The ancient Japanese art of paper folding is a fun way to get kids off their screens and into some hands-on crafting. Once they see all the cool things that can be made merely by folding paper, even the cynics will be impressed.

Create an entire origami zoo with paper animals like penguins (#20), rabbits (#2 and #14), and elephants (#7)! Or capture the spirit of your kid’s favorite furry friend by folding a cute little puppy face (#1). Feeling nautical? Make some paper fish (#13) and a family of whales (#23)!

Some of these origami crafts go well beyond flat pieces of paper folded into one shape or another. For truly interactive, 3D origami, check out the party decorations (#26), crowns fit for a king or queen (#18), beautiful rings (#12), open-and-closing paper drawers (#24), and even an origami Slinky that really plays (#29).

Before introducing your children or students to any of these origami crafts, do be certain you have stacks of thin, square origami paper on hand. Because once they get started, they’ll very quickly want to make absolutely everything out of folded paper!

1. Origami Puppy Craft

Origami Puppy Craft

Image source: Red Ted Art

Most kids and adults love dogs and puppies, and Red Ted Art has a video on creating sweet little canine faces. Once the folding is done, children can let their imaginations soar by coloring in ears, spots, noses, and anything else they want their doggie to look like. No two are the same! These make a nice classroom activity, as the students can make “self-portrait” dogs that parents can try to guess at Back to School night.

2. Little Bunny Origami Craft

Little Bunny Origami Craft

Image source: Paper Kawaii

Kids who can’t get enough rabbit-themed origami (see #14) will love this rabbit from Paper Kawaii. Not only will different sizes and colors of square paper make each bunny unique, but the video instructions include how to fold the head just so to bring it to various angles. Make a whole family of bunnies to display on a fireplace mantel, or to place on your child’s nightstand for a morning surprise. Fluffy tails not included, but can be easily added on with some glue and a tiny pom-pom.

3. Origami Racing Frogs

Origami Racing Frogs

Image source: Easy Peasy And Fun

Crafts that serve double-duty as something for kids to play with or wear afterword are the best kinds of crafts. These frogs over at Easy Peasy And Fun will hop when you press their, uh, backsides. Kids can make their own frogs and then race them across the dining table! You might even be able to squeeze in a quick STEM lesson from these as well: do different sized frogs hop farther? Can you press different sides of the back to make them turn? Can they flip over? Simple fun for the whole family!

4. Easy Fortune Teller

Easy Fortune Teller

Image source: Dream A Little Bigger

Just looking at one of these probably takes you on a trip down Nostalgia Lane, back to when you made these every day in grade school. Want to know the name of your future husband? Ask the fortune teller. Want to share a secret? Ask the fortune teller. Want to do a dare? Well, you know how it went. And now you can pass this great tradition on to the next generation with help from Dream A Little Bigger, who gently reminds you how easy these are to make (in case it’s been a while and you’ve forgotten).

5. The Shirt Off Your Back

The Shirt Off Your Back

Image source: Hello Wonderful

Unless you’re Andy Warhol, paper is not really designed to be worn as clothing. However, these sweet origami shirts look great when decorated by the little fashion designers in your home! Hello Wonderful has a project that can be used for Father’s Day or any special day. Pom-poms, spare buttons, paper hole punches, stickers, and more all contribute to make each shirt as unique as the child who designs it. Glue one to a piece of cardstock with your child’s head at the top for a fun gift!

6. All-Wheel Drive Origami Car

All-Wheel Drive Origami Car

Image source: Fave Mom

If your kids have Disney’s “Cars” on repeat, or if they have an impressive collection of Hot Wheels, click on over to Fave Mom for this quick origami car. Not only does the blog have an easy-to-follow video for crafting this little sedan, but for those of you feeling optimistic there’s also a video on crafting a 3D jeep. These make great little party treats for home or school, and when the folding is done kids can use markers or stickers to add details.

