Origami for Kids

Origami is a great craft for children.

Finding origami for kids to make is a good start to fun-filled family afternoon. Origami is a very accessible hobby. Kids are very entertained by the process of turning a simple piece of paper into a work of art. By following online patterns, you can help your kids learn this ancient art form.

Three Kid-Friendly Origami Projects

1. Simple Fish Origami

This simple fish pattern is easy for children to create.

  1. Start with a piece of origami paper. Fold it in half vertically.
  2. Fold the edges in to meet at the center crease.
  3. Fold the paper in half horizontally and crease. Open the paper up to the second fold. You should have a long rectangle with flaps meeting in the middle and a crease across the center.
  4. Fold the top and the bottom edges toward the center.
  5. Open out the bottom fold and outwards. Crease to form half of the tail. Repeat on the other side to lift the inner flap outwards.
  6. Fold the bottom edge up. Flatten it and crease. This forms the tail completely.
  7. Turn to the side and fold the top corners toward you and crease.
  8. Flip the fish over to the solid side. You can glue an eye on the fish for a fun effect.

2. Flower Origami for Kids to Make

Flowers like this tulip are very fun origami for kids to make. They make good origami presents for family members. This design is a bit more complicated than the fish so you may want to help very small children.

  1. Place the paper face down and fold in half diagonally.
  2. Bring the right corner of the triangle up and angle it so that it is toward the right of the top point, like a flower petal.
  3. Bring up the bottom left corner of the triangle. Place it a little to the left of the center point and crease well.
  4. Flip over the tulip to the other side. Turn in the three little points around the base of the tulip. Flip back over to see the complete project.

See what the tulip looks like at Activity Village.

3. Origami Chick

This is a more advanced origami for kids to make. Use a piece of two-sided paper for this pattern. Yellow and white gives the best effect for this project.

  1. Start with your square with the yellow side up. Fold it in half diagonally and crease, then unfold.
  2. Make a fold along the other diagonal and crease, then unfold.
  3. Place the paper with the colored side up, rotated so the corners are at the top/bottom and to the sides. Fold the bottom corner up to reach the center point (where the two diagonal creases intersect).
  4. Fold the top corner down to meet the same center point. Then unfold both the top and bottom corners.
  5. Fold the bottom point up to touch the lowest crease mark (the one that you made in the last step).
  6. Bring both sides in at a diagonal angle and crease. Leave folded.
  7. Rotate the paper around so that the folds that you just made are at the top of the page.
  8. Take the bottom corner of the paper up toward the fold that you just made. Crease the page.
  9. Fold the paper back down and line it up with the crease you made halfway through the piece of paper. This fold will make the beak.
  10. Turn the entire project over so you are looking at the blank white side.
  11. On the backside, fold the edge in towards the middle. Crease this fold very well, and do this on the other side.
  12. Turn the bottom corners of this fold back toward the middle so that the edges are rounded. Do the same to the other side.
  13. Turn the chick back over to see the completed project. Add eyes to finish.

Basic Tips for Teaching Children Origami

When teaching origami for kids, it's helpful to keep in mind the following tips:

  • Take the time to practice folding the figures on your own before attempting to teach the pattern to your child.
  • If you're not specifically using a project labeled as being for children, consider leaving out a few of the finishing folds to make the design easier for young crafters.
  • While you shouldn't let your child get overly frustrated, it's not a good idea to automatically rush in to help. Let your child enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with figuring things out on his own.
  • Don't expect perfection! For children, origami should be about enjoying the process. If the folds are a bit off center or the paper is slightly wrinkled, it doesn't really matter.

If you're looking for a good basic introduction to origami before you attempt to teach the craft to a child, consider reviewing the Origami Basics Web site. This resource discusses the cultural history of origami, essential folding techniques, the symbols used in origami diagrams, and other information of general interest to origami newcomers.

Additional Origami Resources

Online origami resources for children include:

  • Kids Web Japan has origami trivia, origami folding tips, and basic origami projects to introduce kids to the craft.
  • Activity Village has origami instructions neatly sorted into categories such as animals, flowers, and holiday decorations.
  • Origami Kids is a children's craft site focused mostly on instructions for paper airplanes and boats.
  • Tammy Yee's Origami Page has an impressive collection of print and fold origami projects for children.
  • The Origami Resource Center has links to projects that can be completed in 10 steps or less, making them good starting points for kids interested in the craft.

Printable Origami Papers

Printable origami papers are a great way for kids to enjoy crafting on a budget. Finding pretty origami paper can be difficult, but kids can enjoy choosing the designs for their creations by downloading papers from Origami-Fun. These PDF files can be printed as many times as necessary to master the steps involved in a particular design.

Origami for Kids