Open Main Menu
Flying Around | Volando

Flying Around | Volando

Flying, flapping, gliding! Put your folding skills to the test as you engineer, make, and try out your own paper planes.

¡Volar, aletear, volar al aire libre! Pon tus destrezas de doblar papel a prueba mientras ingenias, haces, y pruebas tus propios aviones de papel.

Para ver esta actividad en Español haz clic aquí.


Flappers, Flutterers and Flyers

Part of our Outdoor Science Adventures
Time Needed:
30-45 minutes
Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade
Engineering, Life Science, Physics
Educator Rating:
Parent Rating:

What I'll Learn

Flying animals can flap or glide, but some, like many birds, can do both!

What to Do

What I Need

What to Do: Step-by-Step Instructions


Most paper airplanes glide as they fly through the air, just like a real plane. Start by designing your own paper plane. Then test it. Does it glide through the air? Feel free to modify your design and keep testing until you have a plane that glides the way you want.

Fun Fact:

Not all flying animals get around the same way. Most birds flap their wings up and down to fly, but some birds can also soar or glide. Hummingbirds can flap their wings both up and down and forward and backward, allowing them to hover in place. Bees have to flap their wings forward and backward to get around. How about the butterfly? It turns out butterflies use their body and wings to form a fluttering figure eight pattern to help move through the air.

There are several different ways to make a flapping paper plane, but this method is our favorite. Start by laying your paper horizontally. Please note: we are using paper that is colored on one side so it is easier for you to follow along with the pictures. Regular copy paper works best for this flapping paper plane.

Fold the paper in half, bringing the right side over until it touches the left side. Use your finger or ruler to crease your paper down the middle.

Take the loose edge on the left and fold it over so it touches the right edge, creasing your fold.

Flip the paper over and fold the loose right edge over so it touches the left side. Crease.

Using your ruler as a straight edge, draw a line from the top right corner to the bottom left corner. This will serve as your guide before you fold the paper.

Fold and crease along the line you just drew.

Tips & Tricks:

Don’t worry if your fold isn’t perfect – your plane should still flap when it flies!

Flip the paper over and repeat steps 6 and 7, this time drawing and folding from the top left to the bottom right.


Holding the top piece of the bottom left corner, fold up and to the right to form a triangle. The bottom edge from the previous step should now be in line with the right edge.

Flip the paper over and repeat step 9, moving the bottom right corner up until the original bottom edge is in line with the left edge. Crease.

Unfold your paper along your original middle crease.

Move the bottom tip upward until it touches the top edge of the paper. Crease.

Tips & Tricks:

Use the original center fold as a guide.

Fold the bottom right corner up until the right edge is now touching the bottom line of your center triangle. Repeat on the left side.

Tips & Tricks:

Don’t worry if your folds aren’t perfect – your plane should still flap when you’re done!

Fold the top triangle down so the new long edge of the triangle is in line with the lines created from the previous step.

Flip the paper around.

Fold the bottom tip up. The new triangle will naturally want to form along the edge inside your paper. Crease well.

Using the original center fold as your guide, fold the paper in half, bringing the right side over until it touches the left side.

About a half inch in from your right edge, fold the left side down, creating a straight fold. This will form your right wing.

Tips & Tricks:

The thick paper near the bottom maybe hard for you to fold – ask an adult if you need a little muscle power help!

Flip the paper over and repeat step 18, using the previous fold as a guide.

Get ready to fly! Hold the plane with two fingers at the thickest part, making sure the wings point upward to form a “V”.

With your fingers in the front (holding onto the heavy “head”), point your plane upward and throw it into the air. Then watch it flap in the wind!

Tips & Tricks:

Give yourself lots of room to let your plane fly. This plane flies best outside.
Shopping cart
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping