Chinese New Year

Our gallery-led session uses story, costumes and handling objects to explore how Chinese New Year is celebrated.  This session supports a topic on celebrations, Chinese New Year and China.

This session can be booked in January and early February, Tuesday to Thursday at 10.15am, 11.30am and 1.15pm.

Workshop details

The session begins with pupils listening to the story of Chinese New Year.  Twelve pupils dress up in animal costumes from the Chinese zodiac to animate the story.  Pupils then explore handling objects in groups to consider what they tell us about Chinese New Year customs and celebrations. 

Differences in calendars are also explored before pupils are split into groups to search for animals from the Chinese zodiac on gallery.  The session finishes with pupils making a mask to take back to school. 

Curriculum links

Early Years Foundation Stage - Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Making relationships

  • explains own knowledge and understanding and asks appropriate questions of others.

Early Years Foundation Stage - Communication and Language: Understanding

  • listens and responds to ideas expressed by others in conversation or discussion.

Early Years Foundation Stage - Understanding the world: The world

  • looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.

Early Years Foundation Stage - Expressive arts and design: Exploring and using media and materials, Being imaginative

  • understands that different media can be combined to create new effects.
  • manipulates materials to achieve a planned effect.
  • constructs with a purpose in mind, using a variety resources.
  • chooses particular colours to use for a purpose.

Key stage 1 - English, Spoken language

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.

Key stage 1 - Art and design

  • use a range of materials creatively to design and make products.

Fundamental British Values

  • encourage respect for other people (an acceptance that other people have different faiths or beliefs).

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • learn about the story of Chinese New Year/zodiac.
  • find out which animal from the Chinese zodiac is linked to them based on their birth year.
  • understand some of the traditions connected with Chinese New Year.
  • talk about similarities and differences between the Chinese calendar and the Gregorian calendar.
  • understand that the Gallery celebrates Chinese New Year annually.


Pupils will:

  • ask questions of handling objects and use this information to form an idea.
  • Search artwork within a gallery collection for animals from the Chinese zodiac.>
  • use a variety of materials to create a mask.


Pupils will:

  • understand that the date for Chinese New Year is linked to the lunar calendar.
  • understand that Chinese New Year is celebrated around the world.


Pupils will:

  • enjoy a visit to the Lady Lever Art Gallery.
  • be inspired to find out more about Chinese New Year back at school and home.
  • be inspired to attend Chinese New Year celebrations.
  • appreciate the Lady Lever Art Gallery as an enjoyable and creative place to visit.