Chinese New Year voabulary

Activities for Chinese or Lunar New Year in Your Class

December 31, 2017 4 min read
Chinese New Year (also called Lunar New Year) is coming soon.  2020 is the year of the Rat. Here are some activities to do in your classroom. 
First, you should consider reading the book, Ruby’s Chinese New Year by Vickie Lee. Introduce simple vocabulary with a word wall and follow up games.  Create some fun crafts like a dragon mask or Chinese fan made from half a paper plate.
In the past, I have looked up some kid-friendly YouTube videos showing Chinese culture. The one that the kids loved showed Chinese drummers and acrobats performing in a street parade…it was amazing!
Find out if there are any Chinese restaurants in your town that have a Chinese Dragon parade. We just happened upon one when we went to eat at a Chinese food restaurant one year. They gave out Chinese New Year calendars, and had a parade through the restaurant with a Chinese dragon and some of the loudest drummers ever!  It was quite a show! I took some video of it and my class loved it!!  Plus, I put up the calendar in my class. Finally, kids will enjoy using QR codes to hear New Year phrases in Chinese, then write them down in English.

 [Want some free Chinese/Lunar New Year animal trading cards like in the image below? Keep reading!]

If you’re interested in more ideas, check these activities out. The Chinese New Year Vocabulary – Word Wall resource will introduce simple vocabulary for Chinese New Year.  Words, pictures, and definitions are included in SEVEN formats! This provides tons of options and differentiation for children with different needs and abilities. These can also be used for students with autism or who are nonverbal.  Activities can be implemented using pictures only, pictures and words, or words and definitions (or other combinations)!


Ways to use these:

  • Word walls, pocket charts, flashcards, games, and handouts.
  • Students who are literate can match word and definition.
  • Younger or lower functioning students can match pictures to words with adult reading, or picture to picture (like a Memory or Concentration game).
  • Cards can be used at centers independently, in student pairs with an adult para or parent helper.
  • You can use the PDF by itself projected on the wall for whole class work, or post to your Google Classroom.
  • There is a bonus section which includes a dragon hat craft and posters for Chinese New Year dates and animals. Recently, I updated these to go through 2025. I plan to update again in the future.
Kids will enjoy another Chinese New Year activity.  This one uses QR codes (which are great for both special ed and general ed classes). Kids will get a kick out of using a device (phone, tablet, etc.) to scan the Qr codes to hear New Year phrases in Chinese, and then scan again to see the English translation, which they will write down on the handout.

Several formats are included, so you can adapt this activity to fit the needs of your general ed or special ed classroom.

  • NO PREP PAGE. Everything is on one page, so it is easy to print and go.
  • INTERACTIVE NOTEBOOK ADD-IN. Copy it two-sided and follow the directions to paste in a notebook (see photo above).
  • DIGITAL VERSION. Each code is on a separate page. There are several ways to use this:
    • This is good for projecting on the wall if you want to use it whole class with limited devices. Just pass out the handouts, and have kids look at the screen, while you have different kids scan the code.
    • If you have a 1:1 classroom you can upload the digital version to Google Drive/Classroom or OneDrive.
    • You can also print these out and post them around the room so kids can rotate to each sign to hear, see, and write the phrase in English on the handout.

In addition, there are resources on how access QR scanning apps/website for different devices (which were all working links when I created this product. I do check them periodically, but at any point, some might not work since I don’t control the links).


Need a Chinese New Year center using technology?  Try out my typing center, which works on any device using the Internet. Students type sentences about Chinese New Year. Use it all January and February! Watch the video of it above, and then get it here.  Kids love typing the sentences and then getting automatic feedback. They can go back and fix mistakes if needed.

Check out these products in my TeachersPayTeachers store here.  Plus, see more ideas like the paper plate Chinese fan on my Chinese New Year Pinterest page. Hope you have a great new year… 2020: The year of the Rat!! (And in case you are curious, 2021 will be the year of the ox.)


Sign up for my Teaching mailing list and get free math pages that you can use today to help your students move from counting objects to simple addition!

* indicates required