How to Make Math and Reading Cootie Catcher

  • 01 of 04

    Using Cootie Catchers for Learning

    A cootie catcher.
    A cootie catcher. Photo: © Amanda Morin

    Making cootie catchers, or Chinese fortune tellers, as they are sometimes known, is a great activity for its right. Folding the intricate fortune teller, while it may be frustrating for some children, is very good way to strengthen fine motor skills. And the fun kids have together creating goofy fortunes is wonderful social interaction.

    The typical cootie catcher is used as a game in which kids pick a number, manipulate the fortune teller by opening and closing it while counting out that number....MORE Then they pick a number on the inside, lift the flap and read their mysterious fortune.

    However, cootie catchers can be used as a learning tool, too. They can help your child practice spelling words, sight words, multiplication facts, parts of speech and pretty much any other type of facts you can think of. Here are some ways to use a cootie catcher for learning:

    • Spelling or Sight Word Cootie Catchers
    • Multiplication Fact Cootie Catchers
    • Parts of Speech Cootie Catchers
    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Make a Spelling or Sight Word Cootie Catcher

    Spelling Word Cootie Catcher. Image: © Amanda Morin

    Making a spelling or sight word cootie catcher targets a few different skills simultaneously--the ability to recognize words by sight, use them in sentences and define them correctly.

    To make a sight word cootie catcher, as seen in the image above, you can fold your fortune teller using a blank piece of paper.

    Have your child write one of his target sight words in each of the numbered triangles. Then, flip the paper over and let him decorate the four corner squares and write a number on each one....MORE It doesn’t matter what number he writes, but single digits make the game easier.

    Fold the cootie catcher.

    Once the fortune teller is finished, you and your child can play. Grasp the cootie catcher with your thumb and forefinger. Choose one of the numbers your child has written on the corners and open and close the cootie catcher the corresponding number of times.

    Have your child pick a word. Say the word out loud and then spell it, opening and closing the cootie catcher with each letter. When he is finished, have him pick another word and then lift up the flap to reveal the directions.

    Depending on which word he chooses, your child will then have to use the word in a sentence, define the word, spell it with his eyes closed or name a rhyming word.

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Make a Multiplication Fact Cootie Catcher

    Multiplication Fact Cootie Catcher. Image: © Amanda Morin

    Making a multiplication fact cootie catcher is a little more involved than making the sight word version—but only slightly! It’s folded the same way, but in order for the facts and answers to line up, you have to be very careful about where you write the information.

    Each cootie catcher can hold up to eight facts. Fold your fortune teller and then open it back up again so you can use the folds as a guide when following along with the image above.

    Write a multiplication fact in each numbered...MORE triangle and then write the corresponding answer in the associated "A" triangle. For example, if you wrote "2 x 2" in triangle 1, you would then write "4" in triangle A1.

    When you have finished writing the facts, flip the paper over and fold the cootie catcher. Cut carefully where the dotted lines are in the photo. Then, have your child pick a fact and you’re ready to use the fortune teller!

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Make a Parts of Speech Cootie Catcher

    Parts of Speech Cootie Catcher. Image: © Amanda Morin

    This cootie catcher targets your child’s ability to identify parts of speech (that is, whether a certain word is a noun, verb, adverb or adjective). Before making the fortune teller, it’s probably a good idea to review those parts of speech with your child. If you’re having trouble remembering them, check out this cheat sheet for parents.

    You'll find this cootie catchers the easiest one to create. Write the name of one part of speech in each corner square and choose two words to represent...MORE each part of speech.

    Then, using the image above as a guide, write the nouns in triangles 1 and 7, the verbs in triangles 8 and 4, the adjectives in triangles 3 and 5, and the adverbs in triangles 2 and 6.

    Write an encouraging statement of praise, as demonstrated in the image above, in the triangles below each word. Then, flip the paper over and fold your cootie catcher.

    Have your child choose one of the part of speech and spell it out while opening and closing the cootie catcher. Then, have him choose the word that is that part of speech. Open the flap to see if he was right!