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Telling A Story Using Origami

Updated on September 28, 2012
Paper cranes, the international symbol of peace.
Paper cranes, the international symbol of peace. | Source

What is origami?

The art of making paper first originated in China in the year 102A.D. At that time paper was becoming more readily available to the masses. Paper making stayed in China for several hundred years and then finally spread to Korea and Japan. Soon, paper making became a vital part of Japanese life. Japanese people appreciated the practical and creative uses of paper. The art of paper folding, or origami, soon took flight and became part of Japan's culture.

This beautiful art form continues to be handed down from one generation to the next. It is a way to create any object, any dream, out of a piece of paper.

I Remember...

I grew up appreciating origami. Every summer I attended Japanese summer school and it was there that I was introduced to my first origami story. One of my teachers used origami, rather than pictures from a book, to illustrate an old Japanese folktale, The Peach Boy. This skilled teacher only needed her voice and her wonderful origami creations to transport the class to the far regions of Japan. We were amazed to see the story come to life right before our eyes and it was then that I truly fell in love with the art of storytelling.

Later, as an early educator, I was excited to discover a local librarian who performed origami stories. We invited this skilled librarian to our class and instantly fell in love with one particular story, The Paper Hat. It has been retold by many, sometimes under a different title, but the story always has the same theme. It is a story about a curious child with a vivid imagination who is able to become anything and travel anywhere with just a piece of paper.

It is a story for the kid in all of us.

The Paper Hat

A group of Japanese schoolchildren dedicate their contribution of a thousand origami cranes at the Sadako Sasaki memorial in Hiroshima.
A group of Japanese schoolchildren dedicate their contribution of a thousand origami cranes at the Sadako Sasaki memorial in Hiroshima. | Source

Benefits Of Origami

“Motor activity in the form of skilled movement is vital to the development of intuitive thoughts and the mental representation of the brain." - Piaget

Origami Supports:

  • Visual memory
  • Visual-spatial motor skills
  • Verbal and visual memory
  • Logical reasoning
  • Problem solving
  • Fine-motor skills
  • Eye-hand coordination
  • Concentration
  • Sequential memory
  • Mathematics
  • Listening Skills

This is only a partial list of the cognitive skills benefited by origami. Origami is used to treat many different conditions, such as children with learning disabilities who display feelings of low self-worth.

Martha Lady, a learning disability specialist from North Brunswick NJ, emphasizes that the self esteem component is crucial to the entire process of learning,“Most learning disabled children stopped succeeding in educational settings because they had difficulties so they stopped trying. If you give them successful experience...something that they successfully learned, they won’t be scared to attempt something else new. Origami takes the phobia out of attempting. Yes, they may fail, but they can fix their mistakes and try again. Origami gives them permission to take risks. The child is doing something that not everyone can do. Here is something that is admired”.

Tell A Story With Origami

Now it is your turn to tell a story with origami. What will you create? Who will you inspire?


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    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks for stopping by and reading my hub. After writing this hub I discovered any art activity can be used to tell a story. My daughter and I just came up with a great story using a piece of paper and scissors. We cut the paper to make a snowflake and created a story to go along with the cutting. I'm thinking about writing a hub about the experience. I love the fact my daughter was involved in the process! Thanks for voting up!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 

      6 years ago from United States

      Love this! My daughters and I discovered origami beyond the first couple of easy fold last year. This is a terrific idea to tell a story. It reminds me that I have some drawing lessons which work that way too. Voted up and pinned

    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Kelleyward, thanks for taking the time to read my hub. Honestly, I need more practice when it comes to origami, but I have fun trying and my students enjoy watching me "try again." It's a fun learning process that everyone can enjoy.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      What a neat idea. I admit I'm horrible at Origami, although I wish I wasn't. Loved this. Voted up and across. Kelley

    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      Last night my daughter and I spent an hour folding a piece of paper into different "creatures." It's like looking at clouds, it can be anything your mind sees. Have fun and just create something. I am glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • Christine Miranda profile image

      Christine Miranda 

      6 years ago from My office.

      Wow this is interesting. I never tried Origami, although I do know how to fold a dollar bill into the shape of a bow tie, does that count? I love the way you look at everyday tasks and projects with your "Professional Hat" on. What most people see as a craft or project you see it, and relate it to your readers from a developmental perspective. You show that learning isn't just from a book in a classroom. Very nice!

    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      The Paper Hat story is really easy to do. It only takes a little practice and then you'll be doing it in your sleep. =) Children LOVE to watch this story "unfold." Their delighted expressions will be all the motivation you need. Thanks for taking the time to read my hub(s) and for voting up.

    • His princesz profile image

      His princesz 

      6 years ago

      I love origami but I find it so difficult to do. Thanks for this article, knowing the benefits of origami inspires me to learn and strive to make some. Voted up and useful! :)

    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      I am so glad you enjoyed the Paper Hat story. The great thing about origami stories is that you can make it your own. There are some more fabulous stories displayed on YouTube. They may give you some more ideas. Happy origami storytelling!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      I followed your paper hat video and I was able to repeat the steps to make the figures. I enjoyed this hub very much. Origami is so intricate and beautiful of expression. Voted way up.

    • TeachableMoments profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from California

      RTalloni, thank you for reading my hub. I hope others see the value in this beautiful art form. Hope you enjoyed my hub. Come back anytime. =)

    • RTalloni profile image


      6 years ago from the short journey

      A neat look at origami story telling and the benefits of learning to create origami shapes!


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