7. Origami Elephant Craft

Origami Elephant Craft

Image source: One Colorful Day

For those in need of a quick and cheap origami hack, the generous creatives at One Colorful Day have a free printable template you can download. Using different colors of paper, you and your children or students can create an army of paper elephants! Instructions are included at the blog, so this really could not be easier. Don’t keep colorful paper in the house? Print this on white and let children color their elephants with markers, crayons, or colored pencils.

8. Five-Fingered Origami

Five-Fingered Origami

Image source: What We Do All Day

Here’s an origami craft that can be enjoyed by almost everyone in the family. Click on over to What We Do All Day for the instructions on how to make these simple finger puppets. Next, get your older children involved with folding the paper. When that’s done, ask your kindergarteners and preschoolers to create their own characters and draw them onto the puppets. Finally, everyone can pick a puppet and make a little show for the toddlers and babies. Everyone wins!

9. Origami Desert Garden

Origami Desert Garden

Image source: Make Film Play

Don’t have a green thumb? Make Film Play has an easy 2-part origami cactus in a pot that even the blackest of thumbs can cultivate. With an accordion fold, a simple green piece of paper becomes a prickly cactus; the pot is also made from paper and folded origami-style. For a bigger splash of color, crinkle up some paper at the top of the “cactus” as a desert flower. Absolutely no sunlight or watering required!

10. All The Stars In The Sky

All The Stars In The Sky

Image source: Red Ted Art

Red Ted Art’s origami stars are almost intuitive to make once you watch the video and get the hang of them. This is a craft that will work well for any time of the year, too. Make small stars to decorate a Christmas tree; make red, white, and blue stars for Fourth of July. Or make enough stars to hang from the ceiling of your child’s bedroom so that they can sleep under a beautiful night sky — indoors. Tape a really big star to the top of a birthday present to give it that extra something special.

11. Origami Umbrella-ella-ella

Origami Umbrella-ella-ella

Image source: Easy Peasy And Fun

Rainy weekend afternoons don’t have to be a drag — or full of screen time — when you show your kids these darling paper umbrellas from Easy Peasy And Fun. They can be designed with as many or as few colors as you like, and are so quick and easy that you and your children will wind up making enough for a whole rainbow! With a pipe cleaner handle, these can be carried around the house and played with until the sun comes out again.

12. Wearable Origami Craft

Wearable Origami Craft

Image source: Red Ted Art

If you already have origami royalty in your house (see #18), then these easy origami rings are a natural follow-up. What’s royalty without crown jewels, right? Thanks to Red Ted Art, you can easily create rings in any color to fit any finger, with just one piece of origami paper. Watch the instructional video all the way through first, and then get crafting! Need a clever and creative project for an afterschool play date? These fit the bill perfectly for kids of nearly all ages, and can even be traded among friends.

13. Freshwater Origami Fish

Freshwater Origami Fish

Image source: Make Film Play

Although these paper fish can’t actually go swimming, they are perfect for decorating an undersea-themed party! By making them in different colors and sizes, you’ve got an instant aquarium to stick to the wall or hang from the ceiling. Just follow the simple instructions at Make Film Play, and you’ll have yourself an ocean’s worth of paper fish in no time. Googly eyes add a whimsical touch that kids will love, and when the party’s over each guest can take home a fishy friend.

14. Hippity Hoppity Origami Rabbit Craft

Hippity Hoppity Origami Rabbit Craft

Image source: Gathering Beauty

Need an original craft for Easter? Check out these origami bunny baskets from Gathering Beauty. Not only are they adorable, but they make teeny tiny holders for candy eggs, jelly beans, or other Easter treats. These are a wonderful surprise in larger Easter baskets full of toys, or you can place them around the house to be found like hidden eggs. Set these up on a table for an Easter party, or give them out as gifts at Easter dinner with family and friends.

