Holiday Celebrations Around the World: Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is a popular choice when doing a holiday celebrations around the world unit. If this is not a holiday you celebrate personally, you may not know a lot about it. These facts about Chinese New Year and resources will help you plan and prep a comprehensive unit.

Chinese New Year in China is an interesting topic to explore with elementary students. This Chinese New Year resource can be used as a stand alone unit or as part of a larger holiday celebrations around the world unit. It includes everything you need to teach your students about this special winter holiday.

buy now button

What is Chinese New Year?

This is an excerpt from the reading passage and student mini-booklet that can be found in the Chinese New Year Unit:

“Chinese New Year is an important Chinese holiday.  It is a time of feasting with the family, celebration, fireworks, and gift-giving. It is a 15-day holiday. It begins on the first day of a new moon. It ends with the full moon. New Year’s Day is the first day of the first month of the Lunar Calendar. Chinese New Year is at the end of January or in February. The Chinese New Year is symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings. It’s a popular time for spring cleaning.”

Why You Should Teach about Chinese New Year

The month of December is a great time of year to teach students about the different holidays and celebrations that take place around the world this time of year. Students are already thinking about the upcoming holidays, so it makes sense to use this excitement to engage them in their learning. There are so many different ways to tie this topic into your curriculum – especially social studies and literacy standards!

Chinese New Year is a particularly interesting topic to explore because some of your students may have never heard of it before. Students can learn about a culture and set of traditions that are different from their own. Learning about this holiday creates an interesting opportunity for students to compare and contrast this holiday’s traditions and what their holiday traditions look like. For your students who do celebrate this holiday, it’s a great way to invite them to share about their experiences and recognize the value in their holiday.

5 Facts about Chinese New Year

  1. It is a 15-day holiday that begins on the first day of a new moon and ends with the full moon.
  2. The Chinese New Year is symbolic of letting go of the past and welcoming new beginnings.
  3. It’s a popular time for spring cleaning.
  4. In honor of the New Year, children receive red envelopes with money inside.
  5. The dragon is a Chinese symbol of strength.

Chinese New Year Unit

This Chinese New Year Unit is available as an individual resource, as well as part of a larger holidays around the world bundle. Learn more about it below!

Chinese New Year
holidays around the world unit
buy now button
buy now button

What’s Included?

This Chinese New Year resource includes the following:

  • resource overview that identifies all of the printables included in the product
  • teaching ideas that offer suggestions for how to implement the resources in your classroom
  • organizational tools to help you keep track of the resources you add to this thematic unit
  • book suggestions to help you find relevant read alouds you might like to use as part of your unit
  • close reading passage for both teachers and students to learn more about the holiday
  • printable book for students to use to learn about the holiday
  • two-column notes graphic organizer so your students can organize their ideas and the research they collect
  • top-down web graphic organizer so your students can take the information they collected and transfer it into a paragraph framework
  • cover pages that students can color in or design their own illustration
  • geography map to help students make sense of where the country is in relation to themselves
  • flag bunting that looks great displayed on a bulletin board
  • flag coloring page that pairs well with the writing project and makes a great bulletin board
  • postcards so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel scrapbook so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel journal so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • art project to engage your students in a fun learning experience based on an academic topic
  • recipe for students to bring home, share with their families, and enjoy a hands-on learning extension
  • digital version of the product so students can access the materials in school and at home

5 Reasons Why You Will Love It

  1. This Chinese New Year resource includes a bunch of activities, so it’s a great value!
  2. Many of the Chinese New Year resources are completely print and go, which saves you lots of prep time.
  3. You can customize the Chinese New Year unit to fit your needs by selecting which included activities you implement.
  4. The Chinese New Year activities are open-ended, which makes it easier to differentiate and make modifications. It also enables you to use this in multiple grade levels.
  5. The Chinese New Year Unit is a great way to keep students engaged during a month where that can feel extra challenging!

How to Implement a Chinese New Year Unit

Below are suggestions for how to implement a Chinese New Year Unit.

1. Activate Schema

Locate China on a map.

Like all lessons, you will want to begin by activating student schema and engaging them in their learning. It’s a great way to see if your students are familiar with the holiday, celebrate it personally, or know any facts about Chinese New Year. You can do this by:

  1. Locating China on a map.
  2. Discussing China’s climate.
  3. Inviting students to participate in mapping activities that help them understand where your students are in relation to China and the rest of the world.

This Me on the Map project has long been the most effective way I know to teach students where they are located from a global perspective.

Many teachers use it as part of a map skills unit at the start of each school year, but it also works so perfectly as an introduction to your Christmas around the world or holiday celebrations around the world lessons.

Read Picture Books Related to China

Learn about China by reading aloud fictional picture books that take place in China and non-fiction books teaching about China.

A couple of our favorite books are Ruby’s Chinese New Year and Ruby’s Wish. We loved them so much that we added them to our Starts With a Story collection. Learn more about holidays around the world picture books!

Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year was a special celebration for Ruby. Her grandmother always came, but this year, she was not well enough to travel. Ruby made her a beautiful card and put it in a red envelope for good luck.

