Sunday, February 8, 2015

With Chinese New Year approaching, I thought it would be a fun idea to build Chinese Zodiac animals out of Lego. This post has Lego video tutorials and instructions to build all 12 animals of Chinese calendar.
Chinese Zodiac In Lego (with video instructions)

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Why Is Chinese New Year Celebrated in February?

My 8 year old asked me why every year we celebrate a different animal when Chinese New Year comes along and why it is celebrated in February. It was a good opportunity to review different calendar systems and remind her that Jewish holidays of her ancestors also fall on different dates and even different months every year. Chinese calendar is lunisolar. In the Chinese calendar, the months begin on the day of the dark moon, and end on the day before the next dark moon. There are 29 or 30 days in a month, but the month length is float. The month with 30 days is called as the long month, and the month with 29 days is called as the short month. Years and months are irregular, sometimes year has 12 months, and sometimes it has 13 months. Because the number of days is different, New Year Day fluctuates between years, but generally falls in February.

Why Are There 12 Animals in Chinese Calendar Cycle?

The Great Race
I didn’t get into complicated origins of Chinese Zodiac with my 8 year old. Instead we went with a fun legend and reread The Great Race by Dawn Casey – a gripping competition story explaining the order of animals in Chinese calendar cycle. Smarty was also fascinated to remember that she is a Dog living with two Monkeys (my husband and I are born in the same year). She was upset, however, that Cat didn’t make it to top 12 according to the story, as cat happens to be her favorite animal.

Chinese Zodiac Animals out of Lego



I proposed to Smarty to build a sheep out of Lego in honor of upcoming Year of the Sheep, but both of us were struggling to build something that would definitely be “sheep-like”. We ended up checking YouTube and discovered an extensive collection of Lego animal video tutorials from Fun Toy Den. The only challenge was that their creations required some special pieces (and colors) from Creative Building Cube, which we don’t have (yet), but it was fun to try and find substitutes with the pieces that we actually had.

Build a Lego Sheep for Year of the Sheep

Here are the instructions on how to build a simple sheep. This worked out perfectly for us, since we had all the needed bricks:

Here is our Lego sheep:
Lego-Sheep

Build a Lego Pig


The build itself was simple, but we didn’t have the right pieces and colors, so building a pig took some time while we were looking for replacements. Our pig is white :)

lego-white-pig How to Build All Animals of Chinese Zodiac? 

Lego Animals of Chinese Zodiac (with instructions)


These links will bring you to YouTube tutorials, except for the Rat. I couldn’t find any good Lego rats, but linking to “acceptable” Mouse instructions.

Your Turn

Are you celebrating Chinese New Year? How?

Learn More About China

Last year we did a month long study on China. Here are some posts you might find interesting:
Follow my China Pinterest board.
Follow Natalie Planet Smarty Pants's board China on Pinterest.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Kid Blogger Network

I am joining with other Kid Bloggers to celebrate Chinese New Year at Peakle Pie.
CNYPPRed1
Bloggers want to join in? Grab our button, pop it on your blog & join in the linky!

3 comments:

maryanne @ mama smiles said...

This is very clever! Pinning to my Chinese New Year board.

kid GL loves said...

Lucas & Grace say - This is fab. We are really interested in the Chinese New Year. We run a weekly linky over at KidGLloves called Mini Creations and this would be a fab addition. We open every Wednesday morning. We'd love for you to link up :) #minicreations

Phyllis said...

Happy Chinese New Year!!