It is impossible to know where and in what form the first paper airplanes were folded and flown. There is evidence to suggest it was Ancient China, or Japan. Paper was certainly available and common. Da Vinci, the Wright brothers and many others are known to have used them to understand the mysteries of flight. In this youth Bible Study, Paper airplanes are used to remind us that we also do not have to be weighed down, but can fly to great heights in our relationship with God.
What You Need
Rubber bands, paper clips, paper, masking tape, a measuring tape
Games using Paper Airplanes
- Air Show – Award prizes for the following: longest flight, shortest flight, smoothest takeoff, roughest landing, highest altitude, bumpiest route, biggest loop-the-loop, widest zigzag, and most creative flight pattern, most creative design. Encourage a lot of “oohs” and “aahs” during the performances. You may wish to allow two throws or best of three, depending on time constraints.
- Target Practice – Set up a series of rings hanging from a strong as targets. Have youth take turns trying to launch their planes so that they pass through the various size rings or hoops for points. The smaller the target the higher the points.
- Air Race – Stretch several strings across the room, making sure that each of them is tight and will not come loose. Make several small, light airplanes, one for each string and hang each by its nose or tail by means of a hole threaded through the string. The hole should be the size of a paper punch, so that the airplane will move easily along the string (race course) Line up your contestants and at the signal “Go,” each proceeds to blow his airplane across the string and see who can reach the goal line first. Anyone who touches his airplane or the string is automatically disqualified.
- Pass The Plane – Just like hot potato, you sit the youth in a cirle and give them a paper plane and start the music. When the music stops who ever is holding the plane is out and the game will continue til there is only one youth left.
- Flight Plan – Create an obstacle course in the room. Obstacles can be a small table that the plane must land on, a door or window it must fly through, chairs and obstacles it must fly around, targets it must hit, things it must fly over, under, or through. Fastest time in the obstacle race wins.
- Airplane Blitz – Bring a stack of paper and have the youth write their names, and something significant on the paper, like a favorite verse, prayer request, or something they learned at a recent youth event. They can write another one on another piece of paper (or several). Then let them make paper airplanes out of these. Then you need some way to clearly divide the room in half. (The taller the divider the better.) Put half the youth on each side of the divider. Put half the paper airplanes on each side of the divider. Explain that they can only throw ONE plane at a time and they must stop when the leader says “Stop”. On “Go”, they throw the airplanes over the divider as fast as they can. Planes are flying in both directions. When you say “stop”, count the airplanes on each side of the divider. The team with the least number of planes wins. THEN: Have each person pick up an airplane and read the fun fact on each plane while everyone else tries to guess the identity of the person.
- Largest Paper Airplane contest – Provide butcher paper or newsprint, scissors and masking tape, and one Bible per student. Have the group design a gigantic paper airplane. sharing their paper airplane construction techniques. Have them test out some of their ideas with a normal sheet paper. When the group has decided how to design the giant airplane. have youth fold their huge piece of paper accordingly. Award prizes for the best in various categories.
- Fewest Throws – Count how many throws it takes to get their paper airplanes across a room and land on a table. Reward the youth with the least amount of throws their airplanes took.
- Paper Airplane Dodgeball – Play a game of dodgeball using paper airplanes. If a player is hit with a plane, he hands over his plane and is out of the game. Here are some more rules: Airplanes must be thrown. Simply touching your opponent with your airplane is considered a self-destruct and you are out of the game, forfeiting your planes to your opponent. Airplanes cannot be picked up until they stop moving. (They can’t be stopped with your foot, either.)
TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL
- Were you focused on trying to achieve a specific award or did you just create a general purpose plane? Why?
- What were the key characteristics of your design? Why?
- What were the keys to success for each award category?
MAKE IT SPIRITUAL
- In what ways are the paper airplanes similar to people? Similar to Christians?
MAKE IT PRACTICAL
- The Scriptures in Isaiah 40:31 promise us eagle wings as we wait on God. What does that mean?
- What things keep us spiritually grounded / prevent us from soaring as high as we can as a Christian?
- What things weigh us down spiritually?
- How can we lighten our load?
- What purpose do goals serve in helping us to reach a higher calling in the Christian life?
- What goals did Paul have in life, what did he aspire to reach in life?
- What were Christ’s goals?
- What factors / keys to success make someone a winner in the Christian life?
- What things can we people to be more successful?
- When it comes to accuracy, the word “sin” means “to miss the mark” as we all have done. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Every one of us has sinned against God and missed the mark of God’s perfection. What are some things that cause us to miss our goal as Christians? How do we recover?
MAKE IT PERSONAL
- What are your goals in life? As a Christian?
- Do you have just one goal or many goals? Why?
- Which goal is most important to you? Why?
- How are you similar / different in your goals as compared to Paul / Christ?
- What do you need to change to be more successful as a Christian?
- Exodus 19:4 – “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
- Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) – “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
- 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) – “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
- Matthew 11:30 – “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
- John 8:31-36 (NIV) – “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
- Ephesians 4:11-14 (NIV) – “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.”
200 page e-book that explains everything you need to know when planning your very own object lessons. It contains 90 fully developed object lesson ideas and another 200 object lesson starter ideas based on Biblical idioms and Names / Descriptions of God.
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