The most important traditional holiday in China, Chinese New Year, is Sunday, February 10th. While creating the Chinese lanterns in this activity (selected from Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children), children will express their individual creativity, develop and improve their fine motor skills, and learn about another culture.


  • Felt pens or crayons (optional)
  • Paper or thin card stock (letter size)
  • Pencils
  • Rulers
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape or glue sticks


  • Cut a 1" strip from one of the short edges of a piece of paper or thick card stock, and set aside.  Fold the remaining paper in half lengthwise.
  • Mark lines 1" from each of the short ends and 1 1/2" from the long edge.
  • Inside the lines you've just drawn, mark more lines, this time in red, 3/4" apart, going from the folded edge down to the long horizontal line.
  • Hand a folded, marked piece of paper, plus a 1" strip, to each child.

What to Do

  1. The children can decorate their lanterns with felt pens or crayons.
  2. Help the children make the lanterns by doing the following steps:
    • Cut along the red lines, starting at the folded edge and stopping at the horizontal line.
    • Cut through both layers of paper.
    • Open the paper and curve it around so the short edges slightly overlap. Stick them together with tape or glue to form a lantern.
    • Take the extra paper strip and tape or glue the ends to the inside top edge of the lantern on opposite sides, forming a handle.


  1. Was the child able to follow the directions to make the lantern?
  2. What did the child learn about the Chinese New Year?
  3. How did the child express his individuality with his/her lantern?

Teacher-to-Teacher Tip

Share these fun facts with the children:

Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, always starts on the day of a new moon. The festival ends with Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the month when the moon is full. Lantern Festival has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years, and people gather with their lanterns at fairs and festivals, where there are fireworks, dancing, special holiday food, and a parade.


This activity was originally contributed to Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children by Kirsty Neale, from Orpington, Kent, UK. For more educational explorations that actively engage children's imaginations, check out Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children (available in both paperback and eBook formats).