I am often surprised when my kids come home with a song, joke, or game that I knew as a kid. My kids return the feeling that not only do I know it, but that this new thing isn’t actually all that novel (typically followed by surprise that they’ve been saying the words wrong the whole day).
Similarly, I’m sometimes surprised when they haven’t learned about some things I’d have expected them to hear about by now.
My girls backpacks are always stuffed with paper folded in all different ways, so I was surprised they hadn’t made paper cups when I asked them, and happy when I remembered how. The paper folding is super simple, and doesn’t need to be entirely accurate straight lines, so easy for the kids to get down.
Start out with a square piece of paper. Pick a kind of paper that isn’t going to bleed color or some sort of poison into whatever you fill it with. If you are wary of chemicals, tell the kids these cups are for holding pretzels, watering flowers, making mud, or rinsing out the sink. For paper size, bigger is not necessarily better, once that paper gets wet, it gets soggy, and if it’s bigger, it’ll rip easier. Depending on the paper weight, about 6 x 6 inches is a good size to be big enough to fold easily, yet small enough to handle nicely when filled.
Fold the paper in half on the diagonal to create a triangle.
With the longest side of the triangle (the creased side) towards the bottom, fold one of the bottom corners up to meet the opposite side edge, such that the top of the folded section is parallel with the bottom of the paper.
Grab one layer from the top of the original triangle and fold it down to where it meets the fold you made in the previous step.
Flip the paper over (the original top and bottom should still be at the the top and bottom).
Repeat the corner and top folding: fold the corner up to the top until the side becomes parallel with the bottom of the cup.
Fold the single paper layer on the top down over the corner fold.
Open up your cup.
Now you can fill it up. As with most water and small-ish kid things, I recommend a fill in the bathroom sink (for those without height challenges, bathroom sinks are generally easier to reach and have less adult shooing than kitchen sinks).