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Explore Chinese New Year by making Fortune Cookies and a Lantern

January 4, 2011

Chinese New Year is an important Chinese holiday. A few interesting details:

  • It’s believed that it is important to start the New Year off on the right foot, so eating something sweet for breakfast symbolizes a sweet and pleasant beginning.
  • Having new clothes for the New Year is important.
  • It is considered unlucky to sweep on the day of the New Year, so many homes are swept and cleaned the day before. It is believed that if you sweep on the New Year you are sweeping out any good fortune or family fortune.
  • Families gather for dinner on the eve and enjoy playing card games and watching fireworks.

monkey sheep snake dragon rabbit horse tiger ox dog pig rat

Since it is based on the lunar calendar, the date changes every year. There is also a pattern of 12 animals that symbolizes the year in the Chinese calendar. It is based on a story that Buddha called the animals to join him in celebrating the New Year. Only 12 showed up – those are the 12 that are honored with a year. It is believed that the year you are born in determines the characteristics of your personality .

Make Chinese Fortune Cookies Have your child come up with some fortunes to include inside the cookies.  Make the fortune cookies together. Share the cookies with friends and family. Enjoy the fun while they read your child’s special fortunes.

Chinese Lantern

Make a Chinese Lantern to decorate your home for the holiday. It is easy and fun.


  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • glitter, stickers, etc.
  • stapler


  • Have your child select colored construction paper to make the lantern.
  • Then have them fold the paper in half length-wise and starting approximately 1″ from the short edge cut slits on the fold to about an 1″ from the edge.
  • They should continue to cut slits about 1″ apart all along the folded edge, stopping about 1″ from the other edge.
  • If you are unsure where to cut or stop, you can use a ruler to make lines for them to follow.
  • When they are all done, they can carefully open the paper and decorate it with glitter, stickers or designs made with markers work well.
  • When they are finished, match the two edges and staple them together. The lantern will look great standing on a table or hanging from the ceiling. If they would like to hang it, have them staple a strip of paper to the top edges to hang it from. Hang the lanterns.
  • Try stringing twinkle lights up through the bottom so they appear to be lit up.

Some books to check out in our Amazon store are:

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year LTF: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book (Lift-the-Flap, Puffin)

Hiss! Pop! Boom! Celebrating Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year For Kids

The Dancing Dragon

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