Stretch books are an all time student favorite in my classroom. They have a “wow” factor. That’s for sure! Every time I make a stretch book for the very first time with a group of students, the oohs and aahs can be heard down the hallway.
These books may seem a bit complicated at first, but once you understand the folds, they are actually quite simple to make. The book is able to stretch because of one simple origami fold. I highly recommend folding a few for yourself before you attempt this with your students. It is much easier to model and explain the folds when you have experience with them yourself. The learning curve will definitely be worth it in the end.
Stretch books lend themselves nicely to a variety of activities. I have used them for publishing, story retelling, vocabulary words, note-taking, math facts, and research. Really, there are so many possibilities!
For this stretch book, I used three sheets of paper. You can always add more for a longer stretch book. Cut the paper into squares. Any size square will work. My squares are 8.5 inches x 8.5 inches.
Before you watch me fold, take a look at the basic fold lines. For each of the three pieces of paper, you will make a diagonal, horizontal, and vertical fold. The direction of the folds is critical, so keep reading. 🙂
Take your first piece of paper and make a diagonal fold from point to point.
Now here is the important part. Since you folded back to make that diagonal fold, the next two folds will both be in the opposite direction. The horizontal and vertical folds will be forward folds. Open up the paper again.
Then fold forward this time to make a “plus” sign. Make a (forward) horizontal fold.
Open it up again and then make a (forward) vertical fold.
When opened flat, the folds should look like this.
Turn the paper and gently pinch the sides as shown.
Pull the sides in and press down from the top.
It will collapse like this. Press it flat and reinforce the folds. Now, the rest is easy.
Just repeat those steps until you have three folded squares.
Now it is time to glue them into one piece. Play around with the pieces and you will see how they fit together. Match up the first two pieces like his.
Add some glue.
Carefully overlap the two pieces for an accurate match.
Press them together to seal.
Then flip your third square over and see how it fits together with the second piece.
Add some glue.
Match it up, and you are ready to go!
Here’s the final book. Give it a stretch and then marvel at your creation. 🙂
Once you have it down pat, it’s time to teach your students. I have made these books successfully with third graders. The first time through, it is best to work in small groups. If a parent volunteer is available, that helps too. 🙂 Most of my students are able to make them independently after the first time. They even make them for fun on their own. That’s how much they love them.