Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet
An Activity for School-Age Children:
This fun and unique arts and crafts idea allows students to make a dragon puppet while introducing the dragon dance of the Chinese New Year celebration.

Before You Begin Crafts Activity:
Gather materials needed: small craft cups or paper cups (it is best to use ones that are NOT wax covered), colored construction paper, two large craft sticks, feathers, ribbon, wiggly eyes, scissors, tacky craft glue (or a hot glue gun), glitter and other embellishments (buttons, sequins, pom-poms, etc.). Pre-cut strips of ribbon (about 10" long) for the children to use for the dragons' bodies ahead of time. You may want to display a picture of a Chinese dragon for the children to see while they work on their own projects.

Activity Goals:
  • To encourage creativity and fine motor skills
  • To introduce and celebrate Chinese New Year and the dragon dance

    Talk to the children about Chinese New Year and the ways that it is celebrated. Discuss how the Chinese dragon and the dragon dance is a part of the celebration. The teacher may want to incorporate a short story or a video to better demonstrate Chinese New Year festivities.

    Optional: purchase feather boas and glue those to the craft sticks in lieu of the ribbon and feathers.

  • Have students cut out a large fan-shaped design out of red, white or green construction paper. This is going to serve as the back of the dragon's head. Have them make the edges as decorative in design cutting as they like.
    Glue a large craft stick to the middle of the paper.
    Place a small craft cup or paper cup onto the other side of the cut construction paper and glue together.
    Using different colored construction paper: cut, twist and layer pieces to create a dragon's face. Glue each layer onto the craft/paper cup, and glue wiggly eyes onto the dragon's head. (Don't forget that Chinese dragons have large frills and beards like lions.)
    Give each child a strip of ribbon and encourage them to glue feathers to it. This will serve as the dragon's body. It is also will allow the dragon to dance like the dragon costume that people wear in the dragon dance.
    On the back of their dragon's head and on the craft stick, have children glue (or hot glue) one end of the ribbon. Take another craft stick and glue the other end of the ribbon to it to finish the dragon's body. Allow the puppets to dry completely.
    Have children hold both of their craft sticks and make their dragon puppet dance for the Chinese New Year. season.
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