SHARED by: Gymtime
Crafts By: Max Stadnik, Director of Art at GymtimeEarly Learning Foundations Preschool and York Avenue Preschool

If your New Year’s celebration last month didn’t live up to your expectations, the good news is you can give it another try. February 10, 2013 is Chinese New Year and marks the 4711th Chinese year.

Legend has it that Chinese New Year began with the fight against Nian—a monstrous beast that attacked villages on the first day of the new year, eating livestock, crops, and even children. Villagers offered him food on their doorsteps so he would leave them alone and go away. When they saw Nian scared away by a child dressed in red, they figured out the monster was afraid of the color. Every year after that, as the new year approached, villagers hung red lanterns and decorations on their homes and lit firecrackers to keep Nian away. It worked!

Decorate your home with beautiful, handmade Chinese Paper Lanterns! 

Chinese Lanterns


  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Stapler
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Glue
  • Glitter or Sequins


  • Use your ruler to measure and cut one inch off the short end of your paper. Set aside to use as the handle. 
  • Fold your paper in half lengthwise.
  • Draw a line one inch from the end of the long edge of the paper opposite the folded edge. This will be the line where you stop cutting.
  • Measure and mark lines one inch apart starting at the folded edge and moving towards the “stop cutting” line. See photo
  • Cut on the marked lines up to the “stop cutting” line.
  • Unfold the paper.
  • Personalize your lantern with glitter and sequins. Allow glue to dry before the next step.
  • Match the long edges together on the lantern and use tape to hold it in place.
  • Staple the handle to the top of the lantern. (See photo)
  • Make as many lanterns as you wish and display them around your home.

According to the Chinese calendar, we are entering the year of the Snake, also known as “little dragon.” Chinese mythology believes the first snake came from a dragon falling out of the sky – which explains why snakes have dragon-like bodies but cannot fly. The Chinese also call the snake the dragon’s little brother since the dragon is the fifth animal in the Chinese zodiac and the snake is the sixth. It is said that the snake is ashamed of his lowly status on the ground, so he won’t attack unless he’s disturbed. This of course does not mean that snakes are safe! Because the snake can swallow an animal greater in size, the Chinese advise not underestimating the serpent’s ambition. In the Chinese zodiac, snakes mean potential trouble.

Still, the Year of the Snake might be your lucky year. What it means for you in 2013 depends on the elements and animals in your birth chart.

Make a Snake! 


  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Paints
  • 2 Google Eyes
  • Pipe Cleaners
  • Glue
  • Tape


  • Cut five toilet paper rolls in half 
  • Paint each toilet paper roll. Keep your snake one color, or make different color segments. Allow paint to dry completely.
  • Take a hole punch and punch four holes in eight of the rolls and punch two holes in two rolls (these will be used for the head and tail.)
  • Tie the body segments with four holes together with pipe cleaners. Then attach your head and tail.
  • Glue 2 eyes on the first segment for the head.
  • Tape a red pipe cleaner to the inside of the mouth for the tongue.

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