Paper Lanterns

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In this activity, learners explore light and shadows by creating a lantern they can keep on their nightstand. Learners will sketch a design, make a 3D frame, and then cover their frame with different translucent materials to see how light interacts with each one. Activity includes step-by-step instructions with pictures, a video demonstration, background info about the science behind the activity, suggested questions for caregivers to ask learners, and related children's books. SAFETY NOTE: adult supervision required if using hot glue.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 14

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Suggested materials to use:
  • Structural Material: straws, craft sticks, chopsticks, plastic cutlery, dowels, pens
  • Adhesive: Glue stick, sticky tack, blue tape, masking tape, hot glue, gum
  • Translucent Material: Tissue paper, colored paper, copy paper, Styrofoam packaging, plastic wrap, milk carton
  • Light: Phone light, flameless tea light, flashlight
  • Scissors


  • Mathematics
    • Geometry
  • Physical Sciences
    • Vibration and Waves
      • Light and Optics

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts


Components that are part of this resource:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


Source Collection

  • Amazeum YOU


  • All rights reserved, Scott Family Amazeum, 2021

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