preschool Chinese New Year Theme page is filled with preschool lesson plans, activities and ideas for all areas of your classroom.

Let the Theme Planning Begin!

You can either scroll down through this page to see all of the preschool lesson plans for this theme.

Or you can click the picture link below to go to specific preschool activity types you are looking for.

Preschool Chinese New Year Art Activities

Chinese New Year Preschool Theme: Shades of Red Art

Shades of Red!

Materials Needed: Red and white paint, paint brushes, paper plates (to mix paint on); blank sheets of white paper

Place red and white paint on a paper plate (one paper plate per child) and provide them with a paintbrush.

They will have fun making their own shades of red and pink!

EXTENSION: Instead of you placing the paint on their paper plates, provide them with cups of white and red paint and a plastic teaspoon and let them measure their own paint on the paper plate!

Texture Painting

Materials Needed: Variety of paint colors, white school glue and rice

Mix 1/4 part glue with 1 part paint and mix.

The children should paint with this mixture and then sprinkle with rice. This dries into a very glossy finish!

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Art Activity

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Block Ideas

Build A House

Red is considered a lucky color. During Chinese New Year, window sills and doors are sometimes decorated in red to usher in good luck! Wrap some blocks in red paper. Encourage the children to build houses using the red blocks for windows and doors.

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Circle Time Ideas

Circle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Valentines Day Theme!


Materials Needed: Lai-See envelopes (1 for each child) and play coins; the book Sam and the Lucky Money

Lai-See are small red envelopes. You can find them at Chinese food stores or you can use plain red envelopes.

You can also find theme.

On Chinese New Years, children are given a Lai-See with a coin in it for luck.

Read Sam and the Lucky Money and then present each child with their own Lucky Money!

5 Green Dragons (fingerplay)

Five green dragons making such a roar.

One danced away and then there were four.

Four green dragons dancing around a tree.

One danced away and then there were three.

Three green dragons dancing around you!

One danced away and then there were two.

Two green dragons dancing under the sun.

One danced away and then there was one.

One green dragon having lots of fun.

It danced away and now there are none!

Return to Top

Snack Ideas to Cook Up for Your Preschool Chinese New Year Theme!

Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions.

It also allows for some great conversation!

Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation!

Be sure to ask specific theme questions while making these fun snacks!

The disclaimer: PLEASE, PLEASE check files for allergies..we've had a child allergic to strawberries, another to hazel nuts (all tree nuts, actually) and yet another to egg products. It is important for you to know before doing any cooking with the children.

Chinese New Year Preschool Theme: Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup

Ingredients and Items needed: Chicken or vegetable broth, 2 eggs.

Cook broth until hot.

Open eggs into a bowl and beat.

Stir beaten eggs into the broth very quickly.

Serve when cooled a bit.

Chinese Dumplings

Ingredients and Items Needed: Chinese Dumplings (purchased or provided by a parent!). on the night before Chinese New Year, families typically prepare and cook dumplings. There is a tradition that a coin is inserted into one dumpling and the one who has the coin is supposed to have good luck in the coming year.

I do NOT suggest placing a coin in their food! What you could do is tape a play coin under each child's chair and when they are done with their dumpling snacks, have them look under their chairs to see if they have a lucky coin!

Tray of Togetherness

This tradition is a way of providing a sweet beginning to the Chinese New year. Customarily, foods like lotus seeds and lychee nuts and the like are used. However, due to allergies and children's resistance to try foods they have not tried before, provide healthy snack foods that they know!

This tray is usually a large round or octagonal shaped tray with 8 compartments. Choose 8 healthy foods for the children to try.

Some suggestions:

Bananas, kiwi, oranges, apple slices, grapes, strawberries, cucumber, carrots

EXTENSION: Rather than having this prepared for them, try having them help you slice and prepare it!

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Ideas to Transform Your Dramatic Play Area!

Set Up House

Cleaning and preparing the house before the Chinese New Year is a tradition! It is meant to sweep and clean out all of the bad luck!

Set up your dramatic play area as a housekeeping center. Be sure to provide baby wipes for cleaning and child sized brooms, dust pans, pretend vacuum cleaners, etc.

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Themed Ideas for Your Easel!

--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Chinese Flag

Materials Needed: Paper, red and yellow paint.

The Chinese flag is red with yellow stars. Provide these paints and a picture of the flag for the children to see. They may get more excited about making orange with the two colors....hang their flags!

VARIATION: Provide different shades of red with a bit of glue mixed in. Then provide precut yellow stars for the children to recreate the flag.

