Get them into origami: easy paper crafts for kids


Looking for a way to get your kids to use their brains and stop staring at a screen for entertainment? Try introducing them to origami.

For a generation of digital addicts with notoriously short attention spans, the idea of Japanese paper crafts may sound crazy but consider this: origami how-to videos are currently one of the most popular trends on YouTube (if you don’t count videos of talking cats.)

If you’re still not convinced, here are five worthy, ‘see what a good parent I am’ reasons why you should introduce your kids to the ancient Japanese art of origami:

  • It develops and stimulates mathematical thinking.
  • It’s cheap as: all you need is paper.
  • It’s as addictive as computer games minus the danger that they’ll fry their brains.
  • There’s a wide range of folds to suit all ages and levels: from really, really simple, to very challenging and complicated.
  • The satisfaction of transforming a piece of paper into a three dimensional paper sculpture will do wonders for your child’s self esteem.

Oh and aside from all that, you’ll also get some nice table decorations for your next dinner party.

So don’t get left behind, here are six easy origami how-to videos to get your child started.

Most of these are demonstrated by our resident origami expert, Alex. Alex is only eight years old. So that shows you how easy it is. Just go slowly and be patient.

Origami boat

This is the simplest of all and it comes with a warning: it’s addictive. You may find yourself buried under a pile of paper boats unable to get out the front door after your child gets the hang of this one.

Origami samurai helmet

This one is really simple. It’s a fancy take on the old sailor hat made out of newspaper. If you want to, you can make a really big one that your child can wear. You could make lots and use them as party hats for your child’s next birthday party.

Origami fish

This is really easy and makes a nice table decoration for your family dinner. Just make one per person and put one on each plate when you set the table!

Origami heart

Another sweet table decoration. Make sure you have red paper, because these are the perfect Valentine’s gift.

Origami frog

This one is fun because you can make the frog hop when it’s finished.

Origami windmill

This is another one where you also get a toy when you’re done. The squash folds are tricky though, so make sure you pay attention and have the paper the right way up at all times.

Tips to keep origami tear-free

  • By all means invest in some coloured origami papers (available online or from craft shops) but really all you need is some standard A4 paper. Places like Officeworks and Kmart also sell A4 pads of coloured construction paper which is perfect.
  • To make a square out of an A4 sheet, just fold it on the diagonal so that the edges meet exactly and cut off the extra bit along the bottom.
  • Most figures rely on two or three folds to begin with. These first folds create a ‘blueprint’ of lines that will guide you later so make sure they’re really, really exact.
  • It can be frustrating when you get to the more complicated figures, so just encourage your child to go slowly and be patient. They can always start again. It’s only paper.

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