Here’s how to make a Chinese New Year dragon puppet from upcycled materials.
How to make a Chinese New Year dragon puppet
Let’s learn about Chinese dragons and make a dragon puppet to celebrate Chinese New Year.
This article is part of our Chinese New Year activities for children.
In this activity you can:
:: learn about Chinese dragons including what they look like and what they symbolise, and watch a Chinese dragon dance
:: make an easy dragon puppet for the Chinese New Year
:: find links to more Chinese New Year activities and crafts to enjoy with your children
Ready-made Chinese New Year lesson plans, all in one place
This Unit includes lessons on Chinese New Year and how it is celebrated; the animals of the Chinese zodiac; Chinese dragons and how to make your own dragon puppet; how to make Chinese-style paper lanterns; math and literacy activities including playing lucky 8s, counting to ten in Chinese and play red envelope games; explore sensory painting and taking a mandarin sensory taste test.
In this Chinese New Year Unit you’ll also receive bonus printables including a Red Envelope mat for math activities and three-part colour-in Chinese Zodiac Animals matching cards.
If you are not yet a member of NurtureStore’s Play Academy, join us here to get this and over 50 more ready-made teaching units.
What does a Chinese dragon look like?
Take a look at our dragon crafts index to learn about Chinese dragons. You can learn about what Chinese dragons look like, what they symbolise, and watch a Chinese dragon dance.
This will give you inspiration for the design of your dragon puppet.
We’re going to make a rod puppet design decorated with recycled collage materials.
Materials needed to make a Chinese dragon puppet
:: thick card – upcycling delivery packaging works well
:: collage materials
:: marker pens
:: split pins / metal paper fasteners
:: glue stick
:: wooden kebab skewers / sticks / lollipop sticks for puppet rods
How to make a Chinese dragon puppet
Once you’ve had a look at the dragons and watched the dragon dance video, decide what you want your dragon to look like.
Draw out your dragon’s head on thick card.
Make the parts of your dragon puppet’s body
Cut out your dragon’s head, along with three strips of card for its body, and a piece for its tail.
You can make your dragon as big or small as you like.
Join together the parts of your dragon puppet
Fasten the sections of your dragon together using split pins, so that your puppet can move and dance.
Add rods to your puppet
Tape wooden skewers on to the back of your puppet to make handles.
We placed one at the head, and one on the tail section, but if you are making a very big dragon that a few people are going to operate together, you can add in extra handles.
Decorate your dragon puppet
Then it’s time to decorate the body of your dragon puppet.
We used a selection of collage materials from our art supplies – all recycled: tissue paper, cardboard packaging, wrapping paper, gift wrap.
We added all the decorations after we had fixed our dragon together so we could make sure our dragon puppet was still able to move and dance.
Add the final touches to your dragon
Add any final decorations such as embellishments to the head and horns.
And then your Chinese dragon puppet is ready to celebrate Chinese New Year and dance!
*Spot the mistake! Chinese dragon’s don’t actually have wings. Oops!
More Chinese New Year activities for children
See our full index of Chinese New Year activities for more ideas including how to make Chinese Lanterns, math and literacy activities using red envelopes, and sensory play activities for Chinese New Year.