Chinese New Year

2016 is the Year of the Monkey! The Chinese New Year is a really fun topic with lots of integration possibilities across the curriculum. You can cater the activity suggestions below to suit your classes level and students needs. I always do a Chinese New Year Parade in school to celebrate the culmination of all of our work. It’s great way to end the topic of work!! :)



  • Writing a Chinese Take Away Menu
  • Guiding the children to write what they’ve learnt about the Chinese New Year here on this selection of Chinese New Year paper. Print off the following pictures and laminate them to help teach the children about the Chinese New Year: Chinese New Year resource pictures. 
  • Creative Writing: Imagining that you are in China for the Chinese New Year and writing a postcard from China.


  • Print off pictures of resources to teach the Chinese New Year here at the activity village. Laminate the pictures, cut them out and use them during your Irish lessons. Make a ‘Siopa’ with a Chinese twist. :)
  • Here are the Irish translations for the previous Chinese New Year pictures: tinte ealaíne (Fireworks), oráiste (orange – a popular fruit to eat during the New Year celebrations), clúdach dearg (red envelope – filled with money and given to children on New Year’s Day), cipín itheacháin (chopsticks), dragan (dragon), laindéar (lantern), brioscán feasa (fortune cookie).
  • Place the pictures on the whiteboard or display them on your Irish board.
  • Start by naming each picture, saying the word as you point to it and asking the children to repeat you as a class. (Look further down for the Irish names of these pictures)
  • Next play a ‘Cluiche Kim’ memory game. Ask the children to ‘Dún bhur shúile’. Take away a picture. Now ask them, ‘céard atá imithe?’. The children have to use the following phrase ‘Tá _____ imithe’. No matter what the age is, encourage them to use the full sentence. Model first and they will follow.
  • ‘An Siopa’ Game – I do this with every theme, regardless of the class level. It’s a great and fun way to introduce a topic. Make two signs – one that says ‘An Siopadóir’ and the other that says ‘An Custaméir’. I made these doing my dip years ago and still have them. Nothing fancy, just write the words on hard card and attach some wool so that the kids can wear them around their neck.
  • Have a drama cómhrá in your class using the vocabulary and pictures that I translated above.
  • The teacher models being ‘An Siopadóir’ first. I like to start by asking general questions that the children should know the answer to – Cad is ainm duit? Cá bhfuil tú i do chónaí? Cén sort aimsir atá ann? Cén aois thú?
  • Then I move into the shopkeeper mode and ask, ‘Céard ba mhaith leat?’. The children must reply using the following sentence structure, ‘Ba mhaith liom….’
  • Then when they have ‘bought’ everything that they need they can end the cómhrá by saying ‘Slán leat, go raibh maith agat’



  • Data: Graphs – from basic to more detailed depending on your class level – What’s your favourite Chinese Food?
  • Money – Photocopy different Chinese Take Away leaflets and set money problems for the children to solve.
  • Money – get the children to write their own money problems for the class to solve using the above leaflets
  • Put price tags on the pictures that you used in your Irish lesson. Create some simple money problems with these (more suitable for the younger classes)
  • Learn to write some Chinese Character Numbers here. Get the children to write and crack the codes of simple sums such as 1+4 in the Chinese Number Characters. Have fun! :)


  • Story: The Story of the Chinese New Year and the Zodiac Animals. You can listen to the story of the Chinese Zodiac here



  • Shine Your Pennies: In the Chinese New Year Tradition, red envelopes are given to children containing brand new money. Make old pennies shiny and new with this science activity.
  • Combine 1/2 cup vinegar with 4 tablespoons salt. Dip in your penny and see what happens.
  • If you would like to extend this activity, you can make it into experiment.
  • Fill 4 bowls with the following ingredients and see what happens when you dip in a penny into  – 1 bowl vinegar, 1 bowl salt, 1 bowl salt and vinegar and finally 1 bowl salt and water.
  • Let the children hypothesize about what they think will happen. Encourage them to use their skills of observation to describe what happens after dipping each penny in a bowl.



  • Oodles of opportunities here. Just look on pinterest. Make sure to draw the children’s attention to the concept that they are developing during their art lesson – line, shape, form, pattern etc. You really bring out the best in children’s art when you focus your lesson around one of these. It gives them to develop the key artistic skills and gives more focus to you too as a teacher when instructing. :)
  • For a more senior class, you could do a looking and responding lesson of some Chinese art, like the beautiful flowers on trees (google Chinese trees)
  • Fabric and Fibre: children create their own Chinese outfit :)


  • Listening and responding to different types of Asian music. Click here for a sample that I’ve used before: Asian music. You can have it playing during Art class, or creative writing activities etc.
  • Composing: let the children experiment with different percussion instruments. Can they grasp the following musical concepts – pulse, tempo, pitch and dynamics – and play them alongside Asian/Chinese music. Can they beat along to the pulse, move with the tempo and recognize the softs and louds of the music?
  • Performing: let the children perform what they composed above.


  • Learn a dragon dance. Click here to see a video of a dragon dance

Finish off this topic of work with a parade in your yard or hall! Let the children bring their artwork – wave their dragons, wear red, exchange and make lucky red envelopes, etc.. (You could place chocolate coins in the envelopes if you were feeling very generous :) ) I hope you enjoy this topic of work!

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