Paper Toys Converted into Learning Tools
When you were young, did you fold and play with cootie catchers? I did, but we called them fortune tellers instead of cootie catchers.
I have to admit that we used them for nonsense such as predicting how many children we would have or whether we would be a doctor or a policeman.
Cootie catchers are more than silly child's play. These fun papercrafts can also serve to teach your children in a creative, hands-on, and fun way. No matter your lesson plans, you can integrate a cootie catcher into it. They work especially well for review or narration of a concept you just studied.
Reproducible Cootie Catcher Books for Math, Science, and Language Arts
How to Make a Cootie Catcher
To make a cootie catcher, you need a square piece of paper -- any size will work. You can use a printable template or use these directions. The very act of creating the cootie catcher is a great exercise in following directions, so be sure to let your children do this part.
Once you have made your cootie catcher, decide what to put on the outer and inner flaps. What did you study today? Are there questions and answers you can use for your cootie catcher? Anything works:
- math facts
- events and the dates they occurred
- countries and continents
- parts of speech
- steps in the scientific process
- elements of fiction
- facts about a famous person
Let your child create the questions and answers for the cootie catcher and write them onto it. The take turns quizzing each other with your new learning tool.
Or the cootie catcher could be used as a jump start for your narrations. Inside the flaps write general questions to get your child started on narrating his reading:
- What happened?
- Tell about the causes and effects.
- Describe a person you read about.
- Share the three main points.
Another idea for the cootie catcher is to use it for a quick reading journal prompter. After a reading assignment, let your child choose one of the options from the cootie catcher to write about:
- Reading this made me think about ___.
- What I read is different from ___.
- I think the author is really trying to say ____.
- I learned ___ about a character.
An Example Cootie Catcher for History
During our study of the American Civil War, my daughter used a cootie catcher to make a quiz about the differences between the North and the South.
Then she made a pocket to hold it in her Civil War lapbook.
More Cootie Catcher Inspiration
- Learning to Read with a Cootie Catcher
Quirky Momma uses the cootie catcher for teaching her little ones how to read.
- Mineral Cootie Catcher
This PDF has a printable template for a cootie catcher about minerals -- pyrite, silver, emerald, and fluorite. The last page is a blank template you can use for your own topic.
- cootie catcher nature game at 5 Orange Potatoes
This blogger uses cootie catchers for nature exploration! See, you can truly use them for any subject area.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on March 19, 2013:
This does look like a great way to have fun, teach and learn.
Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on September 19, 2012:
Great hub! I never could fold a paper airplane, so this ought to be a challenge, but it looks fun! Thanks for the great teaching idea!
Kevin on May 05, 2011:
I do the same with my class with a hexaflexagon. I have a video of it on my site.
cashmere from India on May 01, 2011:
What a fantastic idea. I'm going to use this right away
kathywiehl on January 02, 2011:
This is brilliant! I just taught my daughter how to make cootie catchers the other day. We'll have to try this with some math facts.
PaperNotes on December 29, 2010:
this is really interesting. I have to learn how to make and use this cootie catcher.