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Origami for Kids: 14 Easy Projects With Developmental Benefits

Origami
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All children love games and activities where they will have to create something using their imagination – be it the jigsaw puzzles, the super-fun LEGO, playing with playdough, or painting with colors using their hands and fingers.

Origami projects fall in the category of arts and crafts, and when it comes to having fun creating something cool, this activity is second to none.

Simply think about the smile and happiness on your child’s face when they create an airplane, a swan, a dinosaur, or a paper boat using colorful paper sheets! This is the art of origami where your child can create anything and everything, just by folding papers and letting their imagination run loose.

In this article, we will discuss what origami is, why origami projects are beneficial for kids, and provide you with 14 easy origami projects to do with your kids. We also link to some origami activities resources and books in the online world to help your kids explore their creativity.

So, let the fun begin!

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What is Origami?

Origami is the art of creating things and making intricate designs simply by folding papers.

Orthodox origami generally consists of a single sheet of paper, without any cuts, which is folded into a series of sequences to come up with the creation of specific designs.

Benefits of Origami Projects for Kids

Origami provides heaps of developmental benefits to a child. Let us look at some of the benefits that this creative activity can provide to young children –

Origami for Fine Motor Skills

The art of origami involves the use of fingers to create different shapes from sheets of colorful paper. When a child uses their fingers and hands to create objects and shapes with great detail, they put every small muscle group in their hands, arms, and fingers to work.

In origami, fine motor skills are critical Since our peripheral nerves are all centered at our fingertips, any activity involving those nerves sends critical signals to our brain.

So, when your child uses their fingers to create things, it does wonders for the development of their young brain. Also, if the fine motor skills of your child are strong, as they grow up, they will be good in arts, crafts, sports, and anything that involves specific patterns or rhythms.

Improves Imagination and Develops a Sense of Color

Whether it’s origami or any division of arts and crafts, it requires an individual to either figure out or imagine the final product as they are progressing. The same holds true for young children as they need to know beforehand what they are going to create or try to imagine that the object or shape that they are creating will come out to be as expected.

This automatically inspires them and encourages them to use their imagination and creativity. Also, they get a sense of the real world in terms of color as if they are creating a swan, they immediately know that they need blue sheets of paper to create the waters in the pond or the lake.

Therefore, when your child shows their interest and starts spending time in Origami, it simultaneously makes them more creative and smart than other kids of the same age.

Improves Concentration and Focus

When we create, we think, we focus, we calculate, and then finally the creation turns out to take the shape of our imagination. In the case of origami and young kids, the situation is no different!

As they use their imagination, along with their fine motor skills to create and develop intricate designs simply by folding sheets of paper, they need to concentrate hard and keep all distractions at bay.

They do not just need to be concentrating on the fold they are creating but also, need to have an unwavering focus for the entire period of time, until and unless the airplane or the dinosaur comes to life.

This undoubtedly acts as a highly effective tool in building high levels of concentration in your kids. Also, they will get to understand the basic geometry of shapes and objects which will help them immensely in the subject of mathematics as they grow up.

Builds Spatial Awareness

As your child creates designs and shapes, simply folding papers, it gives them a deep understanding of spatial awareness. This is a critical skill, especially in the case of young children as it will improve their reaction and response in relation to a change in the position of an object in their surroundings.

Although it sounds simple, the development of spatial awareness is a complex skill that your child needs to have right from an early age, and what better than the creative activity of Origami to teach them.

Improves Cognitive Skills and Abilities

In addition to focus, concentration, retention, and motor skills, origami is an art form that helps young children strengthen their cognitive abilities. According to many research papers, origami helps tremendously in enhancing and refining adjustment strategies along with superimposition, the two skills that are critical for the development of their perceptual senses and hand-eye coordination.

When the perceptual skills of a young child get strengthened, it automatically helps them in assessing and recognizing different patterns and complex shapes. This development also assists them in thinking, understanding, and acting on any new piece of information more quickly than other children of the same age.

Develops Problem-solving Skills

You will be surprised to know that the simple craft of origami is a treasure trove of geometry, physics, mathematics, mechanical engineering, as well as astronomy! Naturally, it will help your children in understanding mathematics and scientific theories in a fun, creative, and effective way.

When a sheet of paper is folded along a ‘crease’, each fold requires utmost concentration along with the skill set of cognitive abilities and creativity that needs to work simultaneously. This is the primary reason why many scientists use their own origami models and patterns to help them in their problem-solving exercises.

Therefore, you can use this craft to help your child develop their problem-solving attitude which will not just help them in their studies and different stages of education but also, will influence their learned outlook and overall personality.

