Tonight was a no technology night in our house, not intentionally, but it just worked out that way. When I got home from work we took advantage of the glimmer of sun and 50 degree temperatures and rode bikes. When we came back in, my son resumed playing with playdoh and my daughter wanted to "tuh-ler" (color). I was in the mood for something a little different so I suggested we make paper airplanes.
My reconnection with the paper airplane actually occurred about a month ago when one of my kindergarten students was trying unsuccessfully to fold a paper airplane during bus call. "Do you know how to make a paper airplane, Mrs. Fields?" Hmmm. At first I thought, do I know how to make paper airplanes? In my eleven years of teaching no student had ever asked me to make a paper airplane. Then I thought back to all of those folded paper goodies from my youth. You know, the folded notes with the tucked in flaps and the little fortune telling contraptions that we used to make? And yes, somewhere back there, I remembered the paper airplane. It did take a couple of tries, but now I recall perfectly how to make a paper airplane. I'm actually getting quite good at the basic plane because at least one student requests a new paper plane every afternoon. In this world of technology and toys it's actually quite refreshing that some children know about paper airplanes and I thought, "I want my kids to know about them too."
My four year old son was really excited about making paper airplanes and readily abandoned his playdoh. I modeled each step with my own paper and he was able to pretty much follow along with minimal help with the creasing. First, we took an 8 1/2 inch by 11 inch piece of cardstock and folded it in half long ways (hot dog style).
Next we unfolded the paper and folded down the top two corners until they met the center crease to form an obelisk or pointy top with a square bottom or the shape of the Washington Monument, whichever you prefer.
Then we took the outside edge of the triangles we just folded and folded them into the crease. A picture better explains this.
Then we folded the plane back down the center fold so that we had a pointy almost plane. To give it a little pizzazz we folded down the back flaps of the airplane. This also helps with aerodynamics when flying around the room (I completely made that up, but it sounds right, I think).
Lastly we decorated the planes.
My son was content with the colored pencils for about 2 seconds and then asked for stickers. We have a gallon sized ziploc bag of stickers tucked away in the kids coloring drawer that my son has all of a sudden become interested in. He put quite a few stickers on his plane.
He had a blast flying it around the house. My daughter couldn't do the folding, but thoroughly enjoyed drawing with colored pencils and putting cupcake stickers on her paper. But then again she just wanted to "tuh-ler".