Rainy day adventures: learn how to make a paper plane

Many different coloured paper planes on a flat surface
How to make a paper plane, or 200 © Hafiez Razali / Shutterstock

When you’re stuck indoors and find yourself daydreaming about flying off to a faraway place with (or without?) the kids, channel that wanderlust into a family-friendly activity. Spark your children’s imaginations with these crafty paper plane tutorials.

What you’ll need:

- An assortment of colourful A4 paper
- A tidy flat surface
- Optional: a ruler
- Optional: a paperclip
- Optional: stickers and colouring pencils

A child's hands making a paper airplane
Start with a simple step-by-step guide to make a paper plane © StepanPopov / Shutterstock

How to make a paper plane (easy version)

Step one: Fold your paper in half, lengthways. Make a crease with your nail or a ruler, then unfold again.

Step two: Fold the top two corners down to meet the middle crease, creating a point at the top.

Step three: Fold the same two corners in again so they meet at the middle, creating an even sharper point.

Step four: Fold the whole thing in half along the crease you made at the beginning, with all of the new folds inside.

Step six: Open and fold one side downwards towards the original middle crease, then repeat on the other side.

Step seven: If you like, add a paperclip to the tip of your plane – adding weight can make it fly further.

Step eight: If you feel like going a step further, decorate your paper plane with your own designs, or use stickers to make it bright and colourful.

Spread your wings

Once you’ve mastered the basics, challenge yourselves with some trickier folds. There’s a database of paper plane guides on foldnfly.com, while this YouTube playlist from Origamics features tonnes of advanced paper plane designs. If you have any plastic straws knocking around, this quirky ‘plane’ offers a slightly-better-than-single-use use for them.

More origami inspiration

- Find detailed origami tutorials on Jo Nakashima’s YouTube channel. The designs he features range from simple(ish) butterflies to complex dragons, all guaranteed to inspire creative kids.

- Forget paper planes – make a paper boat instead with these step-by-step instructions.

- Remember making ‘cootie catchers’ or ‘fortune tellers’ at school? Check out this cool shark-themed version, which includes a free print out.

Welcome to a world of crafting, creativity… and cardboard! Lonely Planet’s Cardboard Box Creations will take you around the globe as you build 20 travel-themed objects, icons and famous landmarks. Including step-by-step instructions and a starter kit of cardboard sheets with cut-out template guides, you’ll soon become a master cardboard crafter!

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