Friday, February 8, 2013

Chinese New Year

If the children get down Spanish vocabulary early, which these around-3-year-olds have been working on, then we work on Mandarin Chinese here. So Chinese New Year is a holiday we really get behind.

In my 3-year rotating curriculum, we spend a week on Chinese New Year every 3rd year. This year was it.

Our daily topics:
Monday - Where is China?
Tuesday - Symbols of China
Wednesday - Life in China
Thursday - Animals of China
Friday - What comes from China?

Books we used:

Crafts - This is a craft intensive unit.  
A lot of what we talk about during the week relates to Good Luck. This is a pre-writing worksheet I created. You can download it for FREE by clicking on the image.

Since 2013 is the year of the snake, I created the pattern below, again FREE for download by clicking the image. 

We cut out letter S snakes and decorated them with google eyes and a red forked tongue. Since we hadn't used markers in awhile, that was what used to decorate the snakes. After coloring them, we cut out and glued on our letter s sight words: see, she, said, some, soon, say, saw, stop.

We played around with some things that came from China - dominoes, a compass, kites and our tanagrams.

The Chinese lanterns worked fine motor cutting skills. These were done with teacher-assist scissors since this group is relatively young and just beginning to work at cutting independently. We were short on time, so they used the marker that were out to decorate these as well. Given time, we would have added some gold glitter and bling items.

We painted some good luck goldfish. This worked color mixing, following direction, fine motor skills, and brush work.

We made dragon masks and held a dragon parade.

I love this little dragon mask printable that I got from Nick Jr.'s Kailan, because it is simple enough for older preschoolers to cut out without too much trouble, but detailed enough that they look really great. Unfortunately, it seems to have been deleted from the website, but similar ones are available at Kaboomu and itsybitsyfun.  

I cut strips of tissue paper in the colors they requested for them to add as streamers to their dragon masks. Older children could do this on their own, but tissue paper is a little difficult to cut, especially when you are not quite or barely over three.


We did some fan dancing to traditional Chinese music. I created a Traditional Chinese station on Pandora, and we listened to it through out the week. We also heard a lot of Yo Yo Ma.

We used a darling coloring page of a little Chinese boy and girl with lanterns from Activity Village UK. Click link to get the high resolution PDF from them.

Happy Chinese New Year coloring page - children celebrating Chinese New Year

We also used a map of China that I had from, but that is now a paid site. If you are a member, they have some great printables for China.

Videos - We watched a few. A couple favorites that were on Amazon, free with my prime membership.

 Ni Hao Kai-lan Season 1, Ep. 10 "Happy Chinese New Year!" 

It's Chinese New Year, which means a big feast, red envelopes, and friends and family all together! Kai-lan and her friends are thrilled because this year, they are old enough to carry the huge dragon costume.

Ni Hao Kai-lan Season 1, Ep. 13 "Hoho's Big Flight"
Today's the big lantern festival to celebrate the end of Chinese New Year! Ye-Ye gives Kai-lan some lanterns for her and her friends to decorate.

And this one on YouTube. Taoshu Chinese New Year Special


We also watched some traditional lion dances on YouTube. Just snippets so they could relate it to real life and actual people and places.

We learned to count to 10 in Mandarin using this song I created.

yī - èr - sān, sì, wǔ
This is how I count with you
 liù - qī - bā, jiǔ, shí­
This is how you count with me!

1 一 
3sān 三 
4 四 
5 五 
6liù 六 

This is a great Youtube video for pronunciation.

We practiced our colors in Mandarin, especially red, hóng sè 红色, the color of luck. Here's a good Youtube video for learning the colors.

Since we learn Mandarin here, we say Gong Xi Fa Cai, rather than the more commonly used phrase in America, the Cantonese saying, Gong Hey Fat Choy.
Tags: Chinese, New, Year, Chinese New Year, holiday, preschool, daycare, child, care, kindergarten, template, gliff, printable, free, freebie, craft, painting, activity, activities, video, book, books, snake, sight words, reading, art


  1. What a fun unit? How many children are in your preschool and do you have parents sign releases to use their pictures on your blog? Just doing some research :) Love your Pinterest too!

    1. Thanks, Kelly! I do in-home preschool with 6 children, and YES, they do sign a release.