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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.)

    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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