If you’re looking for a different craft to introduce to your little ones, origami is a great option. You don’t need much equipment, it makes little in the way of mess and the skill levels differ greatly so you can find something fun for a child of any age to make. Plus, it’s something they’re unlikely to experiment with at nursery or school.
Origami also has plenty of cultural and historical associations, so you can teach your kids about Japan and the popularity of the paper craft while playing. The PBS website has an article that outlines the background of origami, a term which comes from the Japanese words oru and kami, which translate into English as ‘to fold paper’.
The most important piece of kit you need for origami is, of course, the paper. You can use almost any type, but a thicker paper or thin card tend to work best. Viking stocks a great range of art paper in its art and craft supplies section, which come in a variety of colours so you can find the perfect materials for your project.
You will also need a ruler, so you can make crisp folds, as well as a pencil for marking measurements. Some projects may also call for a pair of scissors – make sure to do all the cutting yourself, or purchase safety scissors like this My First Crayola pair so the kids can do it with your supervision.
Kids can experiment with folding – most will know how to make a paper plane – but it’s best to have a clear and simple set of instructions that will yield good results. We recommend a book that includes a variety of patterns, such as Easy Origami by John Montroll, available at Amazon.
If you want to make origami even more fun, there is the option to add decorations at the end. For example, you could add googly eyes to animals, draw detail with coloured pencils, or add string so that it can be hung as a decoration.
As previously stated, paper airplanes are an easy origami project, and your kids are sure to love playing with them. The simplest instructions involve folding a triangle at the top of an A4 sheet for the nose, then simply making two folds for the wings.
Another paper folding project popular among children is the fortune teller, or chatterbox. To make, simply take a square piece of paper, fold each of the four corners into the centre, flip and do the same again, then fold into quarters. Colours are added to the four outside squares and numbers to the eight interior triangles – a fortune or forfeit is concealed beneath each. (Or watch the video below).
The final project that’s ideal even for the smallest members of your family is the folded fan. This simply involves making a thin concertina across a piece of A4 paper until only a single strip’s width is left, making a small fold to form a handle, and fanning out the top of the concertina.