Candlelight Dinner

In the Winter, the nights are very long. Depending on where you live, the sun can set at a very early time, with the Winter Solstice as the shortest day, and longest night, of the year. Throughout history, humans have found very creative ways to create light, whether they used fire torches, candles, oil lamps, and with the invention of electricity, all sorts of electric ways to shin light through lightbulbs and lamps. Here, we invite children to make their own lamps to create the magical affect of eating dinner by candlelight, with much safer tea lights. These create a lovely, soft light and are a great way to talk about the different ways we have light. Children are often fascinated by different lights and they will love the process of punching holes in paper!

Set up Time: 5 minutes


  1. Gather together cardstock, a hole punch, scissors, tape, and tealights (one per child). We used a regular hole punch but you can also use ones with interesting shapes.
  2. Cut your cardstock into wide strips. Invite children to punch holes in the strips of cardstock. They can get pretty wild with this!
  3. When children have finished making holes in the paper, you can help them to roll their papers into cylinders and tape them together.
  4. Invite children to add a tea light to the middle of their lantern and enjoy a candlelight dinner together.


  • Cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Tape
  • Battery powered tea light

Learning Through Play

Cognitive: Connections – Invite children to brainstorm about what else provides us with light. For example, how many lamps do you have in your room? Do you use an overhead light? How does sunlight get in? Are there any lights that are unsafe for children (i.e. candles)? Talk about light, safety, and even different inventions when talking about light.

Physical: Fine Motor – We love open-ended art activities like this one that still give children lots of opportunity to build their fine motor skills without the risk of large errors. For example, if they are doing an art activity where things need to be perfect, the stress can override the learning that is possible. In this activity, children across all levels can participate and enjoy the process while also building their fine motor skills.

School Readiness: Patterns – Day and night, light and dark, these are the very real patterns that occur in our every day lives! By talking about this topic with children, you invite them to notice the patterns that very much affect humans, animals, our food systems, and more.

See this activity in the Rayz Kidz app along with the other fun activities. Rayz Kidz is your trusted source for play-based activities featuring over 100 themes and 500+ hands-on activities and clear descriptions of the beautiful learning that is happening through play.