Year of the Rat Puppet and Lantern Activities


Written by Holly (Teach Starter)

If you’re looking for some Lunar New Year craft activities, you’ve come to the right place! Our Year of the Rat Puppet Craft will be a huge hit with your students. It’s just one of the many awesome (and super cute) activities that we have available in our Lunar New Year Teaching Resource Collection.

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Our designer, Sam, has managed to make this rat puppet super adorable!

Year of the Pig craft activity - Rat Puppet

Lots of people observe the Lunar New Year which is celebrated on the first day of the lunisolar calendar. It originated in East Asian countries including China, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam.

This year, the Lunar New Year is on Saturday, January 25.

Teaching Kids About Lunar New Year

Before diving too deeply into this topic, help your kids understand what it’s all about. 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.


Year of the Rat Craft Activities

Our Year of the Rat String Puppet Template is the latest addition to our fantastic Lunar New Year Resource Collection. Your students will love creating this happy little rat while learning about the Zodiac animal of the moment!

Lunar New Year Activiites for Kids

In addition to this super cute rat puppet, we also have available this adorable paper lantern.

Your students will enjoy decorating the Year of the Rat Paper Lantern. Then, surprise them with how a piece of paper can turn into a gorgeous paper lantern with a few cuts and a glue stick!

Year of the Rat Paper Lantern

How to construct lantern:

  1. Color the lantern and handle if desired.
  2. Cut out the lantern along the solid lines.
  3. Fold the lantern in half along the horizontal (longer) axis.
  4. Cut along the dotted lines, making sure you stop at the end of each line. Do not cut all the way through!
  5. Unfold your paper. With the colored section on the outside, curl the lantern around and glue the ends together to create a circular lantern.
  6. Cut out the paper strip on the lantern template. Use a stapler to attach this paper handle to the lantern.

East Asian Dragon Craft

Dragons are an important part of the 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 welcomes in 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.

Zodiac Calendars (Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese)

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

Zodiac calendars for kids

Download each of the calendars and have your students choose two. Then, have them compare and contrast the two calendars using a Venn diagram.

Have your students work out the animal year in which they were born and read which characteristics are sometimes associated with their lunar year of birth!

The Animals of the Zodiac Activity for Kids

Have you ever wondered how each of the years on the lunar calendar are 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. We know teaching through storytelling is gold. So, we have included this story and task cards about the animals of the zodiac in this collection of activity ideas.  Zodiac Animals Story and Task Cards for kids

Check out our Lunar New Year teaching resource collection for more awesome ideas.

We wish you a happy, prosperous, and fun Lunar New Year!
Don’t forget to #teachstarterus on Instagram to share your students’ wonderful work!

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Comments & feedback

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Too cute!

LeighAnn Jimenez · Jan 20th, 2020

Thanks for your kind feedback, LeighAnn!

Holly (Teach Starter) · Jan 20th, 2020

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