IN MY HUMBLE opinion there are three things kids should be able to make with a sheet of paper. Why should kids be able to make anything from a sheet of paper? Simply put: self amusement. We expect our kids to amuse themselves to a certain extent and we don’t do video games or TV, so paper it is. Folding paper is a great way to keep busy and amuse yourself, amaze your friends, make new friends, practice motor skills, discover why precision matters and it keeps you coming back again and again. The more your kids practice the better they'll get and then they'll be teaching all their friends. It's a GREAT way to empty that office paper recycling bin too!
1. The Humble Paper Airplane. Seems so simple and easy right? Yeah, not so much, one wrong fold and your plane continually dives to the right or smashes nose first into the ground. The website Simple Paper Planes has great, easy to follow tutorials. Your kids will fold everything they can find into paper airplanes, so hide your bank statements and the deed to your house. The great part of making paper airplanes is that you can make a game out of it, like flying into a laundry basket, making micro flyers, launching them from a swing while swinging or having distance or loop-the-loop competitions. The fun never stops in our house when paper planes are en vogue.
2. Cootie Catcher aka Fortune Teller. Where would fourth graders all over the world be without their all-knowing fortune tellers? I mean seriously these things are the best! Simple folds, kind fortunes and it's good for hours of fun telling your friends' fortunes again and again.
I mention kind fortunes because if it starts as a rule that the fortunes must be nice then nasty mean things just don't enter the equation. The website Enchanted Learning has, hands down, the best tutorial I’ve found yet.
3. The Paper Boat. A bit more on the difficult side for folding BUT really super simple once you figure it out. Our 7-year old has been known to fold the entire recycling bin into paper boats and float them on all the puddles in the driveway. Yes, he grudgingly cleaned them up too. The paper boat lends itself well to playing science, too. Can you sink it? Will it sail. How long will it last? Can you put a cannon on it and make it fire? (Ok, the last one we never tried but it has been much lobbied for and firmly denied.) We have even used paper boat folding at birthday parties as an activity, then sinking with a slingshot for sport. After searching I found that this site which has a great tutorial - superclean and easy to read.
So there you go; how your kids will be entertained with paper! Next thing you know they’ll be churning butter and walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, they’re so old fashioned!