Paper folding has been around for at least 1,000 years. It has its roots in Japan and China but may have started earlier than that, even before paper was invented. It first became known as “origami” around the year 1880, and that became the popular name for it in America in the mid-20th century.
You may remember, in one of the stories of Curious George by H.A. Rey, that he makes paper boats out of newspapers and sends them floating down the stream.
We love holding origami classes at the library and we have seen some amazing paper folding designs from the children and from some of the parents who studied engineering. Miss Lana taught a class once that was attended by a grandparent visiting from Japan who was a master paper folder there!
In our art class video today, we are making paper boats that really float. Ours is a flat-bottomed boat without a “sail” so that you can put things in it.
You can follow our video at the bottom of this post, but just in case my directions aren’t clear enough, I am including an excellent video from You Tube here as well. And, of course, because they are videos you can stop and rewind at any time just to make sure your fold is right!
You can use any kind of paper – try different types and see if the the kind of paper affects the boat’s ability to float. If your paper isn’t square, you can either trace something that is square and cut it out, or turn a rectangular piece of paper (like computer paper) into a square by bringing the top right corner to the bottom left side so that the edges of the paper line up, and then cut off the paper that is left at the bottom. If that doesn’t make sense to you, look at these directions from wikihow:
How many boats can you make? Work in some science by adding things like small figures or coins to a boat to see how much it can hold before it sinks. Make predictions! Have contests with your family members! And most of all, have fun!