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    Handicrafts Update: How I’m Using Origami for Beginners

    August 31, 2015 by Brandy Vencel

    I have gotten a few emails asking me how origami is going thus far, so I thought I’d write a post. The short answer is that it is going great. We’re being consistent, and the children look forward to it. Two wins! I’m really glad I bought the kit I did, and today I’ll explain a bit about how I’m using it.

    Origami for Beginners

    Most of you know I purchased the Dover Origami Fun Kit for Beginners. I am really very happy with it, but I can already tell I’m going to need more paper. If you are doing this with multiple students, you will need more paper also! There are lots of fun origami papers out there, but I kept it simple and ordered these two extras supplies:

    Orchid origami paperorigami paper storage box

    This should keep us organized and well-stocked for some time!

    For now, I don’t actually have a scheduled time for origami. I cannot figure out a consistent time. Instead, I’m waiting for everyone (except my oldest, who has already done origami and could fold circles around us if he wanted to) to be available at once sometime during the late morning. This is the time that I have all four students doing their individual work. I have only had one day so far where I split them up (and did the project twice) because I couldn’t seem to find a time to work with all three of them at once. The rest of the time, it has worked to just wait for a natural stopping place in other things, and fit origami in before starting the next thing.

    We have been doing this three days per week, and I think that works really well. Any less, and I don’t think they’d have enough practice to progress each time. The Dover Origami Fun Kit for Beginners has three books in it. Easy Origami is definitely the beginner’s book, so we started with that.

    I’ve been very pleased with the way the very first projects were easy enough even for my first grader, and how each subsequent project builds on the previous one. It doesn’t take long, at this point, to finish a project. I have each child choose a piece of paper, and then I choose one, and then we do the next project in the book — whatever it is.

    It doesn’t take that long, and yet when we’re done, they have something to be proud of.

    I know that many of us place great value in “real” crafts that are not immediately disposable. So how does this fit with origami? Well, we had a dearth of bookmarks, so that is what we’re using our finished products for. I’m sure they won’t last forever, but they’ll last for quite a while, and in the meantime, each time we open a book, we remember something someone has made.

    I don’t think there is anything profound in this post, but since a number of you were asking, I decided to put it out there. I chose origami because it was similar to Sloyd (which Charlotte Mason had her students doing), and it had a lot of potential for improving my students’ fine motor skills and thinking skills and so on. Plus it’s pretty and enjoyable and the projects can be finished in one sitting. But seriously? This is a really great handicraft for a non-crafty mom like me. With everything on the school shelf and easy to find, execute, and then put away, I know I’m going to be able to maintain this day after day.

    Who knew I could be a handicraft success? 😉

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  • Reply September 4, 2015 at 2:46 am

    Hey, we’re doing origami this term for handicrafts too! My 9 year old daughter has been crazy about it all summer and will actually be teaching the rest of us.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel September 4, 2015 at 7:09 am

      That is so great! What a wonderful idea! 🙂

  • Reply Sharron August 31, 2015 at 4:42 am

    I had not asked, but I was wondering! I know my 9 yo would love it, but like you mentioned, then what? She won’t throw anything away, but she will give things away, so that might be fun for her to give them to her friends. And once the paper has fun out, we move on to a new craft. Thanks for the update.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 31, 2015 at 6:04 am

      When my oldest did origami years ago, we had him make little decorations for holiday parties. For example, he made little turkeys for the family Thanksgiving gathering — one to go by each plate. I’m hoping that I can get them to this point quickly so that they can do things like that this year…but making decorations was great because they were both useful AND disposable! 🙂 But yes: we’ve done the giving away thing, too. 🙂

      • Reply Sharron August 31, 2015 at 7:13 am

        That’s a great idea! We have a box of decorations that we save for various events so that would be perfect!

    • Reply Claire August 31, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      We use some of our origami for cards. We recently made a card for the in-laws’ anniversary with a pair of lovebirds on then front – you pull on it and he birds “kiss” – they were tickled pink! Hearts are great for mothers’ day, too and there are lots to choose from in different ability levels. Or there are place cards, napkin folds. Also I found a book at the library recently all of useful origami, like seed packets and CD covers. One day I’m going to learn some toweligami!!

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