An almost-free kids craft that will keep them busy is a paper fortune teller or “cootie catcher.” I loved them as a child, and they are back on my radar because the kids’ menu at Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong folds up into a paper fortune teller and has since my tween daughter was born. I have spent a really ridiculous amount of time asking it random questions over the years.

Most impressively, on a recent trip it did predict what color Star Ferry, a popular Hong Kong with kids activity, we rode across Victoria Harbour later that day. Star Ferries are green and white but there is a multi-colored boat called Night Star, one of two more colorful boats in the fleet. It’s not often that you ride on the colorful boats.

How to Make a Fortune Teller for Kids

Here is a quick tutorial on making a paper fortune teller for kids. All you need is an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper and scissors. If you don’t have scissors, you can fold and rip the excess paper off as neatly as possible.

A step-by-step diagram for how to make a paper or origami fortune teller that is so easy kids can follow it.
MichaelPhilip / Public domain

On the 10th step, number each fold. Underneath each number, write a possible outcome. Ours are:

1. No!
2. Go for it!
3. Beats me
4. Maybe
5. Yes!
6. Why not?
7. Absolutely not
8. It’s possible

How to fold a paper fortune teller
Numbers on the folds, and answers under the folds.

Fold to completion.

When you slip your fingers into the fortune teller to puff it up, you’ll see four top flaps. Write four things on each top flap, such as animal names.

How to Make a Paper Fortune Teller for Kids
A folded paper fortune teller ready for play

How To Play

1. Ask the fortune teller a question. It must be a yes or no type of question such as, “Will I ride the colorful Star Ferry today?”
2. Pick a corner, such as “bird.”
3. Spell out B-I-R-D while opening the fortune teller once as you say each letter. Open horizontally for the first letter, vertically for the second, and repeat until the entire word is spelled out.
4. After the last letter, keep the paper fortune teller open.
5. Pick a number that is showing.
6. Lift up the flap and read the fortune underneath. (Alternatively, you can open and close the fortune teller as you count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 to correspond with whatever showing number was chosen. Then, have the player pick a showing number so that you can lift the flap and read them their outcome.

That’s it. Really, paper fortune tellers only take a few minutes to make.

My daughter holds the paper fortune teller during lunch by the pool at Four Seasons Hong Kong.
I hope the hotel never gets rid of these fortune teller kids’ menus.


Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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