So what is a crafty mom to do when on the road visiting family? The weather outside was frightful and the paint brushes, mod podge and even markers were no where to be found. Winter break boredom was setting in as screen time limits where reached early in the day. What to do? What to do?
Being at my childhood home, I harkened back to a simpler time… A time before the internet, a time when playing outside with more than enough free time was the norm. What supplies were around? With paper, pen, stapler and tape available, we set out on our craft adventure for the day. What did we make? We made the long standing, never failing, paper airplane.
In case you are a tad rusty on your paper plane folding skills, here’s a refresher. I know that there are many different versions of the paper plane, but this one has held the test of time and distance for our family over the years.
1) First, fold paper lengthwise, making sure to line up edges and crease the bottom sharply.
2) Take upper right corner and fold it down so it touches bottom crease. Crease newly formed edge.
3) Take new top right corner and fold down to bottom crease. Crease newly formed edge.
4) Take new crease edge and match up the length of the crease along bottom edge. Crease wing.
Flip the plane over and start on the left side, repeating steps 1-4. Grab the bottom edges between your index finger and thumb and fly! If you like, you can tape or staple the plane in this spot for easy flying.
You see, like any good crazy creative family, we didn’t just throw the planes, we marked the planes for distance and height and speed. This was more than a plane launch, we turned this into an event! Each winner per round got a hash mark on the wing to wear as a badge of honor. When all was said and done, the plane with the most marks received a special place on the mantle to mark its achievements.
When we were kids, my brother and I played with planes for hours. We would make planes out of different papers and figure out different ways to weight the planes for distance using tape or staples placed ever so carefully on the body of the plane. We would use different colored markers to differentiate rounds and the winning plane would end up highly decorated. We would try to figure out why one thing worked, and another did not. It was a simple craft with creative problem solving attached.
When I think about the creative process, any creative process, I continually end up with the same common theme. All creative processes start with a question and then proceed to an attempt to use what we know to find the solution. Math, science, art, business, writing… They all require creative solutions to a problem placed before us. How do I do this? What do I need to do for that? Can I? Will it? The human ability to take the plane (pun intended) and simple and transform it into something greater… I think that is a gift to nurture in all children. This gift doesn’t require a lot of money or the latest craft gadget. It simply requires a desire to teach, to connect and to share. Give your children the gift of your time and creativity. It will serve them well long into their lives and provide some great fun for the day.
Have fun flying!!!