Chinese Good Luck Charms Activity

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Updated on Mar 28, 2014

Chinese New Year is a time when different luck-bringing rituals are performed. A good many animals are considered lucky in Chinese culture, and representations and activities involving these animals are everywhere during New Year's celebrations. Chinese knots are also a popular way to inspire good luck. There are many variations of these knots, and some are quite intricate. The knots were first created in ancient China and used to offer blessings and good wishes. Today, they are typically made by hand out of satin cord, and are used as a form of decoration. Your child can create her own simple version of these decorative pieces and then tie it around a charm or treasured object to create a lucky trinket.

What You Need:

  • Satin cord in 3 different colors
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Cardboard

What You Do:

  1. Lay the cardboard out on your workspace. It'll serve as a mat for your child as she's creating her charm tie.
  2. Have your child use the ruler to measure a length of 36 inches from one of her satin cords.
  3. Instruct your child to fold the length of cord in half and cut it in the middle so that she'll have two 18-inch lengths. Tell her to do the same with the other two satin cords. She should now have six lengths of 18-inch cord with two lengths of each colors.
  4. Lay the strands of cord on the cardboard and place a small piece of tape across the top to secure them in place. Ask her to tie all of the cords together in a simple knot about three inches down from the tape.
  5. Position the strands so that there are two of the same color laying down the middle, two of the same color on the right, and two of the same color on the left of your workspace. 
  6. Show your child how to take the left set of cords, move them over the center strands, and lay them down in the middle position. Monitor your child, making sure she keeps the cords from becoming twisted as she works.
  7. Then, take the right set of cords and move them over the center position strands so that they take the middle position. Encourage her to continue moving the left and right side sets of cord into the middle position until she has braided almost the entire length of cords.
  8. When she's braided up to one inch from the end of the cords, tie another simple knot to secure the pieces together.
  9. Take your child on an adventure to find a good luck charm. If your child want her charm to be an animal, some animals considered lucky in Chinese culture include: foo dogs (mythical), toads, cranes, chicken, fish, and even turtles. Alternatively, you could have your child take one of her small, treasured items and tie the cord around it. Ask your child why she thinks this item might bring her good luck in the new year.
  10. Have your child write a short paragraph about a time when she felt lucky.
  11. Encourage your child to find someplace special for her good luck charm. If she wants to feel extra lucky, suggest that she carry it in her pocket.