15. Be An Origami Ninja

Be An Origami Ninja

Image source: What We Do All Day

This particular craft is a little too advanced for small children to make on their own, and even grown-ups might want to watch the video at What We Do All Day once or twice before attempting it. However, this is one of those crafts that’s well worth putting a teensy bit of extra time and effort into making, because the result will have kids actually excited to get off their screens and play! What makes these so cool is how they transform from an octagon to a throwing star, and they are made even more special by using your child’s favorite colors.

16. Origami Mermaid Craft

Origami Mermaid Craft

Image source: Pink Stripey Socks

For a truly magical origami craft, click on over to Pink Stripey Socks for this little mermaid. The blog contains an affiliate link so you can buy origami paper online. For paper folding newbies, the instructions contain helpful hacks using scissors and tape. Using different colors of paper, the mermaid can be completely customized to match your child. Once you get the hang of how to do this, it makes a great party or play date activity. Markers can be used for the face and scales, or get some cool stickers to make funny faces. Let us know what you think about this mermaid craft!

17. Sharp Claws Origami

Sharp Claws Origami

Image source: Pink Stripey Socks

This origami craft from Pink Stripey Socks is so versatile, you’ll definitely want to bookmark the blog page so that you can make these over and over again. They make great dinosaur claws, witch’s fingernails, or scary monster fingers. Best of all, this origami craft utilizes regular notebook paper, so no need to find special square-shaped paper. One sheet of regular notebook paper makes eight claws, making this a value project that can be done nearly any time.

18. Origami For Kings And Queens

Origami For Kings And Queens

Image source: Paper And Glue

Paper folding isn’t just for animals; with this craft from Paper And Glue you and your child can also create an origami crown worthy of royalty. The blog contains affiliate links so that you can buy packs of origami paper in a selection of colors and patterns. Help your toddlers and preschoolers learn about alternating patterns as an early math skill by selecting similar or opposite colors or designs. Because of the nature of this craft, it’s easily customizable to any size royal head.

19. Party Origami Crafts

Party Origami Crafts

Image source: Mini Eco

These origami folded balls from Mini Eco are a simple and fun way to decorate your house for any party. Use different sizes of paper to start and colors that will match the theme of your party, and you’ll find this craft to be amazingly versatile. Stick them on a string of fairy lights, use them as bunting, or hang them from the ceiling as an alternative to balloons. You can even decorate a Christmas tree! Let your imagination guide you as you find creative new ways to celebrate any occasion with this origami craft.

20. March Of The Penguins Origami

March Of The Penguins Origami

Image source: Red Ted Art

For the visual learners out there, Red Ted Art provides a video on how to fold a piece of paper into a penguin. These adorable little waddlers can double as cards for birthdays, valentines, or just to say hello, or your child can keep them as they are. Paper penguins make a great addition to an origami zoo, too. Embellish them to look like real penguins, or get funky with different colors just like Rainbow Rob (by Roger Priddy)!

21. Level Up Your Origami

Level Up Your Origami

Image source: All For The Boys

The ancient Japanese art of paper folding meets modern gaming in this Super Mario mushroom craft from All For The Boys. The blog has a link to the instructions you need as well as some cool and creative tips and hacks for really making your mushrooms pop (and stand up!). If you are throwing a video game-themed party for your kids, these are a must-make: either as a party activity for the guests, or as a fun and crafty addition to your decorations.

22. Spinning Pinwheel Origami Craft

Spinning Pinwheel Origami Craft

Image source: One Crazy Mom

Pinwheels have been an absolute classic of children’s toys for a hundred years now, and they are a fun incentive to get your child outside. What’s even better than encouraging your child to get some fresh air and enjoy nature for a while, is this DIY pinwheel from One Crazy Mom. Start by taking a trip to your favorite craft store and letting your child pick out some paper or cardstock they really like. Work together to make the pinwheel, then go outside to watch it spin in the breeze. That’s at least an hour of screen-free bonding time!

