Pop! Crackle! Bang! Firecrackers are a sparkly delight at Chinese New Year celebrations, and making a paper firecrackers craft is pretty fun, too. Because firecrackers and fireworks were invented in China, this activity is a great way to introduce Chinese history and culture. With our printable template and video tutorial, kids can make Chinese firecrackers at home or school!
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When were fireworks and firecrackers invented?
The history of firecrackers goes as far back as the Tang Dynasty (618 to 906 BC). During the Tang Dynasty, firecrackers were accidentally discovered by tossing bamboo stalks into a fire. Due to the heat, the hollow bamboo stalks would explode with a bang due!
Sometime around the Song Dynasty (960-1276 AD), an alchemist accidentally invented gunpowder by mixing sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. By packing the flaky gunpowder into the bamboo stalks and lighting the stalks on fire, fireworks were created!
Eventually, bamboo stalks were replaced by cardboard or thick paper tubes.
Why are Chinese firecrackers and fireworks important for Lunar New Year?
Historically, firecrackers were used to scare away the legendary Nian Monster and other evil spirits. On New Year’s Eve, the Nian monster would threaten to eat the villagers and destroy their homes. Then an old man discovered that the explosive “Pop! Crackle, Bang!” of firecrackers scared away the Nian monster.
Since then, firecrackers have been an important part of Chinese New Year festivities. They are even used as decorations around doorways, streets, restaurants, and more!
However, due to concerns about pollution and dangerous accidents, many Chinese cities have implemented firecracker bans.
No matter where you are though, you can safely enjoy Lunar New Year with these paper firecracker crafts!
Because the other tutorials that we saw were too complicated for my young children, I tried to simplify the process with our printable template and video tutorial. Keep reading for tips on how to make your own Chinese firecrackers!
Supplies for making Chinese firecrackers for Lunar New Year
- Chinese firecrackers template with Chinese character 福
- Red construction paper, printer paper, or leftover red envelopes
- Ribbon or string
- For decoration: gold stickers, paint pen, decorative washi tape (eg, sparkly, assorted)
- Optional: printable Chinese red envelopes or Chinese banners
How to make a Chinese firecrackers craft
- Download and print Chinese firecrackers template with Chinese character 福
- Fold paper into quarters
- Cut along creases to create 4 rectangles
- Note: If using red envelopes, can cut apart packet to create 2 rectangles
- Roll paper into tube shape (firecracker). We rolled the longer ends so the tubes would have a narrow appearance.
- Tape both ends
- Decorate with gold tape, stickers, or paint as desired
- Repeat steps 2-5 until you have at least 3 pairs of firecracker tubes. Continue if you prefer a long chain of firecrackers
- Cut ribbon into into 3 inch strip. Tape each end of ribbon inside firecracker tubes. Repeat for each pair of firecrackers.
- Arrange firecrackers in desired shape
- Cut long pieces of ribbon (a few inches longer than group of firecrackers) and tie it to each pair of firecrackers
- Optional: tape firecrackers to Chinese red envelopes or 福 Chinese banner
Video tutorial: how to make Chinese firecrackers
If you’re a visual person like me, watch this video while using our template! Tying the knots between firecrackers was tricky for my kids, so I hope this can help your family and students!
Get the printable firecrackers template here
Did you make Chinese firecrackers with your kids or students?
If you try this activity, please let us know in the comments below! What age(s) are your kid(s) and how did it go? We’d love to hear about your learning experience!
More Chinese New Year resources for kids
- Fun Spinning Chinese Zodiac Wheel
- Chinese New Year Books and Audiobooks
- Chinese New Year YouTube videos
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新年快乐, 恭喜发财!! 新年快樂, 恭喜發財!!
Happy New Year! May you have a prosperous new year!