Chinese New Year, also called the Spring Festival, begins late January or early February on the western calendar. CNY 2015 starts Feb. 19. It's Year of the Sheep or Goat. Here are easy, inexpensive ideas to throw a Chinese New Year festival in a school classroom or at homeschool or with your family. Sheep (goat) themed activities are included.
"Travel" to China. Start at the DL-TK website's for free printable Chinese New Year activities. Read books on China. Here's an article I wrote on best children's literature from China for kids in grades pre-K to grades two.
Decorate. Use free printable Chinese crafts., symbols, clipart and graphics to use for decorations. Children can use to make banners, desk decor. Create greeting cards and give to elderly.
Make crafts. Use the free printable CNY activities from the link above. Make Chinese zodiac calendars, lantern crafts (for Lantern Festival), hats, paper dolls, booklets, and a Chinese zodiac wreath. Print CNY recipes, coloring pages, crafts, games with lots of printables.
Learn about animals of the zodiac. The link above has pages of activities devoted to each animal: horse, dog, rat, rooster, dragon, pig, sheep, rabbit, monkey, ox, tiger and snake. There coloring pages, booklets and more.
Host a pageant. Help children create animal costumes from the dress up bin and recycled materials. Got more than 12 students? Do male, female and baby animals (ram-ewe-lamb). This teaches science vocabulary.
Sample Chinese foods. The Chinese New Year theme is luck. Simple kid-friendly treats would be animals crackers (horses), iced tea, fortune cookies, dumplings, spring rolls (egg rolls), cherries, Mandarin oranges and fish crackers.
Play games. Links above have printable puzzles and games. DL-TK link has a printable quilt with a square for each animal. That could be used as a bingo or memory game. In China, children are given lucky gold coins. Get some foil-wrapped gold coins and hide them for kids to find.
Host a Lantern Festival. Use links for ideas, activities and printables. Lantern Festival rounds out the new year activities and is celebrated about two weeks later.
Say "Gong Xi Fa Cai" (Gong Hey Fat Choy") to wish Happy New Year!