The dragon is a powerful mythological creature found in the Chinese culture for centuries. It is a positive creature for the Chinese, symbolising a good future and power. It is the only legendary creature of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac. The dragon is so revered in Chinese culture that it is considered disrespectful to disfigure any dragon likeness. In fact, a Nike commercial was banned when it showed a basketball player slaying a dragon. Dragon crafts are a great way to celebrate the Chinese New Year or any other occasion and can be done by people of all ages.
Crafts for Younger Children
A moving cardboard dragon can be made in sections for a class or scout troop. One child can be the head of the dragon while the other children make body sections. Mount each section on a paper towel tube and connect the sections with yarn or brads. Dragon masks can be made by copying dragon colouring pages onto card stock paper, allowing children to paint or colour the dragons, cut them out and mount them on craft sticks. Children can also add crepe paper streamers to their masks to become dragon dancers. You can make an egg carton dragon puppet by cutting the carton in half. Then cut two egg sections off and glue them onto the top of the head for eyes. Paint, add eyes and tissue paper to complete your dragon puppet.
Crafts for Older Children
An accordion paper dragon can be made individually or by a group of children. Take heavy paper and fold it accordion style. Cut yellow crepe to make a fringe and add along the bottom of the dragon. Add a head and mount on chopsticks to make a cute moving dragon. Dragons can be drawn and painted with watercolours after students have spent time studying Chinese dragons in books and on the Internet. A class or scout troop can make a large parade dragon out of a large rectangular box, tennis ball eyes and large foam pieces for the mouth. Using hula hoops and fabric, children can make a large body to hide under and dance behind the head. Glue colourful fabric scales on the plain fabric body and attach to the hula hoops. Use fabric scraps and paints to decorate the dragon however you like.
Commercially Available Craft Kits
There are quite a few choices in commercially prepared craft kits. These kits come with all the materials needed to make a dragon craft. Crafts include a dragon necklace where the head and tail beads enclose four body beads. Dragon mask kits come in both foam and cardboard versions. Teachers can use a dragon hand print kit to make a dragon for the classroom wall. A dragon costume kit, wall hanging kit and colourful mobile kit are also good for classrooms. Very young children might like magic scratch-off dragons where you can rub off the black covering to reveal colourful lines underneath.