While these activities are split roughly into two groups, activities can be adapted for any age range. (Older students can do research to present themselves, more complex crafts just for upper elementary, or if the school has multiple grades and you start early older students can use any of these activities to set up stations for the younger ones.)
Preschool - ~3rd Grade
PBSkids online game to Countdown to the New Year (some require a Flash Plug-In)
Or, see a list of just Coloring Pages.
CNY Word Search: http://www.cstone.net/~bry-back/actpag126.html
Dragon or Lion Masks:The Lion Dance is performed during the Lantern Festival with performers wearing Lion Masks at the end of Chinese New Year. Lions are believed to bring good luck and scare away evil spirits. Have your students make lion masks —scary, cute, or funny—to help them celebrate. Or, make their own dragon puppets or a mask for a parade or for decorating the room.
Make a Dragon (html file)
Parade Dragon Puppet (html file)
http://www.kidsdomain.com/craft/chindragonhard.html (html file)
Read about it: I like Enchanted Learning's books – it seems worth subscribing just to get these. In 2006, the price was $20 for a year.
More craft ideas:
More for Upper Elementary grade levels
Chinese New Year's Greetings (characters) to Color: Decorate your room with Chinese New Year greetings from Childbook.com. Students can color these jpg images for the classroom or bring them home for friends and family. (Stroke order is not given.)
Red Gift Envelopes: It's traditional in China to give gifts of money in red envelopes at New Year's. Have your students make their own Chinese Gift Packet. Rather than money, have them write good luck wishes to send.
Firecracker, Firecracker! Make “firecrackers” out of rolled cardboard tubes to simulate Chinese New Year's Firecrackers.