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Paper Lanterns for Chinese New Year

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Paper Lanterns for Chinese New Year

Learning area: Social Studies
Time commitment: Quick (30 minutes or less)
Best for: Kindergarten, Grade 1, Grade 2


Make your own festive paper lantern from construction paper to celebrate the Lunar New Year.



  • standard construction paper sheets in multiple colors
  • scissors
  • mini paper punches in various designs (circles, stars, hearts, etc.)
  • stapler
  • battery-operated tea light candle
    (hint: they can be found in bulk in the wedding section of the craft store; small glow sticks or glow bracelet work, too)



  1. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
  2. Cut slits along the folded edge, stopping about an inch away from the opposite edge. Make sure the space between slits is larger than the size of your mini paper punches.
    Hint: For younger children, lightly pencil a line about 1 inch from the long edge as a guide to stop their slit cuts.
  3. Punch designs along the slits and the top and bottom edges, as desired. Avoid punching across the edges, folds, and cut slits.
  4. Unfold the paper. Bring the two long ends together and staple into a cylinder shape.
  5. Set your colorful punched lantern over a battery-operated candle to light it. (A small glow stick or glow bracelet may be used, too.)


Learn more:

No one knows where or when the first lantern was invented, but we know that lanterns were used in ancient China for festivals and other special occasions. Paper lanterns date back to the Eastern Han Dynasty, almost 2,000 years ago! They were mostly made from paper and silk, although bamboo, wood, and metal were also incorporated. Originally, these lanterns provided light—but following the discovery of gas and then electricity, Chinese paper lanterns have since been used for decoration or to celebrate the last day of the Lunar New Year.


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Originally posted 2021

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