Chinese New Year Dragon Craft

This dragon craft is the perfect way to explore he traditions of Chinese New Year through encouraging your class’s creative side. Everyone can play a part in creating dragon which is both highly impressive and surprisingly easy to prepare.

You will need

How to make a Chinese dragon

1. Provide each child with their own paper plate and encourage them to paint it with a selection of different colours. When the paint is dry, pierce a small hole through the centre of the plates.


2. Using the rim of a new paper plate, cut out eight similarly sized petals and glue them on to the outside of the first paper plate, spacing them evenly apart.


3. Next, finish the scales of the dragon by cutting eight petal shapes (larger than the white petals) from different coloured tissue paper, then gluing them behind each white petal. You may want to ask the children to write their names on the plates in Chinese and discover the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy.

Note: we’ve used 30 completed plates for our dragon.


4. Separate to the others, paint one plate entirely red; this is will form the dragon’s mouth. Cut two cups from an egg box and paint red before allowing them to dry.Chinese New Year Dragon

5. Fold the plate in half and paint on some teeth, a tongue and nostrils using white and shades of pink. Create the top of the head by gluing on the egg cup eyes and some big, colourful feathers for hair.

Chinese New Year Dragon

6. Make the dragon some feet by drawing the outlines on paper plates and cutting them out. Paint the feet leaving the ends white for claws, and allow to dry.

Chinese New Year Craft

7. Now you’ll need to assemble your dragon using string and some plastic straws, penne pasta, or something similar. Leaving a long end for hanging, tie a large knot in one end of string and through a completed plate followed by a spacer.


8. Continue this process of adding plates and spacers until you’ve used all the plates. Tie a knot in front of the last plate to secure the body. Leaving a long end for hanging, cut the string at the front of the dragon and staple the dragon’s head to the front plate, ensuring that the knot is covered up. Staple on the dragon’s feet.

CNY dragon craft

9. You should now be left with long pieces of string, at the front and at the back, which you can use to hang the dragon up. Depending on the length of your dragon you may want to add a number of additional points from which to hang the body. In making ours, we picked two evenly spaced apart points, looped string around and pulled the body up to suspend it.

And there you have it – your very own Chinese Dragon!

EYFS learning goals supported by this activity:

ELG01 Communication and language development: listening and attention

ELG02 Communication and language development: understanding

ELG03 Communication and language development: speaking

ELG04 Physical development: moving and handling

ELG06 Personal, social and self-awareness: self-confidence and self awareness

ELG07 Personal, social and self-awareness: managing feelings and behaviour

ELG08 Personal, social and self-awareness: making relationships

ELG11 Mathematics development: numbers

ELG12 Mathematics development: shapes, space and measures

ELG13 Understanding the world: people and communities

ELG14 Understanding the world: the world

ELG16 Expressive arts and design: exploring and using media and materials

ELG17 Expressive arts and design: being imaginative

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