How to Make Paper Cranes Activity

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Updated on Apr 27, 2016

Looking for a way to talk about Japan? Start by making paper cranes! You and your child can get involved with this fun project that will introduce your child to the Japanese art of origami. She'll work her fine motor skills, get a taste of Japanese culture and make a beautiful piece of art..

What You Need:

  • Square piece of paper in your favorite color
  • Printable step-by-step instructions for folding your crane

What You Do:

  1. Make sure you've printed out the step-by-step instructions, with illustrations for how to fold your crane.
  2. Start with a square piece of paper, decorated side up if there is a decorated side. Fold it in half, corner to corner, and then open it. Then fold it in half again, corner to corner, the other way.
  3. Turn the paper over. Fold the paper in half, flat side to flat side, to create two rectangles and then open.
  4. Then fold in half again in the other direction. (At this point, you will have created a starburst pattern of folds on the square.
  5. Using the creases you've made, bring the top three corners of the square down to the bottom corner so that they are all touching. Then flatten the new, smaller square you've created.
  6. Fold the triangular flaps on the sides into the center and then unfold.
  7. Fold the top of the square downward and then crease and unfold.
  8. Open the uppermost flap of your folded square, bringing it upwards and pressing the sides inward at the same time. Flatten everything down and make sure the creases are crisp.
  9. The your piece over and repeat steps 6 through 8 on the other side.
  10. Then fold the top flaps into the center. Repeat on the other side.
  11. Fold both of the "legs" of the piece up and crease very well. Then unfold.
  12. Reverse fold the "legs" along the creases you just made.
  13. Inside reverse fold one of the "legs" to make a head and the fold down the wings of your crane.
  14. Your crane is finished! Compare yours to the picture to see how it turned out. 

Did You Know?

Origami comes from ori meaning "folding" and kami meaning "paper" and has been around for centuries. In Japanese culture, cranes are a powerful symbol of health and well-wishes. In fact, the Japanese people believe that anyone who makes 1,000 cranes will have a wish granted. 

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