Friday, February 23, 2018

10 Cool Origami That Will Get Your Kids Excited

To Grandma Lydia


My best origami creation never went beyond the simple ship. This post is celebrating the Grandmother - the perpetuum mobile of our house, origami ninja and the biggest Lego Technics fan that I know.


Grandma Lydia encouraged Emir to start building from Lego (not Duplo!) as early as when he was three. Now, when he is five, they build Lego Technics kits together - and she is much better at it than me or my husband would ever be. Also, it's due to her obsession with toy cars Emir's collection have spilled over two hundred long time ago.  

In 1970s Grandma Lydia been working in the oil and gas industry in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. She was leading the datacenter team, so the programmatics and engineering are in Emir's blood.

This year, she won my deepest respect by handling a challenge that I was too faint hearted to approach.

After we came back from Vietnam, we were down-handed a gift from friends. Four or five extremely expensive Lego Star Wars sets, half-disassembled and mixed in one ineligible very expensive pile.

Emir added to the mess, slowly disintegrating the ships into smaller and smaller details. It ended up as a pile of blocks sprinkled with droids, Jar Jar Binxes, and siths. Here you can see it in the orange crate on the left.
I tried to reassemble them - once. I lasted maybe 3 minutes and found maybe two of the details I needed.
So when the grandma came there was the moment of truth. For six or seven nights, behind the closed door, she was sitting at the tutorials and rumbling through the pile.

Finally, she would proudly walk out of the room and show us the whole fleet, in all its glory. Mind - blown.

Origami Weekend


This story gives you a slightest hint about grandma Lydia's diligence (and a bit about her OCD).  So when grandma and Emir proclaimed the Origami weekend, I knew this was going somewhere.
Two days later, they produced a whole fleet of the paper ships, boats, motor boats and yachts of maybe 7 different kinds - at least.
But then, then Emir asked for a tank.
How many ways to make a paper model tank do you know? Yeah, thought so.
Turns out there are at least three. They started, and then they only stopped because it was time to go to sleep.
As we didn't have any origami paper at home, I gave them some gift paper that we had around since winter holidays. That was my contribution, and I'm positive that I did outstanding art-direction. Aside from that, all credit goes to the engineers and manufacturers, of course.

Models and Tutorials


So here are the close-ups of the models with all the tutorials for them linked. I googled for all of them in English for you, though they're pretty intuitive to follow. Try googling them in your language if you prefer.

Origami tank number one - amazing shape. I love the proportions.
Origami tank number two - probably amphibian as it reminds me of a frog just a little.
To make the cannon, roll the paper around a straw, secure it with glue, let dry. Then attach to the tank body.
Repeat until you get the desirable amount of tanks.
Extra reinforcement incoming: origami jet airplane. Isn't it just beautiful? The starred paper is the key.
Origami speed boat. My favorite. Sleek lines, impressive design. A far cry from your usual paper boat.
Same tutorial with slightly different paper size gives even more predator look to it.
The origami sailboat is lovely and so subtle. Reminds me of the Cannes harbor, stuffed with yachts. I'm reserving this one for myself.
An origami rowboat. I guess Emir painted the eyes on all of them because in Asia, the eyes on boats are traditional - and growing up between Vietnam and Thai, that's how he sees the boats now.
Origami steamboat. Bigger and of more oceanic shape. Can go trans-atlantic with ease.
This origami boat is with a cap of some kind. For me, it looks like a canoe for the long journeys down the river.
Last but not least - a small and very intricate origami boat. Tight design makes it quite durable, so you can make several of them and start a race.

Origami Playtime!


So Emir had a whole fleet at his disposal, and a proper set of the ground vehicles to support from the shore. We decided that an army like that definitely needs a strong general to lead the offense. General Potato took on the command!
He did quite well... Until the tanks went frenzy and turned the weapons at general himself.
While the ships harbored peacefully around the lighthouse.
Making and playing with these paper models is so much fun. By now, they’ve lasted for several weeks already. The starred motorboat and the tank #2 are my favorites.

Skills that origami helps to develop:

  • Precision 
  • Engineering 
  • Imagination 
  • 3D thinking 
  • Art direction 
  • Ideation 
  • Fine motor skills 
  • Research 
  • Diligence
  • Following directions


Other benefits of origami


Versatility - whichever theme your kid is into at the moment, you can find hundreds of relevant objects. Vehicles, dragons, dinosaurs, ninjas, jungle animals, farm animals, cars, town, people, puzzles - you name it.


Free toys - for all you frugality lovers, it’s a perfect way to give your kid a bunch of new toys. And then dispose them light-heartedly. They're free, fun, quick and recyclable - features that make me very happy.


An experience to cherish


We’re blessed with big multitalented family, where everyone is keen to teach kids their special skills. I couldn’t be more grateful for this very special relationship with grandmother in Emir’s life. Yet, I would never think that she will be the Lego and Origami expert in our house.

Lesson learned: never let the stereotypes fog your thinking. People always have the potential to impress.


There is a stereotype that in Western world grandmas and grandpas tend to spend less time with their grandkids and be more focused on themselves. Is it so? What do your parents love to do with your little ones when they get together?

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