Red Envelopes Craft for Chinese New Year

Here is a fun and easy arts craft for first graders that teaches both about the Chinese New Year and some basic math skills, courtesy of to 

Red Envelopes

One of the best-known Chinese New Year traditions is the practice of giving red envelopes. In Chinese culture, the color red symbolizes good luck. This activity is a great way to teach your child about this important cultural practice and it’ll give her a chance to make her very own red envelope. Once the craft is complete, have her practice math skills by filling the envelope with money, and then give it to a loved one as a way to spread good will and ward off evil spirits in the New Year.

What You Need:

  • Red construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick
  • Gold glitter glue or paint pen
  • Money: a variety of bills and coins
  • Sticker

What You Do:

  1. Using the ruler, have your child measure a 6” x 6” square on the red construction paper. Mark the rectangle using a pencil.
  2. Instruct your child to cut out the rectangle with the scissors.
  3. Have your child place the paper in front of her so the square looks like a diamond shape.
  4. Show your child how to take the bottom corner and fold it into the center of the paper. Crease firmly.
  5. Now, help your child take the right corner and fold it into the center of the paper, creasing the paper firmly. Use the glue stick to attach the right side onto the bottom side, making sure to leave the envelope pocket open.
  6. Take the left side corner and fold it toward the center as before. Glue it on top of the other folded paper, making sure the envelope pocket is still open.
  7. Now, fold the top corner down, but do not glue it down. Turn the envelope over to the other side.
  8. Allow your child to use the gold glitter glue or paint pen to create a Chinese character design on the front of the red envelope. You may wish to look for Chinese character symbols for happiness or luck online to copy. Let dry.
  9. Take out a few different coins and bills. Explain to your child that it’s a Chinese tradition to give people red envelopes filled with money as part of the New Year celebration.
  10. Ask her to identify the values of the coins and bills. Tell her that the amount of money in red envelopes usually ends in an even digit. Be sure to warn her not to include the number 4 in the amount! This number is considered bad luck. Then, challenge her to fill the envelope with a particular amount of money keeping in mind what you just revealed.
  11. Encourage her to seal the envelope and give it to a friend or family member.

Happy New Year!

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