Monday, January 16, 2012

Chinese New Year – Montessori Curriculum Activities

red chinese lanterns montessori curriculum practical life chinese new year ideas
Chinese New Year is a 15-day cultural celebration that follows the lunisolar calendar. This year Chinese New Year begins with the full moon on January 23 and 2012 is considered the Year of the Water Dragon. It will end with the full moon 15 days later on February 7.

The following website is informative and provides several links that offer a springboard for student activities across a number of subject areas. Find out about the 15-day celebration of the Chinese New Year, the Chinese calendar, traditions of Chinese New Year, including traditional foods prepared for Chinese New Year, to name a few.

There are many ways your students can create and participate in their own Chinese New Year cultural celebration. Here are few ideas to get you started:

Chinese New Year Montessori Practical Life Activity Ideas 

  • Learn about the lunisolar calendar, which is utilized by Asian countries particularly to celebrate traditional cultural events. The lunisolar calendar incorporates the rotation of the earth around the sun, and the movement of the moon around the earth.
  • Discover the symbolism of the animals associated with the Chinese zodiac calendar. 2012 marks the Year of the Water Dragon – find out more about this special animal in Chinese tradition. Why is the dragon dance part of Chinese New Year celebrations? dragon dance montessori classroom practical life activity chinese new year ideas
  • Discuss with your students how people prepare for and celebrate the Chinese New Year (i.e., housecleaning, family gatherings, festivals, etc.). With older students you may choose to discuss the topic of symbols/superstitions and some of those associated with Chinese New Year.
  • Discuss traditional Chinese New Year foods and decorations, and the symbolism behind them. Bring some oranges or tangerines to class and along with connecting these to the Chinese New Year tradition, include a lesson on the parts of a fruit. Share the fruit among your students as a tasty treat at the end of the lesson.
  • Discuss popular colors associated with Chinese New Year and why they are chosen.
  • Encourage other physical and cultural geography activities that focus on China. Find China on the world map or globe, learn about the Chinese flag, discuss some of the ancient history of China.
  • The origins of fireworks are generally attributed to China. Discuss how fireworks are incorporated into Chinese New Year celebrations. Use this as a springboard for further historical study into important Chinese inventions (papermaking, printing, compass, abacus, etc.).
  • Learn about Asian water dragons and their habitat.
  • Find out more about the Chinese community in your area. What is being planned to celebrate the Chinese New Year in your community? Are any of your students and their families participating?
  • Invite a representative of your community’s Chinese New Year celebrations to speak to your students in class.
  • The last day of Chinese New Year celebrations includes a lantern festival that children love to participate in. Discuss the lantern
Here are more online links for your further research/review:
Several student activities are provided by Scholastic:
More activities/crafts:
Related NAMC blogs:
The NAMC diploma program and materials provide a comprehensive curriculum for Montessori educators:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Monday, January 16, 2012.


  1. Here is a great little lesson plan to explain the different traditions using props with a book: There are also some cute crafts!


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