Dragon Boat Festival

Simple Dragon Boat
A simple dragon boat starring a Lanka Kade Dragon, wading through a play board made with Tiny Land Sea Wood Stains, backdrop is a Grimm’s Giant Rainbow.

Today is Dragon Boat Festival 龙舟节直译 (in China 端午节 or Duanwu Festival). For most this means it is time to make zongzi (粽子), but around the world it is better known for the dragon boat racing. I’m going to show you how to fold a quick boat that you can then craft into the more elaborate boat shown above.

What you’ll need:

1. An A4 piece of paper or card
2. Some glue, we recommend Tiny Land Natural Paper Glue
3. Some paint, we recommend Tiny Land Wonderpaints
4. Scissors and paintbrushes.

Part 1: The body of the Dragon Boat

Simple Dragon Boat
Creating a simple Dragon Boat
Dragon Boat 1
Start with a piece of A4
Dragon Boat 2
To make your A4 paper square, fold a triangle and then fold the remainder over. Serrate the edge to make it easy to tear off.
Dragon Boat 3
The remainder tears off
Dragon Boat 4
We are left with a square. This is a great trick as a lot of crafts need a square piece of paper!
Dragon Boat 5
Fold the paper in half
Dragon Boat 6
With the fold on the bottom, fold it in half again.
Dragon Boat 8
Open the fold and fold the bottom corners in.
Dragon Boat 10
Fold the first layer of the top corners in.
Dragon Boat 11
Flip the paper over.
Dragon Boat 12
Fold the top corners of the paper down.
Dragon Boat 14
Fold the layer of paper down.
Dragon Boat 15
Turn it over and fold the other down. At this point you can glue the paper if you wish to make it sturdier, but it’s not essential.
Dragon Boat 16
Et voila! A simple dragon boat that you can decorate.

Dragon Boat 18

Part 2: Decorating and Creating Oars

Dragon Boat 19
Remember that bit we tore off earlier? We can use it to make oars.
Dragon Boat 20
Roll the paper over, then cut a bit off. It isn’t important to keep them round as we will flatten to glue.
Dragon Boat 20
Roll the paper over, then cut a bit off. It isn’t important to keep them round as we will flatten to glue.
Dragon Boat 21
Spread glue along one edge and flatten to dry. Repeat to make 6 oars.
Dragon Boat 22
While we wait for the glue to dry, we can start decorating the boat. Dragon scales are traditional as there is usually a dragon head on the boat. But why not be more elaborate?!
Dragon Boat 23
After the glue is dry, we can round the oars again and make slits. With the leftover paper cut into 6 squares/rectangles, then these slot into the slits. You can glue to stabilise them.
Dragon Boat 24
To glue the oars to the boat, I’ve folded back the top and flattened. You can temporarily hold the oars to the dragon boat with a paper clip or peg while the glue dries.
Dragon Boat 25
And there you go, 6 oars on the dragon boat, 3 on each side. this will help the boat freestand.

 

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International Dot Day – mark-making with your child

Mark-making is your child’s first step towards handwriting and drawing. It’s important for motor skills but also for creativity and imagination – with a pencil in their hand a child is no longer limited to the realms of reality, and anything is possible!

mark-making crayons

Mark-making can begin as soon as your child is able to sit up in a high-chair unaided. Early mark-making ideas include hand-prints using finger paints, encouraging your child to draw in yoghurt on their high-chair tray, and drawing in sand, in a sand pit or on the beach. Mark-making activities can be great sensory opportunities, as a child explores the squidginess of finger paints, the graininess of sand, the scratchiness of chalk on a pavement, the sweep of a paintbrush on an easel, the swoosh of a marker pen on a whiteboard… Try:

FIRST MARKS

  • Using fingerpaints tomake handprints
  • Drawing patterns in yoghurt in your baby’s high chair tray and encouraging them to copy

TODDLERS/PRESCHOOLERS

  • Dot painting, using fingerpaints to create a pattern or pictures – leaves on a tree are always beautiful, or dots on a dalmation, patterns on a butterfly’s wings… you draw the outline and let them fill in the colours
  • Once your toddler has a fist grip they can use crayons or even pens, pencil crayons or paintbrushes, under supervision, to create art.
  • Encourage them to paint both on flat surfaces like the table and upright surfaces – an easel is great, but if you don’t have one, tape paper onto a window or door (if your paints are non-washable tape newspaper underneath first).
  • Chalk pavement drawing is always a hit.
  • Paint splatters can be made by dipping scraps of fabric into paint and throwing them onto a piece of paper on the floor.
  • Screwed up waste-paper can be used for printing.
  • Carve shapes out of halved potatoes to make simple prints (we did this with our preschoolers to tie in with dinosaur and wild animal topics, which they loved!)
  • Blow art is very popular with children who are old enough to understand the importance of not sucking paint through the straw! You can drop poster paints onto paper and blow them outwards, or add watercolour paint to washing-up liquid in a shallow container, blow bubbles then print the image onto paper by laying it on top.

PRESCHOOLERS – INTRODUCING LETTERS

  • Fill a tray with rice or lentils and encourage your child to use a finger to draw letters.
  • Easy-grip pencils are both practical, encouraging them by making it easier to hold the pencil, and exciting, as they are pencils of their vey own.
  • Encourage them to label their art with their own name.
  • Copying simple words to describe their art is also a good way to introduce writing.

AUTUMN FRUIT MARK-MAKING

Autumn is a great time of year to look to nature for mark-making resources. On the simplest level, you can collect blackberries or elderberries, place them between two pieces of fabric or paper, and squash or even hammer them to make fruit splats.

You can also squash berries with a little water to make paint, which can be painted with brushes or fingers.

Food-based activities are great for both weaning children, as they also encouarage them to explore texture, and “mouthers” of any age, as they can mark-make without worry if any finds its way into their mouths!

RESOURCES

Yes Bebe stock a fabulous range of art resources including my favourites, Crayon Rocks!

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