Paper Airplane Party Games
Try these 10 fun paper airplane activities and games that you can play at any party with kids or adults.
If you child loves paper airplanes, consider throwing them a paper airplane themed birthday party. In this article, we've gathered 10 great paper airplane games and activities that any kid (or adult) will enjoy. You can throw a contest, create a decorating activity or play an airplane themed game. Use the table of contents to skip to your favorite game or read on to discover some fun activities for your next party.
Parties often start with an ice-breaker. The purpose of an ice-breaker is to introduce people who may not know each other, and to build a feeling of camaraderie and friendship. It helps warm people up and get them excited to play some games. There are many fun ice breakers that you can use, but here is one that uses paper airplanes.
- Give everyone a piece of paper and a pencil.
- Each person secretly writes down an obscure fact about themselves on this paper. Maybe it's their favorite food, an unusual talent, or the location of a memorable vacation. Don't pick anything obvious, like hair color. It works best if this obscure fact is unknown by most of the other participants. Don't make any distinguishing marks on the paper. It's meant to be a secret.
- Everyone folds their paper into a paper airplane.
- Now, on the count of three, everyone throws their paper airplane across the room. Be careful that you don't aim at someone, you don't want to poke an eye!
- Everyone runs and picks up a paper airplane that isn't their own. If someone gets their own airplane, they should let everyone know and the airplanes can be thrown again.
- Once everyone has someone else's airplane, they unfold them and quietly read the secret fact.
- Now, the task is for each person to mingle with the group, ask questions, and find the person who belongs to the fact. This should trigger some fun conversations. When the person is found, return their airplane.
- Once everyone has their own paper airplane back you can go around the group and have each person say their name and read their fact aloud to the group. If they want, they can tell a story about their fact.
This game will test people's ability to throw a paper airplane accurately. You can run it as a contest if you wish, and give a small prize to the winner. To prepare, you will need to get a big piece of paper or poster board. Draw an airport runway on the paper. You can get creative with stripes and decorations. If you are feeling artistic, paint some buildings or airplanes waiting to take off. Now, mark off different parts of the runway and assign them different points. Maybe a perfect landing right in the middle is worth 10 points. A landing that goes a little short or long is worth 8 points, and a landing that hangs off the sides is worth 5 points.
Place the runway on the floor and mark a line about 20 feet away where people will throw from. Each contestant should be given some paper with which to fold a few paper airplanes. You can use our printable paper airplane templates if you want.
Players can take turns throwing their paper airplanes at the runway. You can decide how many attempts to give each player. Players may want to adjust the ailerons on their airplane to steer it. Keep track of each player's point total on a piece of paper.
For an added challenge, you could blindfold the players to make it more difficult. You may want to move the throwing line closer or have larger targets if you try this, otherwise it might be too difficult.
Pin the Tail or Propeller on the Airplane
This is a variation of the traditional game of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" except, obviously, we are using an airplane instead of a donkey. In this classic game, you should prepare a large poster of an airplane that is missing its tail. You can also have it missing its propeller if you prefer. Prepare some loose tails or propellers on small pieces of paper, one for each participant in the party. Put a piece of double stick tape on the back of each piece.
Now, taking turns, each person is blindfolded and spun around a few times. It is their task to stick the tail/propeller on the poster of the airplane, as close as they can to the correct spot. The closest person wins!
You can also play "Pin the Pilot on the Airplane" and have each person's photo or name on a piece of paper. The closest pilot to the airplane cockpit is the winner.
Yet another variation is to have a large map of the world or country posted on the wall and each person tries to pin an airplane as close as they can to a specific country or city.
We have prepared all of the pictures that you need and put them all into a convenient PDF document. If you have a Pilot's License, you can download and easily print and cut out all the pieces that you need to play this game at your next party.
Air Relay Race
This is an active game that you can play with multiple teams competing against each other in a paper airplane throwing race. The teams should be as equal as possible with a minimum size of 2 people. To prepare, each team should fold a paper airplane of their choice. Split each team in half and have the halves stand in a single file line, facing their other half about 20 feet apart. One side should hold their paper airplane.
When you blow a whistle, the race begins. Teams throw their paper airplane to their teammate on the other side. They catch the airplane and throw it back. After each teammate throws the airplane, they get in back of their line to wait their turn again. Teams will want to throw fast and accurate, but also be careful with catching the airplane to avoid damaging it. A damaged paper airplane will not fly as well and the team's time may suffer. Continue the race for a predetermined number of laps. The first team to finish is the winner.
Who Can Throw the Furthest?
