There are a lot of traditions, customs, and rituals that can get children involved in the Chinese New Year.
Involving your child in the process is a great way to share and teach cultural experiences with them.
Whether or not you are living in a Chinese community, here are 10 ways to get your children involved in Chinese New Year celebrations and traditions.
People believe through a deep clean, we can sweep away all the bad luck from the past year, and your home will have more room to welcome all new fortune.
In order to help children to understand the meaning, first, read Chinese storybooks about how families prepare to welcome the Lunar New Year thorough cleaning. Then schedule a day to clean the house together as a family, and afterward take them shopping for decorations as a reward.
- Children (Age 3-5): sort out old toys, books, and clothes; help with throwing the trash away; vacuum with supervision, wipe the furniture with supervision, sort and recycle with supervision, etc.
- Children (6+): tidy up their own room; sweep or vacuum the floor, organize shelves and drawers with supervision, dust, mop the floor, clean mirror, clean windows, etc.
New Year Shopping
During Chinese New Year, removing old clutter and replacing it with new useful items is supposed to bring good luck for the next year. Shopping for new clothes, food, decorations, new year snacks, flowers, and gift boxes is not only important but, also fun.
People give gifts to relatives and friends they visit during the Chinese New Year holiday.
You can turn the new year shopping into a fun family activity by:
- Teaching your child the names of different Chinese New Year snacks and treats
- Share the meaning behind the different Chinese New Year flowers and plants
- Discuss and pick gifts for relatives you’ll visit together
- Teach your child to wrap all the Chinese New Year gifts
- Write a shopping list together
- Plan a budget and go shop together
- Allow your child to carry some items
Taking care of the Chinese New Year’s Plants
After carrying all the beautiful Chinese New Year plants home, then what?
It’s a perfect time to teach your child how to take care of them. You can simply explain it and demonstrate it once or twice. Then let your child take charge.
It will be helpful to:
- Gather all the necessary supplies your child will need to care for the plants
- Create a very simple checklist for your child to follow and check off each day
- Allow your child to decorate the vase or flowerpots with red packets or Chinese New Year banners
Pick New Clothes and Wear Red
Picking clothes and getting dressed on their own is an important life skill. If you have never taken your child clothes shopping, it’s a great chance to give them some freedom by allowing them to choose their own clothes and learn the whole process of purchasing clothing from a store.
- Explain to them why we wear red during the Chinese New Year (the color red signifies good fortune and joy)
- Take them to the store and let them pick out 2-3 outfits (or whatever your budget allows)
- Try those clothes on in the dressing room, and teach them what is a proper fit and how to make sure it is comfortable
- Allow your child to wait in line, greet the cashier, and pay for the outfit
Decorating the house is always the most fun part. Children are creative and they love decorating. It’s a perfect activity to do to keep your children involved in Chinese New Year preparations.
Items you can use to decorate:
- Chinese lanterns (I have a free DIY pattern for you)
- Special Chinese New Year banners (I also have some free ones for you to try)
- Particular Chinese New Year flowers
- Chinese Papercut
- Red & yellow balloons
- Chinese paintings
- Chinese New Year origami
- Good luck knots
Make Banners and Give Out Blessings
Using traditional Chinese paintbrushes to write and create Chinese New Year banners is a heart-warming activity your child will enjoy.
The easiest way is to use red construction paper cut in a long rectangular shape. Then use black paint or Chinese black ink to write down the Chinese New Year blessings on the paper.
These are the most popular blessings:
- 新年快樂 新年快乐 xīn nián kuài lè Happy New Year
- 身體健康 身体健康 shēn tǐ jiàn kāng Wish you good health
- 恭喜發財 恭喜发财 gōng xǐ fā cái Wish you wealth and prosperity
- 萬事如意 万事如意 wàn shì rú yì May everything goes well with you
- 學業進步 学业进步 xué yè jìn bù May your studies improve
Having a family feast is another important tradition during the Chinese New Year. Each dish has a lucky name and blessing as well.
Making dumplings and sweet rice dumplings are the easiest Chinese New Year dishes to make with your child. It mostly involves wrapping and kneading the dough, so it’s perfect for even little kids to do.
I used this simple and delicious recipe with my children. Give it a try!
Chinese New Year Candy Box
Chinese New Year candy boxes are always a popular thing among children. There are all sorts of treats and snacks found inside during this time of the year.
Each treat and snack also has its own blessings in its name, which are passed on to those who eat them so they can have a happy and fortune filled year.
To help your children involved in Chinese New Year traditions, you can:
- Teach the name and meaning of each treat
- Let your child prepare candy box by washing it
- Take your child to shop for Chinese New Year treats and snacks
- Let them organize and put those treats into the candy box
- Let your child refill the treats during the Chinese New Year
The Red Packets
Chinese New Year eve is the best time to prepare the red packets or lucky money.
It’s a special time that parents will allow children to help handle money, so let’s make it for meaningful and fun by doing the following:
- Learning the different bills and values of your currency
- Allowing your child to put money into each red packet (make sure they are sealed)
- Practice counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication, and even division
- After your child receives red packets from others, let them open them and count the money
- Learn how to read and pronounce Chinese characters written on each red packet
- Save and DIY some Chinese New Year decoration from the used red packets (it’s a tradition)
Greeting guests and making them feel welcome
After preparing your home, it’s time to prepare for your child. Since there is a lot of visits are going on during the festivals, it’s a great teaching opportunity to teach your child about greetings and manners, so your guests will feel welcome.
- Teach your child some Chinese New Year blessings to greet guests
- Teach the names of the coming guests ahead to your child
- Show them how to be a host: let the guest sit down first, give them water to drink, carry the candy box for the guests to choose, etc.
Chinese New Year will be more meaningful for your child and family when you involve them in the preparations and help them participate. Make this year memorable and cultural experience for your family.
Welcome to our sixth annual Chinese New Year blog hop! Lunar New Year, more commonly known as Chinese New Year, starts on January 25 this year. It is the beginning of the Year of the Rat, and we have lots of great ideas for celebrating it with kids! Don’t miss our series from last year, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, and you can find even more on our Chinese New Year Pinterest board:
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- 10 Ways to Get Your Children Involved During Chinese New Year - January 20, 2020