One year when I was still teaching, I came across a large empty cake box just before Chinese New Year from a child’s birthday party the other day. I immediately saw an opportunity to create a Lion’s Head for a Lion Dance since we had spent all of the past week talking about Chinese New Year. I’m not sure how many people actually know, quite the amount of prep work that a teacher does during school hours and at home, on top of creating lesson plans.

The photos above showed barely half of the prep work; I cut out semi-circles and used the extras to make decorative pieces for the dragons face. I also cut out eyes, eyeballs, eyebrows, extra decorative pieces , months, tongues, nose and teeth, streamers and the triangular folded cardstock (the base of the dragon/puppet). I labeled all of the distinct pieces in little baggies for them to be sent to school.

I remember spending my lunch hour that day cutting out all the pieces the kids could glue on to decorate that cake box and the next day, the project came into fruition and the director asked for my class to parade around the gym for the other classes to see!

That was what inspired the creation of this art project! I always try to create projects that are meaningful, that don’t go straight to the garbage when it’s done with. I knew I wanted to recreate the colorful lion’s head and decided on a puppet that the kids can play with at least a few times more, before getting thrown out!

This photo below was the pilot dragon/lion that Esme and I created at home.

Art was an everyday thing, when I used to teach and it was at times like this, when I get reminded of how much I miss being in there.

Luckily, the school my child goes to always encourage parent involvement and have asked if I would like to participate in leading a craft session for Chinese New Year since they know Ayla celebrates it (they had families fill our surveys in the beginning of the year to ask what each child celebrates in their family). I was delighted and of course in jumped at the opportunity to be in the classroom.

Well, I didn’t get to actually do the craft with the class this time, because I was home with the kids being sick. Three kids all passing colds back and forth; they were out practically every other week for the past last month!

I’m so happy the teacher encouraged me to go ahead to send the craft I prepped for her to do with the class and they come out marvelous! She told me she got to read the book, “Bringing in the New Year ” by Grace Lin (excellent book that I still have yet to review). I wanted to share the book with the teacher, to give them a little background on what Lunar New Year means to some children who celebrate it; to make the project a little bit more meaningful to them.

Each dragon or lion was wonderfully unique and different. I snapped photos when I came to see the Valentine’s Day Show today.

On the way home, I love how the kids got to hold it and let the streamers soar as they ran with the wind!

I chose this project because the Dragon and Lion Dance both symbolize good luck for the new year! What are some favorite meaningful crafts you like to make with your child(ren) for Lunar New Year?

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