image by miheco: http://www,flickr.com
Dragons have long been celebrated by the Chinese in myths, folklore and festivals as a symbol of the strength and power of their culture. Chinese New Year festivities always include parades with a "life size" dancing dragon puppet manipulated by a team of people with poles. It would be hard to duplicate a puppet of that scale at home, but with a few simple materials you can create your own Chinese dragon toys.
Trace a dragon's head and tail on a piece of colored paper. Cut the head and tail out separately. Decorate them with lots of bright colors, adding glitter, feathers or other accessories.
Fold another piece of paper in half the long way. Cut along the fold to form two long rectangles. Fold each of the pieces like an accordion, and glue or tape them together to form the dragon's body.
Glue or tape the head to one end of the body and the tail to the other.
Tape one wooden stick to the back of the head and attach the other wooden stick on the back of the tail. Holding one stick in each hand, you can manipulate the dragon in a dance.
Cut four cups to 2 inches in height. Punch holes on the opposite sides of three cups. Using a pencil, make a hole in the center of the bottom of the fourth cup.
Decorate the cups in red and gold paint. Tie a knot in the end of the string and put on beads, buttons or bells to make the dragon's tail.
Cut a straw into three equal sections. Alternately thread a straw piece and a cup, so each cup is separated on the string by a length of straw. Pull the string through the bottom of the fourth cup and tie it off.
Draw and decorate a dragon's head on a piece of paper. Cut it out and glue it to the front cup (it should be facing open-side out).
Punch a hole at the top of the dragon's head and tie a long piece of string through the hole. Use this string to take your pull along dragon for a walk.
Draw the face of a dragon on a piece of colored paper. Cut it out, including two holes for your eyes.
Punch a hole in each side of the mask.
Tie a length of string to one side, then hold the mask to your face, measuring the correct length and cutting off any excess string before tying it to the other side. Decorate the mask with markers, glitter, feathers and other accessories.
About this Author
Lynn Holmgren is a freelance writer based in York, Penn. She has published articles about writing, international exchange, travel and outdoor recreation in ShowcasePA! magazine and Bootsnall.com. Homgren also enjoys writing and reviewing short stories on her blog Long Story Short.