“Playing with Lanterns” and Make Paper Lanterns for Chinese New Year

The Lantern Festival is held on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year holiday. It marks the last day of traditional Chinese New Year celebrations. My six-year-old nanny kid and I made several simple and colorful paper lanterns to adorn her room in preparation for Chinese New Year.

In snowy northern China, children celebrate the new year by lighting candles in paper lanterns, usually given by their uncles. In Playing with Lanterns by Helen Yang and Zhu Chenglian, a girl named Zhao Di receives her lantern and runs outside to play with friends.

All of the figures in Playing with Lanterns are rounded, padded with multicolored, patterned winter coats, mittens, boots, hats, and scarves.

Zhao Di enjoys the 15-day celebration and is sad when she has to smash her lantern at the end of it, but remembers New Year will come again.

Switching between a kids’-eye view and a perspective from above, the illustrations showcase the different kinds of colorful, glowing lanterns, the way children’s footprints appear behind them in the snow, and how the sky grows dark early in the evening, then fills with bright fireworks.

You can purchase Playing with Lanterns by clicking the title on this page.

Make paper lanterns with the children in your care.

You Will Need:

Colorful Card Stock or Construction Paper

What to Do:

1. Use a ruler to mark one-inch line to cut of strip of paper on the short side of the paper to make a handle.

2. Fold remaining paper in half lengthwise.

3. Use ruler and pencil to make a light line one-inch from open edges of paper to use as a stop line for kids to stop cutting paper.

4. On folded side of paper make little dots one-inch apart to show kids where to start cutting.

5. Have child cut lines from the dots on folded side of paper until the stop line.

6. Unfold the paper. Roll paper into a tube allowing paper edges to overlap a little and staple each end together.

7. Staple handles to top of lantern.


Project from “All of You” magazine February 20, 2015
Photo by Stephanie Felzenberg


  1. […] The kiddos I care for love making paper lanterns to decorate their bedrooms or playrooms. Click here to see how to make paper […]

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