As she went to deliver the letter, she passed a variety of animals who all contributed and helped in some way during the journey. Along the way, she swam and ruined the letter. The animals reminded her of all the other goodies they have, and that seeing family was more important regardless. Ruby and her grandmother had a wonderful celebration together in the end!

Ruby’s Wish

The story Ruby’s Wish takes place in China a long time ago. Ruby lived in a big house with her wealthy grandfather. He had many wives and therefore had many grandchildren. Unlike other girls in China, Ruby was able to take classes because her grandfather had hired a teacher to come to the house. Ruby was always an impressive student, and even continued with her classes when the other girls stopped going. It was not easy for her to keep up with the boys because she had household duties after school, while the boys were able to play.

One day Ruby wrote a poem about how the boys in the house are treated differently. Ruby’s grandfather was concerned and asked her to explain the poem to him. He learned that Ruby wanted to go to university just like the boys. Later, on Chinese New Year, Ruby’s grandfather handed her a large envelope. Inside was an invitation from a university inviting Ruby to be their first female student. Ruby’s dream of attending university finally came true!

2. Engage in the Activities from the Chinese New Year Unit

The Chinese New Year Unit includes tons of activities to choose from. Read through the resource overview and list of teaching ideas included in the unit to determine which activities you’d like to implement.

Read the Chinese New Year Texts and Complete the Note-Taking Activities

This unit includes a close reading passage and printable book that your students can read to learn about the holiday. There is also a two-column notes graphic organizer and a top-down web graphic organizer that students can use to collect information about the holiday.

Analyze a Map of China

This unit includes a map to help students make sense of where the country is in relation to themselves. Our Me on the Map activities is a nice compliment to this activity.

Make a Travel Journal, Scrapbook, or Postcard

Having students create a travel journal, scrapbook, or postcard will invite them to show what they have learning in a fun and creative way.

Send Home a Traditional Chinese Recipe

Send home a traditional Chinese recipe for students to share with their families and continue their learning at home.

Make a Chinese New Year Craft

Take some time to do a craft with your students to represent the country you are focusing on, China. It is so hard to fit in creative activities, but a winter celebrations around the world unit is a perfect time to incorporate fun hands-on learning experiences.

Here is what we made when we studied China! Check out these directions for how to make this craft and get ideas for other holidays around the world crafts!

3. Assess Students Using the Resources from the Unit

There are tons of different ways to assess students during and at the conclusion of your Chinese New Year Unit. You can use the graphic organizers, classroom observations, and class discussions as informal assessments. You can use the postcard, travel scrapbook, and travel journal as formal assessments. You can decide what works best for you and your class of students!

Holidays Around the World Unit

What is Included?

You can get the Chinese New Year unit on it’s own or as part of the popular cost-savings holidays around the world bundle, which includes the following winter celebrations around the world:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Holland / The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • The United States
  • Christmas
  • Chinese New Year
  • Boxing Day
  • Diwali
  • Epiphany
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • Las Posadas
  • St. Lucia’s Day

The bundle also includes the following bonus materials:

  • Access to a digital portal for easy planning
  • Passports and country stamps
  • Luggage craft activity
  • Boarding passes
  • Travel map
  • Compare and contrast countries with Venn diagrams
  • Craft ideas
  • Scrapbook cover
  • Recipes

In addition to the winter celebrations around the world resources spotlighted above, a study about Chinese New Year lends itself to a variety of other complementary projects like travel brochures, an animal research project and crafts.

1. Travel Brochures

You could have your students create travel brochures by researching the country. It’s a fun and creative way for students to share the facts about Chinese New Year they learned. This can be done in class or as a homework assignment to complement what you are doing in school. These printables travel brochures make it super simple!

2. Animal Research Projects

You could have your students learn about the wildlife native to China. This print and go animal research resource packet can be used over and over again through the school year because it was designed to be used when researching any animal.

If you need ideas specific to China, I suggest:

  • Asian elephant
  • Sable
  • Dugong
  • Pallas cat
  • North China leopard
  • Binturong

3. List of Chinese New Year Books

We’ve curated a list of picture books for each of the countries. Check out all of the holidays around the world books on our list!

4. List of Chinese New Year Videos

We’ve curated a list of videos for each of the countries. Check out all of the the holidays around the world videos on our list!

5. List of Holidays Around the World Posts

This post is part of a series designed to help teachers and homeschool families teach kids about the winter holidays around the world. Other posts can be found below as well as the links to my other posts that you may find helpful in the month of December.

These facts about Chinese New Year and resources will help you plan a comprehensive unit on Chinese New Year in China or holiday celebrations around the world. Another helpful resource to check out is this article, which offers suggestions for how to manage a holidays around the world learning experience in your classroom. It will help you with planning and teaching lessons about Chinese New Year in China, as well as a comprehensive holidays around the world resource.

Share it:

Get Your Classroom Decor FREEBIE!

classroom decor guide
This classroom decor guide includes helpful tips and ideas for decorating your classroom.