The Chinese Zodiac for kids – simply explained
This will be the Chinese New Year of the Rabbit. Here is the story of the Chinese Zodia and some ideas for Chinese new year fun with your kids.
It’s fun to work out with your child what animal is attached to the year they were born and to see if they think they are like that animal
1996, 2008 – Year of the Rat Rats are ambitious and very focused on their goals, but they are also fun
1985, 1997, – Year of the Ox Oxen are loyal, dependable, determined, and stubborn.
1986, 1998 – Year of the Tiger Tigers fight for what they want – but can be sensitive.
1987, 1999 – Year of the Rabbit Rabbits are diplomatic, honest, kind, and loyal
1988, 2000 – Year of the Dragon Dragons bring good luck – so it’s great to have one as your friend.
1989, 2001 – Year of the Snake Snakes are lovely, charming and insightful
1990, 2002 – Year of the Horse Horses are full energy and fun.
1991, 2003 – Year of the Sheep (Goat) Sheep are peaceful easy-going .
1992, 2004 – Year of the Monkey Monkeys are lively, smart and full of mischief
1993, 2005 – Year of the Rooster Roosters are outgoing and love to show off
1994, 2006 – Year of the Dog Dogs are kind, loyal, and devoted.
1995, 2007 – Year of the Pig Pigs really enjoy life, and love being with their friends and family.
Maybe you could see what grandma, daddy and their best friend are too!
The order of the animal Zodiac
This is a lovely story to tell your kids but please be aware this is simply the version I know. There are MANY versions out there!
Why did rat come first?
A long, long, long time ago, the Jade Emperor, who ruled the heavens of China, sent a message down to all the animals asking them to come together so that he could give each of them a year, to help Chinese people keep track of time.
Rat and cat were good pals and decided to travel together to meet the Jade Emperor. When the time to leave on their journey came cat was taking a little cat nap. The rat (not being a very good friend) set off on his own. This is why there isn’t a year named after a cat, and it’s also why cats hate rats!.
When the rat got to the Jade Emperor’s palace the emperor told him and all the other animals who had come that they would have to take part in a swimming race across the river. The rat (who was a bit sneaky and clever) thought hard. He asked the huge ox if he could ride on his head! The ox was ever so kind and said yes. The rat got carried across the river but just before they reached the other side he jumped off the Ox’s head, jumped on to the lands and reached the winning line first!
The Jade Emperor named their first year after the crafty rat in honour of him coming in first. The order of the other animals is the order they finished in the race!
What a cheeky little rat he was!
I also have a post on making lantern crafts with your children over at New Mummys tips
I hoep you have enjoyed this post on the Chinese Zodiac for kids. You might also like my post on Chinese money crafts