This coming Sunday is Chinese New Year!  The New Year is filled with colorful celebrations, paper lanterns, and special food and gifts.  The focus of the celebration is typically on wealth, longevity, and happiness.  According to Chinese tradition, each year is associated with an animal, and 2013 is the year of the snake.  In honor of the upcoming holiday, this week’s DIY Kid Activity is to make a paper snake.  It’s a great opportunity for kids to explore Chinese culture, while getting in some arts and crafts time.  We have two variations: one for younger kids (age 3+) and one for older kids (8+).  Either way, they will love hanging their snakes around the house!

Option 1: Paper Chain Snake (ages 3 and up)

Adapted from DLTK’s Crafts for Kids

Time: About 30 minutes

Materials: construction paper (2 or 3 colors), small scrap of red construction paper, scissors, scotch tape or glue (or stapler), googly eyes (optional), black marker

Adult prep: Depending on your child’s age, you may want to pre-cut the construction paper into even strips.

Kids’ Activity:

  1. Cut at least 16 strips of construction paper 2 inches wide and 10 inches long.  The more paper, the longer your snakes can be!  The more colors, the better.
  2. Make your first strip of construction paper into a ring and tape or glue it together
  3. Slide your next strip of construction paper through the ring and tape or glue it into a ring (or with adult supervision, a stapler could work too).
  4. Repeat the process until you have a long chain of construction paper rings.
  5. Cut a tongue shape from red construction paper
  6. Fold a small tab at the end and glue it onto the head (the front construction paper ring)
  7. Glue on googly eyes or draw eyes on with a marker


Option 2: Paper Spiral Snake (ages 8 and up)

Adapted from First Palette

Time: About 30 minutes

Materials: Paper, scissors, pencil, crayons/markers/paint, and googly eyes

Adult Prep: None needed!  Just be sure to monitor the use of scissors with younger kids.

Kids’ Activity:

  1. On a sheet of paper, start drawing a spiral beginning at the center going outwards.
  2. Continue drawing the spiral until you have made about 4 or more loops. It doesn’t have to be perfect!
  3. To transform the spiral into a snake, draw a snake’s head at the outer end of the spiral.
  4. Draw a pair of eyes (or glue on googly eyes) and draw a forked tongue.
  5. Before coloring in the snake, you can emphasize the snake’s outline with a marker to make cutting a lot easier later on.
  6. Draw patterns and color the snake any way you wish.
  7. Once done coloring, cut out the outline of the snake (around the exterior, including the head).
  8. Color the bottom side of the snake (its belly) if you like.
  9. Finally, cut along the spiral line.
  10. Continue cutting until you’ve reached the inner tip of the spiral.
  11. You can attach a string to the head or tail and hang the snake to create a springy snake mobile. You can also coil the snake around a pole, tree branch, or furniture.


How do you celebrate Chinese New Year?  Send us photos of your snakes!

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA

A healthy lifestyle isn’t all about food: keeping kids active and fostering their creativity is essential for healthy development, too!  In this blog, I’ll be sharing weekly activity ideas for families to do together.

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