Firecrackers play an important role in Chinese New Year festivities; according to ancient tradition, Chinese locals used loud, red firecrackers, lanterns and bonfires to scare the monster "Nian" away from their community. Today, strings of firecrackers are lit just before midnight to celebrate New Year's Eve in China. Next Chinese New Year, make an exciting firecracker craft with your children.
Crafting a Chinese firecracker requires basic materials that you are likely to have on hand at home. Along with empty toilet paper or paper towel tubes, this craft requires red and gold paint and paintbrushes. Newspaper is optional, but is quite useful for protecting the children's work space and making cleanup easier. You may also wish to use decorations such as glitter and craft jewels. If you are using paper towel tubes, scissors are required to cut the tubes in half.
Provide each child with an empty toilet paper tube or half of an empty paper towel tube. Lay down newspaper to protect the floor or table and have the children paint their cardboard tubes bright red. Once the initial coat of paint dries, the kids can decorate the tubes with gold paint. While younger children may simply paint an abstract pattern, older children may wish to paint something from the culture, such as symbols from the Chinese zodiac. After the gold paint dries, additional decorations can be adhered using craft glue.
If you don't have paint on hand, this craft can be made easily with red construction paper instead. Roll the cardboard tube in the construction paper and secure it using tape or craft glue. Decorate the construction paper with gold glitter and other decorations. Another variation is to have each child make several Chinese firecracker crafts; once the crafts are dry, string them together using yarn so that each child has his or her own string of Chinese New Year firecrackers.
Use this Chinese firecracker craft to supplement a classroom lesson on the traditions and history of China's New Year; the version using paint is simple enough for even young children to enjoy. This craft is also ideal for helping to teach your children about their heritage if you or a family member is Chinese. Secure the ends of these firecracker crafts and fill them with treats for Chinese New Year events and classroom parties.
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