Celebrating Chinese New Year

In art classes at Northern Liberties Recreation Center, students learned the Chinese Calendar animal associated with their birth year while gaining an appreciation for Chinese-American culture. They also heard about the nearly 15 days of celebration events that take place in Chinatown during every Chinese New Year! 

Vocabulary: Stylized, symbolic color, ink, uniform line, give-and-take line, contrast

Materials: red paper, pencils, and markers OR white paper, black ink (or black watercolor), and brushes

Directions: Students identify their birth year and using the Chinese calendar, identify their animal. Students learn as a class how to draw each of the animals by following along with teacher drawing on the board. They also all learn the current year’s animal. We used printouts from online depictions of Chinese stylized animals. Students go over their pencil lines with black marker or they learn basic brush techniques and use black ink (or watercolor) to paint the outlines of their animal. Students can also use scissors to cut gold paper and glue shapes onto red paper to create a frame. Other important symbols like a bowl of oranges, the phoenix, dragon, panda, fans, lanterns, and Chinese calligraphy can be made to decorate classroom for this holiday season. 

Discussion: They learn that it is customary in China to show respect to those who are older than you. They learn the attributes of their animal and can also invent some of their own.

Find your animal sign using your birth year here: https://www.chinahighlights.com/travelguide/festivals/when-chinese-new-year.htm