Paper puppets are fun and inexpensive but paper dragon puppets are the best! Whether you want to set up a 10 minute, nearly no-mess craft, educate little ones about Chinese New Year, or you just want to incorporate more pretend play into the day, these quick dragon puppets fit the bill.
After the little one saw the movie, “How to Train Your Dragon,” we needed a Toothless and 53 of his closest dragon friends. What I’m saying is that I’ve made a ton of dragon puppets recently, and this one is the best for her small hands. It’s complete happenstance (not awesome planning, mind you) that it only takes 10 minutes to whip out a few of these. WIN!
Chinese New Year is celebrated on February 19th this year, and although it is the year of the sheep, dragon crafts are kind of a cool draw for kids when learning about this part of Chinese culture. This year, we are incorporating the dragon puppets with one of her favorite books, Tikki Tikki Tembo (partner link). There’s a double-page spread of a dragon for the festival that my daughter just loves to talk about – maybe your kids love it, too?
It’s actually one of my favorite books because it’s so much stinkin’ fun to say that kid’s name 100 times. As a refresher… The legend is that Chinese parents used to give their first born son a great long name. Second sons “were given hardly any name at all.” First born son: Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo. Second son: Chang.
Pretty simple supplies for this one:
- construction paper
- tape and glue stick
- googly eyes (optional).
The first set of pictures represents toddler or young child sized paper dragon puppets – it fits their smaller hands better. For a large version, lightly fold the paper in half to find the center. Then fold each edge in to the center and secure with tape. Continue folding the body as in step 2 of the image below.
Fold a piece of paper into thirds lengthwise and cut off one of the sections. Fold the paper back in half lengthwise and fold on the width of the paper. Take it just more than halfway and fold it back. Flip it over and do the same thing. Tape up the long side folds (1 piece of tape per section is fine).
Using the left over strip from making the body, make a set of wings by folding the strip in half and cutting a shape. Unfold and cut down the center to get two wings. Attach to the back side of the head with glue and tape. They are going to take a beating, so I recommend both. Fold up the wing a little so they stand up and can be seen easily. Trim the wings so that your child can stick their hand in the puppet comfortably, but don’t toss those pieces – you can make a nose piece, eyebrows, or a center nose ridge.
Make nostrils, teeth, tongue, fire, eyes, and any other embellishments for your dragon. The only rule is to make sure you leave enough room for a tab of sorts – you are going to fold over a small tab so that each piece is made 3 dimensional. Cool, right? My three year old definitely thinks so!
Make the eyes first so they have time to set up and dry a little. You can add everything in any order you’d like, but I recommend leaving the eyes for last, especially if you’re using googly eyes. For the teeth, be sure to cut slits in the sides so that the teeth fold around the mouth. You are going to want to glue and tape the teeth down, same as the eyes.
So what do you think of our dragon family? It’s ever-growing and they are named, so they must be part of our family now. If you think this was a fun and quick craft, can you please consider sharing it to Facebook? We sincerely appreciate it!
If you’d like to see more like this, check out our crafts for kids page. Or, check out some of these: