Paper Plate Fans

It’s getting hot out there! This weekend, it was just cool enough that I couldn’t justify turning on the air conditioning but hot enough that we needed a little reprieve. So, we got out our crayons and paper plates and started working on our personalized fans! They did just the trick.

What you’ll need:Paper plate fans

Paper plates

Crayons or markers

Popsicle sticks



Paper clip


1) Cut paper plate in half. These are personal fans, so we want to keep them small. The smaller size also helps it stick together.

2) Color and decorate the plate any way that you want! That’s the beauty of it! Be sure to color the back side as well since both will show when you fold it.

3) Fold the paper plate accordion style.

4) Put a large drop of glue in each fold at the bottom. Place Popsicle stick in the approximate middle fold. Add a little more glue to the fold with the Popsicle stick.

5) Fold it back up and paper clip the bottom closed until it drys! Be careful not to get any glue on the paper clip so it does not rip it when you take it off.

Nurture the experience: 

This is a great opportunity to teach your kids about symmetry. Practice drawing shapes on a separate piece of paper. Talk to your kids about what it might look like when it is folded in half. Will it line up perfectly, or will there be edges that don’t line up? Explain to your child that when the edges do line up, that it is called symmetrical. When it doesn’t, it is asymmetrical. Take a break from the project and take a look in the mirror with your child. Talk about the human face and whether or not it is symmetrical. You’ll probably get some pretty funny responses but it allows your child to transfer what she is learning about the shapes to other real-life examples.

Recommended Reading: 

Take some time to learn about the Japanese culture and their beautiful fans! Here are some sites for some quick facts.

PBS Learning


Talk to your child about what you’ve learned and make it relevant to her with these books.

The Magic Fan

The magic fanA great story about realizing your gifts! This tale is about a Japanese builder who is very creative and will build just about anything. While struggling to find inspiration, he comes across a magic fan that gives him all the creativity he needs. His village mocks his new creations until the village is saved from a tidal wave by a bridge he built. When his fan is swept out to sea by the tidal wave, he learns that it was his imagination all along, not the fan.


Tikki Tikki Tembo

Tikki Tikki TemboOkay, Tikki Tikki Tembo is set in China, and it is not about fans at all, but I had to include it. This was definitely at the top of my to-go list as a child. So take the opportunity to talk about another Asian country and pick it up! If you read these sequentially, I would suggest noting the differences between Japan and China. This story is about a pair of Chinese brothers who were playing around a well. The folktale in this story states that the firstborn son would receive a long name to honor him and the second born would receive a short, simple name. The eldest son’s name is Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo, and the youngest is Chang. The youngest son falls down the well first, and Tikki Tikki Tembo is able to get help for him very quickly. However, when Tikki Tikki Tempo no Sa Rembo chari Bari Ruchi pip Peri Pembo falls down the well, Chang is not able to communicate it clearly. While it is not an accurate portrayal of Chinese history (what folktales are?) it is a fun book to share with your kids.