Origami for Kids

Lots of kids LOVE to make things with paper – I think because it feels so magical to transform an everyday object into something artistic and beautiful.

Whatever the reason, creating fun designs from paper seems to hold a special charm. Whether it’s an origami flower or a paper plane.

Origami is fun and satisfying for both parents and kids, and it helps the little ones with their dexterity and coordination, too.

Of course, you’ll need to look for special designs and products that are just right for your child’s age.

If your child likes the simple origami project below, look for free printable designs online (just do a search for “free printable origami patterns” in your favorite search engine.)

You’ll also find online tutorials with videos and photographs to help you as you go. You might also want to check you local library for more books on origami. Or check out the books at the bottom of this page from some of our favorite online merchants.

General tips when doing origami with kids:

1. Read through the entire project first. It’s going to be hard to keep the kiddos from starting right in on the folding, so make sure you survey the project first to make sure it’s age appropriate and there aren’t any unexpected bumps along the way. In general, the best designs for kids have ten or fewer steps.

2. Use the recommended type of paper. When doing origami with kids, you generally won’t need to use the official origami paper, but do make sure the paper you choose matches your child’s coordination level – and suits your design.

Almost all origami paper starts as a square. Thinner paper (such as that used for magazines) will work well for smaller designs but you will probably need something a little bit more sturdy for young kids.

3. Clear a hard, smooth tabletop (or even a hard floor) for folding so you’ll make nice clean folds.

To get you started, here is a simple origami project for kids.

Make an Origami Cat

You’ll need
* 1 sheet of paper, square. (6 inches x 6 inches or larger)

* Markers

* Glue

* Plastic "googly" eyes

1. Fold the paper in half diagonally to make a triangle. Make a smooth crease.

2. Fold the paper in half diagonally again. Make a smooth fold and then open this fold so you have your original triangle once again.

3. Fold the top tip of the triangle down so that it comes down about one-quarter of the way. The flat top you create will be the top of the cat's head.

4. Fold the bottom right corner straight up - the point will go slightly beyond the top of the cat's head to make the ear.

5. Repeat with the bottom left corner.

6. Flip the project over and you’ll have a simple cat’s face. Draw whiskers and add a couple of googly eyes. Now make some more so you can have a whole menagerie!

Here are some books with Origami Projects and Games, especially for Kids: