Tissue Paper Lanterns & Welcoming Change

Tissue Paper Lanterns & Welcoming Change

The seasons shift subtly for us, and often times we don't take note of the shift. The days get shorter and the nights last longer, but here in California that is about the main shift we see when it comes to welcoming chillier weather. This year my family and I felt it was important to recognize the shift in the light, to use the shift as an opportunity to talk about change.

Change always feels like a difficult topic to talk about with children, however children face change so constantly on the path of growing up. Recognizing that change happens in the natural world can anchor children when change enters other aspects of their life. I love the German and Waldorf tradition of Lantern Walks, which usually happen around the beginning of November. The tradition honors the idea that each child is their own individual light to stand tall and strong even when surrounded by darkness. The darkness can be the sensation of unknowing, or the feeling of discomfort when life shifts, or the darkness we feel when we are seeking answers to a question we might have. We can bring our own illumination as we forge our own path in the dark.  The concept is so empowering.

We took our children on a lantern walk at dusk after we crafted our own lanterns using a few simple supplies: 

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You will need:

A Clear Jar (we used a recycled pickle jar, however we have also loved using these Jars in the past)

Tissue paper cut into small strips, squares, or other shapes (I love this tissue paper that is already cut into pieces).

Sponge Brush

School Glue

1 Tablespoon of Water

Small Cup or Bowl- To hold glue

Ball Jar Lid Rim- You will only need this if you are not already using a ball jar that comes with its own lid.  You can buy just the lids too. 


Electric Candles


Make a Lantern
lantern painting

We first mixed about two tablespoons of glue with one tablespoon of water and mixed the solution together with our sponge brush. The kids then loved covering their jars entirely with glue. 


Tissue Paper Lantern
Girl Painting

Next, the children placed pieces of cut tissue paper all over the lantern. The parts that didn't fully stick to the jar they used their sponge brush to tap down onto the jar. My children are very different when it comes to projects, and that's totally wonderful! My youngest loves to cover her work from end to end-no gaps! While my oldest, well, he is more  of a minimalist. Follow your child's lead with this. If your child is more interested in scattering the pieces onto the jar that's great! Or, if your child is like mine, you may have layers and layers of paper...and that's fine too. The important thing is to follow your child's lead and their experience with the materials.



Allow your lantern to completely dry. Once dry, you can go back over it with more of the water and glue mixture (we added in a little bit of silver glitter paint to add a bit of sparkle to the end result) to seal all the paper.

We were able to screw on a regular large Ball Jar Lid (we removed the middle circular piece). Before screwing on the lid I tied a piece of twine on either side of the lid to create a handle. For heavier jars I recommend using two pieces of twine and sturdy knots. 

We placed about three electric candles at the bottom of our large jar and one two candles in our small jars. 

The lanterns glowed beautifully for our walk, and now they are happy reminders on our kitchen table at meal time. 

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