Learn about the twelve animals of the Chinese calendar system with the Zodiac Wheel hands-on craft.

This resource is an extension activity for our Weekly Storybook-based Activity Guide to the book “Bringing in the New Year“.

FREE

Each animal of the Chinese zodiac calendar represents one year. A new year is determined by the lunar calendar, which falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice on December 21 (The winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the whole year, making it the “shortest day” of the year [Almanac.com]).

The 12 animals in order of this system are:

  1. Rat
  2. Ox / Cow
  3. Tiger
  4. Rabbit
  5. Dragon
  6. Snake
  7. Horse
  8. Goat
  9. Monkey
  10. Rooster / Chicken
  11. Dog
  12. Pig

Young children learn best when complex information is presented in the form of an engaging story. There are many variations of the Chinese Zodiac story over time, but most versions are centered around a great race in which all these animals were competing, which determined each animal’s order on the Chinese zodiac calendar.

Each animal has its own distinct personality and characteristic, which is used as the horoscope for people born within the animal’s year. The story also talks about how the animals worked together or tricked each other, which tells the story of why some people may be more or less compatible with others of different signs!

What’s Included:

  • Printable Chinese Zodiac Wheel

How to Assemble

Materials:

  • Zodiac Wheel printable
  • 2 paper plates
  • Fastener
  • Art supplies
  1. Cut out the printable and glue it onto a paper plate.
  2. Take the second paper plate and cut out windows so only one animal and its label at the opposite end is visible at a time.
  3. Decorate the plate.

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