If you are an adult and you are able to follow written instructions and follow along with drawings and diagrams designed to help to make the process of making an origami figure go smoother, origami will be simple enough for you to do. However, what about children? Obviously a child just learning to make origami requires a bit more direction than an adult. Children are fast learners but there are some motor skills involved in making origami that they may or may not have developed yet. For example, a child younger than the age of four will probably not have the attention span or the interest to sit still and fold paper along side an adult. For a child who has never done or maybe even never heard of origami before, it is going to take some time to get used to the idea.
By about age 8 a child is usually able to follow origami instructions independently (although there may me be times when adult assistance is needed. It will take some time for a child to get used to the process and the steps involved in origami, but once they have experienced the triumph of creating an origami figure of their own, they will most likely find the motivation to try their hand at another origami figure.
If you are thinking of teaching your children or the students in your classroom about making origami, there are a few things that you might want to keep in mind. Children learn differently depending on their age, although we will be mentioning children and specific ages by which they are ready to learn the steps of origami, adult origami makers can also take note that there is an evolution to the learning of the art of paper folding that is pretty much the same for anyone who tries to learn how to do it, no matter their age.
Children at about the age of four or five need close attention and guidance when they are making their origami figures. Although you may be able to teach more than one young child at once, this introduction to origami may take some time to grow into an interest and a desire to learn more. Start by learning or showing the child some simple folds that they will need when making origami. Teach them the names of these folds and, as the teacher, you may want to show them what these simple folds can create. By showing someone else what is possible with a little paper folding, you may spark their interest further and keep their attention as you continue the teaching process. In the next year, you may be able to teach the entire class of now first graders at the same time. With a basic understanding of the most fundamental folding techniques, you are now ready to show them how to make a simple shape. Do not feel discouraged if your students (or yourself if you are learning for the first time) do not come up with the figure that you intended, but instead have made their own creation. No one will do perfectly on the first time of trying something.
In the years that follow you and your children can begin to get better at the basic origami figures that you have learned and may even be able to advance to more “modular” origami. Modular origami is origami like dollar-bill origami, where you can take ordinary paper objects and create something new, even functional, like a ring. Origami is not as simple as some people think and will not come as naturally as you may think it will, but by sticking to it and continuing to practice and improve even the youngest of beginners can become origami masters.