Paper Dragon Puppet

1-2nd grade [6-8 years old]

Art 207-08, Group 1

Kevin William Schauer, Jennifer Lynn Rich, Karisa de Jong, Kieran Griffin

Date of Presentation: 4/29/04




·         Students will learn about Chinese New Year/Chinese culture 

·         Students will incorporate drama/theatre into art

·         Students will learn a little about Chinese mythology and puppets

·         Students will learn to make simple puppets from simple materials

Student Materials:


·        Construction paper (various colors)

·        Markers, Crayons

·        Straws (or newspapers)

·        Glue

·        Scissors

·        Pencils

·        Tape (masking and clear)

Teacher Materials:

·        Examples of paper dragons

·        Poster with step-by-step directions

·        Overhead projector

·        Transparencies with picture(s) of Chinese New Year and example(s) dragon puppet(s)


·        Chinese New Year

·        Fan Fold

·        Puppet

·        Dragon



1.      Discuss dragons and Chinese New Year with the students.  Explain the importance of the dragon in Chinese culture and that many Chinese believe it is a symbol of good luck.

2.      Show overhead photographs of Chinese New Year and a sample dragon puppet.

3.      Invite children to pick colors of construction paper that they want their dragon to have.

4.      Have them draw (or cut-out pre-made) dragonhead and tail.

5.      Have them cut out (or draw on) dragon parts and decorate (eyes, nose, legs, and tongue).  Scissor shred paper around head and above tail (teacher may have to do this for the children according to ability).

6.      Children use a pre-cut strip of paper 12”x 4” for body and fan fold it.

7.      Students glue head and tail to body.  Remind them to glue the back of the head and tail to the front of the body.

8.      Students tape one straw (or rolled newspaper held together with masking tape) to bottom of back of head and one to bottom of back of tail.

9.      Parade around and enjoy.

10.  Clean-up




·        Recycled materials can be used for this project (construction paper and newspaper).

·        Teacher may want to lay down paper on the table if glue is used.

·        Chinese music would be fun to hear during the project

·        Show a video of a Chinese New Year Parade to demonstrate movement

·        Incorporate multiple symbolic meanings of the Dragon (within Chinese culture and cross-cultural analysis


Artistic Development: First - Second Grade:


Children between the ages of four and eight are in what is called Stage two of their artistic development.  This stage is called Making Symbols.  Children make a symbol and relate that symbol to people and objects that are familiar to them.  Early on, people are usually represented by closed figures with lines protruding representing a body with legs.  This begins to evolve into people being represented by geometric shapes, i.e. circle for the head, rectangle, square, or triangle for the body, and rectangles for the arms and legs.  Hands are usually depicted by small circles on the ends of the arms with either lines or loops protruding that represent fingers.  It is at this point that adults can help to shape the development of the child’s art.  Kids tend to leave out what they consider unimportant features on their symbols.  We can ask them to draw those certain parts with special features on their symbols, i.e. sunglasses, earrings, painted fingernails, new shoes, etc.  Children this age are developing physical strength in order to control their artistic tools more proficiently.


Cultural/Historical Background:


The Chinese New Year is a 15 day long festival.  The festival starts on the new moon and lasts fifteen days with celebrations daily.  The last day of the festival is known as the Lantern Festival and is celebrated with parades and goes into the night with light and firework shows.  The Golden Dragon costumes and artworks are used during the New Year festival to bring good luck for the New Year.  The Golden Dragon symbolizes a Chinese God of goodness and luck.



Herberholz, Donald and Barbara.  2002.  Artworks for Elementary Teachers.  Ninth Edition.  McGraw-Hill.  New York. p. 100-109.