Paper Lanterns

kp_lantern.gifAge: Preschool through elementary
Time: An hour or more
Type of activity: Cultural Arts and Crafts

During the Chinese New Year's Festival of Lanterns, glowing lanterns are hung in temples, and children carry candle-lit lanterns in a nighttime parade. Many lanterns are works of art, painted with birds, animals, flowers, zodiac signs, and scenes from legend and history. While your child's lanterns won't hold candles, they're sure to make your home glow.

Materials Needed:
· Colored construction paper
· Scissors
· Tape
· Ruler
· Pencil
· Decorative materials (Glue, glitter, sequins, paint, markers...)

What to Do:

Step One: Your child can start by decorating the paper that she'll use to make her lantern. In honor of the Chinese New Year, try drawing zodiac animals (especially snakes -- it's the year of the snake). Or, use red construction paper -- the Chinese consider red a lucky color.

Step Two: Using the ruler, measure and cut a 1-inch strip (widthwise). This will be the lantern's handle.

Step Three: Fold the decorated paper in half lengthwise.

Step Four: Draw a line (widthwise) an inch from the top of the open edge of the paper (opposite the folded edge.) This is the "stop cutting" line.

Step Five: Measure and mark lines an inch apart starting at the folded edge and ending at the "stop cutting" line.

Step Six: Cut along the lines you just drew, up to the "stop cutting" line.

Step Seven: Open the paper and then fold it in half widthwise, pressing down on the slits.

Step Eight: Open the paper and match up the long edges. Tape the ends (at the top and bottom) of your lantern together.

Step Ten: Staple the handle to the top sides of your lantern.

When you've made a bunch of lanterns, string them together hang them around your house. Gung Hay Fat Choy! (Happy New Year!)

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