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Fantastic Lunar New Year Activities for the Classroom

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Photo of Cassie (Teach Starter)
Updated | 4 min read

This Friday 16 February marks the beginning of the Year of the Dog! Lunar New Year is the most important celebration in many East Asian countries. Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese and Vietnamese people gather with their families and friends to welcome the new year with food and festivities. These colourful celebrations are so great to share with your students, helping grow their cultural awareness and understanding. Here are some seriously “woof-tastic” Lunar New Year activities and teaching resources you can use with your students to welcome in the Year of the Dog 2018!

Lunar New Year PowerPoint

Lunar New Year Information PowerPoint Presentation

Lunar New Year craft activities are fun, but to turn them into meaningful learning experiences you need to link them to new student knowledge and understanding!

This Lunar New Year PowerPoint presentation contains 21 slides with two whole class and two small group or individual activities. The presentation identifies a variety of the countries and cultures that celebrate the Lunar New Year, as well as some of the traditions, symbols and customs of the celebrations.


The Animals of the Zodiac Story & Activity Cards

Story of the Zodiac Animals and Activities for Students

Have you ever wondered how each of the years on the lunar calendar became named after an animal?

There are many stories telling how the animals of the zodiac calendar came to be. Naturally, they vary slightly from culture to culture. Teaching through story-telling is WONDERFUL so we decided to create a new Lunar New Year teaching resource that tells one of the stories of the zodiac animals. But, even better than simply sharing a story, this resource comes with a set of activity cards too!


Year of the Dog String Puppet Activity

Free Puppy Dog String Puppet template

2018 is the Year of the Dog. Connect your students’ learning about the Zodiac Animals to another aspect of East Asian culture with this super fun craft activity. Use this template to make a paddle controlled Year of the Dog String Puppet!

This is a fun activity that can be used across most year levels (lower years students may need help with the split pins and taping the strings to the paddle pop stick). Puppetry is an important form of storytelling in many cultures. In China, paddle controlled marionette puppets have been used to pass down traditional stories for thousands of years!

FREE Year of the Dog String Puppet Template

Before making your string puppet, you could show your students some video clips of Chinese marionette puppets. YouTube has a few that you might consider useful.


East Asian Dragon Art Activity

Simple East Asian Dragon Art Lunar New Year Activity

Dragons are an important part of much East Asian culture and mythology. A symbol of good luck, Dragon Dance Ceremonies are a common feature of Lunar New Year celebrations. The dancing dragons, loud drums and firecrackers scare away any evil spirits that may still be hanging about, and welcome the new year with gusto!

Your students can create their own symbol of good luck in this fun East Asian Dragon Art Activity using materials you’ll find in your classroom.


Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese Zodiac Calendars

Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean Zodiac Calendars

Did you know that zodiac calendars vary slightly across the different countries that celebrate Lunar New Year?

With Lower Years students, you can use this set of Asian Zodiac Calendar Posters to challenge students to identify what is different between each. Middle and upper years students could then research why the calendars differ, discovering differences in the zodiac stories.

  • In Korea, the 8th lunar year is symbolised by the Sheep.
  • In Vietnam, there is no Year of the Rabbit, but instead the Year of the Cat.

Students can also use the Lunar Zodiac Calendar Posters to identify the animal year in which they were born and read which characteristic are sometimes associated with their lunar year of birth.

Image of Asian Zodiac Calendars Poster Pack

teaching resource

Asian Zodiac Calendars Poster Pack

A set of posters showing the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese zodiac calendars.

Teach Starter Publishing3 pagesYears: P - 6
Image of Chinese Zodiac Calendar

teaching resource

Chinese Zodiac Calendar

A printable poster of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: P - 6
Image of Korean Zodiac Calendar

teaching resource

Korean Zodiac Calendar

A printable poster of the Korean Zodiac Calendar.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: P - 6
Image of Vietnamese Zodiac Calendar

teaching resource

Vietnamese Zodiac Calendar

A printable poster of the Vietnamese Zodiac Calendar.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: P - 6


More Lunar New Year Teaching Resources

If those five ideas haven’t quite got your inner puppy dog jumping up and down with glee, here are some of our other great Lunar New Year teaching resources too:

Image of Funky Dog Craft Template

teaching resource

Funky Dog Craft Template

A fun craft activity to do with your students to create a funky dog.

Teach Starter Publishing2 pagesYears: F - 6
Image of Chinese New Year Cloze Worksheet

teaching resource

Chinese New Year Cloze Worksheet

A cloze activity based on information about the Chinese New Year.

Teach Starter Publishing24 pagesYears: 3 - 6
Image of Lunar New Year Page Border - Word Template

teaching resource

Lunar New Year Page Border - Word Template

An editable page border with a Lunar New Year theme.

Teach Starter Publishing1 pageYears: F - 7
Image of Celebrations Around The World Inquiry Task

teaching resource

Celebrations Around The World Inquiry Task

A four page inquiry task, assessing students' knowledge of cultural celebrations from around the world.

Teach Starter Publishing17 pagesYears: 2 - 4Has Starter Sheet

Lunar New Year celebrations may be born of East Asian cultures, however, they are celebrated by Asian communities all over the world. Talk to your students to find out if they have ever attended Lunar New Year celebrations in their area, or find out what’s happening in your local community during the Lunar New Year festival too!

Happy New Year!

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