Five fun, favorite origami animals

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I’m a sucker for things you can make with household materials. Cardboard, paper, rubberbands, whatever…if it’s cheap and available, I’ll try to make something out of it. Why spend money on something when you can get it for free? And origami fits the bill wonderfully.

Folding fun for all ages

We all learn origami at a young age from friends or in school. I used to fold fortune tellers during math time (although my mom taught me them as “flea catchers”). At some point in school, probably around fifth grade, we read Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and we all learned how to fold the classic origami crane. For a week the whole class was making cranes during class, at lunch, on the playground and out of that I learned how to fold a butterfly.

Origami butterfly

My first folding love, the butterfly.

The butterfly became my favorite thing to fold and I forgot how to make a crane. The crane was boring. I was making butterflies all over the place, big and small. The butterfly was great until learned how to make the best origami animal of all time, the jumping frog.

The jumping frog was relatively simple to fold and actually jumped when you pushed its butt. I was only one of a few kids that could fold the frog and I made what I thought was hundreds of them. I gave them out to my classmates and we had frog jump competitions during indoor recess. Unfortunately, by the time I hit middle school I had forgotten how to fold everything…except the butterfly. However, by then folding the butterfly was more of a mental competition than anything. It was easy to fold and I challenged myself by trying to fold it on ever smaller squares of paper. Not only was origami a great way to kill time, it became a great party trick that still works to this day.

Origami frog

Just press his butt and he hops! You can't beat that.

I had more or less forgotten how much I loved folding origami until my wife bought me an origami desk calendar for my office at work. I didn’t think there would be a calendar that could out-do the paper airplane calendar but the Page-A-Day Origami calendar did just that. This desk calendar gives you instructions on how to fold hundreds of things and I quickly felt like an origami master, fascinating not only myself but my co-workers as well. I learned how to fold flowers, boxes, elephants, knights and yes, even my beloved jumping frog.

Five origami animals that aren’t too easy but aren’t too hard

5. The Penguin is another simple animal fold that looks far more complicated than it is. The penguin is fun because you can fold them in various sizes and have your own little march of the penguins. Folding instructions

Origami fox

Foxes, no wait, coyotes...hmmm, it's cute all the same.

4. The Fox is made in with a few basic steps and is very cute. You can actually make the fox and call it any animal you want, so long as it has pointy ears and little tail. Call it cat or a cougar or coyote…it’s all about how you decorate it after it’s folded. Folding instructions

3. The Panda has some more complicated folds than the others but this fat little bear looks great. And who knows, you might be able to teach him kung fu. Folding instructions

Origami dog

What's that? Timmy fell down the well?

2. The Dog is a two-parter which is kind of anti-origami if you ask me, but it’s so darn cute you can’t pass it up. Since the head sits on the body, you can create different poses. There is also a cat that folds similar to the dog, but as a dog person, Fido makes the list. Folding instructions

1. The Jumping Frog is one of the most fun animals to fold if only because it does something more than just sit there. After a dozen folds you’ll have a frog that jumps when you push his rear end. Great for rainy days, kids parties and board room presentations. Pretty neat. Folding instructions

Brian is a freelance writer that blogs and tweets about toys, games and other fun.

Want more on origami and craft toys? Then check these out:

Folding Paper, Part One: Origami

Folding Paper, Part Two: Paper Airplanes

The Most Popular Education and Learning Toys As Of This Moment

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About Author

Brian is a staff writer at TMA. He races Hot Wheels at RedlineDerby.com while watching cartoons with his kid. You can follow @morningtoast on Twitter.

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