Making paper airplanes is a staple of childhood. This easy and competitive paper airplane game for kids of all ages only requires paper and a pair of scissors. This paper airplane game could be used as a STEM activity, science experiment, science project or just to have a little fun at home or in the classroom.

Paper Airplane Game for Kids - Kids Activities Blog - child holding a paper airplane about to throw it into the air to fly
Let’s play a paper airplane game together!

First, Fold a Paper Airplane!

Paper airplanes are magic in their ability to turn an ordinary piece of paper into something that can fly effortlessly through the air with just a few strategic folds.

Paper Airplanes all in a row after being folded
Folding a basic paper plane is easy!

To start with a flat, ordinary piece of paper and transform it into something three dimensional. Let’s get started with folding our first paper airplane…

Related: How to make a paper airplane

Instructions: How to Fold a Paper Airplane Step by Step

how to fold a paper airplane - you will need a piece of paper or construction paper - 7 steps to folding a paper airplane drawn out with pencil line drawings and arrows - Kids Activities Blog
Let’s fold a basic paper airplane

Easy Steps to Folding a Paper Plane

  1. Fold your 8 1/2 x 11 inch piece of copy paper or construction paper in half lengthwise to mark the middle of the paper with a fold and then open back up.
  2. Hold one of the upper corners of the paper and fold into the middle creating a triangle fold and leave it folded against the middle. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Take the outer corner created by the last fold and fold it completely into the middle paper fold and crease. Repeat on the other side.
  4. Fold the middle fold back on itself exposing the folds you just completed and crease into place.
  5. Take one side and fold it in half by taking the angle edge to the middle crease edge and then crease the fold just enough to allow it to create a 90 degree angle for the paper airplane wing.
  6. Repeat on the other side to make the other paper airplane wing.
  7. Your paper airplane is ready to fly!

Print the Easy Paper Airplane Folding Steps Tutorial

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Paper Airplane Game for Kids

Today, we are looking at what would happen when you change one simple fold in a science experiment from the book, Potentially Catastrophic Science by Sean Connelly. Follow along with the step by step paper airplane game instructions below and at the bottom of this article, you can print out the entire simple science experiment courtesy of the book publisher!

Supplies Needed for Paper Airplane Challenge

Paper Airplane folded wing pictured close up after steps to fold a paper airplane
We are going to fold and cut the wings different ways in this game.

Game Instructions for Playing Paper Airplane Games

Step 1

Make four identical paper airplanes. You can use the step by step paper airplane folding instructions listed above or kids can fold their favorite paper airplane model.

Quick Paper Airplane Folding Guide

Mine were made by folding the paper in half lengthwise and opening back up.   Fold the upper corners into triangles to the mid-line fold line.   Fold over those triangles with another, longer triangle that goes down almost the entire side of the paper.   Reverse the original lengthwise fold and form wings by folding down very long triangles.

Step 2

Cut a one inch length slit into each wing at the rear so the wing tip can be folded.

Step 3

Fold the first plane with both wing tips up, the second with both down, the third with the right up and left down and the fourth with the right down and the left up.

Paper Airplane Game set up with four folded paper airplanes modified in different ways.
This is what our paper airplanes looked like.

Step 4

Now stand together with your kid helpers and give each an airplane in a line.   You are going to throw all four airplanes at the same time in the same direction and watch what happens.




Our Experience Playing the Paper Airplane Game

We found that one plane headed down, one plane spiraled right, one plane spiraled left and one did an upward loop de loop.

Printable Paper Airplane Game Instructions

Publicity-Mad Science Club … by Workman Extras

Why do paper airplanes fly that way?

Why does that happen? Once a plane is airborne, there is still the matter of steering it.   Pilots do this by raising and lowering flaps on the wings and tail of the plane.

The cool thing about this game was that after we finished, we still had four perfectly amazing paper airplanes to play with and it doesn’t get much better than that!

Throw a paper airplane - child throwing a paper airplane in the air
Let’s play with paper airplanes!

Now go forth and fly…

Paper Airplane Books We Love

What are some tips and tricks to help you win the paper airplane game?

  1. Use the right paper: Choose lightweight paper like regular printer paper or origami paper. Heavy or thick paper might not fly as well.
  2. Fold carefully: Pay attention to the folding instructions and make neat and even folds. This helps your plane fly straighter and better.
  3. Balance the weight: Test different ways to add or remove weight from your plane. Sometimes a small paper clip or folding a flap can help balance it and make it fly better.
  4. Adjust the wings: Try bending the wings up or down slightly to see how it affects the flight. Small changes can make a big difference.
  5. Practice launching: Hold the plane in the middle or towards the back, then give it a firm and smooth throw. Try launching it with a slight upward angle for better distance.

Keep trying! Don’t give up if your plane doesn’t fly perfectly at first. Keep testing and making adjustments until you find the best design and technique for you.

What different games can you play with a paper airplane?

Whether you are trying to get your kids outside to play or if you are trying to pass the time inside on a rainy day, there are so many options to play with just a paper airplane.

  • Distance Challenge: See whose paper airplane can fly the farthest. Take turns throwing your planes and measure the distances to find the winner.
  • Target Landing: Set up targets, like hoops or boxes, and try to land your planes as close to the targets as possible. The person with the most accurate landings wins.
  • Time in the Air: Throw your paper airplane and time how long it stays in the air. The one that stays up the longest wins.
  • Airplane Races: Create a racecourse and race your planes through it. The first one to reach the finish line wins.
  • Trick Contest: Show off cool tricks with your planes, like loops or spins. Everyone can take turns doing their best tricks, and you can pick winners based on creativity and skill.
  • Knockdown Challenge: Set up towers using cups or other objects and try to knock them down by throwing your paper airplanes. The one who knocks down the most wins.
  • Obstacle Course: Make an obstacle course using things like chairs or tables. Fly your planes through the course, and the fastest time wins.

Does the paper airplane game build STEM skills?

Absolutely! Playing the paper airplane game will help build STEM skills.

In science, you can observe how different designs or changes in the wings affect how airplanes fly. This helps you understand the science of aerodynamics.

Technology comes into play when you use tools or apps to explore flight simulations or design your own paper airplanes. When you make airplanes, you’re using engineering skills by experimenting with different shapes and folds to see what works best. You also use math when you measure how far the airplanes fly or calculate averages.

By playing the paper airplane game, you get to think, solve problems, and learn how things work in a fun and hands-on way.

Use these instructions we created with multiple airplane designs to create a STEM challenge. Have your kids select their best design and be ready to teach you why it is the best!

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How did your paper airplane games turn out? Did your kids have fun flying their paper airplanes?

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  1. My son has been obsessed with paper airplanes lately.. I need to make several different ones and have flying lessons!