May 26th is National Paper Airplane Day so it’s the perfect time to have an impromptu family paper airplane competition.
Yes, the holiday sounds a little silly. But I love using the holidays as an excuse to find ways to bring fun into our daily lives. Make it a competition and everyone will want to get involved. It’s also a great way to work in a STEM educational project without them realizing it.
The Guinness Book of Records record holder is Joe Ayoob and John M Collins of the US. The record was set on February 26th, 2012 for flying the plane 226 feet 10 inches. The plane was constructed from a single sheet of A4 paper.
Up the stakes and have a great prize (snacks, sweets, or gift cards are a great way to bribe teens to participate). You can even award the winner a “get out of chores for the week voucher”. Or make it an annual event and create a family trophy that gets passed around each year – thrift stores are a great source for finding fun (and unique) trophies.
How to host a family paper airplane competition
one: Decide on the rules (are they limited to a single piece of paper, can weights or other times be added, etc) and judging criteria (distance, time in the air, overall design, etc). Will there be one winner or multiple winners (distance vs time in the air).
two: Announce to your family that there will be a paper airplane competition along with the rules and judging criteria. Make a fun sign posted in a prominent location in your home and leave a stack of plain white paper nearby.
three: Decide on a prize. This can be as simple as a candy bar or a “get out of doing the dishes” voucher.
Cash is fun and easy, $5, 10, or $20 bill.
four: Competition time! Depending on how you will judge have a tape measure and stopwatch available. Have each person go one at a time. Before they launch their airplane, have them explain their design. If there is a tie, have a fly-off to determine the winner.
five: Announce the winner(s) and hand out prizes
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Paper Airplane Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Paper Airplanes
- white paper
- stop watch
- tape measure
- Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids
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