Celebrating Chinese New Year with Your Children

Chinese New Year is the celebration of the beginning of the traditional Chinese lunar year. Starting on the second new moon after the Winter Solstice, and ending on the full moon, the Chinese New Year celebration in 2019 begins on February 5th and concludes on February 19th. Also known as the Spring Festival, Chinese New Year is a time to reunite with your families and celebrate a new year beginning. Parades with large dragons, loads of good food, and fireworks are just a few ways Chinese New Year is celebrated. A fun way to start these celebrations is to give children the traditional red envelopes. These red envelopes are generally given from adults to children with money tucked in them, which symbolizes health and long life.

The traditional foods for this celebration are fish and homemade dumplings, and lanterns are integral in traditional Chinese décor and celebrations, as well as drums. Use the instructions below to kick off this fun holiday to expand your family’s global and cultural knowledge, and enjoy!


DIY Paper Chinese Lanterns


  • Construction Paper
  • Paint and any other flat art-making supplies
  • Glue
  • String
  • Scissors

First, paint the piece of paper however you want, keeping in mind that red and gold are traditional Chinese colors. You can use paint, markers, glitter—whatever type of aesthetic you want to go with. When dry, cut a ½” wide piece off the long side of the paper and place to the side for later. Fold the paper in half so that the long side stays the same, and the short side is folded in half. Cut slits ½” wide, going until about ½” from the edge of the paper. Open it back up and glue together the long edges of the paper, keeping the painted side on the outside. Retaining the crease in the paper will create the traditional Chinese lantern shape. Glue the edges of the extra piece you cut off at the beginning to either side to create a handle.


DIY Chinese Drum


  • 2 Paper Plates
  • 1 Wooden Dowel
  • String
  • 2 Bells
  • Stapler
  • Tape

Proceed with extreme caution with this craft if you have toddlers and are prone to headaches. To create this drum, first paint the bottom of both paper plates. You can look up traditional Chinese motifs; go with the zodiac animal, stick with red and gold, which are considered lucky colors in China, or just decorate however you want. When the paint has dried, tape the dowel on the inside of one of the plates. Attach the bells to 6-8″ long strands of string, then tape those on either side of the plate as well. When those are all secured, place the second plate on top, so that the painted sides are both facing out, and staple them together around the edges, adding a few extra staples to the string section for stability. To play the drum, roll the dowel back and forth between your palms to make the strings fly and make noise.


Homemade Dumplings


  • Dumpling Wrappers
  • Oil for cooking
  • 1 lb. Pork
  • ½ Head cabbage
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • 2 Tbs. Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tbs. Rice Vinegar
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (freshly minced)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsps. Ginger (freshly grated)
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste

Mix together the filling ingredients (everything listed above, except for the cooking oil and dumpling wrappers). Place a spoonful of the filling into the center of the dumpling wrapper. In order to close the wrapper, lightly place water around the edges and then fold in half. Add pleats and press down to finish. Brown in a hot skillet with oil around 2-3 minutes, then add water (3-4 Tbsp.) into skillet and cover for 3-5 minutes to steam. Serve warm with soy sauce.


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