Winter Lanterns – Bay Area Discovery Museum

Winter Lanterns

Light up the night sky or your bedroom by making your own festive winter lantern.

Learning Goals

  • Be Curious
  • Come Up with Ideas and Try Them Out
  • Take Risks and Persist Through Challenges

Materials Required

  • Paper
  • Decorative tools and materials: markers, color pencils, paint, stickers, gel pens, etc.
  • Adhesives (tape, glue, stapler)
  • Tealight (optional)


  • Introduce your child to paper lanterns by finding different examples online or in a book. Share with them that paper lanterns come in all different shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Prompt your child to think about what kind of design or pattern they would like to make for their winter lantern.
  • Once they have an idea of how they want their lantern to look, use decorative tools and materials to create the design of the lantern.
  • Use scissors and explore different ways to fold the paper in order to form the exterior of your lantern.
  • To create a handle, cut off a small strip from another piece of paper or cut a strip off from your lantern before you start designing it.
  • Test out your lantern with a tea light or another portable light source.

Tips for Adults

  • Make observations and narrate what you notice children are doing or pay special attention and ask open-ended questions like:
    • “What made you come up with your lantern design?”
    • “How will you decide to form your lantern?”
    • “What are some ways we can change the paper to allow more light to pass through it?”

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