Fun with Origami: Its Benefits for Child Development

Colorful paper, beautifully patterned & folded into amazing shapes!

Playing with origami might be a familiar activity for Mom and Dad. Indeed, the art of paper folding is known as an iconic part of Japanese culture, also developing within various other countries, including Indonesia.

Origami is considered an art form centered on paper folding originating from Japan. The word “ori” means “fold”, and “kami” means “paper”.

In Indonesia, origami has become a legitimate activity for both the kindergarten and elementary school levels within the subject of Arts, Culture and Crafts (SBdP). Even now origami is increasingly popular not only for young children but also for many adults. Indeed, many origami classes exist to facilitate lovers of the artform.

Although playing with origami seems like a simplistic activity, it turns out that there exist many benefits that can be gained from origami, especially for children. In a research journal, about the use of the art of origami paper folding in early childhood, the following benefits have been observed:

1. Improving fine motor skills

Engaging in origami requires that the child uses their fingers in order to creatively shape something out of a piece of paper. In this, the child’s hands and eyes must carefully practice proper coordination, thereby stimulating their fine motor muscles.

2. Learning geometry and understanding accuracy

Children will become more familiar with geometric concepts and terms such as lines, points, the intersection of two lines, the center point of a triangle, etc. In addition, when formulating shapes, sometimes one has to utilize more than 1 paper piece, which encourages children to learn to recognize the desired and accurate size and shape to use in order to get the result they need.

3. Getting to know more about animals and the environment

Origami shapes encourage children to become more familiar with types of animals, as well as their surrounding environment. In this, children will then compare real shapes with the origami shapes that they have become accustomed with.

4. Practicing discipline

By carefully following instructions step by step, children will then become more disciplined and trained in following precise directions. Children can also learn the fundamental concept of following directions, in that carefully following instructions are intended to achieve one’s desired results.

5. Strengthening emotional bonds between the parent and child.

Playing with origami is usually accompanied by engaging communication; this will help to build a better bond between the child and the parent, as well as the student and the teacher.

In addition to the various benefits mentioned above, origami can also further help develop concentration and problem-solving skills. The child uses their fingertips to fold the corners of the paper at hand, requiring precision and attention to detail. As a result of doing this again and again, the child’s overall level of concentration will indirectly increase. Difficulties encountered when folding or when reading instructions can also mold their ability to solve problems and find solutions.

Can origami also be used as a toy? Well of course it can!

We can turn our origami creations into a fun game which involves 2 or more parties flying their paper airplanes the furthest possible distance, or making an origami “zoo”, playing shopping as well as many more activities.

These days, origami is not only folded through the use of square paper, but can also be found in children’s activity books such as the Gakken Play Smart Workbooks series.

The Play Smart Workbooks includes several folding art activities. Through cutting, folding and pasting simple forms of origami, children will enjoy being able to craft adorable shapes that are commonly found around them every day.

Come and discover the joys of playing with simple origami as well as other activities through the Play Smart Workbooks from Gakken. You can collect the whole series at major bookstores such as Gramedia, Kinokuniya and Paperclip, or online at KingKongBooks.com.

Get excited about creating!

*Source: “USING THE ART OF ORIGAMI PAPER FOLDING TO INCREASE CREATIVITY IN EARLY CHILDREN IN KEMALA BHAYANGKARI TK METRO CITY CENTER METRO” by Neti Agustina, 2019.

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