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It may not seem like it, but building a simple paper airplane can be educational and help a grandmother and grandchild bond in many ways. This activity presents an opportunity for us to engage in a creative, fun, and educational experience that transcends generational gaps. Here’s what you can expect over the course of the activity:
- Developing motor skills: The process of folding and constructing a paper airplane helps both the grandchild and grandmother in refining their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and dexterity.
- Cultivating patience and focus: Building a paper airplane requires patience and attention to detail. This shared activity encourages both participants to practice these qualities while working together to achieve a common goal.
- Nurturing creativity: Designing a paper airplane enables the grandchild and grandmother to explore their creativity and imagination. They can experiment with different shapes, sizes, and designs, fostering an environment of innovation and self-expression.
- Learning basic aerodynamics: The activity also serves as an introduction to basic principles of aerodynamics, such as lift, drag, and gravity. This learning experience can spark curiosity and inspire further exploration into scientific concepts.
- Encouraging problem-solving: Building a successful paper airplane may require adjustments and troubleshooting. This problem-solving process can help the grandchild develop critical thinking skills and empower the grandmother to impart her wisdom and experience.
- Strengthening communication: Collaborating on this project can help improve communication between the grandchild and grandmother, as they need to discuss ideas, share instructions, and ask questions.
- Building a sense of accomplishment: Successfully creating a paper airplane that flies well can provide a sense of accomplishment for both the grandchild and grandmother. This achievement can help build confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of pride in their work.
- Creating lasting memories: Building paper airplanes can be a memorable bonding experience that both the grandchild and grandmother can cherish for years to come. The activity can become a cherished tradition, fostering a strong and enduring relationship between the two.
Just as there’s more than one way to eat a Reese’s, there’s more than one way to create a paper airplane. There are many ways to fold a piece of paper to make a plane that looks different, flies different, and just feels different. Experiment with the various types and hold some competitions to see whose plane flies the farthest or fastest or even looks the best. The grandchildren will love it!
HGTV has an amazing, in-depth tutorial on several types of planes that can be built from sheets of paper, with some of them only needing basic supplies like scissors, rulers, and double-sided tape.
This first one they call “The Dart.”
A simple and basic version everyone should know how to make.
The steps are as follows:
- Fold the paper in half vertically.
- Unfold the paper and then fold each of the top corners into the center line.
- Fold the top edges into the center line.
- Fold the plane in half toward you.
- Fold the wings down and match the top edges up with the bottom edge of the body.
- Add double stick tape to the inside of the body.
How about a plane that stays in the air a long time? “The Bumble” is what you’re looking for!
This cute little bumble bee of a plane will stay afloat like our black-and-yellow, honey-making insect friends!
Their instructions for The Bumble go like this:
- Fold the paper in half horizontally.
- Unfold the paper and fold each of the top corners into the center line.
- Fold the peak down to meet the edge of the previous fold.
- Fold the upper sides into the center line.
- Fold the top edge 1/2” away from you.
- Fold the plane in half towards you.
- Fold the wings down 1/2” from the bottom of the plane.
- Add double stick tape to the inside of the body. The finished plane should look like this.
What exactly makes a plane model like this one stay in the air longer than another? A technical explanation gives us the insight:
There are several factors that can affect the flight time of a paper airplane. Some of these include the design of the paper airplane, the shape of the wings, the weight and balance of the aircraft, and the aerodynamic properties of the paper used.
The design of the paper airplane can greatly impact its flight time. Specifically, the shape and size of the wings, as well as the overall shape of the plane, can affect its ability to generate lift and reduce drag. A well-designed paper airplane will have wings that are slightly angled upwards to create lift, and a body that is streamlined to reduce drag.
The weight and balance of the paper airplane are also important factors in determining its flight time. If the plane is too heavy, it will not be able to stay in the air for very long. Additionally, if the weight is not evenly distributed across the airplane, it will be difficult to control and may not fly as well.
For even more models and crazy designs, be sure and check out the HGTV How to Make a Paper Airplane page!
There are also plenty of YouTube tutorials on how to create paper airplanes.
Here’s a simple, well-rounded plane you can make that they call the “World’s Best Paper Airplane.”
Here’s how to fold a sleek and sharp airplane that will cut through the air and fly farther thanks to the properties of aerodynamics!
How does this work exactly? Here’s another technical explanation:
Aerodynamics is the study of how air moves around objects, in this case, the paper airplane. There are four main forces acting on a paper airplane during flight: lift, weight, thrust, and drag. A well-designed airplane can minimize drag and maximize lift, helping it to glide smoothly and maintain a stable flight.
Here are some technical details that explain why a pointy paper airplane cuts through the air better:
- Airfoil shape: A paper airplane with a sharp and skinny design typically has an airfoil shape, which is the cross-sectional shape of its wings. This shape creates a difference in air pressure between the upper and lower surfaces of the wing, generating lift. A well-designed airfoil shape helps the airplane generate more lift with less drag.
- Reduced drag: Drag is the force that opposes the airplane’s motion through the air. This sleek design reduces the two main types of drag: skin friction drag and pressure (form) drag. Skin friction drag is caused by the friction between the air and the airplane’s surface, while pressure drag is created by the separation of airflow around the airplane. A smooth, streamlined surface and a sharp leading edge minimize the surface area exposed to the air, reducing both types of drag.
- Aspect ratio: The aspect ratio of a wing is the ratio of its span (length from tip to tip) to its average chord (width). A higher aspect ratio usually results in lower induced drag, which is created due to the generation of lift. This airplane model has a higher aspect ratio, which means its wings are relatively long and narrow. This design choice helps reduce induced drag and improve the overall aerodynamic efficiency of the paper airplane. The reduced drag allows the airplane to cut through the air more smoothly, maintain higher speeds, and have a longer flight duration.
Huh. You learn something new every day! 🙂
Feeling up to a challenge? How about taking a stab at creating this paper jet that is totally complicated looking but actually flies!
The possibilities seem endless, and they really are! Try incorporating different aspects of different models to make your own design, and make friendly bets on whose plane can travel the farthest distance or stay in the air the longest amount of time.
So much bonding, learning, and fun to be had here… What else can you ask for? 🙂