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Enhances Social Skills

Any fun game that brings together the grownups and the children is a great activity to boost and promote social skills among young kids – origami is no different.

The best part of origami is that the parents won’t have to sit idle and just watch their kids express their creativity by folding an origami paper. They can join in on the fun and help their children with some complex shapes or forms.

When children get to do origami in a group with other children, it not just helps them in understanding cooperative learning and teamwork but also, provides them with an opportunity to build strong connections and develop conversational skills.

During the initial developmental phase of your child, it’s highly important that they experience social interaction as that will help them immensely in gaining a perspective of their surroundings, circumstances, and the environment.

The more they interact and take part in group origami sessions, the more knowledge they will gain through observation and understanding of new perspectives of other children.

Promotes General Awareness

In addition to educational and developmental benefits, origami is widely regarded as a creative skill that gives plenty of therapeutic benefits as well. To start, it instills a feeling of satisfaction and a sense of achievement in an individual who created something out of nothing.

This is a genuine feeling of wellness that every child experiences as they become young creators who can create fascinating objects from a simple piece of origami paper. Whenever a young kid starts folding a paper, they try to give shape to their vision and when it is ultimately done, the entire process fills the young mind with a positive attitude and a calming sense of achievement.

This success helps them more in the future in developing a pattern of focused thinking, which is an intrinsic character trait of most successful people. So, it’s not just about cognitive and fine motor skills, but origami also helps in developing a healthy and successful attitude.

Helps in Learning Fractions and Geometry

For many students, the concept of geometry and fractions becomes quite scary as they grow up. They find it difficult to understand the ideas of intersection points, height, width, central point, etc. And when it comes to fractions, students cannot easily grasp the concepts of one-thirds, one-fifths, etc.

In origami, one has to fold a paper to come up with an interesting shape or object. This automatically uses concepts of two lines (folds), points, intersections, and all other things that are necessary for building a new shape or object.

As a result, a child who practices and is interested in origami does not struggle with the conceptualization of triangles, rectangles, and hexagons, as their imaginative skills and ideas of shapes, have already gotten improved and enhanced by the accurate calculations that one needs to make in the craft of origami.

Also, you can help your child understand fractions by folding a piece of origami paper into half, one-third, one-fourth, and so on. Therefore, origami is a highly effective tool that helps students in building their own vernacular of the world as they get hands-on experience in comprehending, characterizing, and constructing different shapes, objects, and designs.

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DIY Paper Folding and Origami Projects

Now that we have covered the benefits of origami crafts for children, let’s look at some of the easy and easy origami projects that you can help your child undertake.

Here are some easy origami ideas for your child:

Origami Hand Fan

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the triangle in half again to create a smaller triangle.
  4. Unfold the paper and fold it accordion-style along the diagonal creases.
  5. Fold the accordion-folded paper in half to create a fan shape.
  6. Secure the bottom ends of the fan with a piece of tape or glue.

Origami Fish

  1. Begin with a square sheet of paper, colored side down.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the triangle in half again to create a smaller triangle.
  4. Bring the left and right corners of the triangle together, folding the paper in half horizontally.
  5. Fold the top layer of the bottom flap upwards, leaving a small portion of it outside.
  6. Fold the bottom layer of the bottom flap upwards, tucking it inside the pocket created in the previous step.
  7. Fold the top tip of the triangle down to create the fish’s tail.
  8. Fold the two upper corners of the triangle inward to form the fish’s fins.
  9. Flip the fish over and draw an eye or decorate as desired.

Origami Envelope Wallet

  1. Begin with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Unfold the triangle and fold the paper in half horizontally.
  4. Open the paper and fold the two side corners towards the center crease, forming two smaller triangles.
  5. Fold the bottom corner of the paper upwards, leaving a small portion of it outside.
  6. Fold the top flap of the paper downwards, tucking it inside the pocket created in the previous step.
  7. Flip the paper over and fold the top edge downwards to create the flap of the wallet.
  8. Decorate the envelope wallet as desired.

Modular Origami Cube

  1. Start with 6 square sheets of paper in different colors.
  2. Fold each sheet in half diagonally to form a triangle, then unfold.
  3. Fold each sheet in half horizontally and vertically to create creases.
  4. Unfold the sheets and fold each corner towards the center.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of each sheet upwards along the creases, creating a small triangle.
  6. Insert the flaps of one sheet into the pockets of another sheet, joining them together.
  7. Repeat step 6 to connect all 6 sheets, forming a cube.

