Paper Airplane

The paper airplane is a staple of childhood.

Paper AirplanesTo start with a flat, ordinary piece of paper and transform it into something three dimensional.

That flies!


There are thousands of ways to make a paper airplane.

Each fold creates a different result.  Some successful.  Some not.

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.

Paper Airplane Game

Paper Airplane Materials:

  • Four 8-1/2 x 11 pieces of paper
  • Scissors
  • 3 Kids

Paper Airplane folded wingGame Instructions:

1.   Make four identical paper airplanes.

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.

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

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 up4.   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.




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

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 ¦

Throw a paper airplane
and it doesn’t get much better than that!

Printable instructions for this Paper Airplane Game.

Now go forth and fly…


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

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