I cannot exactly remember when Ben’s obsession with Origami began. It was sometime in fourth grade, or possibly the summer before. Origami is a great craft to learn. Summer is the perfect time to learn it.
It is a craft that can be as simple as a crane or as complicated as a dodecahedron or moveable pieces. If you have a self- directed child, origami offers a great deal for those who can independently learn. There are books and websites, videos, and tutorials all for those who are interested in becoming good at this ancient craft.
Origami is the Japanese art of paper-folding. The simplicity of making a beautiful object with just knowing how to fold and crease paper is inspiring. Origami also offers a chance to build mathematical vocabulary and understanding of geometry. It can be done just for the challenge of making the desired shape. Or, it can be delved into for understanding how art, science, and math all blend together to make something work. The math and art are easy applications to understand. Where does the science come in?
Origami is now used for many advanced structures. It can be used for solar panels, heart stents, telescopes, robotics, air bags, and more. The possibilities are endless. Origami is the not only the art, but also the science of paper-folding! If ever there was a great example of STEAM education, Origami is it.
During his approximately three years of creating more and more complex origami structures, Ben also collected many books on the subject, created a travelling exhibit for our school, belonged to a group called Origami Salami founded by, and consisting of, young leaders who started their own regional chapters, had a piece chosen to be included in a national traveling exhibit, wrote a guest blog piece, and decided Robert J. Lang was a pretty cool guy!
You can search on Amazon for books on Origami, or there are kits available there as well. The kits usually come with paper to get you started. Barnes and Noble also offers kits, as does other craft stores. It can be an affordable or an expensive hobby. I know Ben spent a lot of his own money on books written by the experts in the field, as well as some of the more fun, tutorial type books like Modular Origami Polyhedra (2008) by Rona Gurkewitz and Bennett Arnstein.
We also ended up buying a great deal of paper from which the structures were made. You can imagine this torus ring took a great deal of paper (as well as, time!)
Summer is the perfect time to explore something new like the ancient art of paper-folding, Origami! Have fun with it! You will never know where it can lead!