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

Updated on January 16, 2016
Adele Jeunette profile image

Adele has been a youth services librarian for 20 years. She has been mother to a daughter from China for 17 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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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. | Source

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 | Source

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 | Source

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.

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Pictures

You only need a few simple shapes to make a monkey face: circles, heart, and oval. See the assembled shapes below.

Monkey face made from cut paper shapes -- Year of the Monkey
Monkey face made from cut paper shapes -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Coloring Template

Here is a blank printable template if you want to color your own

Large Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- Year of the Monkey
Large Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Cutting Template

Here is a blank printable template if you want to cut out the shapes from colored paper.


Large Monkey Face Printable Template --for cutting shapes out of colored paper -- Year of the Monkey
Large Monkey Face Printable Template --for cutting shapes out of colored paper -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Template Colored In

Here is a colored printable template if you just want to cut out the shapes and assemble the monkey

Large monkey face shapes printable -- shapes colored in -- Year of the Monkey
Large monkey face shapes printable -- shapes colored in -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Coloring Template (Small Monkeys)

These templates will make small monkeys to use for bookmarks or finger puppets. Below is a blank printable template if you want to color your own.

Small Monkey Face Shapes Template -- for coloring in -- Year of the Monkey
Small Monkey Face Shapes Template -- for coloring in -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Cutting Template (Small Monkeys)

Below is a blank printable template if you want to cut out the shapes from colored paper.

Small Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- for cutting from colored paper -- Year of the Monkey
Small Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- for cutting from colored paper -- Year of the Monkey

Year of the Monkey Printable Shape Picture Template Colored In (Small Monkeys)

Below is a colored printable template if you just want to cut out the shapes and assemble the monkey.

Small Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- colored in -- Year of the Monkey
Small Monkey Face Shapes Printable Template -- colored in -- Year of the Monkey

Monkey Shape Greeting Card Printable Template

Now that you have your little monkey face, you can use him to decorate different items. If you'd like to make him into a card, here is the 2016 card printable with a space where the zero would go.

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 Card Template -- Place monkey face where the 0 would be -- Year of the Monkey
2016 Printable Card Template -- Place monkey face where the 0 would be -- Year of the Monkey

Monkey Shape Greeting Card on White Card Stock

You can print it out on card stock, color it, and put your little monkey face right in there. I've added a green vine in the example below.

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 Card -- cut paper monkey face -- Year of the Monkey
2016 Printable Card -- cut paper monkey face -- Year of the Monkey

Monkey Shape Greeting Card on Red Card Stock

Since red is a lucky color, you can print the design onto red card stock as another option. I used a gold Sharpie in the following example to color in the numbers and letters. Red and gold are traditional colors for Chinese New Year, symbolizing good luck and prosperity.

2016 Red Printable Greeting Card -- Year of the Monkey
2016 Red Printable Greeting Card -- Year of the Monkey

Shape Monkey Bookmark

You can use the small monkey face to top a bookmark. Gold paper was used here as the bookmark because the Monkey King often dresses in gold, which symbolizes royalty.

Monkey Face Shapes Bookmark
Monkey Face Shapes Bookmark

Year of the Monkey T-Shirts

One of my readers alerted me to this shirt, and I think it's adorable. If you got to Amazon and look at the "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" section, you'll see some other suggestions for cute Year of the Monkey T-shirts.

Monkey King Shape Picture

The Monkey King is often represented in Chinese opera using stylized masks. This shape picture uses several shapes and colors that would be used to make the Monkey King distinctive on stage.

Monkey King Shape Picture Printable Template for Coloring

Below is a picture you can print out for your kids to color. Then, they would cut out the shapes and assemble them. Use the picture above as a guide.

There are a couple of pieces I didn't include because they are too small for the template. Have your child use a turquoise marker/crayon to make the Monkey King some eyebrows. Then, have the child color a small patch of yellow and cut a crescent from it to place in the center of the headpiece.

Monkey King Shape Picture Printable Template for Cutting from Colored Paper

Below is a printable template that children can use as a guide for cutting out the shapes from colored paper and assembling them into a Monkey King face.

