Origami is both an exacting art and simple form of fun. As a child, we always had books on origami around the house and, even though we couldn’t read Japanese, we could follow the illustrated directions. The only origami I ever managed to memorize, however, is a crane.
Before our wedding, my family sat around a few nights before folding a couple hundred origami boxes. We wanted to include the Canadian tradition of British wedding cake (a dense fruit cake), which we placed inside Japanese origami boxes on plates. We sat around folding paper, recalling stories, and singing songs all evening.
These origami toys are simple to make but full of fun. And you can make all of these from one piece of paper. For more fun you can use coloured paper, although construction paper is probably too thick.
These would make a perfect small gift for a child. For a younger child you can just make them, for an older child you could include instructions so that they can make their own as well (links to printable instructions linked at the bottom). These toys are quiet, require no batteries, and are soon ruined so no clutter.
This is also suitable for a child to make as gifts. The two older girls and I had a lot of fun folding all together.
The largest is a fortune teller or cootie catcher. I remember making them when younger, and my girls have gotten many hours of fun out of these. You put your fingers in the holes and switch the numbers back and forth. When the player says stop, they choose a colour or number and underneath are secret messages. The toddler’s secret message suggestions received the most laughs (poo and potty).
The messages can be silly (you are a goose; today is your lucky day), affirming (you are awesome; I love you), Bible verses, jokes, or even simple animal faces for toddlers.
The jumping frog actually jumps. Smaller frogs jump better than larger ones, and kids loved to repeatedly see how high and far they could make the frog jump. Sometimes it helped to use a small implement, like a lego or chopstick.
The helicopter couldn’t be easier to make. Watching it almost makes me curious about physics and how such a simple piece of paper rotates. Almost. The older couple is so cute in the above video, and shows that these are toys for any age!
The boat is kind of to use up the rest of the paper; you could also make another frog and helicopter.
Here are the dimensions for an A4 size of paper, which is 8.27 x 11.7. North America has a different paper sizing system then the rest of the world, the letter size is slightly wider and shorter (8.4 x 11) but it should still work with a few adjustments.
Fold the top into a triangle to make a square and cut. The large piece is the fortune teller. The piece 3.5 cm is for the helicopter, 11 cm for the boat, and 6.5 cm for the frog (fold the short sides together before continuing with the frog instructions).
Here are links to pdf instructions: fortune teller, helicopter (you have to print just the instructional picture), jumping frog (remember to fold the paper in half short sides together first before continuing), and boat.
Have you made or played with paper toys?
This is part of a blog party hosted by Homegrown and Healthy! Check out some of the other amazing homemade gift ideas!