Making and racing paper airplanes is a blast from the past that is still a blast.


Number of players:

The game can be played by 2 to 20 players.


Fold and launch the paper airplane that has the longest and most

accurate flight to win the paper airplane race.

Pre-game preparations:

• Print paper airplane folding instructions from the Fold’ N Fly website. This fantastic resource has extremely clear pictorial instructions for making 40 different types of paper airplanes. The “basic dart,” “water plane,” and “liftoff” are good styles to start with.

• Prior to game day, make some paper airplanes to pique interest in the activity and serve as samples.

• Make a runway on the floor with tape. It should be at least 2' wide and 8' long, but it could be longer and wider if you have the space.  Add a piece of tape horizontally across the runway every 12" and one at the top of the runway to mark the starting line.

• Place the folding instructions, samples, and sheets of paper on a table.


1. Invite people to make paper airplanes. Refer them to the directions. Participants could work

in pairs or small groups to make a plane, or they may prefer to work independently.

2. Encourage people to name their plane. (For example, Shadow Bullet, Free Bird, Deb’s Diver, Gary’s Glider, etc.)

3. Once people are finished making their planes, have them step up to the starting line and launch their planes down the runway, one at a time.

4. The winning plane is the one that goes the farthest and stays within the boundaries of the runway.

5. (Optional) Give the winner a trophy like this or display the winning airplane in a common area.

Keep Flying

Give “pilots” a chance to make a new plane and then conduct the competition again. Talk about which style of plane flew the farthest and/or straightest and if the planes performed better in the second round.


Use 5" X 8 1/2" paper, which is also a good size for planes. Use decorative or recycled paper, such as maps, wrapping paper, magazines, or scrapbook paper.

Group Size Time of Day Duration Acuity Level
Any Any 30 minutes Assisted Living
Skilled Nursing/Rehab
Facilitator Gender
Any Men
Wellness Domains




• 8 1/2" X 11" printer-weight paper in a variety of colors

• Painter’s or masking tape

• Tape measure



Good For

Anxiety, Hearing Loss, Isolation


Making the airplanes: 

Seat participants at separate tables.


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