I’m rediscovering an ancient Japanese art that keeps both mind and hands active. With all the focus on Japanese pop culture these days, it just may be time to show your older kids that Japan indeed existed sometime before the dawning of Manga. Traditional Japanese Origami: The Art of Paper Folding can head them off in the right direction.
I have been having a great time playing with this one. The set came so beautifully presented that I almost didn’t want to open it! It includes a paperback book (Traditional Japanese Origami – The Art of Paper Folding by Duy and Tramy Nguyen), and a selection of 75 sheets of gorgeous origami paper. The book starts you out easy, giving you the basic instructions for the most common folds used, and works its way through increasingly more difficult projects. I started out making a kimono, then moved next to a Samurai hat. Next was the goldfish. The book ends with items as complex as flying dragons and humpback whales. Although I’ve yet to accomplish such creatures, my three-year-old eagerly awaits them. He’s been right in on the process, waiting for finished products that he can line up on our bookshelves and play with.
There is something really peaceful about the art of origami, I’ve learned. After a day spent on the computer in my high-tech telecommuting world, it’s nice to sit down with something that requires nothing more than a piece of paper, my imagination, and two hands. It also stimulates parts of the brain most of us probably neglect, having to check the folds and predict the outcome so as to end with the correct shapes.
And what more glorious way to recycle paper! Just imagine – junk mail becomes something worth keeping. Mobiles can be made out of magazine pages and scrap paper. Old receipts found in the bottom of your purse can be transformed into playthings for your children while waiting in long lines at the bank and the post office. And bills? Well… I can’t make all your bills disappear, but can you imagine folding your over-inflated payment to the cable company before mailing it?
If you want to experience Traditional Japanese Origami: The Art of Paper Folding ($10.95 retail, or $9.31 on Amazon) for yourself, you’ll be happy to know I have TWO sets to give away! Keep it for yourself or save it for a special gift; either way, it’s an impressive set.
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