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Large Group Games

to Help Your Children Build Their Muscles While They Have Fun Together!

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Movement Activity

Animal Actions

Materials Needed: Have pictures of each of the animals from the Chinese Zodiac (see end of this page). Show the children the pictures one at a time and have them move like that animal!

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Ideas for Your Library

Book Suggestions for the Library

(I LOVE Amazon, and some of the links below will take you to the Amazon website.  If you do choose to purchase yours through Amazon, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit! )

Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith and Lawrence Migdale

Cheerios Counting Book by Will Mcgrath and Barbara Mcgrath (to go with the Cheerio Abacus Activity under the Math Section Below)

Chili-Chili-Chin-Chin by Bette Yang

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin) by Joan Holub

The Greatest Treasure by Demi

Lanterns and Firecrackers: A Chinese New Year Story (Festival Time!) by Jonny Zucker and Jan Barger

Lion Dancer: Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year (Reading Rainbow Books) by Kate Waters and Martha Cooper GREAT non fiction book with pictures!

New Year's Clean Up (Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat) by George Daugherty

Sam and the Lucky Money by Karen Chinn

This Next New Year: (English language edition) by Janet S. Wong

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Math & Manipulative Activities

to Help Your Preschoolers Develop Their Math Skills and Those Small Muscles in Their Hands!

Chinese New Year Preschool Theme: Year of the Animal Sort

Chinese Animal Sort

Use the animals you have for the children to sort.  

Check out the Chinese animals used in their zodiac chart here.

Preschool Chinese New Year Paper Cutting Art

Materials needed: paper, scissors

Paper cutting is an ancient Chinese art. Have the children cut paper in any way they like! If they "name" their art work, put it on display with their name and the name of their creation!

Here are some Chinese Take Out Food Boxes
Here are the beautiful chopsticks pictured above!
And, of course, Pom Poms!

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Themed Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to Get Your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Chinese New Year Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Preschool Chinese New Year Parade!

Provide musical instruments and have a parade! Let each child have a turn leading the parade!

Dragon Train

Show the children pictures of a Chinese Dragon used in the New Year celebration. Pretend to be a dragon train! The child in the front leads the other children. They copy whatever the person in the front is doing. That child then goes to the back and they all follow the new leader's actions!

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Themed Activities for your Sand/Water Table

What a Treasure!

Add play coins to your sand table for a great and exciting treasure hunt!

Return to Top

Preschool Chinese New Year Science Activities for Your Preschool Scientists in Training!

Lucky Shiny Coins

Materials Needed: pennies, clear cups, venegar, salt, plstic spoons

Mix 1/4 cup of vinegar into a cup with 1 teaspoon of salt and mix.

Put a few pennies in the jar.

Watch what happens! The salt and vinegar, when combined, make an acid that cleans the dirt right off the pennies.

Use the plastic spoon to scoop out the pennies.

****Caution: Because young children touch their eyes often, do not leave this unsupervised as vinegar STINGS and the salt can scratch their eyes. I usually do this as a small group activity (1 teacher 2 children) and have lots of water available. Another thing you could do is to provide plastic safety glasses if you want the children to be able to do this hands on! Highly recommended!

Return to Top

Writing Activities Ideas for Your Preschool Chinese New Year Theme!

Preschool Chinese New Year Theme Writing Activity

Chinese symbols

This may be difficult for the children to do based on their fine motor ability, but boy oh boy is it fun to try! Provide a print out of some symbols for Chinese words. Explain to the children what each means or draw a picture of what each one means as well as the word. Let them have fun trying to create them or create symbols of their own.

You can search online for some symbols for basic words such as water, sun, etc.

Return to Top

Miscellaneous Ideas

Chinese Zodiac Animals

List of the 12 Zodiac Animals:

Year of the Rat 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008, 2020

Year of the Ox 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009, 2021

Year of the Tiger 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010, 2022

Year of the Rabbit 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023

Year of the Dragon 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012, 2024

Year of the Snake 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013, 2025

Year of the Horse 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014, 2026

Year of the Sheep/Ram 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015, 2027

Year of the Monkey 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016, 2028

Year of the Rooster 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017, 2029

Year of the Dog 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030

Year of the Boar/Pig 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019, 2031

Return to Top

Other Pages You Might Enjoy:

Go to the main THEMES page for more theme ideas!

Go to Preschool Plan It's Home Page

© Copyright 2010-2024   |   All Rights Reserved   |   Privacy Policy & Disclaimer