Origami Pencil Holder

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the bottom left and right corners of the triangle towards the top corner, creating a smaller triangle.
  4. Fold the left and right sides of the triangle towards the center, overlapping them slightly.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of the triangle upwards, creating a pocket.
  6. Fold the bottom flap of the pocket upwards to secure it.
  7. Flip the paper over and repeat steps 4-6 on the other side.
  8. Gently open the top of the pencil holder to create space for the pencils or pens.
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Origami Rabbit

  1. Begin with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the bottom left and right corners of the triangle towards the top corner, creating a smaller triangle.
  4. Fold the bottom tip of the triangle upwards, leaving a small portion of it outside.
  5. Flip the paper over and fold the left and right corners towards the center.
  6. Fold the bottom edge of the paper upwards, tucking it inside the pocket created in the previous step.
  7. Fold the upper portion of the triangle downwards to create the rabbit’s head.
  8. Decorate the rabbit’s face with eyes, nose, and whiskers.

Origami Paper Plane

  1. Start with a rectangular sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
  3. Unfold the paper and fold the top two corners downwards towards the center crease, creating two triangles.
  4. Fold the top edges of the paper towards the center crease.
  5. Fold the paper in half along the center crease, enclosing the previous folds inside.
  6. Fold the bottom edges of the paper upwards, creating wings for the paper plane.
  7. Fold the wings downwards along the center crease to adjust their angle.
  8. Give the paper plane a slight throw to see it glide through the air.

Origami Boat

  1. Begin with a rectangular sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
  3. Unfold the paper and fold the top two corners downwards towards the center crease, creating two triangles.
  4. Fold the bottom edge of the paper upwards to meet the center crease.
  5. Fold the two side corners of the paper towards the center, overlapping them slightly.
  6. Fold the bottom corners of the paper upwards, creating the base of the boat.
  7. Gently open the boat by pushing the sides outward.
  8. If desired, add additional folds or decorations to customize the boat.

Origami Vase

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Unfold the triangle and fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically, creating creases.
  4. Unfold the paper and fold each corner towards the center, aligning them with the creases.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of the paper upwards along the crease, creating a small triangle.
  6. Open the bottom of the paper and push the sides inward, collapsing the triangle and forming the vase shape.
  7. Adjust the folds to create a stable and aesthetically pleasing vase.
  8. If desired, add water-resistant lining or place a smaller container inside to hold water for real flowers.

Origami Snack Box

  1. Begin with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Unfold the triangle and fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically, creating creases.
  4. Unfold the paper and fold each corner towards the center, aligning them with the creases.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of the paper upwards, leaving a small portion of it outside.
  6. Flip the paper over and fold the two side corners towards the center, creating diagonal creases.
  7. Open the paper and bring the two side corners towards the center, collapsing the paper into a diamond shape.
  8. Fold the bottom edges of the diamond upwards, tucking them inside the pocket created in the previous step.
  9. Flip the paper over and repeat steps 7-8 on the other side.
  10. Gently open the top flaps to create the snack box shape.

Origami Fruits

  1. Start with square sheets of paper in various colors.
  2. Choose a color for the fruit you want to make and fold the square sheet diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the triangle in half by bringing the left corner to meet the right corner.
  4. Fold the bottom edge of the triangle upwards to create a smaller triangle.
  5. Open the paper slightly and fold the left and right corners towards the center, creating two flaps.
  6. Fold the bottom corners of the triangle upwards, tucking them into the flaps created in the previous step.
  7. Repeat these steps with different colors of paper to create a variety of fruits such as apples, oranges, and strawberries.

Origami Birds

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Fold the bottom left and right corners of the triangle towards the top corner, creating a smaller triangle.
  4. Fold the bottom tip of the triangle upwards, leaving a small portion of it outside.
  5. Fold the left and right sides of the triangle towards the center, creating two smaller triangles.
  6. Open the paper slightly and fold the two side corners towards the back, forming wings for the bird.
  7. Fold the top flap of the triangle downwards to create the bird’s head.
  8. Decorate the bird’s face with eyes and a beak.
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Origami Lampshade

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Unfold the triangle and fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically, creating creases.
  4. Unfold the paper and fold each corner towards the center, aligning them with the creases.
  5. Fold the bottom edge of the paper upwards along the crease, creating a small triangle.
  6. Open the bottom of the paper and push the sides inward, collapsing the triangle and forming the lampshade shape.
  7. Adjust the folds to create a stable and aesthetically pleasing lampshade.
  8. Place the lampshade on top of a small LED light or a battery-powered tea light to illuminate it.

