Creating Family Traditions through Chinese New Year reading and writing activities

I recently read an article on “The Benefits of Family Traditions” (here) and it defines traditions as activities from “small repeated gestures” to extensive celebrations that a family does ritualistically, but often began unintentionally, and then carried on as activities everyone enjoys doing year after year.

In my own family, I can see that what initially began as a quiet arts and craft evening activity with Kai has led to extensive craft-based projects that we do to celebrate.

Here are some paper-craft activities that we have done, that are actually literacy-centered!

Lion Head craft & literacy (blog here)

Origami Chinese Zodiac Wreathe (blog here)

Origami Chinese Zodiac Wreathe (blog here)

Christmas Origami Advent Calendar (blog here)

Halloween Pirate props + journal writing

Japanese Setsubun 節分 Festival

I can also see that with a family of 5 boys who seem to be indifferent about whether we actually celebrate anything or not, I play an important role in setting family traditions, teaching my children about their multiple cultures (Japanese, American, Cantonese, Canadian) through celebrating.

This Chinese New Year, I want to take this opportunity to teach my children Chinese words and phrases that will help them maintain the tradition, no matter what countries we will move to in the future. Chinese New Year also happen to fall on Valentine’s Day, so it’d be appropriate to connect the symbol of love, hearts , with Chinese New Year customs. (I got this idea from a Japanese teacher who used these matching heart shapes to teach upper and lower case letters). Chalkacademy also has a similar activity in Chinese for matching family members (here) that I later discovered!

I have created the resources below so that I will hopefully use year after year:

Chinese New Year Greetings matching activity

  • I have intentionally chosen phrases that contain at least one sight word in each!
  • Kei who is 3 years old might need to refer to the cheat sheet!
  • For Kei, I also glued the pieces onto a piece of construction paper so he can just find and fit the other halves

Chinese New Year-themed words matching activity

We only come across Chinese New Year themed words once a year, so my kids would have already forgotten them! Having these resources would help to reinforce the vocabulary right before Chinese New Year.

Kai is still too young for doing writing, but I thought I could scribe for him using this framework which I use for my English students. You can see I have heavily scaffolded the activity here so it would be simple, yet your child would feel a great sense of accomplishment for finishing a proper paragraph with a topic sentence, 3 supporting details and conclusion!

English version with mind-map and Guided Writing

Traditional Chinese version with mind-map and Guided Writing

Simplified Chinese version with mind-map and Guided Writing

Incorporating arts and craft projects, writing or reading activities to anticipate an important celebration like Chinese New Year helps me and my family set the mood for the festivities coming up. Literacy really doesn’t have to happen only in the classroom, but can be integrated into everyday life.

I hope if you come across my blog, you will be able to try out some of these activities, and establish your own family tradition in a way that works for you and your family!


Published by Ms Claudia L. Kimura

Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015 Primary school teacher, technology coordinator Not just a regular mom, but a teacher-mom Mom of 2 boys, stepmom of 3 boys

2 thoughts on “Creating Family Traditions through Chinese New Year reading and writing activities

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