Easy Paper Helicopter DIY – STEM for Kids
We do love a paper craft… paper is something that most people easily have to hand and with a snip here and a cut there (or just a fold and fold)… you can quickly and easily make ALL SORTS of fun paper toys and paper decorations. One such idea are these oh so simple DIY Paper Toys – How to make a Paper Helicopter! Super quick and fun to make and great to watch them fly and spin!
This is on my “Stuck At Home” Playlist too – so if you need “easy videos” for kids to follow and do (more or less) on their own.. do take a peak at that too!
Based on nature’s helicopter seeds these really are a marvel. Get the kids making the basic shape.. and then why not experiment and see how you can turn this simple DIY into a proper S.T.E.M. activity. Get the kids to come up with alterations and predict what will happen to their toy… then explore and experiment what really happens and see if you can figure out why! Super simple science for kids!
This post has been updated, since I originally created it! Some of the images are highlights from my Kids’ Paper Projects book – all you need is paper and some stationery!! Available on Amazon, Costco and Bookstoors!
Paper Helicopter Toy – materials:
- strips of paper approx. 21cm x 3cm
- pens or scraps of paper for decorating (optional)
- paper clip
- glue (if decorating!!!)
Yep.. that is REALLY it.. you can probably make these without scissors nor paper clips – with some simple tearing…. making this a super fun on the go little paper craft! No templates needed!!
Alternatively – WORKSHEETS are available in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store. These are a handy one page printable for independent working. Students can practice their “following instructions” skills, and are encouraged to experiment with different sizes and weights. A fun way to explore the effects of gravity and air resistance in the classroom.
How to make a Paper Helicopter Toy
We have both a video and written instructions for you! Choose which you find easier to follow!
How to make a paper helicopter step by step PHOTOS!
Step 1 – Cut out your strips of paper – we used approximately 21 cm x 3 cm. Use a ruler for nice neat lines. The top end will become the “wings” or “rotors”. You can experiment with different sizes, but these dimensions worked well and have a good spin.
Step 2 – The image shows you the folds (dotted lines) and the parts to cut (solid lines).
Fold roughly into 3 parts.
Step 3 – Bring the bottom 1/3 of the paper up and make a neat crease. You should now have a piece of paper that is 2/3 of the original size, with one side a double layer (this is the part that will be weighted down by the paper clip and forms the body of the paper helicopter).
Step 4 – Making the body “heavy” and streamed lined. Cut 0.5cm snips on both sides of the top fold. Fold the double sheets of paper inwards along these snips – making a thicker base.
Step 5 – Making the rotors. Cut approx. 5cm down the centre of the remaining top 1/3 of the original paper strip.
Step 6 – Fold down the created flaps into opposite directions to make the helicopter rotor blades.
Step 7 – Decorate if you wish and add a paper clip for additional weight to the helicopter.
Experiment with variables – what happens with no paper clip, one paper clip and two paper clips… does your helicopter spinner better or faster? Paper helicopter falls fast with or without a paper clip? Can you change fast the helicopter spins? What a effect do shorter blades have or maybe change the shape of the blade and make it a slanted blade? etc.
What forces at play… You can discuss air resistance, upward force of air, force of gravity, equal forces between the two/ opposing thrusts and impact of the weight of helicopters on these!
We particularlyly enjoyed taking a slow-motion video, so you can watch the spin of the rotor blades. So fun!
Also do check out our YouTube Paper Crafts Playlist – LOTS AND LOTS of paper crafts all in one place! Alternatively browse our Paper Crafts Here!
I do hope you enjoyed the Paper Helicopter video. As mentioned previously.. do watch it RIGHT TO THE END to see the Helicopters fly, but also to hear about the extension ideas and how to turn this fun little Paper craft into a proper S.T.E.A.M. activity and really get the kids THINKING and EXPLORING!
Lots more fabulous DIY Paper Toys here: