The beginnings of origami, the ancient art of paper folding, dates back to Japan in the 6th century. During its beginnings, origami served more functional purposes than in modern times due to the cost of paper. Origami was only used in special occasions, such as gift embellishments. The instructions for these origami designs have survived and evolved over the years, allowing you to make your own origami creations for use in your home.
Parents use the art of origami at home to help supplement the education their children receive at school. To perform origami, children must learn to follow directions accurately, be patient and solve problems, all elements important in school. Origami can also serve to help students with geometry. To create any origami shape, you must use specific angles and point coordinates to achieve the desired finished product, all important elements of geometry. One example of a simple origami project that works well with geometry is the whale. To make a whale, position the square paper so it looks like a diamond. Fold it in half, left to right, and unfold it. Fold the side corners in to the middle to create a kite shape. Fold the top half down to create an upside-down triangle. Fold the paper along the center line and turn it 90 degrees so the flat part is facing you. Turn up the single point to create a tail and draw a face on the other end to create the whale.
Origami is useful for patients who have trouble with their hands, such as arthritis, sensory disorders and weakened muscles. While some physical therapists use origami in the office to help patients, the patients can also practice origami at home on their own. Folding the papers successfully requires patience and manual dexterity to create the correct folds. Over time, the repeated motions required for folding the paper to create origami helps to strengthen the muscles in the hands and arms and increases manual dexterity. In addition, origami offers a soothing benefit that can help patients with anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.
Once the origami is made, you can use it to decorate your home. Some pieces are able to stand on their own. You can place these on shelves and tables around your home. Many of the animal shapes are able to stand alone, as well as any shapes that are puffy upon completion, such as some stars or boxes. If the pieces cannot stand or you want to hang them, thread a piece of thread through the top of an origami piece and hang it from the ceiling with tape. Origami can be used in a child's room or a basement recreation room. Some origami shapes also serve well as holiday decorations, such as stars for the Christmas season, black cats and bats for Halloween and heart shapes for Valentine's Day.
Some people enjoy making the origami as a source of entertainment. You may make it your goal to learn to make as many designs as possible, for instance. Some projects around the house can also benefit from the use of origami. For example, if you are expecting a new baby, you can create a mobile with origami. This can be especially useful if you find yourself on bedrest with lots of time on your hands. Use animals shapes, hearts or stars to create a mobile that matches the nursery decor. Create pieces to decorate birthday or wedding gifts for family or friends. Teach your child to make his own origami to help cut down on summer boredom.
- ThinkQuest: The Uses and Benefits of Origami
- Hints and Things; Using Colorful Origami to Accessorize a Game Room; Alyssa Davis
- Science Daily; Mathematicians and Artists Use Algorithms to Make Complicated Paper Sculptures; September 2008
- Theragami; Origami in Education and Therapy; Hagit Shalev
- Origami Resource Center: History of Origami
- Westfield State University: Geometry in Origami
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images