Origami Fortune Teller

  1. Start with a square sheet of paper.
  2. Fold the paper in half diagonally to form a triangle.
  3. Unfold the triangle and fold the paper in half horizontally and vertically, creating creases.
  4. Unfold the paper and flip it over to the other side.
  5. Fold each corner towards the center, aligning them with the creases.
  6. Flip the paper back to the original side.
  7. Fold each corner towards the center again, aligning them with the creases.
  8. Open the pockets created by the previous folds and write different fortunes or actions on each flap.
  9. Flip the paper over and write numbers on the remaining flaps.
  10. To use the fortune teller, have someone choose a number, then open and close the fortune teller while counting to that number. Finally, reveal the fortune or action associated with the selected flap.

Some others that you might want to search for are:

  • Origami Butterfly
  • Origami Star
  • Fun Origami Bookmarks
  • Origami Ice Cream
  • Origami Puppy Face
  • Origami Bow
  • Bunny Origami
  • Origami Frog

Origami Projects Books for Kids

When it comes to origami project books for kids, there are simply innumerable options available in the market – both online and offline. However, it’s fair to say that most of the books are simple, fun, and there is hardly any way you can go wrong in your selection of choice.

Just make sure that you check the level of expertise in terms of whether they are for kids or adults, for beginners, intermediates, or advanced, etc before making the purchase.

Here are our top three picks from the best origami books for kids:

12/03/2023 02:13 am GMT

Easy Origami Activity Resources for Kids

Traditionally, origami does not involve any cutting, taping, gluing, or even marking of paper. And it consists of folding a single sheet of square paper. For your child especially, special origami papers are the best options as those can be handled and folded without much struggle.

Also, the colorful origami papers will surely catch their eyes and intrigue their curiosity. We have compiled a list of online resources from where you can find simple, fun, and extremely easy origami activities for kids using which you can enjoy with your kids as well as allow them to work and develop their fine motor and cognitive skills.

It’s important to note that all these resources are for beginners and therefore, they will be best for children who are just starting to explore the fascinating and colorful world of origami.

Here are some very simple origami activities resources for kids:

Brief History of Origami

In the beginning, Origami was known as ‘Orikata’ or ‘Folded Shapes’. It was not until 1880 that the craft came to be known as Origami, originating from the Japanese word ‘Oru’, which means ‘to fold’ and ‘kami’ which literally translates to ‘paper’. Although it’s not exactly known why these specific terms were chosen, it is believed that these terms were easier for schoolchildren to remember and write.

Akira Yoshizawa is regarded as the ‘Grandmaster of Origami’ in Japan as this man shared his knowledge of origami to teach his employees concepts of geometry which were helpful to them in completing their tasks at the factory. Later he became the cultural ambassador of Japan in Origami and till today, his knowledge, awareness, use of symbols, and techniques are still regarded worldwide in the arts and crafts of Origami.

The tradition and culture of Origami in Japan also have their fair share of legend. In the Japanese tradition, it is believed that an individual who creates a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish. The legend has it that in the aftermath of World War II, a young 12-year-old girl named Sadako Sasaki got exposed to the radiation of the atomic bomb and got admitted to a hospital suffering from leukemia.

In the hope of leading a healthy life, she started making thousand origami cranes but soon realized that she wouldn’t survive her fate. Then she donated her origami cranes for world peace and till today, her prominent statue stands at the Hiroshima Peace Park as a symbol of world peace.

Starting from as early as the 17th century, the art of Origami has spread to every corner of the world in the 21st century and is simply not restricted to just a child’s play. With the activity’s undoubted ability to give children immense fun and pleasure, Origami will continue to inspire young minds and creative people for years to come.

Conclusion

Participating in an origami project is an excellent activity for kids as it helps them develop their fine motor skills and also allows them to explore their creativity. It’s also a great way to bond with your kids and make some cherished memories together.

Easy origami fish and origami butterfly can be done by you and shown by you to your kids for the very first time and they will pick up their interest immediately.

Best Kid's Origami Set
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References

Toki. (2021, August 11). Origami, the Japanese tradition of paper folding. TOKI. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.toki.tokyo/blogt/2016/4/4/origami-the-japanese-tradition-of-paper-folding 

All things origami for kids. Art Class Curator. (2022, February 18). Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://artclasscurator.com/origami-for-kids/ 

Fun with origami: Its benefits for child development. Gakken. (2021, December 8). Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://gakken-jakarta.com/uncategorized/fun-with-origami-its-benefits-for-child-development/ 

Ramirez, A. (2015, April 29). 5 reasons why Origami improves students’ skills. Edutopia. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/why-origami-improves-students-skills-ainissa-ramirez 

Kool Stories. (2022, May 30). 7 stunning benefits of Origami to your child. Kool Stories. Retrieved May 30, 2022, from https://www.koolstories.com/blog/benefits-of-origami-for-children 

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