Chinese New Year for Kids to Enjoy
Planning Chinese New Year for kids is so much fun! I’m not of Chinese or Asian decent but I love traveling and learning about other cultures. This year I researched Lunar New Year and talked with a Chinese girlfriend about ways to celebrate with my own family.
When celebrating another culture it’s a great idea to go to the source and ask. Cultural appropriation is commonplace and we often have no idea why we’re celebrating (Cinco de Mayo anyone?) and what significance it has. To properly honor a place and it’s people it’s a great idea to dig a little bit.
I’m no expert and I made a few mistakes on my Chinese New Year table but as a family we celebrated early and explored Chinese culture, food, and traditions.
It’s the year of the Ox and we adorned our walls with the requisite red and gold artwork and added a pair of oxen to the decor.
All things lantern! Hang a lantern from your light fixture and a few fun pieces of tassel decor. Check your local Chinese grocery store. The Chinatown Supermarket in Salt Lake City is a treasure trove of amazing options.
Have your kids help create the decorations like these simple paper lanterns for the centerpiece. Just be careful NOT to use white, like we did, as white is associated with death in China, which I knew and still somehow forgot.
Set a fun place setting for everyone. No silverware allowed at this dinner. Encourage everyone to try their chopsticks.
Another great project for the kids are these origami lanterns. After folding you can paint them in red and gold to match the decor. Use them as place cards by adding names to each one.
Drink your green tea! We chose decaffeinated tea for the family and love it with a little fresh mint and some honey which we were introduced to during our virtual visit to Morocco. So while mint is NOT a Chinese tradition, I let it slide.
For dinner. Choose PORK. Since I don’t eat pork, or beef, I totally broke the rules and made chicken for our stir fry. But however you do it, make it in a wok to be legit. Add broccoli and bamboo shoots before adding the sauce.
Dumplings are a must have. Again, use pork.
Dessert was a little tougher to know what was traditionally Chinese and what was not. The egg tarts and red bean popsicles ARE. Mochi balls are not. But my kids associate mochi balls with our favorite Chinese restaurant and I figured I could let it slide, even though we know they are actually a Japanese dessert.
I hope that you gathered a few ideas you can incorporate into a Chinese New Year for kids celebration. There is so much to learn about the rich history and cultural traditions and we look forward to learning a little more each year.
If you have a Lunar New Year celebration, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And if you share photos, I want to see it too! Please tag us @partieswithacause on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. We love celebrating all your hard work!
More Places to Explore with Kids Around the World
Since COVID began and trips were cancelled my family has virtually traveled to 9 different countries and the results have been amazing. My kids ask thoughtful questions. We try new and unusual foods. We explore virtual tours.
Each time we are exposed to other people, religions, customs, and cultures I believe we grow in empathy and understanding of the human race. It’s this kind of celebration that brings us closer together. Where would you like to visit with your family?