“I’m going to reuse this paper. It’s just an old multiplication worksheet.”–My seven-year-old
My husband just got back from duty and brought both boys new shiny black jet fighter planes. Cool right? Well, the boys do love their planes and hold them in their hands, pass them back and forth to each other and roll them on the wall, the sofa, and the floor. They also fly them through the air throughout the house and in the car. My seven-year-old naturally gets a bit more altitude because of his height, but my two-year-old seems fine to fly a little low (and swipe his brother’s plane when he’s not looking). And while these planes are cool and new (these kids seem to like anything new for at least five minutes), those mini metal aircrafts still don’t seem to compare to the old standby, the craft that will never let them down, wings that glide and soar through the air (or at least our living room).
What am I referring to? None other than the paper airplane of course. One might think compared to those shiny new metal planes; paper planes would have no appeal. One (meaning me) would be wrong. I suppose paper has a sort of accessible quality, it makes a way out of no way, junk mail, old school work, random paper lying around, and my favorite—planes formed from loving notes scribbled on the inside that read: “I love you mom” or “you’re a great dad”. I guess that’s proof that the tiny pilots in my house are full of adventure and affection.
Anyway, as I think about paper’s appeal, I imagine the boys find it easy and immediate to fold, shape, and recycle their own handmade aircrafts out of life’s colorful leftover stock. Now that I think about it, there are more images, textures, and weight of paper to play with. I imagine these planes are more interesting with their advertisements and colorful wings, with their lightweight nature and glide time of at least a few seconds from the living room to the dining room or from the top of the stairs to the landing at the bottom. I believe part of the secret to the appeal of paper planes is that they fly…and beautifully, when well engineered and crafted by little people with big ideas. A fold here, a tuck there—my seven-year-old designs and turns out these planes as if an engineer, a skilled craftsman, or just a kid having fun. I love how simple plain paper can take on a life of its own, entertain the kids, and fearlessly take to the sky (or at least just below the ceiling).
It’s a good thing we recycle. Those planes do tend to clutter up the house, the car, or wherever else these boys fold and leave them. But I guess that comes with the territory of creatively turning the objects in our lives into toys and wonder, or in this case sudden makeshift airports.
Fly on boys, fly on. But when you’re done, don’t forget to clean up and recycle your creative little mess.