Chinese Year of the Horse Art Project

chinese year of the horse art project We celebrated Chinese New Year by doing a really simple, fun art project. First we reminded ourselves what we learned last year about how Chinese (lunar) New Year is calculated.

What Determines the Date of Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year always falls between January 21 and February 21. Within this range, there are two rules of thumb used to calculate the exact new year date.

The first rule of thumb is that the new year falls on the new moon closest to the beginning of spring (in the northern hemisphere). But if the beginning of spring falls halfway between two new moons (as in 1985 and 2015), the second rule of thumb is used.

The second rule of thumb is that most of the time Chinese New Year will fall eleven (or sometimes ten or twelve) days earlier than the previous year, but if that means that the event would be outside of the possible range (January 21 to February 21), a leap month is added, so Chinese New Year jumps nineteen (or sometimes eighteen) days later.

Story: The Great Race

We read The Great Race: The Story Of The Chinese Zodiac, a beautifully illustrated picture book which tells the story of how Emperor Jade, the King of Heaven, holds a race to decide the order in which to name the twelve years of the Chinese calendar. The Great Race


2014 is the Year of the Horse. We watched Artchoo’s tutorial on how to draw the Chinese character for “horse”, and did the simple watercolour painting project there.

year of the horse art
C(10) used a paintbrush dipped in ink to write “Happy New Year”
J Chinese New year
J(8) has broken his writing wrist, so he stuck to cutting and pasting most of his Chinese characters!

chinese year of the horse collage

Chinese New Year Homeschool Project
Making Year of the Snake art last year

Goodbye, Year of the Snake – hello Year of the Horse!

I’m appreciatively linking up here:

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

Adventures in Mommydom

The Hip Homeschool Hop

Entertaining and Educational

After School Linky

Wonderful Wednesdays

Mums Make Lists – Chinese New Year

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24 thoughts on “Chinese Year of the Horse Art Project

  1. Wow, what a week of wonderful learning about Chinese New Year! I’m so glad I stopped by. My youngest is studying China next week. We’ll attend a Chinese New Year celebration as a family soon, too. Gonna check out that book you mentioned, thank you!

  2. Those horses look great! As does the calligraphy – my compliments to the artists 🙂 wish I had come across Artchoo’s post sooner, would love to fit this in with the girls. Tomorrow is our last day “in China” – not sure I’ll be able to squeeze it in 🙂

    1. Thank you so much – that means a lot from an expert like you! I must admit I had a minor panic just before I hit “publish”, wondering if we’d actually written out a lot of gobbledygook. I made a note to myself to learn a teeny bit more about how Chinese characters are formed over the next year! 🙂

      Enjoy your last day in China. I can’t wait to find out where you’re going next!

  3. Really wonderful activities here, Lucinda! And the Chinese writing is perfect! We’ve read the same zodiac book and I’m thinking of doing a little more with that in the coming week. I also like the link to the calculation of the Chinese calendar. The calculation is always quite confusing, so that page is very helpful to explain how the calculation is done.

    Happy Year of the Horse to all of you too!

  4. You seriously have the most fun of any homeschoolers I see. Every time I visit your kids seem to be so joyful and always learning! I love all the Chinese New Year things you did!! It seems like the older Keilee gets, the less we do cool things like this. :/

    1. It looks like you guys still get to do some pretty cool stuff, Karen! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words. I love capturing the joyful times and posting them here – they’re so lovely to look back on!

  5. I love the art! I completely missed that it was Chinese new year, although the decoration in our local take away should have given it away somewhat!

    1. We haven’t done any art in ages, so Chinese New Year was a good excuse to try something simple. We treated ourselves to takeaway on Friday night – I got very excited at the New Year spirit in the shop!

  6. I love the horse drawing you made. I want to go see if they have other ones for the other years. We’re going to celebrate this Friday…..

  7. I’m definitely pinning this to use when my 5 yr. old gets older. He will love making the Chinese character’s and watercolor painting. For some reason this year Chinese New Year just slipped from under our noses. Thank you for sharing at the Creative Culture Kids Blog Hop, and congrats on a feature this month!

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