Making paper airplanes is one of the most fun activities in our homeschool. And, it is an activity where there is a TON of learning taking place, so the fun is an extra bonus!
It ranks right up there with the day we made magnetic slime!
I'm not exactly sure what it is about folding a piece of paper and letting it fly across the room that is so enticing (especially to the boys!), but I do know that capitalizing on this is something that must be done!
(My son has been making airplanes for years, and we just finished paper airplane science in my class of Abecedarians at Classical Conversations, so I've had some practice in this area.)
It's a great chance to learn about the science and history of flight, and to also feed into our children's creative side.
Before you start making your paper airplanes, some books about flight must be read to catch your child's interest. (I must say that my favorite is probably Leonardo and the Flying Boy - it's been loved in my house for years!)
Books about Flight
How Paper Airplanes Work
Your kids might be very interested in the specifics of how flight works. Other kids might just want to start building planes and experiment on their own.
This video is one of the best and most concise I've found (and I love that it mentions Newton's Third Law of Motion!)
Paper Airplanes to Make
Now that your children understand the science behind paper airplanes, here are some great ideas for planes to make:
Straw Paper Airplanes: Not all planes are created equal, but this one sure does take a magnificent flight! All you need is some construction paper, drinking straw, tape, and scissors to get this unique paper airplane to take flight.
Simple Paper Airplane Pattern: This simple, yet effective, paper airplane design was created by the World Record holder for the longest paper airplane in flight! You can also take a look at the Paper Airplane Patterns Submitted by Viewers where there are a lot of different ideas to explore.
Bernoulli's Paper Airplane Experiment: By using surrounding air to help propel a paper airplane, this experiment is perfect for testing out a not so standard airplane pattern.
NASA Paper Airplanes: There are several paper airplanes pattern that NASA has on their website. Here are a few for you to try:
Amazing Paper Airplanes: This site gives directions on how to make more elaborate paper airplanes such as the Triplet Paper Airplanes. Perfect for the advanced paper airplane maker.
Fold N'Fly: There are a ton of ideas for paper airplanes on this site. You'll find a little bit of everything from the more elaborate to the simpler designs.
10 Paper Airplanes: This site is great for visual learners. There are several different paper airplane patterns to choose from and each one has several photographs and some video to show exactly how to create paper airplanes.
Fun Paper Airplanes: Use this site to print patterns directly from your computer. There are several levels to choose from, as well as some new ideas I'm sure your young pilots and engineers have yet to discover.
Paper Airplane Supplies
Below, I have listed some supplies that will help your kids make the perfect paper airplane as well as some of our favorite books.
AmazonBasics 92 Bright Multipurpose Copy Paper - 8.5 x 11 Inches, 3 Reams (1,500 Sheets)Pacon Tru-Ray Construction Paper, 9-Inches by 12-Inches, 50-Count, Assorted (103031)Scotch Magic Tape 3105, 3/4 x 300 Inches, Pack of 3Hanamal Colored Disposable Flexible Drinking Straws (450pcs)Leonardo and the Flying Boy (Anholt's Artists Books For Children)The Wright Brothers for Kids: How They Invented the Airplane, 21 Activities Exploring the Science and History of Flight (For Kids series)Galileo for Kids: His Life and Ideas, 25 Activities (For Kids series)Flight (DK Eyewitness Books)How Do Planes Fly? How Airplanes Work - Children's Aviation BooksHow to Build a Plane: A soaring adventure of mechanics, teamwork, and friendship (Technical Tales)Kids' Paper Airplane BookKlutz The Klutz Book of Paper Airplanes Craft KitKangaroo's Paper Airplane Kit; 72 Paper AirplanesWhoosh! Easy Paper Airplanes for Kids: Color, Fold and Fly!The Klutz Book of Paper AirplanesKlutz Star Wars Folded Flyers: Make 30 Paper Starfighters Craft KitPowerUp 3.0 Smartphone Controlled Paper AirplaneSkyPaper Paper Plane Launcher - Stealth BlackKlutz Paper Flying Dragons Craft KitSusenstone®Power up electric paper plane conversion kit fashion educational toysSky Streak Twin Pack