Autumn, Collage Play, Nature Play, Paper Art, Sculpture Play

Autumn Lanterns

These lanterns are fun and easy to make for children as young as two, and results in a beautiful keepsake your family can use and admire for years to come. The materials are low cost and readily available—you may even have everything you need in your home already!

Autumn lanterns glowing warmly on our wood stove mantle.


  • Tissue paper, ripped into small pieces (you can curate the colors ahead of time with your littlest ones)
  • (Optional) flattened, dry leaves and flowers make beautiful additions or substitutions to the tissue paper
  • Glue + a little water and paint brush (add glitter if you’d like!)
  • A glass jar
  • Fabric or yarn for a handle (optional)
  • A candle (you can even roll your own beeswax candle for your lantern!)
Making lanterns with multiple children in a preschool setting.


  1. Set up the art play invitation by placing the jar upside down with the other materials on a piece of paper or craft mat to protect the surface of your work area.
  2. Model the possibilities of how to use the materials.
  3. Let your child play and explore.
  4. When your child is finished, you can help flatten any dry tissue paper that is not adhered to the jar.
  5. The facilitator can help the little artist attach a handle using yarn or fabric if desired.
  6. Light a candle in the lantern when it is dry, and enjoy the warm glow on a chilly autumn evening with your loved ones. Your little artists will feel so proud!
Three year olds making lanterns.
Lanterns drying upside down.
Happy little artist and her lantern.

Process over Product

Art play for children is about the process, not the product. When your child is “done” their artwork may not look how you envisioned it would. Don’t interfere. Let their process be what it is.

If you feel the urge to interfere, it may be indication that you need to create a lantern of your own alongside your little artist. Even grown ups can benefit from the magic of art making!

Lanterns for Martinmas

Coming home for spiced cider and ginger cookies after our Martinmas lantern walk.

Every year, my family and I make these lanterns for Martinmas. Martinmas is a feast day celebrated by Waldorf communities around the world to acknowledge our shared humanity and welcome the darkness of the season as we focus on finding and cultivating our inner light. Many communities in Europe and in Waldorf communities all around the world hold a lantern walk for Martinmas each year. You may be able to find one near you! If so, I hope you are able to bring your handmade lantern to celebrate with your community. Enjoy!

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