6 reasons why ORIGAMI improves children's skills and abilities
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Children, smartphones, tablets, video games, Internet, technology, etc. I think that I do not have to explain that too much screen time has been associated with several problems faced by children; for example, recently a study conducted by the journal BMC Psychiatry, showed that more than 23% of young people have a dysfunctional relationship with their smartphones, and that this appears to be associated with poorer mental health. Apart from that, there are some concerns regarding the excessive digital technology use raises the risk of obesity, interferes with social activities and family time, among several other issues. Specialists suggest that an effective balance between online and offline time for your children’s health is the best thing to do in our digital world.
How can we help them? Knowing that mums, dads and carers, can make a difference for children by limiting their screen time, what can we do? I mean, what strategies can parents use to fill their children’s time with practical and beneficial activities? Unfortunately, we are far away from one final solution to solve the problem related to “digital addiction”, but we have a very interesting and productive option: Origami.
ORIGAMI - Ready, Steady and Fold
Origami, what is that? If you are not familiar with this ancient technique, I can say that in general lines it is a Japanese art of paper folding, and has long been and continues to be a fun and educational activity among several generations. For many people, this hobby is quite fascinating; for example, Akira Yoshizawa was considered the Grand Master of modern Origami, he created over 50,000 Origami models, also he invented wet-folding, and developed a method of diagramming Origami instructions.
Origami for kid’s fun and other several benefits
CONCENTRATION, MOTOR COORDINATION, MEMORY
Recent studies have pointed out positives outcomes related to this well-known millenary technique; and there are also huge educational benefits of this Japanese practice for kids and adults alike. And yes, the practice of this art can be beneficial to everyone’s health. This Japanese art has been shown to improve concentration, motor coordination, memory, and what's more, it does not require complicated tools to create amazing things by using pieces of paper and imagination. Parents and educators understand the educational benefits of origami and use paper folding as a tool to teach math, arts, social studies among other several other social skills.
Dr Marlynn Wei (Psychology Today) explains that this art can be an effective tool to help people develop mindfulness. “Origami enhances the ability to be aware of what is happening in the moment and focus. Origami has been studied as a tool for children to develop spatial and perception skills, learn mathematics, refine dexterity and hand-eye coordination, as well as improve concentration. Origami has been shown to improve spatial visualization and mathematics skills in middle school students. It may also be useful for teaching children with special needs mathematics and could help improve attention in children with attention deficit disorder, although more scientific studies are needed in this area.”
Origami builds self-confidence. It is so exciting to see the magic of turning a piece of paper into something useful or a toy or a lovely decoration. In some way Origami empowers kids with choices, they can choose what to create, what kind of paper to use and what colour and patterns to make it. And I am sure, once the design is completed a child has control over it and can choose what to do with it. Another important thing is that mistakes are reversible as paper can be unfolded and reshaped. Completing a project creates a sense of achievement and gratification. Your children can instantly enjoy the results of their work. There's no mess, wait for glue, paint to dry or complicated tools. Some children move up to the harder models very quickly, and they have an amazing capability to remember the designs as well, so give them lots of paper, and let them go wild! With all its benefits, there's no reason this technique shouldn't be embraced as an official educational tool at schools.
This art of paper folding can be learnt at any age; there are different levels of Origami from very basic to extremely complex and if you have young children, I am sure you will be surprised by their ability they show creating relatively simple but adorable projects – you can start with some very easy origami for your children, and then, build your way up to some slightly harder models when they are prepared for an extra challenge.
Get inspired: The beauty of origami appeals to our eyes and our souls, you can just get inspired by the designs and shapes of origami available on the internet and then you can try to make lovely things with your family, you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with the colorful and happy world of Origami. I have included here these 2 easy and simple origami for beginners or children (source: PPO YouTube Channel), and I am sure you can find other sources with diagrams and step by step instructions in books or web pages that are incredibly detailed and very easy to follow (click on the links below).
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References: To see the sources of this article, please click on each link within the text. See you, guys!
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Videos: PPO YouTube Channel