Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fun and Learning, Origami for Children

On one of those ridiculously gray days, this last week, when we were all feeling too under motivated to accomplish anything of worth, I clicked over to Netflix in search of an entertaining, yet hopefully educational, documentary.

I landed on the PBS Independent Lens documentary, Between The Folds. I noticed our local library has a DVD copy too, or you can find it on YouTube in six parts, starting here.

The film is a thought provoking look into the modern world of origami, and how far it has moved beyond the simple paper crane. I'm not sure we're buying everything they're trying to sell, or maybe it's just that the half asleep voice of the narrator, combined with the dreamlike score of music, seemed a little overdone, like one of those films designed to make you feel smarter for just having watched it. But underneath all that, was a pretty interesting look at how a craft can become art, and how art combines with mathematics, and science in unexpected, but exciting ways.

It gave us (the older children and I) something to think about, anyway.

Needless to say I popped over to our library website, and put a quick hold on as many origami themed books, as I could find, including a couple of children's picture books, like Lissy's Friends by Grace Lin.



It is the story of a shy little girl, who finds herself in a new school, without any friends - until she makes some for herself. Ultimately, her paper "friends" provide her with an avenue for making real friends, as she shares with her classmates the art of paper folding.

C (age 4), loved the story, and all of Lissy's paper creations. But, she was very frustrated, that she couldn't follow the instructions at the back of the book to make her own paper crane.

I'll admit, I had trouble following the instructions myself. After a couple, paper crumpling, attempts, I turned to Wikihow for help, and finally managed to get something close to a bird. It was good enough for C, anyway. So much for the crane being simple.



Happily, a little bit of searching turned up a much easier paper frog printable, from Click Magazine, with simple enough instructions, we could all make one (the youngest two, with help).



After a few misfires...



...we even managed to get them to hop.



And, right before posting this, this morning, I came across instructions for a two fold, origami fish, at Paper Crafts for Children via Teach Preschool's Facebook page, that C is going to love.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

14 comments:

Phyllis said...

Those are cute! I am all thumbs when it comes to Origami but Katie likes it and always does an Origami animal for whatever one is the animal of the Chinese New Year. I really like that these made a toy as well.

Joyful Learner said...

I remember doing origami in Korea and it was a common thing back then. It was before I entered school so I must have been very young. Now, if you ask me to do them, I have no idea especially following instructions from a book. I think it was easier back then because I had older childten who modeled each step and I had smaller fingers...and possibly more motivation!

Your crane turned out wonderful and the frogs are hopping fun!

Joyful Learner said...

I just wanted to add that your library is very quick with finding books on holds! We have to wait weeks and by then, we've moved on.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Joyful Learner - Yes, I'm always amazed, because the books come from all over the state, and this is not a small state. As long as they are checked in, it's only a matter of days, and often I'll have the books by the next day.

Deborah said...

I love the frog!

Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids said...

I have a new appreciation for origami. My daughter and I are making 300 origami globes for the lightening at her wedding. :)

Debbie said...

I was thinking a while back that I would love to find some books on Origami, if for anything else just to have fun watching the amazement on Selena's face.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Kristi - Wow!

Melissa @ The Chocolate Muffin Tree said...

Sounds like a great book! What an awesome book to go along with teaching origami!

Joyful Learner said...

Wow! Impressive library system!

I purchased an origami book awhile back. There's so much I need to get to...but there's no hurry, right? K is only 4 3/4.

Ticia said...

I've never had much luck making a crane I can make a cootie catcher and a box that's about my origami abilities

Christy said...

Fun! I'll have to try some origami with the kids.

My library system is great with holds too. It's nice!

Raising a Happy Child said...

We love Grace Lin books, but I haven't seen this one before! I am going to look for it. Interestingly, we also studied paper folding in Soviet preschools, but I've always been terrible at it. Now I am motivated to find this book and to try again.

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