Gung Hey Fat Choy! Chinese New Year Dragons

Chi­nese New Year is right around the cor­ner!  Mon­day, Jan­u­ary 23, 2012 will mark the start of the “Year of the Dragon”, year 4709 on the Chi­nese cal­en­dar, where each year is des­ig­nated by one of 12 ani­mals.  I thought a dragon project would be fun for my first graders as we usher out the “Year of the Rab­bit” and wel­come in the “Year of the Dragon”!  

We’re mak­ing our drag­ons in two 50 minute ses­sions, with the help of some ded­i­cated par­ent vol­un­teers!  I spot­ted this col­or­ful dragon on Pin­ter­est, but it linked to a Flickr page, which means that no direc­tions were avail­able… so I made up my own!  Here’s how we made our very own fire-breathing dragons.…  

Mate­ri­als (per dragon):
  • Body/Tail: 4 — 6″ x 9″ (red) con­struc­tion paper
  • Head: 1 — 4 1/2″ x 12″ (red) con­struc­tion paper
  • Wings: 2 — 6″ x 9″ (orange) con­struc­tion paper
  • Eye­brows: 1 — 3″ x 4 1/2″ (orange) con­struc­tion paper
  • Teeth: 1– 3″ x 4 1/2″ (white) con­struc­tion paper
  • Eyes: 1– 3″ x 4 1/2″ (white) con­struc­tion paper
  • Pupils: 1 — 1″ x 2″ (black) con­struc­tion paper
  • Eye­lashes: 1 — 1″ x 2″ (black) con­struc­tion paper
  • Nose: 1 — 2 1/4″ x 3″ (orange) con­struc­tion paper
  • Fire: 2– 1/2″ x 12″ (red, yel­low & orange) con­struc­tion paper
  • Paper fas­ten­ers — 4
  • Hole Punch (we had one punch per table group)
  • scis­sors
  • glue stick
  • crayons or mark­ers for draw­ing scales

(Feel free to use assorted col­ors of paper… these are just the col­ors I used in the sam­ple pic­tured above.)

    Direc­tions:
    1.  Accor­dion fold all 4 body/tail pieces.
    2.  Snip a “V” shape out of the ends of each piece. (I found that the kids were able to do this with their kid-sized scis­sors if they only had to cut through half of the lay­ers at a time.… see photo.)
    3. Unfold and punch a hole in the cen­ter of each short edge. (The kids LOVED using the hole punch!)
    4. Next, join the sec­tions together by over­lap­ping the holes and insert­ing a paper fas­tener. (This step was even more excit­ing than the hole punching!!)
    5. Fold the head piece in half, then fold it again about an inch from the first fold.
    6. Punch a hole about 1/4″ from the fold and join the head to the body with a paper fastener.
    7. Cut the tail end to a point. (Kids drew their cut­ting line in pen­cil first.)
    (This is how far we got in one 50 minute period. Early fin­ish­ers got to start draw­ing scales on their dragon while they waited for their class­mates to catch up.)
    7. We’ll fin­ish our drag­ons next week by accor­dion fold­ing the wings and glu­ing them on, then cutting/gluing on the eyes, nose teeth, etc.
    Pretty friendly-looking for a fire-breathing dragon, huh??!

    Here are some pics to help you visu­al­ize the steps!



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    5 Responses to Gung Hey Fat Choy! Chinese New Year Dragons

    1. Miss January 27, 2012 at 8:44 am #

      Thanks so much for such detailed (wow!) instruc­tions– what a great project!

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