Jul 31

How to Make a Fortune Teller

Author: Bri Rodriguez-Cancio

In the spirit of summer, Jump! Immersion is changing the focus of the blog to give families some ideas for hands-on activities and conversation starters. We hope the ideas are lighthearted and fun!

For the Dreamer: A Paper “Fortune Teller"

Do you remember these? A home-made paper trinket to pass away the time? 

In Spanish, begin the conversation identifying this contraption with Comecocos de Papel (a Pacman of Paper) or even a Sacapiojos (Lice Remover!). Also known in English as Cootie-Catchers, Chatterbox or Fortune Teller, while the name changes, the thoughts behind it are the same: creativity, socialization and distraction. This activity is highly adaptable for preschoolers (use colors and stickers to make it appropriate for them) up to lower elementary students. 

Creating the project requires folding, and playing the game requires hand & finger movement as well as fine motor skills. In a nutshell, you fold a piece of paper into four triangle-type shapes. The “toy” will fit over your thumb, index and middle finger so you can “open” and “close” it. Your friend will answer a series of questions to get an answer… or a prediction. Younger children can begin by picking a color as well, and use the syllables.

Supplies Needed

  • Paper
  • Writing/Drawing materials
  • Imagination!

Folding Instructions

Scroll to the bottom of this site. This appears to be a neat website, with lots of information. There are also a few pre-printed ones and videos of how to fold in Spanish or in English on YouTube.

If you prefer pictorial instructions, try this site

Playing the Game

This is a good language activity and can be adapted in many ways. Answer a question, do an action, describe the person answering the questions, favorite food, etc.

Ground rules: make sure the person asking the questions knows how to ask a question in the language, such as “Which one?” or “Choose one.”

In Spanish, you can say “Cual quieres?” or “Escoje uno”

One can either break up the word into syllables to “open” and “close” the opening, or a complete sentence can be used for greater vocabulary. For example, Red versus The color is red.”  You can even spell the word (like R-E-D). It all depends on the age and language level of the players.

Check out this page which has some great ideas for writing some “vague” Spanish fortunes, such as “something exciting awaits you in your immediate future.” Sounds good for tweens. I want to explore this site further. (Do not be put off by the name of the website as I was, momentarily; it describes the “hyphenated” bicultural child, of Latin-American of Hispanic origin being raised in an English-speaking environment. Peruse and judge for yourself.)

My children have used the “fortune tellers” in the car, waiting in line at the grocery store, outside on the lawn or inside the house in a reading nook on a rainy day. I remember letting my imagination run wild... with boys I would marry or adventures that I would go on or misfortunes that might befall me.

All you need is paper, writing/drawing materials and your imagination…

...One, two, three, four you will enjoy a tropical vacation on your private island soon …