The Chinese New Year is almost upon us and it’s a wonderful opportunity to spread cheer and good luck all around us in true Chinese style – by means of simple DIY handmade lanterns and dragons. Here are two fun Chinese New Year crafts that you’ll enjoy making with your kids this spring festive season.
Make a Lantern
The 15th and final day of the Chinese Lunar Month Spring Festival celebration is significantly known and celebrated as the Lantern festival. It falls on March 2 this year. Since red is considered to be a lucky color for the Chinese, here’s how you and your kids can make a simple red lantern and set it up at home for the occasion.
Get two rectangular sheets of construction paper, one red and the other yellow in color. From the short end of the yellow paper, cut off about 2-3 cm and roll up the remaining into a cylindrical tube form, taping it up so that it does not open up. Next, the red paper needs to be folded exactly into half lengthwise, followed by using a ruler to draw straight lines parallel to each other from the folded end to the open end about 2-3 cm apart from one another. Using a pair of blunt scissors, carefully cut through the drawn lines and open up the folded red paper. Wrap it uniformly around the yellow tube from the first step and tape it into place. Punch holes on two of the upper sides, insert a string in it and hang up your very own lantern to spread cheer all around!
Make a Dragon
The dragon dance is a highlight of the Chinese New Year celebration. It is believed that the longer the dragon is in a Chinese New Year dance parade, the more luck it will bring to the people of the community. Why not try bringing some luck home too with your very own dragon? My kids love playing dragon games and I’m sure they’ll find this simple dragon craft exciting.
For this dragon craft, you will need discarded household items that usually end up in the trash in addition to paint, such as cardboard egg cartons and bare toilet paper rolls. First of all, cut the egg carton into pairs (the two compartments that hold eggs together). These egg holders will act as the menacing scales on the body of your dragon. For added effect, it could be a good idea to get your little one to paint the egg carton holders and the toilet paper rolls in his favorite color (preferable the cartons one color and the rolls another). Use glue to stick the egg carton scales onto the toilet paper rolls (the more rolls you have, the longer your dragon’s body will be). Next, draw eyes on one pair of egg holders to indicate the eyes and use two full egg holders glued on back to back to make your dragon’s head with the eyes stuck on top. Insert a long ribbon into the toilet paper rolls and also attach the head by poking a hole through it and your dragon is ready to hang on your front porch to scare (read: spread luck) to all and sundry passing by!
As they say in Chinese, Gung Hay Fat Choy – wishing you all great happiness and prosperity in the New Year!