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Simple and Easy Origami For Kids - Learn the Art of Folding Paper

Updated on September 20, 2017

Origami - the Art of Folding Paper

Origami is the ancient Japanese art of folding paper into fascinating figures. Perhaps an animal, boat, flower or even something that moves. There is a timeless appeal to this art; it has held people spellbound for over a thousand years.

The techniques of of folding paper into the beautiful and intricate forms of Origami are not difficult to learn, and is one of the better crafts for children to learn. Origami kits for children are popular and inexpensive; they provide a great learning experience for children and offer them the opportunity to create something themselves.

Easy Origami Kits For Kids

There are many origami starter kits available, and most are suitable for kids in the 8 to 10 year age group. Some care must be taken to provide your child with a kit suitable for them; choose an origami kit that offers creations that might interest your child.

Most children love to make something that moves, and popular origami creations in this area might include a thumping heart or a frog that hops. Most kids (especially those with pets) will enjoy making animals or animal faces with their developing origami skills. A dog or cat face perhaps, or more exotic animals such as elephants or the ever popular dragon. An origami dragon can be very complex indeed, but many are easy and simply enough for children as well.

When choosing an origami kit for kids, be sure that it contains a good deal of paper. While origami figures can be made from nearly any paper, little fingers need paper that is easy to bend and fold. Typical copy paper is often too hard to work with for children as origami often requires folding several layers of paper at once and such paper is just too stiff for them. Most origami paper is also colored (often with designs) on at least one side and this will add considerably to the child's experience. A good substitute may be made by cutting Christmas wrapping paper into 7" or 12" squares, but additional paper is also readily available in many different sizes, designs and quantities for when the child has exhausted the supply in their kit and wishes to continue as are many books dedicated to origami creations with plans and instructions.

Origami kits for kids from Amazon

Fold a Beating Heart

Here are the directions to form a beating heart. As a good substitute for regular origami paper, a 7" square of Christmas wrapping paper will do fine. The collection of photos below shows the individual steps.

  • With the white side of the paper up, fold the left side in until it reaches the right side. Crease the center and unfold. This step is to provide a crease for future reference.
  • Repeat, except fold the bottom side up to the top and again crease and unfold.
  • Turn the paper over so that the "seam" is on the back.
  • Fold each side into the center.
  • Fold the top down about 1/2". Fold only the top layer, leaving the back layer as it is. This will require that the corners be opened as shown.
  • Fold the two center corners of the back layer forward, exposing the red color.
  • Fold the bottom half of both front and back layers nearly to the top and crease. Leave folded.
  • Fold the top half down until it reaches the bottom edge.
  • Fold each bottom corner up to the center on an angle. It should like up with the crease made in the first step. Only fold the front layers of paper.
  • Fold the back two layers back in the same manner, and once more turn the paper over. You should now have a red heart.
  • To make the hear "beat", unfold the back bottom two corners a little. Grasp these two corners and push them back and forth towards each other; the heart will beat.

Make an Origami Beating Heart

Click thumbnail to view full-size

A complex origami dragon

© 2011 Dan Harmon

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    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      5 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I think most kids love origami, but a station for recess has to be about the best ever, Summerberrie. Almost makes me wish I was a student again.

    • profile image

      summerberrie 

      5 years ago

      I just love everything about origami. It is kinda like coloring; therapeutic.

      One rainy day recess I had a station set aside for kids to work on origami. They really enjoyed it. Great information and resource!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to love doing origami with my boys. I think we still have some origami paper left. I may have to pull it out and make a few of your beating hearts. These would be fun to do for Valentine's Day.

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judi Brown 

      5 years ago from UK

      I put an origami kit in my daughter's Christmas stocking last year and we both enjoyed it. Love the beating heart - going to pin it and use that idea!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I still play with my granddaughter doing origami - we both enjoy it and it makes for a great interaction with her.

      Some of these things are beyond me, but I included the dragon video mostly to show what is possible for advanced artists in the field. I'll never make one, either.

      Yes, most of my hubs are for the handyman - I've spent a lifetime doing my own work around the house and have been in the construction for a good part of that. It's a way to share what others have shared with me and to pass along tips and hints that I've found useful.

    • Debby Bruck profile image

      Debby Bruck 

      6 years ago

      Very cool, Wilderness. I used to do origami with the kids many years ago. One summer my son made 50 little birds and created a mobile that hung in his room for years.

      That origami tutorial to make the dragon is 35 minutes alone. If I got stuck trying to keep up with him, it would probably take hours and I'd give up.

      Blessings, Debby [voted up] I see you have created a diverse number of How To articles for the handyman.

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      Glad you're having a good time here.

    • profile image

      bob 

      6 years ago

      i hs been fun on this web site

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      6 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      It's been great, working with my granddaughter doing this. We both enjoy the time and activity.

    • jack2006 profile image

      Agnesse Renahan 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      thanks for the great info. I am a love of origami too. this is very fun and interesting..

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks much!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      @RTalloni - Not really. We bought a simple kit with simple projects and a bunch of various colors of paper for your 8 year granddaughter last Christmas. She very much enjoyed it, as did our 3 year old grandson, but the grandson requires constant help and assistance. He likes the different colors and patterns and gets excited about animal patterns, but cannot begin to fold one by himself.

      I would not say that 4 years old is too early to start, but be aware that a child that young cannot learn or do the work themselves - you will have to be present all the time to help out. Having said that, our grandson does enjoy the time doing origami with Grandpa!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks so much for posting this. I am looking for origami projects/kits to inspire a young artist--4 years old! Do you have recommendations for that age?

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      I am enjoying my time working with it with my granddaughter. We're both still taking baby steps, but have fun and gradually our creations are becoming more complex.

      I look at pictures of what experts have produced and just marvel - perhaps one day I'll get there.

    • Kindacrazy profile image

      Kindacrazy 

      7 years ago from Tennessee

      I have always been fascinated by this form of "art". Maybe it's because that is the way our mind and hands work, one fold at a time. Great hub!

    • wilderness profile imageAUTHOR

      Dan Harmon 

      7 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      We bought an origami kit for our granddaughter for Christmas - it was what inspired this hub. She loves it and always brings it over when visiting, so I'm learning it too.

    • surf traveler profile image

      surf traveler 

      7 years ago

      Origami is a great craft activity for kids. Good hub Wilderness. One more hub and you'll hit 100!

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