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Printable Envelopes and Bookmarks for Year of the Rat: Kids' Crafts for Chinese New Year

Adele has been a youth services librarian for 25 years and a mother to a daughter from China for 20 years.

These printable envelopes and bookmarks for the Year of the Rat are great for crafting with kids.

These printable envelopes and bookmarks for the Year of the Rat are great for crafting with kids.

Chinese New Year Crafts for Kids

January 25, 2020 will herald the Year of the Rat in the Chinese zodiac cycle. Below is a roundup of printable patterns for envelopes and bookmarks. You can use these craft items with a group or one-on-one. They are designed to be suitable for preschool (with some help) or elementary-age children to color, cut, and assemble. If you teach at a school or daycare or if you are looking for a craft for your children to do at home, these simple patterns allow you to print and go.

Each template includes the Chinese characters for the phrase “Happy New Year” along with the pinyin version of that phrase. Pinyin is an alphabetic system that shows how to pronounce the words represented by the Chinese characters.

These patterns are for personal or educational use only. Commercial use is prohibited. Most of the images on the templates are used under license from iStock.com. If you click on my name, above, you will also find articles with printables for Year of the Rat greeting cards, bookmarks, coloring sheets, and other projects.

Year of the Rat: Red Envelope Templates 1–8

Here is the link to the document with all the envelope templates: Envelope Templates for Year of the Rat. You can see pictures of each template below.

If you’d like to have the children make their own envelopes as a craft project, you can print the patterns below onto red paper. Then have them cut the envelopes out and assemble them.

You can also print the templates onto white paper. The children can then color the background red and use different colors to fill in the design. For the words and characters, they can use a gold metallic marker or a gold crayon.

Here are some completed envelopes. You can either print them on white paper and color them, or print them on red paper. Use a gold marker to trace over the character and letters.

Here are some completed envelopes. You can either print them on white paper and color them, or print them on red paper. Use a gold marker to trace over the character and letters.

Customs Related to Lucky Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

Red is a lucky color in China, and people often give friends and relatives red envelopes with money to celebrate Chinese New Year or other special occasions. The envelopes are embellished with gold, as gold signifies wealth.

In Mandarin, these envelopes are called hong bao (which means "red envelope"), while in Cantonese, they are called lai see (which means "good luck"). In China, the official language is Mandarin, but many of the people in the south speak Cantonese, a related language.

People customarily give out these envelopes—especially to unmarried children in the family and to the children of close friends and acquaintances—at the new year. Many workplaces give them out to their employees on the last working day before the holiday, making them sort of like a bonus.

Year of the Rat: Bookmark Templates 1–6

Here is the link for all of the bookmark templates: Bookmark Templates for Year of the Rat. Each features a picture of a rat as well as the Chinese character for rat and the phrase "Happy New Year!" written in English, pinyin, and Chinese characters.

I usually print these images onto card stock so that the bookmark will be sturdy. Cut along the heavy black lines on the page to separate them.

The last page of the document features bookmarks that have the top left blank so that you can paste your own image there to decorate it. You can find some printable rat images to use at the end of the document in the link above. You can also have children draw a rat in this space or cut out of a photo to attach there.

See the photos below to see the templates. After that, you will see photos of the finished projects to give you some ideas for how to decorate the blank bookmarks.

Ideas for Bookmarks With Toppers

The last template in the above documents is blank so that you can affix whichever graphic you would like to the top of the bookmark. In the documents link, I've included three different designs that you can cut out and use. Alternately, you can have children draw a picture and then glue that to the top of the bookmark. See examples below.

Here Are Some of the Bookmarks You Can Make

Use one of the designs provided in the link, or have children draw a picture of their own to affix to the top.

Use one of the designs provided in the link, or have children draw a picture of their own to affix to the top.

© 2019 Adele Jeunette