Origami is an fun skill to learn for people of any age, but you have to know where to start! Kids who learn their folding techniques and start practicing early will be able to make surprisingly intricate things before you even know it. Origami is definitely the kind of art that whole families can do together, or that kids can do during play dates and keep busy for hours.
Check out these 15 simple origami patterns that are great ideas for kids!
1. Shark cootie catcher
You probably remember making “cootie catchers” in middle school, folding the paper and drawing in symbols and fortunes for your friends to choose from. This project by Easy, Peasy, and Fun uses the same classic cootie catcher folding techniques, but it’s designed to look like a shark!
2. Monster corner bookmarks
Besides origami, reading definitely falls into the category of things we should all encourage our kids to do more of! Easy, Peasy, and Fun shows you how to combine the two activities with these hilarious little origami bookmarks that slide onto the corner of a book page like the monster is snacking on it!
Make and Takes’ tulip design is another pattern that encourage kids to do other things, like drawing! Have them fold the tulip flower, then glue them to a page and draw a scene around them. Talk about a fun introduction to combination art!
Are your kids completely obsessed with cartoons and anime? Have they just discovered the novelty of old Pokemon cartoons from the early 2000s? Use that interest to keep them interested in learning more origami techniques! This Pikachu pattern by Red Ted Art is all you need to do it!
5. Paper cats
Everyone loves a toy kitty, even if they’re scared of cats in real life! Help your kids learn how to fold their own cat and then set them up with markers to draw on feline features. Get the pattern from Red Ted Arts.
6. Folded faces
We’re caught somewhere between finding these little folded faces totally awesome and totally creepy, but we’re convinced kids will get a total kick out of them! Pink Stripey Socks shows you how they’re done.
Whether you use these little toadstools are garden decor or hang them along a string on the wall in the playroom, they’ll look adorable anywhere! The little caterpillars will be especially amusing for your kids to fold. Check the pattern out on Krokotak.
8. Transforming ninja star
Kids who have really been practicing might be ready to move onto something with a little more flair! Challenge them with these paper ninja stars made from two colours that shift to release “spikes”! These will really get their imaginations going.Get the pattern on What We Do All Day.
9. Paper swan
Sometimes kids will want to fold something cute and simple while they watch a movie or TV show, just to keep busy. This little paper swan design by Red Ted Art is perfect for that! By the end of the movie, they’ll have a whole flock.
10. Origami rabbits
Tinkerlab Origami is an extra fun activity during holiday time because you and the kids can choose themed projects. These little bunnies are the perfect things to start folding around springtime and Easter!
11. Paper butterflies
Imagine how pretty a whole line of these brightly coloured little origami butterflies would look “flying” up the wall by your staircase! Guests will love it when the answer to their questions about your unique art piece is that your kids made them. Red Ted Art has the perfect simple pattern.
12. Accordion snake
These little snakes are another project that will keep your kids busy first through crafting and then also through playing games! Easy, Peasy, and Fun shows them how to double up two strips of paper and fold them like an accordion so the colours alternate, which looks really cool when the snakes “slither”.
13. Folded elephant
Eventually your little ones will be ready to fold beautiful 3D origami elephants that stand up on their own but until then, this pretty 2D elephant pattern by Hodge Podge Crafts is a great place for them to start!
14. Paper fish
Remember the origami butterfly wall art we were talking about? You could do the same thing by sticking a whole school of these little origami fish across the playroom wall! Get the pattern from Childhood 101.
15. Blinking eye
This blinking eye pattern by Kids’ Activities is another one that might look really awesome or every so slightly unsettling, depending on how your child decorates it, but we think they should try it out anyways! Moving origami is the ultimate test of their folding skill and it makes for a fun toy when it’s finished.
Do your kids have another favourite beginner origami project that you don’t see on our list? Tell us about it or link us to the pattern in the comments section!