Chinese New Year 2014

Chinese New Year is coming up on January 31st, and here are a few activities you can do with your kids (these are what we did last year for this holiday):

Chinese New Year Crafts and Activities
  • We made our own Happy New Year signs by coloring these Chinese character coloring pages and then cutting them out and gluing them on red paper (The color red is common for the Chinese New Year because it is associated with happiness and luck).
  • We dressed up in Chinese clothes and my son built a "Great Wall of China" out of boxes (this was all his idea!)
  • We made our own lucky new year coins (once again, my 5-year-old came up with this craft all on his own) to fill the red envelopes that my kids received from our local librarian. I gave my kids blank circles to decorate and cut out. I made larger circles for my younger son. Cutting out the circles was definitely good fine motor practice for both of my kids.

  • We watched the following History Channel video about the Chinese New Year:

Chinese New Year Books

We read some thematic books. Here are a few of our favorites
My First Chinese New Year  by Karen Katz

This is a very simple book about a child's experience for Chinese New Year. It is a great introduction to the holiday.

Red Is a Dragon: A Book of Colors  by Roseanne Thong and Grace Lin
This isn't necessarily a Chinese New Year story, but it features illustrations of Chinese children and all of the colors of the rainbow. A few new vocabulary words were also introduced to my children.

Lucky New Year!  by Mary Man-Kong
The lift-a-flaps and pop-ups in this book made it especially fun for my two-year-old. My older boys enjoyed it as well.

Chinese New Year Meal

According to some of the books we read, tangerines and Oranges are a common food for the Chinese New Year because they symbolize luck and wealth. So for our Chinese New Year dinner, we made orange chicken. I am sure this recipe is not authentic at all, but we still enjoyed it!

Orange Chicken

(Serves 4)


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  •  2 tablespoons orange juice
  •  1/4 cup lemon juice
  •  1/3 cup rice vinegar
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  •  1 tablespoon grated orange zest
  •  1 cup packed brown sugar
  •  1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (if you don't have fresh ginger, you can use ground ginger)
  •  1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  •  2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  •  1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  •   3 tablespoons cornstarch
  •  2 tablespoons water


  •  2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water; stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, in a resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides.
  • Serve chicken over rice with orange sauce on top.
If you want to add to the flavor you can also prepare the sauce without the cornstarch and water mixture and reserve 1 cup of that sauce to marinate the chicken in for 2 hours. Then, after marinating the chicken, you can coat the chicken with the flour mixture and cook it in the skillet while you add the cornstarch to the remainder of the sauce to thicken it to serve on top of the chicken. I usually never plan enough in advance to actually marinate the meat, but it can add to the taste!

Check out our previous Chinese New Year activities and my Chinese New Year Pinterest Board for more ideas!

No comments: