Children across Asia have been entertaining themselves by making origami for centuries. If your child likes to make paper airplanes, they'll definitely like learning how to make origami too. Be aware that origami takes a good deal of patience and fine motor control.
Key Points of Teaching Origami to Your Child
- Origami is a beautiful art but does take some patience and is generally better for older kids.
- You don't need origami-specific paper to make the folds. However, the paper does need to be perfectly square.
- Once your child learns the basics of origami there is no limit to what they could fold!
You can either buy special origami paper; or make your own by cutting paper into squares (the paper does need to be perfectly square). Or for you scrapbookers, using the large square scrapbooking paper is very fun. The patterns and colors are great, and the larger size is more manageable for inexperienced fingers.
Start with a basic project. One of our favorites is a Japanese Princess Doll
1. Lay your paper in front of you at an angle so it looks like a diamond, and fold it in half from the top corner to the bottom corner to create a center line. Reopen the paper.
2. Fold the left and right corners of the diamond to the center line to create the shape of an upside-down kite.
3. Fold the short end of the kite upwards to make a tall triangle.
4. Turn over so all folds are on the bottom side of the paper and fold the bottom edge of the triangle about two-fifths of the way up the triangle.
5. Fold the corners of what had been the bottom edge of the triangle over the top of the paper towards each other. They are the arms of the Princess and they should fold over the other.
6. Fold the tip of the triangle down to make the head, or keep it pointy and decorate it like a princess hat or crown. Let your child draw the face of her princess. For fancy princes, dolls provide the artist with buttons, glue, scraps of lace, and glitter. Those dolls will be ready for the ball in no time.
If origami sounds like fun, but you have doubts about your child getting excited about making a Japanese Princess doll, don't despair. There are many, many more macho origami projects to make from castles to warships. Learning how to make origami opens a world of imagination with simple paper!