Lanterns are a beautiful way to light up the night, and have long been used in festivals and celebrations throughout Asia for many years. The last day of Chinese New Year is celebrated with the lantern festival, when families walk the streets with their lanterns. In this activity, your child can make a lantern of her own to hang for a special occasion while she works her fine motor skills and learns a little bit about Chinese culture.
What You Do:
- Working together, prepare the tissue paper by cutting or tearing it into small and medium sized pieces.
- Next, blow up the balloon to your desired size, and cover it with a light coating of Vaseline.
- Mix equal parts of white glue and water in the bowl, and have your child stir thoroughly.
- While you hold the tail of the balloon to keep it in place, have your child dip pieces of tissue in the glue mixture, and then smooth them onto the balloon.
- Continue covering the balloon with tissue strips, occasionally using the paintbrush to smooth down edges if necessary, but leave the very top of the balloon exposed (where it is tied off).
- Once you have covered the balloon with at least three layers of tissue, hang it up by the tail and let it dry overnight.
- Pop the balloon gently, and then carefully remove it from the inside of the lantern
- Trim the top edge of the lantern with scissors to make it even.
- Using the hole punch, make two holes on either side of the lantern near the top edge, and tie on a length string, ribbon, or yarn for hanging.
- Place the metal lid inside the base of the lantern, carefully light the candle, and enjoy.
Encourage your child to layer different colors on top of one another to create a watercolor effect. Keep in mind that lighter tissue paper colors will allow more light to shine through. Reds, oranges, and yellows make a vivid, warm glow at night. You and your child can make several lanterns to light up the night for a special occasion.
Grier Cooper is a California-based writer, photographer and dancer. She writes fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults and has many years experience as a child educator and a mother.