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.
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The Perfect Craft for Dragon Lovers and Chinese New Year
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.
This paper puppet craft is a WIN!
This is dragon paper puppet craft is also a wonderful craft to facilitate discussion on Chinese culture or Chinese New Year. This year, we are incorporating the dragon puppets with one of her favorite books, Tikki Tikki Tembo. 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.”
Firstborn son: Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo.
Second son: Chang.
Supplies for Our Paper Dragon Puppets
Pretty simple supplies for this paper puppet craft:
- construction paper
- tape and glue stick
- googly eyes (optional).
Paper Puppet Craft Instructions
The first set of pictures represents toddler or young child sized paper dragon puppets – it fits their smaller hands better. Tri-fold the paper and remove one section on the long edge.
For a large version, lightly fold the paper in half to find the center. Then fold each edge into 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).
Paper Puppet Wings
Using the leftover 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.
Paper Puppet Features (and Tips)
Make nostrils, teeth, tongue, fire, eyes, and any other embellishments for your paper dragon puppets. 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?
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.
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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 share it on 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: