cootie catcher nature game

Remember these cootie catchers (or fortune tellers) that we used to make as kids. I’m willing to bet  that everyone reading this post has made one at some point in their lives. It’s time to bring them out once again, but in a little different way. A way to explore the outdoors and nature! First I’ll remind you how to make one.

1. Cut a piece of paper into a perfect square. Mine is 7″ by 7″. Fold the paper in half making a triangle, then unfold.

2. Fold the paper into another triangle going the opposite direction. You should have a seam down the middle where your previous fold was done. Unfold.

3. Turn the paper over so you have a diamond shape facing you; fold the left and right points to the center.

4. Now fold the top and bottom points to the center so that all of the points touch in the center of the paper.

5. Keep the paper folded, turn it over and fold the points to the center once again.

6. Leave it folded, then fold in half leaving the four points on the inside.

7. Put your fingers inside the squares, manipulate it a bit and who-la……cootie catcher!

8. Now to write some directions to follow.  The catchers I made for the little ladies today involve nature and must be done OUTSIDE.
I included some close ups so you can see how I filled one of them.

Directions on how to use the cootie catcher:
1. Pick a topic from the 4 offered. Example:  Name a Tree
2. Spell out the name of a tree opening and closing the catcher with each letter.  Example: Oak- open and close the catcher 3x.
3. Choose a number. Example:1
4. Lift the tab with the number chosen and read the directions. Example: “Hug a Tree”, so I would go and hug a tree.

My 4 main topics were:
1. Name a bird
2. Name a tree
3. Name a flower
4. Name an insect

My 8 directions:
1. Hug a tree
2. Go to a backyard tree and find a seed
3. Take off your shoes and put your toes in the dirt
4. Whisper to a plant
5. Go left 30 steps and look for an insect
6. Pick up a leaf and find one similar
7. Look under a rock
8. Go right 60 steps and name all the plants you see.

More examples:
1. Count how many birds you hear
2. Touch 10 different textures
3. Go right 30 steps, get down close to the ground and name all the life you see in the grass
4. Name the trees you see
5. Look for 5 different leaves
6. Name something brown around you
7. Name something you smell
*use all the senses you can, give them directions to go- North, South, East, West, left or right; the possibilities are endless!

Now get outside and enjoy!!!!!

*Be sure to check out the new Have a Heart Monster in the shop!


  • Tania
    March 24, 2011 - 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Omg, i love this!! Can´t wait for spring to come up here in Northern Europe to do this with my kids in kidergarten, they will love it!! :) You are amazing!

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  • Sarah
    September 29, 2010 - 3:06 am | Permalink

    Thank you so much for this. We used to play this when we were kids but out here in Malaysia we called it something else… though I can’t remember what. Completely forgot about them though, until I saw your pictures. So glad to have stumbled across it and made one to play with my five year old son today and he absolutely loved it!!

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  • July 30, 2010 - 12:37 pm | Permalink

    HOORAY!!! So very glad to stumble upon this! I made one for my kids yesterday. I could remember how to fold it but could not for the life of me remember the name of the game and directions. It’s hard to google something without the name. Then I see this WITH the ALL the directions. THANK YOU!!! They will be so excited. I think it’s the first time they really admired old Mom’s skills at crafts. Their amazed faces that I could do something “origami” (they think) like our Japanese neighbor.

  • June 1, 2010 - 8:34 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous idea, I’ll definitely be doing this with my kids!

  • March 23, 2010 - 6:14 am | Permalink


  • March 20, 2010 - 6:58 pm | Permalink

    oh my goodness lisa, i’ve been making one of these too! you totally beat me to the punch! i love yours and when i am finally finished with me (you know of all my delay troubles) i’ll post and link to yours too :)
    well, creative minds think alike right? :)

  • March 19, 2010 - 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I LOVE THIS. You could use it for so many different things. I’m going to steal this one day! Thank you!


  • March 14, 2010 - 11:35 am | Permalink

    Thats adorable! I nearly forgot about those! Have to do them urgently with my kids tomorrow!! We called them “Himmel und Hoelle” in German ” heaven and hell”, oh, I just love them! Thanks for giving me a great start into the week!

  • March 12, 2010 - 10:38 pm | Permalink

    cute cute use of a cootie catcher!
    Which Name?

  • March 12, 2010 - 6:06 pm | Permalink

    What a great idea! I hadn’t thought of those in years! Wonderful way to make learning fun and connect it to art!

  • March 12, 2010 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    oh dear, you have gotten my wheels turning, lisa!

  • March 12, 2010 - 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is brilliant!
    PS- I love that your comment boss told me my comment of “Brilliant!” was too short. Made me laugh.

  • March 12, 2010 - 1:07 am | Permalink

    Oh I love it! Thanks for the refresher on how to make this. I made many back in grade school….they were so fun! I think my boys will get a kick out of this!
    I hope you’re well Lisa!
    sending love,

  • March 11, 2010 - 10:30 pm | Permalink

    Oh, thank you for the clear directions for making these. I have been wracking my brains trying to remember how, but “those foldy paper things that you go like this [mad pantomiming] with” isn’t easily googled! I don’t think we called them cootie catchers in my school, but I can’t for the life of me remember what else it might have been. I’ve been wanting to show my son how to make these. I was thinking they might be a fun way to do math facts, too.