This is the classic paper airplane contest. Provide some paper to each of the party participants. You can also provide some tape and rulers as well as colored markers in case anyone wants to get fancy. Each person should make at least one paper airplane of their choice. You can use our paper airplane plans to give people some options if they don't know how to make a paper airplane. Each person should label their airplanes with their name.
Find a nice wide open space where there will not be any obstructions for at least 50 feet. Now, taking turns, each person comes up to a line that you have marked and throws their airplane as far as they can. Give each person a few tries with different airplanes, if they wish. They may want to adjust the flaps on their paper airplane to have better performance.
Use a tape measure to keep track of the distances. If you have little sticks to poke into the ground, you could mark off every 5 feet ahead of time to make it a little easier. The person who throws their airplane the furthest is the winner!
For detailed setup instructions, contest rules and a handy printable scorecard, please check out our Paper Airplane Contests article.
Balloon Pop Airplane Darts
This activity is best suited for older kids or adults because it uses a sharp point that might hurt someone if used carelessly. To prepare, make a paper airplane and tape a pin, sewing needle or tack to the tip. You might want to make a few spares in case they get damaged. Additionally, tape a bunch of small balloons to a large piece of cardboard which you can hang or prop up against a wall.
Players take turns throwing the paper airplane at the balloons and attempting to pop them with the pin. The player who pops the most balloons at the end is the winner. Alternatively, you could award different amounts of points to differently colored balloons.
Fly Through Hoops
Gather some hula hoops, ring frisbees, or cut some rings out of a large piece of cardboard. A single piece of cardboard could make many concentric rings of various sizes if you use the discarded circle from the larger ring to make the next smaller ring. Now, hang these rings around the house using string, or if you are outdoors hang them from tree branches.
Standing 20-30 feet away, players should take turns throwing paper airplanes through the rings to accumulate points. Smaller rings can be worth more points and you can give bonus points if someone manages to through the airplane through more than one ring in the same flight. Players may wish to learn how to steer and aim their airplanes to score more points.
This is a fun activity that lets kids explore their artistic skills. There are no rules, just have fun folding and decorating the coolest paper airplanes. Party goers may want to decorate their paper airplanes to look like a realistic fighter jet, or they might want to get whimsical and use bright colors and fancy accouterments. Here are some art supplies that you can provide:
- Paper (Various Colors)
- Colored Markers
- Colored Pencils
- Pipe Cleaners
- Watercolor Paints
- Tissue Paper
This energetic party game is based on the traditional game of capture the flag. In this variation, the goal is to reach the other team's airport, get their paper airplane and take it on a cross country flight back to your airport before the other team does the same to yours.
Break the group into two teams and position each team on either end of a field or open space. Mark off a patch of the ground to be each team's airport. Each team gets a paper airplane of a unique color that is parked at their airport.
Players walk, run, crawl or sneak their way into the other team's airport and pick up their paper airplane. If a player gets tagged by the other team, they must freeze in place and cannot play until someone from their own team tags them to unfreeze them. When a paper airplane is picked up, it must be thrown. A player may not move while they are holding a paper airplane, although they may rotate in place. If a player gets tagged while holding a paper airplane, they are immediately frozen in place and must turn over the airplane to the person who tagged them. The tagger can now throw the airplane themselves. Players of either team may grab paper airplanes out of the air mid-flight or pick airplanes off the ground.
Objective and Strategy
The first team to return the other team's paper airplane to their airport is the winner.
If you pick up the opposing team's paper airplane, you will want to throw it towards your own airport, but you may want to aim at one of your teammates so they can grab the airplane quickly and throw it again. If you are holding your own airplane, you will want to return it to your own airport to make it more difficult for the other team.
Paper Airplane Golf
This paper airplane game is based on the game of disk golf, which is based on golf. If you are familiar with either of those games, then you already know how to play paper airplane golf.
Use a cardboard box, bucket or trash can as the hole. The paper airplane is the golf ball. Everyone starts at the same spot and attempts to get their paper airplane into the hole. Take turns for the first thrown, and then which ever paper airplane is furthest from the hole throws next. Keep track of the number of throws that it takes and the lowest score is the winner. When laying out your course, use trees and other obstacles to make it interesting. You can also make conditions for each course called "air traffic controller rules". For example, a paper airplane must pass on the left side of a certain tree. Make sure everyone knows the specific "air traffic controller rules". If any rule is violated or if the paper airplanes go out of bounds then the player must redo their throw from their previous location but still count the throw in their score.
A paper airplane themed birthday party is unique and it can be a lot of fun. We hope that one of these games or activities will spice up your next celebration. If you know of another paper airplane themed party game, please let us know.