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Kid Crafts for Year of the Monkey: Chinese New Year Art Projects and Printables

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

Kid Crafts for Year of the Monkey:  Chinese New Year Art Projects and Printables

Kid Crafts for Year of the Monkey: Chinese New Year Art Projects and Printables

The Year of the Monkey

The monkey is the ninth animal in the Chinese Zodiac, and the new year (which starts on Feb. 8 in 2016) heralds the start of the year named for this quick-witted and clever, but often mischievous animal. People who are born in the Year of the Monkey are said to be witty, intelligent, curious, and big pranksters. They prefer living in the city and are generally healthy. They are quick learners, hard workers and do well in jobs with a lot of variety--like making jewelry or directing films.

All of the artwork here is free for you to print for personal and educational use. Commercial use is prohibited. Those with a Creative Commons License are noted and offered under the terms of the license.

The images are all loaded as jpegs, which means you can right click to copy and then paste them into a program like Word or Publisher. That way, you can enlarge or minimize the image as you'd like.


Drawing of The Monkey King with Happy New Year written to the side

Drawing of The Monkey King with Happy New Year written to the side

Year of the Monkey Table of Contents

This site is arranged, blog-style, all in one continuous list that keeps on going. Here is a table of contents to let you know the order in which all the printables appear:

  • Monkey King Coloring Page and Greeting Card
  • 2016 Happy New Year Printable Coloring Sheet (with Monkey)
  • 2016 Printable Happy New Year Greeting Card (with Monkey)
  • 2016 Year of the Monkey Printable Greeting Card
  • Monkey Printable Papercut
  • Monkey Shape Greeting Card Printable Template
  • Shape Monkey Bookmark
  • Monkey King Shape Picture
  • Zodiac Monkey Printable Greeting Cards
  • Year of the Monkey Printable Chinese New Year Lanterns
  • Printable Monkey King Puppet
  • Paper-Folded Monkeys
  • How to Draw the Monkey King

Year of the Monkey Coloring Sheets and Greeting Card Printables

I was lucky to get the artist Yun Mackey to do some artwork for this Chinese New Year site. Below is a coloring page for the cartoon monkey you see above. He is the Monkey King, a beloved figure in Chinese folklore and well-known by the children of China. He carries a staff and travels on the clouds. The Chinese writing says "Happy New Year."

Monkey King Chinese New Year printable coloring page

Monkey King Chinese New Year printable coloring page

Printable Year of the Monkey Card

Below is the same little monkey positioned to be a Chinese New Year greeting card. Print it onto card stock (landscape orientation) and then fold it so that the monkey is on the outside of the card.

Monkey King on Year of the Monkey greeting card

Monkey King on Year of the Monkey greeting card

2016 Happy New Year Printable Coloring Sheet (with Monkey)

Yun has also done a little 2016 logo with a little monkey peeking out of the zero. Below, you’ll find it as a printable coloring page.

2016 Happy New Year printable coloring page :  Year of the Monkey

2016 Happy New Year printable coloring page : Year of the Monkey

2016 Printable Happy New Year Greeting Card (with Monkey)

And below it is formatted as a Chinese New Year greeting card. (That's why there is so much blank space at the top.) Print it on card stock (portrait orientation), then fold it in half so that the logo shows on the outside front. It's all set for the kids to color.

2016 Happy New Year printable card:  Year of the Monkey

2016 Happy New Year printable card: Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Chinese New Year Greeting Cards

In case you are looking for something a little more formal to buy, this is a great little set of cards. They are printed on red paper--the lucky color for Chinese New Year--and feature a charming little monkey. I like the fact that they can be used as a bookmark, making them a gift that lasts longer than just the new year.


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2016 Year of the Monkey Printable Greeting Card

Below is another printable for a Chinese New Year greeting card with a little monkey face in the zero. As you can tell, it's a different artist, me. Well, me with my Word templates.

Remember, the blank space will be the back half of the card and the design at the bottom will be on the front of the card once you fold it.

2016 Printable Greeting Card Template -- Year of the Monkey

2016 Printable Greeting Card Template -- Year of the Monkey

Red Envelopes for Chinese New Year

At Chinese New Year, it is customary for the adults to give children hong bao: red envelopes. They usually contain gifts of cash. I've seen many schools and libraries give out these treats for the holiday. Instead of cash, they include a chocolate coin, which still gives the idea that the envelopes traditionally contain money while giving the children a sweet treat, too. (Additionally, it's expensive to give enough cash to dozens of kids. The coins are less expensive and more fun.)

I've used these envelopes with the three different designs. They look nice and are fairly inexpensive.

I used this brand of chocolate coins the last time we had an event at our library. They worked well.


Year of the Monkey Printable Papercut

Papercutting is a traditional Chinese art. If you do an image search on the Web for "monkey papercut," you will see a bunch of cheerful, intricately-cut monkey images. Most of them are red because red is considered a lucky color in China. Here's my version of a papercut monkey that is simple and easy, tailored for children with good scissors skills.

A papercut of a monkey in a little jacket done Chinese style in the lucky color red.

A papercut of a monkey in a little jacket done Chinese style in the lucky color red.

Year of the Monkey Printable Papercutting Template (Left Side)

To make this monkey, print out the following template and fold it in half lengthwise. Fold a piece of colored paper (same size, same fold) and slip it inside the template. Cut them both out, and you will have the monkey in your chosen color. Note that you will need to cut off one of the tails, or you will have a two-tailed monkey!

Tip: to make the buttons on the monkey's jacket, use a hole punch. It's much simpler than trying to cut small little circles.

Left-side printable template for Chinese monkey papercut

Left-side printable template for Chinese monkey papercut

Year of the Monkey Printable Papercutting Template (Right Side)

Here is the template on the right side, in case that direction works better for your kids.

Right-side printable template for Chinese monkey papercut

Right-side printable template for Chinese monkey papercut

Great Book Series with Zodiac/Kung Fu Animal Styles

As a librarian, I feel duty-bound to mention this terrific series for kids 3rd grade and up. The Five Ancestors series has lots of action and twists and turns that keep children engaged.

At the beginning of the series, five young teenagers who are warrior monks find their lives turned upside down when their monastery is attacked and they have to flee in all directions. Before they leave, their wise old leader charges them with two tasks: find out their relationships to each other and change the heart of the emperor.

I used this series in a library book club, and for many kids, booksThe Five Ancestors were their favorite of the year.

Kids need to read the book, Tiger first. In it, they will find out how the whole thing started and follow the adventures of Fu, a boy who specializes in tiger-style martial arts. In the second book, Monkey, he teams up with the mischievous and agile monkey-style kung fu specialist Malao.

It's a fun, fast-paced series that will delight the kids and teach them a little about the development of China in the process.