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Activities & Events

Chinese New Year: Books for Kids and Arts and Craft Ideas

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Celebrate the beauty of Malaysia’s multiculturalism with this glimpse into the Chinese New Year (CNY) festivities. If you’re looking for ways to introduce your little ones to CNY, here are some wonderful craft activities and books for kids to help you get started:

Books about CNY

Introduce or reinforce CNY traditions, culture and values through books that help to ignite imagination and curiosity. From interactive tabs to beautiful illustrations, these stories will intrigue and enlighten all young readers. 

1. Busy Chinese New Year 

Source: Amazon

Little ones can push, pull and slide the tabs to join in the celebrations in Busy Chinese New Year! Make the Lion and Dragon dance, enjoy a family banquet and watch the spectacular fireworks in this board book for young readers. 

Recommended Age: Baby to 3 years old 

2. Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

Source: Amazon

Authored by Malaysian-born Natasha Yim, this book shares an aspect of Chinese-Malaysian culture through a clever retelling of the classic Goldilocks story. Enjoy the story of a plucky heroine who takes responsibility for her actions and makes a new friend (not to mention, a plateful of turnip cakes!), just in time for the New Year.

Recommended Age: 4 to 8 years old 

3. Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book

Source: Amazon

This interactive book is great for parents and early readers to enjoy together. CNY traditions are showcased through fun flaps, as little ones are introduced to the concept of ang paos, reunion meals and other traditions, through the book’s engaging rhyming text.

Recommended Age: 2 to 5 years old 

4. Ruby’s Chinese New Year

Source: Amazon

This story is bound to help your kids (and some of us older folk, too!) remember all 12 of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac. Enjoy the cute illustrations in this picture book and find out how the animals from the Chinese zodiac help a little girl deliver a gift to her grandmother.

Recommended Age: 4 to 8 years old 

CNY Arts and Craft

Get the kids crafting in preparation for the festivities with these CNY-themed pieces. Use these as decorations around the house, or bring these little masterpieces to show off to the aunties and uncles that they will be meeting at upcoming festive dinners!

1. Drum craft

Source: Gift of Curiousity

A big part of CNY is the (very) loud sounds that are involved (Fun fact: The sounds of  a firecracker are traditionally believed to chase away an evil beast called nian). Recreate the Bolang Gu, and get the kids to have some noisy fun on their drums with family members and friends. 

To make this drum, punch holes at both ends of two paper plates. Decorate the plates as you wish and paste the edges together, with a wooden disposable chopstick placed in between as the handle. Attach bells (or plastic beads) to each end of the two strings. Hook both strings on each end of the hole punched plates.

Get the original tutorial here

2. Dragon craft

Source: Red Ted Art

Dragons are a symbol of power, strength and good luck in the Chinese culture. Extend the dragon-crafting fun by using the completed expandable craft as a puppet for a CNY-themed puppet show!

To make the dragon puppet, cut out a rectangular strip of red paper and fold it accordion-style. Draw out (or opt for this paid printable template) and colour the dragon’s head, tail and legs. Cut out yellow, orange and/or red crepe paper strips to represent the dragon’s fire and stick these onto the dragon’s mouth. Assemble everything onto two popsicle sticks.

Find the original tutorial here.

3. Kumquat painting

Source: The Crafty Crow

A super-simple craft activity that’s great for the younger tots. Whilst this might get a little messy, it’s easy enough to pull together, with no cutting involved. You could even set up this activity as a crafting spot for any little guests over the visitation period (we recommend the garden or balcony area for an easier clean up!).

To make the kumquat painting, stick an ang pao packet at the bottom of a blank piece of paper, draw on a tree trunk and branches, and have your kids go crazy finger-painting. You could even change it up by using pink paint to make cherry blossom trees as an alternative. 

4. Tiger head band

Source: Artsy Craftsy Mom

Perfect for the Year of the Tiger! Make this roar-some tiger headband that can double up as a cute handmade accessory for this year’s family portrait. 

To make the tiger band, use orange paper to cut out a rectangular band, a circle for the face, and triangles for the ears. Use a black marker to draw on the black stripes, eyes and nose. Cut out the tiger’s mouth using white paper, and draw on the dots and tongue with an orange marker. Assemble all the pieces together. You could also opt to purchase this printable template at a small fee for ease and convenience. 

5. Firecracker craft

Source: Mombrite

Recycle old ang paos (and toilet rolls) for this firecracker craft. Your kids will be proud to hang their completed masterpieces at the door handles of your homes to welcome visiting guests this CNY!

To make this craft piece, tie both ends of a string together as a hanger. Drape a long broad red ribbon through and staple it at the centerfold. Stick on a decorated red hexagon. Wrap and paste the ang paos around the toilet rolls and stick these onto the red ribbon. 

Find the original tutorial here.


Craft Workshops

Parents, if you’d like to get into the spirit of crafting this CNY yourselves, here are some fun workshops and events for adults that you could take part in this month too:

1. A Teagerrific New Year, GMBB

Source: GMMB

To kickstart the Year of the Tiger, GMBB in Bukit Bintang has partnered with @kiddozplace to help Malaysians embrace their diversiTEA this CNY. From brewing your own Masala Chai, to Chinese tea tasting and personalizing your own teacup, it’s bound to be a brew-tiful time!

2. A SPACE TO_

Source: a space to_

The January workshops held at this friendly shared space and creative hub include a whole range of CNY crafts and activities for the whole family. Try your hand at Auspicious Mandala Dot Art, or bring on the glam with Fortune Cat Lipstick and Essential Oils Roll On Making for a creative time of crafting fun!

Website I Facebook I Instagram


Looking for more family-friendly things to do and places to visit this CNY? Check out our earlier article for great events happening all this month!

From our team of purposeful, multi-faceted mummies. For editorial or general enquiries, email to us at hello@makchic.com.