Although this year, it's the year of the Snake, the Dragon is always a positive symbol brought out to celebrate the New Year. According to Wikipedia:
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs. In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang and complements a yin fenghuang ("Chinese phoenix").
Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually used the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power and strength.
In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to the dragon while incapable people with no achievements are compared with other, disesteemed creatures, such as the worm.
– paper or plastic cups (5-6 per dragon)
– 2 toliet paper rolls per dragon – cut into 2 inch rounds
– construction paper, scissors and glue sticks
– streamers cut into 6 inch strips
– string or ribbon
– fun elements to decorate the dragon: pom poms, feathers, scrap paper, markers…
1. Start by decorating the cups. We cut strips of construction paper and glued them around the cups in red and yellow Chinese New Year colours. We also had lots of fun things to decorate the dragon but our kids were more interested in the next step of poking holes in the cups to attach them so we moved on quicker than I expected
2. Poke a small hole in each cup for the string that will connect them, to go through. A toothpick is an excellent choice, relatively safe for use with young children and pointy enough to poke the holes.
3. If you stack the cups inside each other they will disappear based on their design. To counteract this and make the dragon "moveable" we have used a toliet roll strip (cut one roll into 3 or 4 bands) to separate between cups. Thread these rolls between every cup to help. Thanks to Lesson Plans for this idea.
4. Next step is to decorate! We chose to use colourful streamers and taped them on but you could glue as well. Time to draw a face either on the end of the cup or draw one on paper and glue it on.
5. Our complete dragon!
We attached strings to our dragons which created a fun way to make the dragon "dance" around just like the big Chinese Dragons we see at celebrations. Happy Chinese New Year!
For fun, look up what year you and your kids were born to know what your Chinese Symbol is. I'm a Dragon and married to a Tiger. My kids are Rooster, Pig and Tiger. What are your kids?