23. Whale Watching

Whale Watching

Image source: Red Ted Art

By using a regular sheet of printer or notebook paper, you have everything you need to make a whale mama and two whale babies. Watch the Red Ted Art video to see how! It’s a great paper saver and a fun way to make different size whales all at once. Make sure your kids have plenty of stickers and markers on hand to decorate little smiley faces once all the folding is done. And that’s it! Combine these with some origami fish (see #13) to get started on making a whole sea out of paper for your classroom bulletin board or your child’s bedroom wall.

24. Open-And-Close Drawer Origami Craft

Open-And-Close Drawer Origami Craft

Image source: Paper Kawaii

What child wouldn’t love to have their very own tiny keepsake box? Over at Paper Kawaii you’ll learn how to make an origami drawer that really opens and closes! Perfect for keeping tiny rings, LEGO Mini-Figs, or anything else small and dear to you child. Or make these one night after the kids have gone to bed and hide some treats inside for the little ones to find in the morning. Write words of encouragement and love to your child, stick the note in one of these drawers, and include them in their lunchbox as a fun mid-day surprise at school!

25. Pencil In This Origami Craft

Pencil In This Origami Craft

Image source: Red Ted Art

Whether it’s back to school time or you just want some classroom-themed decorations, this Red Ted Art craft is for you. Make a rainbow of pencils, as shown in the photo, or color-code your classroom by using specific colors for each station or subject. These will look darling taped to the front of your classroom door, with each student’s name on a different pencil. Or at home, decorate the wall by your child’s desk with these to remind them to do their homework!

26. 3D Cube Origami Craft

3D Cube Origami Craft

Image source: Frugal Fun 4 Boys

Kids who are learning shapes, colors, or patterns will love this origami cube. Just click over to Frugal Fun 4 Boys to learn how to make colorful and amazing 3D paper crafts. When they are done, ask your preschooler or kindergartener to name each color, count the triangles, or simply tell you all the shapes they can find on the cube. Make these in a batch of different colors and patterns to scatter around a snack table for instant party decorations, or let kids “roll” them across the floor in a race.

27. Paper Hearts

Paper Hearts

Image source: That Kids Craft Site

For someone who loves books, give them a craft that shows books some love. With this origami heart bookmark from That Kids Craft Site, young readers have something colorful and personal to mark their place. With the heart shapes at the top, these can be used as unique valentines for classmates. Party guests can each make one to take home, or swap amongst themselves. These also look great when added in a bunch together in a mason jar; tie a ribbon around it and you have a personal, lovely gift to give.

28. Your Own Tulip Garden

Your Own Tulip Garden

Image source: Red Ted Art

One of the first signs of spring is the appearance of tulips, those simple but lovely flowers that come in nearly every color you can imagine. Celebrate the season with an origami tulip flower craft from Red Ted Art by making an entire garden’s worth of flowers. Better yet, bookmark the page and come back to it during the dark days of winter when everyone in the house could use a bright and cheerful little reminder of the sunny days to come. Make a bouquet of origami tulips for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or any time your child wants to say “I love you” to someone special.

29. Zero-Plastic DIY Origami Slinky

Zero-Plastic DIY Origami Slinky

Image source: Hiragana Mama

The paper-folding genius over at Hiragana Mama proves that you really can make absolutely anything with origami — including a classic Slinky toy! The video included at the blog is only 5 minutes long, but make sure you read the entire page, as there are warnings about how long this process can take. When it’s done, though, it really does flip around like a real Slinky, making this craft one to bookmark and keep in mind for long afternoons stuck at home. Just double check that you have more than enough paper to make the whole thing!

Dan Wiener
Hey there! I'm Dan, the founder behind Kids Love WHAT. I started this blog as a way to document all of the things that my 4 kids love: crafting, science experiments, good food, fun games and of course lots of toys! When I'm not busy chasing them all around, you can find me scouring the web to find the next best thing to keep them busy and out of my hair!