Year of the Dragon: Chinese New Year crafts for preschoolers and beyond


Sisters making Chinese New Year Crafts

Say goodbye to the rabbit, as 2024 is set to be a roaring year 

As another year draws to an end, excitement builds for the upcoming Lunar New Year. A family-centric celebration, Gen Woo has searched high and low for fun ways to celebrate Chinese New Year and involve the whole family. Find your favourite crafts to celebrate the Year of the Dragon, from paper lanterns and red envelopes to rattle drums and more.

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, falls in February next year. The festival celebrates the beginning of a new year on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar. Saturday, February 10, 2024, will see the beginning of the Year of the Dragon - the wood dragon specifically. The New Year celebrations last two weeks, ending on Saturday, February 24.

Year of the Dragon 2024 Chinese new Year

Year of the Dragon

Even the term "Year of the Dragon" conveys a certain aura of mystery. For Chinese New Year 2024, we say goodbye to the rabbit as we enter the year of the Dragon.

The only mythical creature in the zodiac, according to Chinese astrology, the Dragon is the luckiest of all twelve signs and one of three destined for success. While we consider them fearsome beasts, the Dragon's mediocre position was due to altruism and kindness.

The Year of the Dragon in 2024 is set to be a favourable time for change, growth, and progress, as the combination of the Dragon's dynamic energy and the grounding and stabilising influence of the wood element will inspire imagination, leadership, and new ideas. 

The new year will bring both opportunities and challenges for all Chinese zodiac signs. Those born under the dragon sign may experience rebirth and growth, whilst those born under the ox sign may face more obstacles and problems.

Predictions suggest 2024 will be a dynamic year but good for those open to change and willing to take advantage of new possibilities. However, there may be conflicts and uncertainty in politics, foreign relations, and the environment, emphasising the need for forgiveness and peaceful resolutions.

After 2024, the next Year of the Dragon isn't until 2036.

Chinese New Year; Year of the Dragon

Kids crafts for Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year is among one of the most important celebrations for Southeast and East Asian cultures. There are many ways to participate in the festivities, from baking special foods to wearing red. Just like Thanksgiving crafts or Christmas games for kids, Chinese New Year crafts and Chinese New Year activities are a simple and fun way to get little ones involved and excited for this special time.

Design and craft a dragon puppet 

Choose from egg cups or paper cups. Punch a hole into the base of each cup. Cut the toilet rolls into pieces about 5cm long. Tie a large knot into the string, thread it into the cup, and out the bottom—next thread on a piece of card roll. Repeat with cups and card rolls until it reach the desired length. Tie a large knot at the end of the string to secure the cups. Draw and colour a dragon head. Cut the streamers or coloured paper and glue along the length of the dragon’s body. Punch a hole into the top of the head cup. Punch another hole into a cup toward the end of the dragon’s body to attach string from the holes to either end of the stick. Use the stick to manoeuvre your dragon puppet up, down and around.

Chinese New Year paper plate rattle drum

Chinese New Year paper Plate Rattle Drum

Little ones will love this musical drum. Colour or paint the back side of two paper plates. Once dry, flip one plate over and tape a long chopstick to the middle. Take two bells and tie a string through the hole at the top of each bell. Tape one string (with the bell hanging on the end) to one side of the plate, then repeat to the other side. Finally, attach the second plate with tape or staple it where the string is taped.

How to make red lanterns

Illuminate your house with these easy DIY paper lanterns. Fold a sheet of paper a long way, then cut strips along the fold towards the end, but not quite all the way. Then, fold it to create a cylinder and attach the corners using glue, tape or a stapler. To create the handle, use a long strip of paper and attach it to your lantern. Your child can colour their lantern beforehand, or you can start with coloured paper from the get-go. Embellish with jewel stickers, tape and glue. Put them up in pairs, but remember—four is an unlucky number! If your little crafter is on a roll, eight lanterns strung together are lucky and bring wealth. 

Create firework displays

Have the littles get into the New Year spirit by creating toothpick firecracker art. Make these with construction paper, toothpicks, and paint. Once done, make a little noise with bubble wrap and pop those evil spirits away. 

Decorate lucky red envelopes

Gifting a red envelope is just as exciting as receiving one. These little pockets of surprise are a wonderful way to get children excited. Usually filled with money (of even denominations) and given out at celebratory dinners, you and your crew can make and decorate these little envelopes, too. Use metallic or glitter pens to add Chinese characters or write “Happy Lunar New Year” on the front.

Craft your own cherry blossom 

Tissue paper cherry blossom

Add texture to your crafty cherry blossom tree. Draw/paint the branches of a cherry blossom tree, and cut small tissue paper squares. Scrunch the tissue paper, glue it, and stamp it around the branches. 

Origami paper fortune cookies

 If your child is old enough to write, start by writing fortunes, short, positive phrases or sentences, on tiny paper strips. Then, choose any coloured paper to draw and cut out a circle. Fold the circle in half once and attach the ends with a small dollop of glue where the tips meet at the top. Then, insert the strip of paper with the fortune written on it into the folded circle. Then, gently push the centre in and pinch the two sides down to create that authentic fortune cookie shape. Use another small drop of glue inside the fold to keep it in shape. Hold it for a few seconds, and you’re all done!

Chinese New Year Fun Facts

  • The 15th day is known as the Lantern Festival. The streets are decorated with colourful lanterns.

  • Gifts of red envelopes symbolise prosperity and happiness.

  • Gong Xi Fa Cai is a common Chinese New Year saying, "Wish you enlarge your wealth".

  • Red is considered lucky, and homes are often decorated with red lanterns.

  • Chinese New Year is based on the Lunar calendar.

  • Fireworks are regarded as good luck and scare away the legendary monster, Nain.

  • Oranges and tangerines are considered good luck, whilst dumplings represent wealth.

  • Peach blossoms are considered lucky.

  • Using a broom on the first day of Chinese New Year is considered bad luck.

  • Dragon dances and Lion dances are common throughout the Chinese New Year.

Giving oranges at Chinese New Year

Celebrating the Year of the Dragon

Singapore-based sustainable fashion brand Gen Woo will commemorate the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Dragon by releasing a capsule collection. Gen Woo’s New Year collection is designed for all the family, featuring a Year Of The Dragon Girls Tee, Year Of The Dragon Boys Tee, Chinese New Year Girls Dress and Boys Chinese New Year Henley T-shirt.

The Chinese New Year festivities are an important family reunion occasion, with Lion dances, dragon dances, temple fairs and flower market shopping taking centre stage. Gen Woo will participate in the celebrations by hosting several family-friendly events with lots of in-store arts and crafts activities.

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