Learn all about Korea’s harvest festival with these Charming Chuseok Crafts & Activities for Kids – includes games, food and more!
When we think of Fall, we think of the falling leaves and the change in temperature, as we prepare for the holiday season coming up. However, we forget that Fall itself is a time of celebration, and it is when many people around the world celebrate their harvest festivals!
China, Taiwan and Vietnam celebrate a Moon Festival around September-October, when they make special treats called mooncakes. Ghana tribes celebrate the harvest of their staple crop, yams, somewhere during August-September. Kerala in India has Onam as their harvest festival, which falls in September and is celebrated with flower carpets and feasts. And then you have Chuseok, the Korean harvest festival, which is our focus for today!
What is Chuseok?
Chuseok, also known as Hangawi, is a three-day celebration of the Korean people to celebrate the year’s harvest as well as pay respects to their ancestors. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar, which falls in September this year.
Chuseok is South Korea’s biggest traditional celebration, although it is just a one-day holiday in North Korea.
What are some Chuseok traditions?
A major focus of Chuseok is ancestral worship, and there are two main traditions associated with this – Charye and Seongmyo.
Charye refers to the worship of ancestors at home, while Seongmyo is where the family visits the graves of their ancestors. They also take this opportunity to clear the area around the graves, in a ritual called Beolcho. Koreans also offer food to their deceased ancestors, including their favorite meals.
What activities do you do during Chuseok?
Since Chuseok is a major festival, people from across the world travel to their native places to pay respect to their ancestors. After conducting Charye and Seongmyo, families get together to celebrate the harvest. Lots of delicious goodies are prepared, including the famous songpyeon, yakgwa, hallabong as well as fruit and wine.
After the meal, everyone has fun by playing traditional games, visiting their relatives and generally having a good time. Gifts are also exchanged during Chuseok, which used to be everyday items like soap and sugar, but are now more sophisticated.
What do the children do during the Chuseok celebration?
Chuseok is a fun time for children because of all the sweetmeats and the games! Koreans revive their traditional games during this festive season, such as Juldarigi, a board game called Yut Nori, a mask dance named Talihum and a hilarious game called Sonori, where people dress up like a cow or turtle and go from house to house accompanied by a live band!
I know, Chuseok sounds like an absolute blast! Well, let’s add to the fun with some easy Chuseok crafts and activities for kids to play, while they learn more about Korean culture!
We begin our list of Chuseok crafts with a cute little Origami Hanbok craft from The Soul of Seoul! The hanbok (also known as Choson-ot in North Korea) is a traditional garment that is usually worn during weddings, birthdays or other traditional events.
2. Free Printable Chuseok themed I Spy Game
Since Chuseok falls in autumn and because it’s a time when the family gets together to celebrate a good harvest, the festival is also referred to as the ‘Korean Thanksgiving’. Well, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than some Chuseok crafts – like this printable I Spy game!
The I Spy activity consists of 10 different Chuseok themed objects – Hanboks, Gifts, Foods, fruits and more! This activity shows the number of objects that are on the sheet, so your little one knows exactly what to look for and how many.
Chuseok crafts are a great way to keep kids occupied during celebrations, and this I Spy sheet is the perfect puzzle for kids to enjoy while learning about new customs &holidays. Not only is it fun but it improves both visual-motor skills and fine motor skills. It’s also a great way to practice counting and number skills. Count the objects as you go!
If you’ve seen the South Korean flag, you’ll notice that it has a red and blue circle in the middle, called the Taegeuk. This circle represents the cycle of the universe, with the upper red part indicating yang, and the lower blue part represents um.
Chalk Academy brings the spirit of the flag alive in this craft which resembles the Do drum. Here a tri-colored version of the Taegeuk is used, where yellow is added to the mix.
Fans are a popular feature in many South East Asian countries, and especially in South Korea. It serves double duty – you can use it to cool yourself and it also makes for a pretty accessory! Fans also become props in dance performances and are frequently gifted. While traditionally fans are made of bamboo or mulberry hanji paper, you can make one out of paper, thanks to this project from 4 Crazy Kings!
Chuseok is a time for family gatherings, and every family makes it an occasion to remember, with feasts of yummy food! The most popular Chuseok dish is songpyeon, a crescent shaped rice cake, and this is accompanied by japchae (stir-fried glass noodles and vegetables), jeon (Korean pancakes), bibimbap (stir fried vegetables) as well as lots of fruit like oranges and persimmons. Tiger Boom Creative reminds you of a delish Korean feast with these memory cards that kids can color in themselves!
Chuseok is a major festival in Korean culture, but there are many other holidays too! This book by Tina Cho introduces us to different Korean celebrations through stories, activities, games, foods and of course Chuseok crafts!
Yut Nori is the most popular board game played during Chuseok, and now, thanks to Little Seoulster, you can play it too! Yut Nori is actually played with a board and sticks that are curved on one side and flat on the other. In this case, we make do with other items, but the fun is no less all the same!
If you get a chance to attend a Chuseok feast any time, you’ll be sure to find songpyeon on the table! It is basically a kind of steamed dumpling made of rice flour. Since Chuseok is a harvest festival, freshly harvested rice is used to make the flour for the dumplings. They’re filled with a sweet stuffing, usually made from beans, sesame, honey, cinnamon as well as nuts and seeds. They’re traditionally steamed on a pile of pine needles, giving the songpyeon the the fragrance of pine as well.
We started this list of Chuseok crafts with an Origami hanbok, and now we have coloring pages for the same from Chalk Academy! The hanbok consists of two parts – a jeogori (blouse/shirt) and a chima (skirt) for women or baji (trousers) for men, and you can find a coloring page for either outfit here.
Kids learn best through play, which is why we love this paper doll from Education! The best part is that kids can color in the printable and make their doll a completely customized one.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this list of Chuseok crafts – we sure did! You’re sure to find something for every age group here, and even for the cooking part, kids can join in to measure ingredients and talk about where the rice or flour is coming from. Every opportunity making crafts is one for learning, having fun and bonding!