  • March 11, 2010 - 10:30 am | Permalink

    Oh I love this Lisa! First, this brought back so many memories, and what a great way to use an old childhood game. This seriously brought a smile to my face

  • March 10, 2010 - 9:03 pm | Permalink

    These are so cool! What a fun idea. Mine would have to be much simpler. I don’t know names of trees…or flowers… I’ve never been much of a nature girl, but it is something I want to change. Any chance you plan to move here and give nature girl lessons? ;)

  • March 10, 2010 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

    My monkey girl LOVES these, but always forgets how to make them when she gets home from school! Your tutorial is going to rock her world! thanks!

  • March 10, 2010 - 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Lily’s eager to try making her own! I love the nature theme.

  • Laura
    March 10, 2010 - 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Just when I think you have thought of all there is to be done, you come up with another great twist to explore nature! Thank you so much. We will try this.

  • March 10, 2010 - 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I haven’t done one of these in ages, but it sure looks like a fun way to have adventure in the woods.

  • March 10, 2010 - 3:03 pm | Permalink

    We made these all the time when I was little, but they were more about what boy we were going to marry!:) Love the nature twist!

  • March 10, 2010 - 2:56 pm | Permalink


  • Kat
    March 10, 2010 - 1:48 pm | Permalink

    what a great idea! smarty! you know we will be stealing it.

  • March 10, 2010 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Very cool! I wish I could stop by with my kids and join in all the fun! :)

    Have a great week!

  • March 10, 2010 - 11:36 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah, this brings back memories! My kids are going to love this…thanks for bringing it back to life!!

  • March 10, 2010 - 11:14 am | Permalink

    Oh, we love cootie catchers! This one is fantastic and when my big girl is feeling better, this is on the top of the list!

    Thanks for sharing~


  • March 10, 2010 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    hehe. We’ve been making these lately, too. I I’ve gotta admit, I’m having as much fun as the girls are. I love your idea of making into an educational tool!

  • March 10, 2010 - 10:39 am | Permalink

    wonderful idea as always Lisa! my oldest just started making cootie catchers at school, i had completely forgotten about them.

    and it’s just getting warm enough here to get outside and do these!

    thanks as always for such great ideas!

  • March 10, 2010 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Very cool Lisa. I wouldn’t have thought to do what you did!

  • March 10, 2010 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    This is such a great idea! My girls love making these, and will think this is great fun. Thank you for a fun project for a spring day :) .

  • March 10, 2010 - 9:24 am | Permalink

    love it!
    thanks for the step by step pics:)


  • March 10, 2010 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    I love this idea. I’ll be making these with my kids after school today. And I really enjoy your blog – thank you!

  • March 10, 2010 - 9:02 am | Permalink

    Brillant idea! My niece and nephew were playing with one of these this past week and of course I played with them when I was in school.

  • March 10, 2010 - 6:58 am | Permalink

    I remember… and the words into it too ;) “you’re beautiful” or “you’re uggly” or “you like pink”… Nice idea to never forget

  • March 9, 2010 - 11:57 pm | Permalink

    I used to make these all the time as a kid. And I still make them today with my 2 teenager girls. They are still fun.

  • March 9, 2010 - 10:09 pm | Permalink


    I never made these. My best friend made mine for me! True story!! But, however I came by them, they were loads of fun! Thanks for the stroll down Memory Lane! Love the new purpose for them! Much more constructive than the games we played with them! :)

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:52 pm | Permalink

    This sure brings back memories. My daughter will be excited to make one of yours. What a great idea. Your etsy shop is so sweet, all those little monsters. I started my shop in early December. I guess I’m still figuring out how it all works. Take care. X Maribeth

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    How cute! I used to make these all the time! I love the spin you’ve put on it. Next you should try to adapt MASH (Mansion Apartment Shack House) to those purposes lol.

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:46 pm | Permalink

    What a fun idea. I appreciate the tutorial, as I can never remember how to make these. As soon as it isn’t so mucky out, I think we’ll have to give these a try.

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:28 pm | Permalink

    My kids make those all the time! I’ll have to show them yours. They’ll probably love the new variation. Their current favorite is the “pie” fortune teller. Every fortune has something to do with pie, from you will never eat pumkin pie again, to an apple pie will land on your face today. I’m assuming it’s great fun if you’re 9-10. :)

  • March 9, 2010 - 9:08 pm | Permalink

    Lisa–this is absolutely precious!

  • Pat
    March 9, 2010 - 8:25 pm | Permalink

    This is great!
    Thank you!!!

  • March 9, 2010 - 8:06 pm | Permalink

    You are awesome. Thank you for this. I never thought to turn these into a game. I recently showed the concept to my seven-year-old at a diner while waiting for our meal. He was enthralled.

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