19+ ways to teach your children about the Chinese Zodiac

  • Post last modified:21 February 2022
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What is your Chinese Zodiac sign?

Do you know what it means to be a tiger or a snake, or an ox? Read this article to find out more about the personality traits of the Chinese Zodiac animals.

My children are absolutely obsessed with the Chinese Zodiac! So this year we have been tracing our family’s with this Chinese Zodiac worksheet. We used this Chinese Zodiac wheel to figure out which Zodiac animals we and our family members are according to their birth year.

One of our favourite Chinese Zodiac activity is learning through play with this super cute set of Chinese Zodiac flashcards. We play memory game, matching games and go fish with them. After playing a few times, the children now knows all the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals in Chinese!

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Chinese Zodiac Animal flashcards
Chinese Zodiac Flashcards
Learning through play. Da Bao is playing Memory Game with the flashcards.

Xiao Bao who is 3, can remember all our family members’ Chinese Zodiac signs. (Bless her!) She loves looking at posters, so I made a Chinese Zodiac wall display at home, where we have all 12 animals on display, along with their personality traits. Er Bao who is 4.5 years old and knows all the Chinese Zodiac animals in Chinese, now loves to pretend to be the teacher and will ask Xiao Bao “这是什么?” (“What is this?”) ”很好!” Times like this, I feel really heartened by their linguistic progress.

Since my children are so interested in Chinese Zodiac animals, I created this simple vocabulary workbook and word workbook for them to learn the Chinese characters as well. The word workbook has numbered strokes and bigger Chinese characters for them to practise writing Chinese characters with the right stroke orders.

Chinese vocabulary workbook Chinese Zodiac
Chinese Zodiac Vocabulary Workbook
Chinese character workbook Chinese Zodiac
Chinese Zodiac Word Workbook

Xiao Bao is starting to show an interest in reading Chinese and will voluntarily ask what the words are. So I believe this is the best time to introduce her to Chinese characters! Da Bao who is 6 can read all the Chinese characters. But to be honest, Chinese character writing is still hard for him at this point, (plus i do insist on writing in the correct stroke order!) Which is why I make bigger Chinese characters writing worksheets instead of using a website that will generate Chinese worksheets like Arch Chinese.

Chinese Zodiac Learning Bundle
Chinese Zodiac Bundle
Chinese Zodiac Poster Traditional Chinese English
Chinese Zodiac Poster

If your children are learning about the Chinese Zodiac too, here are some books and videos you might like to check out!

Here’s wishing you a great year of the Tiger. May you and the family be healthy and strong like the Tiger. 祝您身体健康,小朋友快高长大。

Chinese Books about the Chinese Zodiac

Zodiac Theatre 3D Pop Up Book

Language: Simplified Chinese

ISBN:9787533779511

All children love pop up books! And mine are no exceptions. This is a really cool addition to your Chinese New Year library. This is a set of 2 books.  

十二生肖的故事

作者:赖马

Language: Simplified Chinese

ISBN: 9787554542972

A lovely Chinese picture book about the origins of the 12 Zodiac animals, how they were selected, and what transpired during the selection. It’s nice and engaging for preschoolers.

赖马 is a Taiwanese children’s book illustrator whose style is whimsical and interesting. My children also liked his first creation 我变成一只喷火龙.

十二生肖的故事 彩图注音版

作者:刘敬余

Language: Simplified Chinese, with pinyin

ISBN:  9787570404407

More suited for primary age children, this book has a series of short chapter stories on each Zodiac animal. 

Bilingual Books about the Chinese Zodiac

Tiger Brother : A Tale Told in English and Chinese

Written by Li Jian

Language: Simplified Chinese, English

ISBN: 978-1602204669

Available at Book Depository.

A father finds a little tabby kitten, who turns out to be a Siberian tiger! As the tiger grows in strength and size, they have no choice but to send it back to the mountains. However the bond of the boy and tiger has been cemented and they will remain loving brothers for life. 

Li Jian is one of our favourite bilingual writers. His illustrations uses traditional Chinese brush strokes and the stories are always seeped in rich Chinese fables and mythology. You can find books on all 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals in his Chinese Zodiac series

12 Lucky Animals: A Bilingual Baby Book Board book

Written by Vickee Lee. Illustrated by Joey Chu.

Language: Simplified Chinese, English

ISBN: 978-1250184245

Available at Amazon, and Book Depository 

Ebook version available on Amazon and Apple Books.

A adorable introduction to the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals. This book is just right for little toddlers. 

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Written by Ling Lee and Eric Lee.

Illustrated by Rachel Foo.

Language: Traditional Chinese, with pinyin and English

ISBN: 979-8581649008

Available on Amazon, and Book Depository

Langauge: Simplified Chinese, with pinyin and English

ISBN: 979-8575640349

Available at Amazon, and Book Depository

This book is great for young preschool age children, as the illustrations are big enough, and cute enough to grab their attention. All the animals look so cuddly and cute! 

The Year of the Tiger: Tales from the Chinese Zodiac

Written by Oliver Chin. Illustrated by Jeremiah Alcorn.

Language: Simplified Chinese, English

ISBN: 978-1597021524

Available on Amazon and Book Depository.

Also available to read electronically on Epic Books App.

This is a bilingual series of Chinese Zodiac tales translated into Chinese. I’d recommend this for primary age children as the storyline is more developed than your usual picture books.

In the year of the Tiger, we meet the young and innocent Tiger Prince Teddy who didn’t heed his parents’ warning to steer clear of the human village. Instead, he made friends with a little girl Su. Now, he has to find a way for both man and beast to coexist harmoniously.

All 12 Chinese Zodiac Animals are available in the series. My son really enjoyed reading these fantastical tales!

English books about the Chinese Zodiac

The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac

Written by Dawn Casey.

Illustrated by Anne Wilson.

Language: English

ISBN: 978-1846862021

Available on Amazon and Book Depository.

A wonderful tale of the Chinese Zodiac race in English. The illustrations are whimsical and full of colour and life. One of our all time favourite Chinese Zodiac books in English. 

Crafts about the Chinese Zodiac

One of our favourite kids’ craft website is Red Ted Art, and there are tons of Chinese Zodiac craft ideas on the website. Hop over here to check out the Chinese Zodiac Year of the Ox crafts, which is perfect for 2021!

My three children loves to colour, and have been busy colouring and decorating the house with their Chinese New Year colouring sheets. You can download this FREE Chinese Zodiac Colouring book and this FREE Chinese New Year colour by words colouring book on the links below. 

FREE Chinese Zodiac Colouring Book
free Chinese New Year colouring book
FREE Chinese New Year colouring book

Videos about the Chinese Zodiac

So there you go, 19+ different things you can do to teach your children about the Chinese Zodiac!

Happy Teaching, and Happy Chinese New Year!

Free Chinese New Year Greeting Cards

Chinese New Year card tiger

Don’t forget to download these FREE fun and furry Year of the Tiger greeting cards and write your good luck messages within them!

More Chinese New Year books, crafts and ideas for you

Want to know what our favourite Chinese New Year books in English are?

Want to teach your children about the Chinese Zodiac

Don’t forget to grab a copy of these beautifully illustrated bilingual picture books about the Chinese Zodiac and Chinese culture

Cool Chinese New Year craft activities from Chalk Academy

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