Is there anything as sweet as walking with your little one? The slow pace, the way they are able to notice e v e r y t h i n g. I find these walks to be the perfect time to catch my breath and reconnect with my little ones. Sure, sometimes I start out with all systems go, walking quickly as my to-do list rushes through my mind. But as my little ones move forward at a purposeful toddler-speed, which is usually about 5 feet per 10 minutes, I am forced to slow down and really focus on them. They notice and gather and reflect on the world around them. My preschooler often sets out ahead, rushing back to deliver the news of discoveries just a handful of feet ahead. It takes us an hour to walk one block.
I think that’s why I love Elisha Cooper’s book A Good Night Walk – it shows the progression of a walk at a child’s pace so very beautifully, as you can see here. It also inspired me to think more on evening walks, especially now in the heart of winter when dusk falls far earlier than anyone would prefer! We often set out right at dusk, but by the time we are headed home it is dark and a bit more light would be preferred by my little ones. So we made lanterns – beautiful, warm, glowing lanterns!
The best part of this project is that it’s perfect for mixed-age children. Mine are 2 and 4, so what appeals to one doesn’t always work for the other. With this project, we were able to make the lanterns two-ways. As a bonus, it’s something that they can do at the same time, since neither technique requires you to be working hands-on the entire time, instead freeing you up to drift from one child to the other, connecting with both.
You Will Need
For Younger Ones
For Older Ones
What To Do
For Younger Ones
Spread a piece of contact paper, about 12″ X 18″, sticky-side-up on the table and tape down the corners so it won’t move. Have your little one cut or tear up pieces of tissue paper and press them down onto the contact paper.
Once the paper is completely covered in tissue, or is as complete as your little one would like (blank spots are totally fine!) then take a second piece of contact paper and press it sticky-side-down onto the first.
To make the lantern, which is essentially a large rectangle, start by gently folding your paper in half, matching up the two shorter ends. Then fold you paper again so that there are two new creases, each about 2 inches from your original halved-crease (see below).
Cut a small hole at the top and thread a pipe cleaner through to make a handle. Add a small battery-operated tea light and presto! You have a beautiful, glowing lantern for carrying on your next evening walk!
For Older Ones
If need be, cut the top off of your plastic container. We used a milk bottle, so we cut off the top. If you use something like a clear plastic take-out container, the you don’t need to worry about this step, since the opening will already be big enough.
Have your child rip or cut up tissue paper and glue it down around the outside of your container. The glue or mod podge will dry clear, so don’t worry if it looks a bit opaque at first!
Let your little ones continue adding tissue until they are happy with the final result. I went ahead and painted over the whole thing with mod podge (you could also use glue) at the end to make sure that all the tissue pieces stay put. It also gives the lantern a lovely, shiny look!
Cut two small holes at the top and insert a pipe cleaner as a handle. And you’re done! Just add a small battery-operated tea light and you’ve got a second (or third!) beautiful lantern.
Just because we have these listed for older and younger ones, doesn’t mean they can’t try each others’ projects! See what older ones do when presented with contact and tissue paper. Younger ones can have a more tactile experience gluing larger pieces of paper onto larger containers (with grown-up supervision to prevent eating glue, of course!)
How else can you light up your lantern? Is your idea safe? Why or why not? Talk with your grown-up about the reasons why some ways to light your lantern (for instance, with a burning candle) may not be safe.
Read A Good Night Walk with your little ones and then take them out with their new lanterns for an evening walk. Ask them – What things do you notice as you walk? What changes as it gets darker? How does your lantern help you?
Have you made a glowing lantern? We’d love to see! Share it with us on Facebook or on Instagram with #craftingconnections
**This post contains affiliate links. Anytime you click and buy, you are helping to keep this space ad-free and helping us to support our families at no additional cost to you. Thanks so much!…