Why You Should Adopt Origami for Skill Development Among Children?

Updated October 4, 2010

Paper crafts, paper folding or origami is one of my favourite pastime and from few years I am teaching simple and basic paper folding/origami projects in my art/crafts class. As an instructive and attractive hobby children enjoy following the instructions and colouring paper keeps them busy for some time. I found that it appeals to the creative, inventive and constructive abilities of children.

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. It literally translates as ori (folding) gami (paper). In Japan, Children learn origami at their mothers' knees. In the West, children are learning it at school. Research has shown that paper-folding, particularly in the elementary school years, is a unique and valuable addition to the curriculum. Origami is not only fun, but it is also a valuable method for developing vital skills.

As a teacher or parent you can adopt this creative hobby for skill development among your children. Therapists have found that origami has a modifying affect on their patients, and they often use it as a diagnostic and therapeutic tool. This post is about the benefits you get when you keep your kids busy with these art/crafts activities.

 Origami can be used for skill development by educators, teachers, Psychologists, Physicians, Parents for educational, developmental, and therapeutic aspects. Origami is good for any age: from kids, those who start learning all by themselves, to persons of mature years who don't stop developing their own individuality.

Schools have begun to realize the educational value of origami. It is a great hands-on activity and a wonderful resource that:

  • teaches students how to follow directions                                                     
  • encourages cooperation among students
  • improves motor skills, and
  • it helps develop multi-cultural awareness.

Math teachers have found that they can use origami to develop math lessons in geometry, fractions, and problem solving. Language Arts teachers have found that they can use origami to introduce units in literature, poetry, and creative writing. Science and social studies teachers are using origami to introduce lessons as well. As you can see, origami has become a very useful teaching tool in education.

What happens when we are doing origami?

Body level:                                                                                                                                         

Your hands are made active, they give impulses to your brain, and activate your left and right hemispheres. Tactile, motor and visual brain's zones are made very active.

Soul level:

Your emotions are painted with joy, satisfaction, and pride in your own work. They broaden

your emotional self-image.

Mind level:                                                                                                                                                           

Your memory, non-verbal thinking, attention, 3D-comp-rehension, imagination are working hard.                           

More benefits:

Below is a list of partial academic and cognitive skills involving Origami.

Listening Skills, Social Studies, Visual Memory, Reading Skills, Sequential Memory, Visual-Spatial Motor Skills, Writing Skills, Concentration, Verbal and Visual Memory, Mathematics Eye-Hand Coordination, Logical Reasoning, Spatial Relationship, Fine Motor Skills, Problem Solving. The non-threatening nature of oOigami coupled with the attractiveness of transforming a flat piece of paper into three dimensional sculpture, has a therapeutic effect on children. Many folders have found Origami to be an inherently relaxing activity and its use as a stress reduction technique.

"Oriland.com" has described 10 reasons to be involved in origami:

1. Development of fine 'motor skills' of both hands.

2. Development of intellectual abilities.

3. Development of creative abilities.                                           

4. Activation of the Right and Left hemispheres of the brain.

5. Development of imagination.

6. Development of attention.

7. Development of memory.

8. Development of patience.

9. Emotional and aesthetic experiences.

10. Joy, satisfaction and pride in your own work!

Using origami as an educational tool is not new. The German pedagogue and the founder of kindergartent, Friedrich Froebel (1782 – 1852) , was the first to introduce Origami into formal education.. Froebel recognized the value of children learning through play and exploration. He considered the manipulation of the paper as a mean for children to discover for themselves the principles of math and geometry. Piaget, the renowned child development psychologist held that “motor activity int the form of skilled movement is vital to the development of intuitive thoughts and the mental representation of the brain”.

“When the paper folds the mind unfolds”

Origami is an activity that requires both hands and activates the whole brain. According to a research done on the brain by Dr. Katerin Shumakov and Yuri Shumakov, when both hands are engaged, impellent motor impulses activate the language portion of the brain.

Where to learn origami?

You can find many books from internet, but to start learning there are many sites, which provide free stuff.

Scientific proof how origami helps to develop skills: Ph.D. thesis by Katrin and Yuri Shumakov (Left Brain and Right Brain at Origami Training)

Related posts:

* Origami in Education and Therapy

* The Educational Benefits of Origami

* Learn origami at the internet!

* 'Benefits of origami'

* Useful links and resources for paper crafts! 

* Origami - A Great Way to Train Fine Motor and Cognitive Skills