It is important for children to be aware of cultures beyond their own backyard so here is a simple way to introduce China for kids. This paper craft will help your child make a lantern like those used at festivals like Chinese New Year.
China for Kids
With February marking the Chinese New Year, we have been reading a lot about Chinese culture and traditions. My kids love the lion dances and fortune cookies! But they’ve also enjoyed some easy crafts to make some of the things we’ve read about in our library books.
One of their favorite projects has been making paper lanterns. The Chinese used these in earlier years simply for a simple light source. However, over time they began to be used for light and decorations at Chinese festivals. There is even a whole festival just to celebrate Chinese lanterns.
- Construction paper or cardstock
- Paint and paint brushes or you could just use markers
- Pipe cleaner
- Masking tape or painters tape
First, have your child decorate the piece of paper. They can add as much color or as little color as they like. They can’t mess this step up (unless they end up painting your table too but that’s a different problem).
Your child might also want to use colored paper for their lantern instead of white paper. My daughter loves painting so she was excited to just cover her white paper entirely with paint.
Make a Lantern
Once the paint has dried, your child can fold the paper in half. The paper can be folded either way. If you fold the two long sides together, you will end up with a shorter but rounder lantern. If you fold the two shorter sides together, you will have a taller, skinnier lantern. My daughter chose the taller, skinnier lantern.
Now your child can cut approximately one inch strips into the paper from the fold line but make sure that they don’t cut completely across the paper. Leave about an inch or so on the edge. To help my daughter know when to stop cutting, I covered the edge of the paper with painter’s tape so she knew to stop cutting when she got to the tape.
Once the cutting is complete, remove the painter’s tape.
Open the folded paper and attach the two ends together with a staple or tape. Add a handle with a pipe cleaner or piece of ribbon or yarn. This is the basic lantern. Your child may want to add more bling to their lantern with jewels, tassels, etc. Of course a glow stick in the lantern would make it even more special!
More Kids Activities
We hope that this activity helps you as you introduce China for kids. Simple cultural activities like this paper craft make it easier for children to relate to an unfamiliar concept because it is presented with materials that are familiar to them. For more great multi-cultural kids activities, we think you might enjoy these ideas: