Do you remember playing with this traditional paper toy? It belongs to a select group of traditional origami models. It is known as a fortune teller, or cootie catcher. Below there are more names, in many languages, by which this toy is known along with how it is used.
As a fortune teller the holder of the model asks someone to name a number from one to ten and then opens and closes it as many times as the number mentioned. The holder then asks that a color be named, lifts the flap of the chosen color, and reads aloud the message within.
As a cootie catcher tiny dots are drawn on the model to represent bugs. Passing it gently through someone’s hair all the little bugs that were “caught” can be shown.
Here is a video describing how to make this model.
- Catalan: quatre sabaters
- Danish: flip-flapper, farveskifter, farvevælger, nip-napper, rap-rapper, spå, spå-maskine”, rip-rapper, lusefanger, saltkar
- Dutch: knip-knap, peper- en zoutvaatje
- English: fortune teller, cootie catcher, salt cellar, chatterbox, whirlybird, snapdragon
- French: coins-coins, salière
- German: himmel und hölle or himmel oder hölle, salz und Pfeffer
- Greek: Alatiera (Αλατιέρα)
- Hebrew: qua-qua, quaqua de la Roma
- Hungarian: sótartó
- Italian: acchiappanaso, inferno-paradiso
- Norwegian: Spå
- Polish: niebo-pieklo
- Portuguese: inferno e paradiso, quantos queres
- Spanish: adivinador, sacapiojos, salero, pollito, comecocos, sapito, cielo e infierno, día y noche, piquito, cuatrobocas, cumpleaños, el poto de doña María, juego de la fortuna, aguaderas, estafador de sueños
Aditional uses of the Fortune Teller
- When turned over it can be used as a container (salt cellar!) to place spices or candy.
- Made with a paper about ten inches square an egg holder can be made. It’s not very stable, so I would only recommend using it to hold hardboiled eggs. ;-)