Easy Chinese New Year Crafts for the Classroom January 20 2012

For 2012, Chinese New Year is celebrated on Monday, January 23rd. The significance of this holiday and simple activities to help your kids learn about Chinese New Year can be found here, but fun, educational, and simple craft ideas are included below.

Chinese Yo Yo

This is one of the easiest crafts to make in order to help your students celebrate Chinese New Year; however, it might be wise to wait until the end of the day to make them, as they are, simply put, sticks that are flung around to achieve the desired "yo yo" effect. Another option would be to have students label their Chinese Yo Yos with their names once finished, then set them aside until the last bell rings, handing them out as kids leave for the day.

That said, this is a really fun and super-easy project that requires very few materials. Here's what you need:

  • Dowels (or similar sticks) cut into lengths of about 6" (or as desired), one per student
  • Thin paper - think wrapping paper, cut into long strips that are half as wide as the length of each dowel (for example, if the length of the dowel is 6", the strip of paper should be 3" wide), while the strip of paper should be a few feet long
  • Glue or tape

Hand out materials to each student with instructions to glue or tape one end of the paper strip to one end of the dowel, then roll the paper tightly around the dowel. If using glue, set it aside to allow the glue to dry. To use the Chinese YoYo, hold the dowel and flick  your wrist in an upward motion, which causes the paper to yo-yo out and back in.

Chinese Lanterns

Chinese lanterns are simple to make to celebrate Chinese New Year in your classroom. Gather the following materials for this project:

  • Construction paper (8 and 1/2" x 11" for smaller lanterns)
  • Glue or tape
  • Stapler
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • embellishments, like markers, paints, stamps, ink, sequins, and feathers

Start out with a piece of construction paper per student, and instruct them to cut one inch from the short end of the paper (if you have younger children, you might have a volunteer prep this step ahead of time) - this piece will serve as the lantern's handle.

Give students time to decorate their lanterns, then model the following instructions for your class:

  1. Fold the piece of construction paper in half lengthwise, then place on the desk in front of you with the folded edge down
  2. Measure an inch from the top of the paper, then draw a line across the length of the paper - this will show everyone where to stop cutting
  3. Measure lines one inch apart from the folded edge up to the line at the top
  4. Cut along the lines
  5. Unfold the paper and bring the long edges together so that the cylindrical lantern shape is made. Secure the edges with tape or glue.
  6. Secure the edges of the handle along the top of the lantern with tape or staples

Lucky Red Envelopes

[caption id="attachment_8353" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Chinese Symbol for Luck"][/caption]

Red envelopes are a common gift for Chinese New Year, containing money for the recipient and decorated with symbols of luck. For these Red Envelopes, you'll need:

  • red construction paper cut into pieces measuring about 6" by 8"
  • glue or tape
  • gold paint or markers
  • green paper if desired

To make the envelope, fold one of the shorter sides towards the middle, then fold the other shorter side over the top and secure with tape or glue. Choose one of the open sides of the rectangle and fold up the end, securing with tape or glue.

Display the Chinese symbol for luck (pictured on the right), and have students decorate the outside of the red envelope with the symbol using gold markers or paint.

If desired, have students make fake money using green construction paper to place inside of their envelopes.