The Chinese New Year is one of the many colourful events celebrated in our multicultural calendar.

You are no doubt familiar, for example, with the Year of the Snake (2013), the Horse (2014) or the Goat (2015). But do you know the story of the Chinese New Year and how the years got named after animals? In this lesson, students will listen to that story, and retell it, reviewing vocabulary of numbers, animals and dates. There are also suggestions for a variety of follow up activities.


  • To revise numbers 1-100 and dates
  • To revise vocabulary of animals and names of family members
  • To practise listening skills
  • To encourage cultural awareness
  • To practise the use of the future simple

Age group

CEFR level A1 / A2

60 minutes +

The lesson plan and story can be downloaded in PDF format below. In addition, you will need:

  1. Flashcards for each of the animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, ram, monkey, rooster, dog and pig) and a flashcard of a king and his daughter, the princess
  2. Blu tak or magnets
  3. Red paper to make lanterns (optional)
Gail Ellis