What If We Made More Paper Airplanes?

Last night my youngest son became bored. This can become dangerous if left unattended. So, I attended.

See, we limit the amount of screen time (video games, t.v., and various mobile devices) he consumes. I don’t think a lot of screen time is particularly healthy for 6-year olds, or for anyone really. So, as a family we play a lot of board games, card games, and other such barbaric, outdated nonsense *winks*.

Copyright 2013, D.C. McGannon, All Rights Reserved

Some of the sticks I’m talking about. These aren’t really sticks. They are, in fact, laser-beam shooters, lightsabers, and magical wands.

As well, my little guy loves Legos and sticks.

Yup. Sticks. You know…those wooden-like pieces of debris often found in yards that have fallen from those tree-like things all around your yard, or in your local park, or scattered densely along walking trails. The sticks, as they are commonly known, are born from the tree-like growths and delivered (dropped) to families everywhere, each day, right there next to their houses, or in fields, or anywhere you can find tree-like growth. Most people these days have hired other people who, for a fee, visit their property each week and remove all the unwanted sticks from their yards. (Can you imagine how the tree-things feel when they see this happening?)  It’s amazing to me that people get paid for picking up sticks (sounds like another barbaric game)!

My 6-year old does it for free! And he even plays with them afterward. PLAYS with them, mind you.

Copyright 2013, D.C. McGannon. All Rights Reserved

This is my little guy with another “stick”. This is a walking stick I made last Spring from a fallen tree branch in our backyard. Also, those are the tree-like “growths” I’m talking about in the background. Fascinating, aren’t they?

Have you ever watched what a 5 or 6-year old can do with a stick. Entire armies are commanded. Ancient ninjas are fought off, rather successfully. Monsters who are attacking our back yard are fended off, and often even turned into friendlies so there is more help for fighting the ninjas.

It’s a wand, it’s a laser shooter…no, NO!…It’s…a…STICK!!!

But, then, last night he was bored. He had outplayed the Legos. His lightsabers had fought their final battle for the day. There were no puzzles to assemble. His older brother was occupied with a video game. Mommy was asleep (she wasn’t feeling well last night), and I was attempting to read and watch a show at the same time (wasn’t working).

The little one slid up next to me on the couch and whispered simply, “I’m bored.”

I asked him, “What about your Legos?”

“Done.”

“What about your other toys?”

“Done.”

“What about…?”

“Done, done. Done.”

So I did what many parents do in crisis situations such as these. I instructed him to go change into his pajamas, brush his teeth, and get himself ready for bed.

I’m brilliant! That would surely take like 20 or 30 minutes, maybe longer, and I could continue unsuccessfully reading and watching a show at the same time.

10 minutes later (TOPS!)… “Done.”

So, I had another brilliant idea. Paper Airplanes!

DO NOT ask me where it came from because I have no idea. I have not made paper airplanes for years (which is a shame, really) and there was nothing around me that would have necessarily influenced that idea to overtake my thinking.

But there I was, pulling paper from the printer feed and transforming those thin, 20 lb. sheets of…wait! Isn’t paper made from trees?

Those tree-like embodiments not only give us sticks, but PAPER AIRPLANES too! WHAT?!?!?!

It’s a conspiracy, me thinks.

I’m sure the trees were proud of me last night, though. “Look,” they hummed, looking in from the back yard, “the human-like creature is resourceful!”

Whatever.

Paper airplanes. We made several. The first couple I made were attempts from childhood memory. They were O.K. Then I looked up some instructions on the internet.

That’s when stuff got real!

Copyright 2014, D.C. McGannon. All Rights Reserved.

These are some of the ones we made. I think there are more scattered around, but this was the beginning of our paper brigade.

We made one called the “Swallow Tail”, and one called the “boomerang”. The boomerang is a paper airplane that when thrown, comes back to you. But…then…you…probably already figured that out.

Nevermind.

We made others, and even made an “exploding envelope” that is fun for origami enthusiasts.

The point is my little guy was no longer bored. Neither was I.

We had paper airplane races. We scored points for who could fly the farthest. We had air battles. We laughed at all the silly things the paper airplanes did when they didn’t fly straight. We accidentally flew them into things that fell over. Oops…

But it was fun. And not boring!

And we didn’t have to stare at a screen. And it didn’t cost anything, except for about an hour and a half of remembering, creating, folding, and flying. And a few sheets of paper.

Now, there are paper airplanes of all shapes and sizes littering our house. We jumped in to a whole new world of play for a while last night. I remembered once again how much fun the simple things can be. My 6-year old was no longer bored, but rather had a blast playing with his Dad.

Crisis averted.

Funny how sticks and paper can provide so much quality entertainment. I wonder what the world would be like if we made more paper airplanes.

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