The ultimate weapon is a pen, I instructed the Ninjas. I don't think anyone was listening at that point, but we sure had fun with our scroll writing project...
First the decorations! I wanted to focus the kids attention to the center and away from all the stuff in the garage AND have examples of Asian writing for them to copy if they wish. I thought about putting examples on the floor, but then realized if I hung them, they would be more visible to the group. I found printable examples of Chinese characters on Activity Village. All I had to do was print, cut, and glue them onto black backing and then have the kids staple them to some red, black, and gold clearance Christmas ribbon I had hanging from the garage ceiling. The characters were stapled to both sides of the ribbon.
I was surprised by how much the kids liked the characters and trying to copy them. I set out water colors, too, in case someone wanted to add color pictures, but they stuck with the ink. Ideally, we should have used Japanese characters that represented Ninja traits. Check out this cool site about the characteristics of Ninjas. As the party date drew near, however, the printable Chinese characters were oh so handy, already made into card shapes!
Making the scrolls was harder in my mind than it turned out to be once I got started. The supplies are simply wooden dowels (12" long, 3/8" diameter), paper, and yarn. Hardware stores are thrifty places to purchase dowels, and they'll even cut them for you! :) I painted them black. As for paper, I used three sheets of banner paper per scroll that I already had on hand. Target has rolled paper available in their art section, probably a better choice because it won't have creases.
To assemble the scrolls, I folded one end of the paper over the dowel and creased it. Then, I applied two lines of hot glue, centered the dowel, waited a few seconds for the glue to cool, and smoothed it flat. At the opposite end, I did the same thing except included a loop of red and silver yarn for hanging.
When the kids were satisfied with their artwork, we had them create their own wax seal, of sorts. :) An adult dripped red wax from a candle onto their paper. After the wax dried a bit, they were able to carve their initials in the wax using a bamboo skewer (point cut off). The seal gave the projects an authentic-looking final touch!
Overall,. this was a really fun project enjoyed by the kids AND their parents!