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When I lived in Taiwan, there was a noteable celebration called the Lantern
Festival. In downtown Taipai, a contest was held with a display of very
original/unusual styles of lanterns. While making one might be an
ambitious project for the elementary level, designing one (drawing) would
certainly be creative and fun.
Some other areas to explore: Dragons (compare Medieval with Chinese);
watercolor (my third graders did "one-stroke" pandas, while my 5/6th
graders did landscapes); Chinese horoscope -- animals; clay figures (after
a look at the Chinese army excavated in Xi'an); calligraphy; tangrams
(shape design); fans (paper folding and drawing design).
The book THE CINESE NEW YEAR, by Cheng Hou-tien (Holt, Rinehart and
Winston), features examples of paper cut work and explains the rituals of
the New Year.