There are a couple of pieces I didn't include because they are too small for the template. Use some turquoise paper to cut out a couple of eyebrows and some yellow for the crescent that is on the Monkey King's headpiece. If you don't have those colors on hand, you can print small patches of color using your computer.

Monkey King Shape Picture Printable Template--Colored In

Below is a Monkey King shapes template already colored in. You can print it out and let the children cut it out and glue the pieces together.

I've included some colored patches so that the children cat cut out details that were too small to include in the template. The turquoise patch is for the eyebrows and the yellow patch is for a crescent which goes in the center of the Monkey King's headpiece.

Zodiac Monkey Printable Greeting Card

Here is another printable card, which I made with a public domain image from Wikimedia Commons. You may make copies onto white card stock for the kids to color, or you can print it on red card stock and have the children color in the numbers with a gold pen. (Sharpie brand works well.)

Remember, the top half is blank because it will be the back half of the card. The design at the bottom will be on the front of the card once it is folded.

Greeting card made with public domain art.
Greeting card made with public domain art. | Source

Zodiac Monkey Printable Greeting Card 2

Since this greeting card doesn't have much coloring for children to do, it would probably be best printed out on red paper.

Remember, the top half is blank because it will be the back half of the card. The design at the bottom will be on the front of the card once it is folded.

This card is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
This card is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

Zodiac Monkey Printable Greeting Card 3

This is the same image as the zodiac monkey greeting card above, with slightly different font.

This card is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0
This card is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 | Source

Year of the Monkey Printable Chinese New Year Lanterns

Here is a super simple and cute way to make something that looks like a Chinese lantern: print out the patterns below, either on white paper or colored paper. Have children color in the designs, cut out the lantern, and then fold accordion pleats.

Voila! It's an easy way to get the effect of the pleated paper lanterns you see hanging everywhere in China and Chinatown, especially during Chinese New Year.

Monkey lanterns--easy to make and so cute!
Monkey lanterns--easy to make and so cute!

Year of the Monkey Printable Chinese New Year Lantern: One Monkey

You can print the monkey lantern below for the kids to color. The Chinese text says "Happy New Year."

Year of the Monkey Printable Chinese New Year Lantern: Two Monkeys with Happy New Year

Here is a variation to print out which has two monkeys. The writing is in the pinyin system of transliterating the Chinese characters. The words mean "Happy New Year!"

Year of the Monkey Printable Chinese New Year Lanterns: Two Monkeys with the Character for Monkey

Here's a variation to print out with two monkeys and the Chinese characters for "monkey."

Year of the Monkey Crafts: Monkey King Puppets

This printable puppet is a variation on the traditional Chinese shadow puppet. You can print the template for the kids to color, then cut out the pieces and glue together to have a stationery puppet. Tape him to a dowel rod, bamboo skewer or chopstick to have a puppet.

If you want to be fancier and have him move his arms, head, and legs, you can punch holes and insert metal brads.


Printable Monkey King Puppet

Below you will find the printable Monkey King puppet template to print out. It works best to print it on card stock and then have the kids color it.

Printable template for the Monkey King puppet. To color and assemble. Year of the Monkey
Printable template for the Monkey King puppet. To color and assemble. Year of the Monkey

Printable Monkey King Puppet -- Colored In

If your children don't have the inclination or time to color, here is a hand-colored Monkey King puppet that they can cut out and assemble.

Hand-colored template for the Monkey King Puppet.  Year of the Monkey Crafts
Hand-colored template for the Monkey King Puppet. Year of the Monkey Crafts

Year of the Monkey: Paper-Folded Monkeys

You may know paper-folding by its Japanese term origami, but it is also an art that has been practiced for a long time in China.

Here is a little troupe of monkeys made by folding decorated papers. There are lots of complicated ones out there, but these are pretty simple and still get across the monkey idea. You can find the instructions by clicking the link below.

How to Draw the Monkey King

Last, but not least, here is a video tutorial that shows you how to draw your own Monkey King. The narration is in Chinese, but it is easy enough to follow the process by watching it.

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