Magic Story Starter

This may seem like an intimidating project if you've never made a fortune teller, but it is fun. And it's a great way to get kids writing! In case of confusion, we added lots of pictures. Still, if you have trouble, don't feel bad! There are many different tutorials on the internet for more help.


  • Large square pieces of white paper

  • Pencils/markers


  1. Fold paper like a fortune teller. 

1a. Take a piece of paper and fold it in half, corner to corner. Unfold and repeat with the other corners. You will end up with 2 diagonal creases. 

1b. With the paper unfolded back into a square, fold each corner into the center. Do not unfold these. 

1c. Flip over. Fold each corner into the center again.

1d. Fold in half to make creases again. These should be horizontal and vertical, though. 

1e. With the paper open facing up now, slide one hand underneath into the pockets on the bottom. Place your thumb in one pocket, your fingers in another. Do the same with your other hand.  Bring all the points to the middle. 


2. Have the kids write the very beginnings of a story on the outer four squares of the fortune teller (ex: Once upon a time..., Long long ago..., Deep in a forest...).

3. On the middle eight triangles, introduce a main character (ex: there was a little boy..., there was a baby dragon..., there was a beautiful princess…). Number each triangle as well. 

4. Flipping up one of the flaps of the middle layer reveals the final, third layer. On this layer, write an action on each triangle that corresponds to the character on the middle layer triangle above (ex: who walked through a magic door and found himself in..., who was just learning to fly, when..., who picked an enchanted flower that...)

5. To use the story starter, have someone choose a story opening. As you say each word aloud, flap the fortune teller open from side to side. Once for each word. Next, have someone choose a number from the visible triangles. Flap the fortune teller open from side to side however many times the number indicates. Finally, have someone pick another number from the four visible triangles to determine a character. Lift the flap to reveal what the character does. At this point, the kids can write their own stories with the story beginning given. 


  • Letting the kids make up their own characters and actions makes it more fun for everyone!

  • A story could be written as a group or individually. 

Outer squares of the fortune teller: story opening

Middle triangles of the fortune teller: introduction of a main character (we forgot to number them, but you should mark yours)


  • Book: "Handmade Tales: Stories to Make and Take," by Dianne de Las Casas