Fly the Skies on Paper Planes
Remember those paper airplanes you threw in class? Well, there’s more to these flyers than just annoying a substitute teacher. Playing with paper airplanes helps kids fine-tune their motor skills, hand/eye coordination and manual dexterity. Kids also use critical-thinking and science skills when they design their own paper airplanes.

In fact, Ken Blackburn, the Guinness Book of World Records champ for keeping a paper airplane aloft, considers flying folded paper wings to be a science. An aeronautics engineer, Blackburn is co-author of the Kids’ Paper Air Plane Book. Visit his Web site.

For novice paper-airplane flyers, glide your mouse to and type “paper airplanes” in the search box. You’ll get folding and flying tips plus easy, step-by-step instructions for the basic glider and the flying dart.

Sailing pieces of paper in the air provides a fun, no-cost afternoon with the kids. Once you get the hang of it, have some fun and hold a paper airplane contest with family and friends. Get contest guidance from Bob McDonald, host of the CBC Radio science program, Quirks and Quarks. Paper airplanes are a passion for this Canadian broadcaster, so every week he offers a new paper airplane design you can make at Flights of Fancy.

Paper airplanes can also be the basis for hands-on classroom science projects. Fly to the Community Learning Network’s theme page on paper airplane science at buzz over to the Cyberbee’s Flying Free Web page for links to sites for budding paper-airplane pilots.

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From United Parenting Publications, March 2002