Isn’t it amazing how many things you can learn and make from a single sheet of paper? In some of our previous Thinkery at Home videos, we’ve drawn Exquisite Creatures, created Collage Art, and folded a Paper Airplane… maybe you’ve joined us! In this Thinkery At Home activity, we invite you to learn about a new art form and culture as you transform an ordinary sheet of paper into a beautiful origami crane.
Folding paper shapes like this crane is part of a Japanese art form called origami. Ori- means “fold,” and -gami means “paper.” This folded paper crane is also known as an orizuru: a “folded crane.”
These paper cranes are made to look like real-life birds called red-crowned cranes. These birds are rare in Japan, so people believe that seeing one means that you’ll have good luck. These origami paper cranes also symbolize good luck! According to Japanese legend, if you fold 1,000 paper cranes, you’ll be granted one wish. A thousand cranes — we’d better get busy folding!
Why we love this activity:
- Practice “reading pictures” & fine motor skills. Look at the photograph for each step of the paper-folding process with your child. Can you figure out how to fold your paper to match the picture on your screen? Understanding how to follow along with photos or illustrations in a visual text will open up a world of independent learning for your child.
- Explore math concepts like shape, measurement, and size. How many triangles can you see on your origami crane? Do all of those triangles look the same? Can you practice using a ruler to keep track of how the origami crane’s size changes during the folding process? How big or small can you make your orizuru?
- Make a connection with Japanese culture! Broadening your children’s exposure to different cultures starting from a young age is one way to destigmatize differences and celebrate people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
Be sure to check out the activity guide for more ways to support your learner and go further with this activity!
Click here to find a step-by-step guide to making origami cranes!
We would love to see what sizes & patterns of origami cranes you make… as well as the adventures that they go on! Share your orizuru with us on social media, and be sure to tag #thinkeryatx and #thinkeryathome to share your creations with our Thinkery community.