Origami is a very therapeutic and educational form of paper art. Most origami models just require one piece of paper and a series of folds, while others require a cut or two to form slots to secure pieces or create certain shapes. The folding and cutting are great to help children develop their fine motor skills, as well as help those with hand injuries in a therapeutic way.
There are many simple origami diagrams that beginners and children can follow easily and only require a few folds. This not only helps train their fine motor skills to fold and manipulate the paper, but also learn to identify different shapes that adults can help them name. For example, the child will begin with a square and fold it into a triangle or rectangle, continue to fold to form a diamond shape and so on.
Another fantastic benefit of origami is training hand-eye coordination. Since most of the paper model folds need an exact placement and manipulation, it’s perfect to practice hand-eye coordination, especially for the young.
In order to maximize learning benefits of origami for children, give them a wide variety of colourful and textured paper to help them learn colours and textures, and try different simple models to help them learn different shapes and objects. Some great models that children can make range from animals, clothing, fruits/vegetables, vehicles, buildings, etc.
For slightly older children who are learning verbs, it’s a great chance to help them learn actions and directions while playing. Talk through all of the actions and directions with the children while playing to help them identify different verbs and directions and to teach them without making it feel like school. For example, here are instructions for making a paper hat to show you how many different things children can learn from one origami model:
First, begin with a colourful rectangular shaped piece of paper. Fold the top side down to the bottom and create a crease in the middle. Now, fold it in half from left to right like closing a book, and press down to make a crease. Open the book and fold the two top corners towards the middle to look like a house. Finally fold the bottom ends up and open from the bottom. Now you have a triangular shaped hat.
As you can see, the children are constantly learning their vocabulary, and training their hand-eye coordination as well as fine motor skills. The benefits of origami are endless. It’s fun, inexpensive, and educational for people of all ages.