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Diwali Light Lantern Craft

Diwali is an important religious festival originating in India. People often think of Diwali as a Hindu festival, but it is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains. These light lanterns are a beautiful addition to any classroom and a great conversation-starter around Diwali. Diwali is the celebration of light in Hindu culture and these paper lanterns are a great way to introduce children to this Indian holiday.

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Brighten up your classroom and learn about the festival of lights- Diwali!

Diwali is the festival of lights and is a holiday celebrated by 1 billion people all around the world. Diwali is a celebration where typically people display a light outside their homes or business to symbolize the victory of light over darkness. This lantern craft allows children to explore light through dark paper and light tissue paper. The contrast between the two creates a beautiful lantern.

📚Get inspired: “Lights, Camera, Diwali!” by Amita Roy Shah is a great book that teaches about the importance of light during Diwali.

❗ New word alert! The word Diwali (or Deepavali as it’s sometimes called) means “row of lights” in an ancient language of India, called Sanskrit.

🕯️ Did you know? Lighting candles, oil lamps, and sparklers are the main customs at this festival.


For this activity you will need:

Black construction paper

Colorful tissue paper


Glue stick

Battery-operated tealight

Learning Outcomes




Problem Solving


Generalizing solutions of problems from one situation to another


Step 1:

Start by cutting designs into the black construction paper. The book listed above has some great design inspiration. 

Step 2:

Now, take your glue stick and tissue paper and place layers of tissue paper over the cutout designs on the black paper. All of the holes should be filled only allowing some light in. 

Step 3:

Next, fold the paper lengthwise to create a crease in three spots evenly spaced out. 

Step 4: 

Leave a little bit of room at each end (about ¼ inch on each end) to create a flap on both ends. Glue both ends together so the lantern will stand up on its own.

Step 5:

Add a battery-operated light inside the lantern and enjoy your new light!

⬆️ For older preschoolers:  Give older children the freedom of cutting out their shapes by tracing the designs with them before. Having a guide of where to cut will allow older children some autonomy.   

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Younger toddlers may have difficulty with the cutting process so help them out! They’ll love gluing and sticking down the tissue paper on their own!

Playful Questions

Can you see-through the tissue paper? This is called “translucent.” 

Can you name another translucent item?

What would happen if we used construction paper instead of tissue paper to fill the holes?

Would light come through still?

How can we make the light inside the lantern brighter/dimmer?

Do you have a lantern at home?

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