Improving Educational Skills Via Artistic Activities? Try Origami!

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It may sound a bit crazy but you can help your child learn to enjoy the process of learning through some well chosen activities. The secret is in the enticement and fun offered in many artistic venues that your child may be attracted to. He or she doesn’t have to be the next Walt Disney, Pablo Picasso or Frank Lloyd Wright; only a child that loves working with her hands, or enjoys creating with color or ‘making things’ with clay, paper or anything within reach.

One of the most enticing art forms is origami. Here a child (or adult) starts with a flat square of paper. Before long this one dimensional sheet is transformed into an amazingly detailed 3-dimensional object though a series of folding. There’s no cutting or gluing—only a series of folds created in a specific order. It’s quite amazing to watch—it may start out with a little difficulty, but due to it’s repetitive nature, it’s easy to catch on within a short period of time. It’s so exciting for the child as he realizes he ‘gets it’ and gets more adept as he goes along. She may then become increasingly interested in trying more difficult configurations.

Some highlights from an article on the internet ( help point out the benefits:

Origami gives the folder the opportunity to make creative designs and figures; but, in recent years people have found many ways to use origami in other areas. For example, teachers have discovered that it is a wonderful teaching tool with many educational benefits. In addition, paper folding is being used in physical therapy, in mental health programs, and as a source of entertainment and enjoyment. Origami is becoming a very important activity that has many useful benefits.

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 canuse origami to develop math lessons ingeometry, 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.

Many therapists use paper folding in their fields of medicine. Physical therapist use origami as a fun way to exercise hand muscles that they are trying to rehabilitate.
Psychologists are using origami in their medical field. They have found that the coordinated work of both hands when folding origami helps with the development of motor skills, as well as attention, memory, and imagination processes. The folding of origami can also be helpful to some people because it can be a tool by which they can relieve stress.

Origami classes are held at many places: check local art schools, libraries, recreation centers, park systems and other local sources. There are also so many wonderfully illustrated books for those who are self-motivated. If on a tight budget, recycle magazine paper, heavy weight wrapping paper or colored printer paper. There are amazing special origami papers at craft stores for a really special looking project. Give it a try—it can be a great parent-child activity to share!