We do lantern making most years, but we’ve never used a lantern kit before. The boys were very excited to try one.


  • Christmas Lantern Kit by Baker Ross
  • Battery operated candles


They started off by pushing out the panes of the lantern.

Ioan explained the difference between the terms transparent and translucent and opaque. We’ve looked at these terms previously when we worked out the area of our rainbows on a light box.

The word transparent is an adjective used to describe “something clear or see through.” If an object is transparent, you can clearly see things on the other side of it by looking through that object. Almost all the light that encounters a transparent object will pass directly through that object, meaning you can see details like colours through transparent objects. Ioan’s example was the window.

Translucent describes something “allowing light to pass through but not showing the distinct images on the other side.” If an object is translucent, you can see that there is something on the other side of it when looking through it, but you can’t tell exactly what you’re seeing. Some of the light that encounters a translucent object will pass directly through that object, the rest won’t. You see fuzzy, unclear images through translucent objects. The coloured cellophane is translucent.

Something opaque is “not capable of having light pass through.” In science terms, opaque is actually the opposite of transparent and translucent. The black card of the lantern was opaque.

Finny decided to teach Cian the difference between opaque and translucent, by showing him how to try and look through the object.

SAFETY: We discussed the dangers of putting objects like plastic bags over our face, agreeing to only test transparency under supervision.

Cian (2 years and 2 months old) loves glueing and sticking. A big part of the excitement is taking the glue lid on and off.

He is also desperate to use scissors like his big brothers. I gave him a piece of scrap paper to have a go snipping round the edges. He always holds the scissors upside down, but at this age I’m only worried about him using them safely.

I love it when they work this quietly and I know they are completely absorbed in what they’re doing.

Unlike Cian, Ioan and Finn had decided to make each picture on their lantern multi-coloured. This made it a very time consuming task.

Their finished lanterns, ready to be left to dry.

An hour later, the lanterns were dry and ready to be folded.

Very excited to see their lanterns lit up in the dark. We used battery operated candles to light them, for safety.

Their finished lanterns:

DfES Early Learning Goals (2017)

Physical development

ELG 04 – Moving and handling:

Children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing.

Expressive arts and design

ELG 16 – Exploring and using media and materials:

Children safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function.

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Science Year 1 programme of study

Everyday materials

  • become familiar with the names of materials and properties such as opaque/transparent

Science Year 3 programme of study


  • recognise that they need light in order to see things and that dark is the absence of light
  • recognise that shadows are formed when the light from a light source is blocked by an opaque object