Most fortune tellers work the same way; you pull the string tight so that a line is formed and then let it go to “catch” a fortune. That said, cootie catchers are a kind of paper fortune teller that kids of all ages — even older kids — can have hours of fun with. It’s one of the popular origami fortune tellers, which are also sometimes called chatterbox, whirlybird, or salt cellar. With just a square piece of paper, kids can have so much fun with this craft activity — especially when they start “predicting” things with their paper fortune teller.
Here are step-by-step instructions you can follow if you want your kids to make their very own cootie catcher.
There are just a few things you need to make your own version of the cootie catcher:
- Pen or pencil
- Marker or crayons
- Sheet of paper
- Printable cootie catcher templates
A cootie catcher template can guide you when it comes to where to fold and the right number of times. There are lots of free cootie catcher templates you can find on the internet depending on how you want to design it or the kind of cootie catcher game you want to play. Here are a few examples:
- Printable Paper has a free blank template that you can customize to your liking.
- Leap of Faith Crafting has a free printable template that includes free printable cootie catcher games and other fun ideas.
- The Spruce Crafts has a list of 10 creative printable cootie catcher ideas that you can make for personal use or as party favors.
Before you start folding for your cootie catcher, you need to make sure that the paper you’re using is a square sheet. Most origami paper is already square-shaped, but in case you don’t have one, you can just fold and cut off the longer length of a bond-sized paper to end up with a square.
Start by folding your square sheet in half diagonally. Do this on both sides, so you’ll end up with an X at the center. Pinch the center together.
Fold the paper in half from top to bottom. Unfold it, then fold it in half again — this time from left to right.
Fold each corner of the paper towards the inside of the center. Flip the paper, then repeat. On the folded sides, you should have inside flaps and outside flaps.
Rotate the paper to the side and pull out all the flaps, making each one look like pockets that can fit your fingers. It should look like a triangle-shaped mouth that can catch cooties — hence the name!
Now you have your own cootie catcher! A simple, cute idea such as this will only take a total time of a few minutes.
You can start writing any “destiny” or “prediction” you want on the folded sides and see if it’s your lucky day! These answers should be applicable to any kind of question, whether that’s about mysteries, a secret admirer, magic, jokes, a trend, other secrets, tricks, and even math!
- If you’re the fortune teller, you’ll be the one holding the cootie catcher with both your thumbs and index fingers inside the pockets.
- The other participant asks a question then picks whatever is one of the top flaps of the cootie catcher. Most cootie catchers place a color’s name on the top flaps. If you happen to pick “orange,” for example, the fortune teller will open and close the cootie catcher based on the number of letters “orange” is made up of. You can change this up by using an animal’s name, like “elephant,” or a month like “June.”
- Choose from the options shown on the inside flaps. Again, you can be creative here. Most use a visible number or a letter. Depending on the fortune teller, you may have to pick a second number or letter to open and close the cootie catcher again before they reveal the prediction. There’s no right amount of times to do this, but you wouldn’t want to keep your participant waiting!
- One you’ve picked your last letter or number, the fortune teller opens the flap you’ve chosen and reads the fortune inside.
Wasn’t that a fun and easy activity? See if you and your kids can try making one for an afternoon of fun!