Make: Hopping Paper Spring Peeper Poppers!

Our warmer months come and go pretty quickly up here in the north, so when I hear the spring peepers chirping around the neighborhood pond, it’s always a sure sign summer isn’t far behind.

These peepers one of those projects that took me right back to childhood. For many years, a solid month of my summer vacation was spent on a lake in Wisconsin. Many nights, before getting into jammies and snuggling on the window seat to read Charlotte’s Web, we’d pile into the canoe for a sunset trip around the lake – always a wonderful way to see the local frogs in action.

The OTHER evening highlight of summer vacation was “The Pick Bag”. The Pick Bag was an empty Pampers bag filled with random tiny toys and trinkets. A mini-box of crayons. Dice. A deck of cards. And, one magical year…POPPERS. Honestly, they are *every bit* as exciting as I remembered.

In classic b&b tradition, I combined those fond memories for this jumping frog project that is PURE fun and inspired by one of my favorite simple throwback toys, the jump popper! If you’re not familiar with them, watch the quick video below…

These frogs can JUMP! Click play on the video to watch them in action…

Does your kiddo love this kind of interactive critter crafting? Try making a set of colorful climbing paper tree frogs, or a clothespin clip-on cicada. You could also give your frogs a handmade home in a recycled cardboard box play pet tank!

To make your own hopping paper frog poppers you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

BASIC SUPPLIES:

  • Cardstock or construction paper
  • Scissors
  • 2-inch pop-up poppers like these

OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:

How to Make Hopping Paper Frogs – DIY Instructions:

  1. Download and print our frog templates or draw your own

    Because I wasn’t finding the style I wanted, I made a set of paper frog templates you can download and print for this (or other art and craft endeavors of your own!). Of course, you can always draw your own, or fold a fun origami frog.

    I recommend printing on a heavier cardstock (although spring peepers are typically shades of browns, greys, and greens, don’t feel bound to reality!) but use what you have. Construction paper works great too!

  2. Cut out the frog templates

    Use scissors to cut out the paper frog templates.
    Cutting out our 3d paper frogs
    I love how these look completely cut out but don’t feel like you have to trim away all the nooks and crannies as I did. You still get the same cool effect if you leave it rough around the edges (and extra paper in the feet looks just like webbing!).

  3. Gently bend and form them into a rounded 3D shape

    Bend the sides and feet toward the middle, creating a rounded 3D frog that looks like it’s sitting on the ground waiting to jump.
    Two cut out 3D paper frogs sitting on a white background

  4. Grab a set of pop-up toy poppers

    Do you recognize these little plastic toys? They were an absolute CLASSIC when I was growing up, but if you’ve never used them before, let me explain how to use them. You simply push them inside-out from the center, place them on the ground, a tabletop, or any flat surface, then wait for them to POP back into shape!
    Two pop up popper toys sitting on a white background
    Here’s my BEST tip for using these poppers: play around with them! Push them in and out quite a few times to wear them in (this seemed to help quite a bit when we were trying to get them to sit longer before popping).

  5. Push the poppers inside out

    Here’s the science-y secret to using these poppers effectively: you want to push the middle of the popper inside out and UP into a cone as high as you can (as shown in the photo on the left) before placing it on a flat surface. The higher you can make the center, the more time you’ll have to put your frog on top.
    Pushing the pop up poppers to show how they work
    If your popper is only curved *slightly* in the center (as shown on the right) it will pop back almost immediately, which makes it hard to place them and get your frog on top before popping.

  6. Place your popper, put a frog on top, and wait…!

    Once you’ve gotten the hang of how poppers work, turn them inside out, place them on a flat surface, put your paper frogs on top, and….POP!!!!!
    Our spring peeper paper jumping frogs sitting on a white background

Our 3D paper frogs in the act of hopping

Variations on our hopping paper frogs:

  • Trade the popper for string. For younger kids, poppers are incredibly fun to watch, but can be frustrating to try on their own. Instead of using poppers, punch a small hole through the upper middle of the frog body. Pull string, ribbon, or twine through, leaving about a foot of slack, winding the end around a stick. Now your littles can make the frogs hop by pulling up on the stick (basically a simple frog marionette!).
  • Turn your hopping paper frogs into a game. Cut out enough frogs to give one to each player. Cut a simple lilypad from a piece of paper. Lay the lilypad in the center of the floor, and start popping! The first person to get a frog on the lilypad earns a point, and five points wins the game. It’s about as simple as it gets, but is somehow still unbelievably entertaining!
Our spring peeper paper jumping frogs sitting on a white background

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda E.

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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