It’s a rainy day. You and your kids are stuck inside, sheltering from a monsoon pouring down from the dreary sky. While your kids may want to spend the day playing video games on their smartphone, prolonged exposure to screens can be detrimental to children’s mental and physical health. There are so many fun indoor activities for you and your kids that encourage family bonding and foster creativity away from screens—activities like origami.
Origami (おりがみ or 折り紙) literally means “paper folding” in Japanese. True to its name, origami is the art of folding flat pieces of paper into complex, multi-dimensional shapes like cranes, frogs, and flowers. It might sound complex (and it can be), but there are a ton of simple origami shapes that even the youngest kids will enjoy creating.
Here are three different origami projects of differing difficulties that will inspire your kids to put the phone down and learn how to make paper crafts.
Step 1: Pull out your square piece of paper.
Step 2: Fold the paper in half diagonally, connecting the top and bottom corners.
Step 3: Fold the paper in half vertically.
Step 4: Unfold the paper.
Step 5: Fold the corners down at an angle to make the ears.
Step 6: Fold the top and bottom corners back to create a puppy’s round face shape.
Step 7: Draw a little face on your dog and you’re done!
Origami Fortune Teller
When I was a kid, my sisters and I spent hours making these little fortune tellers (also called cootie catchers) and asking each other ridiculous questions about our futures. Here are the steps needed to make your own cootie catcher.
Step 1: Pull out your square piece of paper.
Step 2: Fold the paper in half diagonally, then unfold.
Step 3: Fold the paper in half diagonally again, connecting the other corners. Then, unfold.
Step 4: Fold the paper in half horizontally, then unfold.
Step 5: Fold the paper in half vertically, then unfold.
Step 6: Fold all four corners into the center.
Step 7: Turn the paper over.
Step 8: Fold all four corners into the center again. There should be ten visible triangles. Write a number on each triangle, then write a fortune underneath each number.
Step 9: Fold the paper in half horizontally.
Step 10: Slide your thumbs beneath the openings in the paper to fold the fortune teller up. Color a different colored circle on each of the four flaps, then play!
Once your child has made their fortune teller, set them loose writing their own fortunes and using it with their friends.
It’s easy to play. First, ask a friend to pick one of the colors on the top flaps. Spell out the name of the color, opening and closing the fortune teller as you say each letter. Stop on the last letter, and ask the friend to pick one of the inside numbers. Count out the number as you open and close the fortune teller again, then stop once you reach the number. Tell your friend to choose another number. Open the flap underneath the selected number, and tell your friend their fortune.
Origami Jumping Frog
In fourth grade, I was taught how to make a jumping frog using origami. I thought it was so cool that I could create a toy out of just paper, and your kids will think the same!
Here’s how to make an origami frog that actually jumps:
Step 1: For this origami craft, you do not start with a square! Instead, pull out a regular 8.5×11 sheet of paper.
Step 2: Fold the top left corner down to the right side, creating a diagonal line; then unfold.
Step 3: Repeat step 2 with the other corner, then unfold.
Step 4: Fold horizontally where the creases make an X, then unfold.
Step 5: This is where things get a little tricky (get ready to help your little ones). Bring the creases together to create a little triangle at the top of the paper.
Step 6: Take the triangle and fold both corners up to the top.
Step 7: Fold the right and left sides into the center.
Step 8: Fold the paper horizontally, bringing the bottom corners up to the corners of the new diamond.
Step 9: Fold the bottom rectangle horizontally in half.
Step 10: Flip the frog over. Draw some eyeballs and other froggy features, then show your kiddos how you can make the frog hop by pressing down the back edge.
Use the Internet for Origami Instructions
If your child is really excited about origami (and who wouldn’t be), there are so many resources on the internet that teach how to fold complex shapes from the traditional paper crane to a tyrannosaurus rex and even baby Yoda!
Once they’ve mastered the paper folding arts, your child may want to share their creations with the world. Smartphones from Troomi Wireless are the best phone for kids, thanks to security features that help your child feel safe sharing their masterpieces with family and friends. Click here to learn a little more about these awesome phones.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more fun craft ideas!