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Origami Pinwheel

Third Grade July 4th/Independence Day Activities: Origami Pinwheel

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American Themed Party

It’s a rare kid who doesn’t love a good origami project. Here’s one that takes the art a step further to blend in both writing and social studies learning.  This Fourth of July, invite your child to make a festive origami whirligig to celebrate the holiday with some amazing arts and crafts.

What You Need:

  • 1 large (12”) square of origami paper in red or blue
  • Push pin
  • Plastic Straw or wooden dowel
  • Pen

What You Do:

  1. Place the paper on a flat surface so that the plain white side is facing up, toward you. Fold the paper in half each direction: vertically, horizontally, and diagonally. Each time you make a fold, open the paper again.
  2. Fold each of the four corners into the center (one at a time) so that the flat sides of the corner touch the middle fold, and then open again. Repeat with each corner of the square.  This step will create folds that form a diamond on the square of origami paper
  3. Now flip the paper over so that the colored side is up, facing you. Fold each corner into the center, and write a “freedom wish” on each of the four triangle flaps you have made. Have your child think about a person she wishes to address. What are four special good wishes she’d like to send this Fourth of July?
  4. Open all the folds again, and turn the paper over again so that the plain, white side is facing you. Fold the top and bottom and sides so that their edges touch the center line.
  5. This next step is a little tricky so make sure you take your time! Take the top corners and pull them out and down. Fold them along the inside diagonal creases, as shown below to make square flaps Then repeat for the other side.
  6. Pull out the top right and left corners, fold each one over to the side and press flat.
  7. Your origami windmill is now completely folded.  Place your pushpin into the center, and into your dowel or straw, making sure that the pinwheel is secured, but loose enough to still spin.  The wheel should easily spin in the breeze. Take it outside and see for yourself!

When you're done, you'll have a homemade, patriotic whirligig that you and your child can use to celebrate the holiday!  You can make as many of these as you would like, in red and blue, so that everyone at your Fourth of July party has one of their own!

Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school history and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.

Updated on Sep 30, 2013
Printable Workbooks from Education.com
Find a printable workbook to go along with this fun activity. See Workbooks
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