Origami is simple enough for adults, provided they are able to follow written instructions and reference the drawings and diagrams designed to make the origami process go smoother. However, is origami for children? Obviously a child trying to learn origami needs more direction than would an adult. While children are fast learners, if a child is new to origami, learning it will take time as it requires patience, dexterity and an understanding of the directions.
By age 8, a child is usually able to follow origami instructions independently though there may be times when adult assistance is needed. It will take some time for a child to become familiar with the process and the steps involved in origami, but once they have successfully created their first origami figure, they will likely be motivated to try their hand at another origami figure.
If you are thinking of teaching your children, or your students about origami, remember that children learn differently depending on their age. There is also an evolution to learning origami, though it is the same for anyone trying to learn origami, regardless of their age.
At around age five, children need extra attention and guidance when they are making their origami figures. Although you may be able to teach many children simultaneously, getting them interested in creating origami may take some time. Start by showing them some simple folds that they will use when making origami and teach them the names of these folds. Consider going one step further and making a few pieces of origami beforehand, so that you can show them what folds in a pretty piece of paper can create.
By showing children what is possible with a little paper folding, you may spark their interest and hold their attention as you continue the teaching process. Throughout the school year, you may be able to teach the entire class, armed with a basic understanding of the most fundamental folding techniques, how to make a simple shape. Try not to get discouraged if you or your students do not end up with the figure you were trying to make; instead, appreciate what you have made as it is your own creation. It is extraordinarily rare for someone to do something new and get it perfected on the first try.
As you and your children get better at creating basic origami figures you might consider learning advanced, “modular” origami. Modular origami is akin to dollar-bill origami, where you take ordinary paper objects and create something new, even functional, like a ring. Origami, while not as simple as some people think, may come as naturally; then again, it may not. Even if it is difficult at first, with continued practice and a desire to improve, even the youngest beginners can become origami masters.