Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fold and fly

Somebody at school taught Cady Gray how to make a basic paper airplane a few weeks ago, and ever since, stray pieces of paper left lying around our house have tended to disappear, then pop up as gliders.

I try to notice things the kids are into and build on them, so I picked up a book on paper airplane making in Archer's recent Scholastic order. Cady Gray immediately commandeered it and began a quest to make all the planes therein. I count eight different planes -- gliders, stunt planes, and darts of many varieties -- lying on the coffee table right now.

When I was a kid, I knew how to make exactly two paper airplanes -- the triangular dart that I think of as the prototypical model, and a stubby, squared-off stunt plane with flaps in the back you could fold up or down to get different loops and curves. I coasted on that meager repertoire my whole childhood. Now I can still make the dart, but the stunt plane has faded from memory, along with the origami and string figures I obsessively read about and practiced in my youth. These are essential skills for navigating elementary school, and I'm glad Cady Gray is on the road to acquiring them. Maybe she'll retain them a bit longer than I did. Time to stock up on books of jump-rope rhymes and clapping games!

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