Picture Book Projects: The Great Paper Caper + Paper Airplanes

Posted In: All posts, Reading
Picture Book Projects: The Great Paper Caper

I am a huge fan of using picture books with children to inspire creative endeavors. Today we have Rebecca from Thirteen Red Shoes here to share a fun project that was inspired by The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers.

I simply adore it when you can use a picture book, or any book of fiction or non-fiction, as a starting point for shared experiences. Books can be used to spark discussions and hands on creative activities, which explore many topics including traditional maths and literacy components. A great book to start with is The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers.

If you haven’t read the story, here’s a brief description:

The animals homes are disappearing! Tree by tree, the forest is being cut down. Clues! There must be clues. For instance, look! There is a mysterious bear carrying an ax! But what would a bear want with so many trees? Perhaps the discarded paper airplanes littering the forest floor have a story to tell? Oliver Jeffers’ quirky, childlike humor and lovable illustrations are in full effect in this funny whodunit featuring a winning cast of animals and a message about the importance of conservation and recycling.

By using this book as a starting point, the activities you can present to your littles are endless. Below are a few ideas you could set up as provocations ready to welcome the littles home from school, or when they wake up in the morning:

  • a paper recycling and making station
  • books about occupations
  • studying the fauna in your area, or in our case, learning about animals that we do not see here in Australia
  • designing your own paper airplanes, measuring distances, elevation etc.
  • research on paper airplanes
  • have a talk about family traditions and achievements

After reading the book, we decided to create our own paper planes.

Picture Book Projects: The Great Paper Caper

We used dye wash to create some interesting paper and then waited for it to dry.  While it was drying, we found a paper planes book Little R (aged 5) was given for his birthday (similar to this one). Paper planes were then created and tested.  Little R kept choosing planes from the advanced section. I really need to brush up on my reading an origami pattern, I can never understand what a dotted line means, or when to flip!  We made a few, and I am certain there will be more made over the coming days. I even found a paper plane making kit that I created for a Science Fair at work once.

Picture Book Projects: The Great Paper Caper

Little R wanted to make a giant paper plane (like the one in the book), so I will have to see if I can get my hands on some large sheets of cardboard from the local art supply shop. The possibilities are endless!

More paper airplane inspiration…




Rebecca has a love for travel, the outdoors, and picture books, and enjoys spending her time sourcing delightful educational experiences to share with her two sons.With a background in early childhood and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Tasmania, Rebecca teaches at a private all girls school in Australia. Her passion for the philosophies of Reggio Emilia and Maria Montessori lead Rebecca to Playful Learning many years ago when she first enrolled in the online Playful Learning Spaces workshop.  She shortly became a regular contributor, mainly focusing on children’s literature. Rebecca is currently working on a modern day primer for children, called Alphabet Town under the label bec + georg.


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