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Do you know what today is? No? You should! May 26th is National Paper Airplane Day! Don’t worry, this celebration was not on my radar either, but we’re all spending A LOT more time at home these days. And if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for some screen-free activities to keep your kiddos (and yourself) busy. This is an excellent activity to do both indoors and outdoors, depending on the weather.
I’m sure we all have memories of a rogue paper airplane flying across the classroom when the teacher’s back was turned. I certainly am not condoning that behavior, but our classrooms recently moved to our homes so why not turn the classic classroom hijinks into a fun activity? No one will even be sent to the principal’s office!
When I first attempted this activity with my kids, I will admit I was a bit rusty. My husband questioned whether I had ever actually made a paper airplane before (yes, but probably not in 25+ years…). I found this excellent resource from DIY Network with easy to follow instructions and managed to make four different kinds of airplanes (the dart, the stealth, the bumble, and the hunter).
And they all flew!
I thought this would be a great activity to do with my boys (ages 6 and 4), but they weren’t really interested in building the planes themselves. They did, however, love decorating and flying the planes.
What You Need:
Paper – different colors, sizes, and thickness will all add to the fun.
Scissors – some designs work better if you make small cuts in the wings.
Tape – I found it helpful to use a small piece of tape to keep some of the folds together.
Decorations – use markers, crayons, paint, glitter, and stickers to create your fun and unique planes. If the kids overdo it, it can become a lesson on why things that are too heavy will not fly.
Measuring Tape and Stopwatch – to see whose plane flies the farthest and stays airborne the longest!
Paperclips (optional) – experiment with using paperclips on different parts of your plane to see how it changes.
Where to Buy:
If you want to spend a little money, there are several paper airplane building books available on Amazon here, here, and here. Most of these books have the folds outlined and cool designs on the pages.
For older kids, you can experiment with different wing sizes, shapes, and angles to see how that affects the flying time and distance. I am not an expert in aerodynamics, but this article from Scientific American was very helpful.
If you want to print a few templates from home, here’s a couple of websites (besides the DIY Network website listed above) that can provide you some quick & basic templates for your little ones:
- Fold ‘N Fly is a database of paper airplanes with folding instructions and video tutorials.
- SKGaleana has a few Disney Junior themed printable airplanes that any Sophia the First fan would love!
- The Best Ideas for Kids has some great step-by-step tutorials on how to make a more colorful paper airplane.
Paper airplanes are fun for all ages and offer endless opportunities for creativity and learning. I hope your family enjoys this as much as we did!