The Lantern Festival traditionally marks the end of the Chinese New Year celebrations.
How to make your own lantern
You will need:
- A sheet of A4 paper or thin card – red or yellow are traditional colours but choose one that appeals to your child.
- Scissors, glue, stapler or tape.
- A range of decorations – see below.
Cut a 2cm strip off the shortest side of the paper and put to one side. This will be used for the handle.
Fold your large rectangle of paper or card in half lengthwise.
Draw or mark a horizontal line one inch from the long edge opposite the fold. (This line represents the point at which you need to stop cutting in the next step. A child with vision impairment may need a physical marker - eg Wikki Stix - or verbal directions to help them know when to stop.)
Starting from the folded edge, cut up towards the line. Make your first cut at around 2cm from one short edge – remember to stop when you reach the horizontal line or marker.
Continue to cut more straight lines, about 2.5cm apart, until you reach the opposite short edge of the paper.
Next, unfold the paper. It will have several vertical slits along the middle.
Flatten your paper and decorate the top and bottom edge using whatever you have available.
Here are some sensory ideas you can try:
- Add scent or texture to paint: try using sand, corn-starch or oats to give the different colours their own, distinguishable texture. Or add fragrance with a few small drops of essential oil.
- Create patterns and details with scented markers, glitter glue, puffy paint or coloured markers.
- Use glue or self-adhesive stickers to add tactile shapes, beads, sequins or small buttons.
- Use a marker pen, raised stickers or bump-ons to write words in large lettering or a representation of braille.
Next, transform the paper into a lantern by forming it into a tube shape. Overlap the long edges by at least 1cm before stapling or taping together.
Finally, take the paper handle that you previously set aside and glue the ends to the inside of the lantern's top edge. If you're feeling extra creative, you can decorate the handle too!
Once the glue and paint dries, hang the paper lantern as a festive Chinese New Year decoration and enjoy the celebrations!
(Remember that small parts can present a choking hazard and some children will need to be supervised when completing these activities.)