Thursday, October 10, 2013

Paper Balloons

Rowan and I spent the morning making origami balloons. It's a pretty intricate craft, so she helped me with some of the folding, creasing, and, finally, blowing them up. It's a pretty hands-on craft for a grown-up, but now we have lots of pretty balloons that we can play with, decorate with, or use as packing material in special packages.

Here's how we made them. We used craft paper that we had lying around, but you can use old wrapping paper, magazine pages, or newspaper. Or paint & color your own paper!

1. Start with a square piece of paper.
2. Fold it in to a triangle.
3. Unfold it and then fold it in a triangle the other way.
4. Unfold it again and then fold it in half (into a rectangle).
5. Unfold the paper. It should be all creased like the picture below.

6. Fold the paper into the rectangle again. 
7. Using the creases as a guide, fold left flap over so the paper becomes a triangle.
8. Repeat with the right side. (When you do it to the right side, too, you'll end up with a triangularly folded piece of paper that could stand on its own like a pyramid.) 
9. Once you've got it, put your triangle down and get ready for the next step. 

10. You should have two 'layers' of triangle. Fold the bottom edges of the first layer up. You're going to want to leave a small space between the left and right folds so the last step is easy.
11. Repeat on both 'layers' of triangle.

12. You should have before you a little diamond shaped piece of folded paper in front of you. It should look identical on both sides. Fold the outer flaps of the diamond in towards the middle of the diamond.
13. Repeat on the other side.

14. You've made little pockets in  your diamond! Fold each of the top edges into the pockets. 
15. Repeat on the other side.

16. Your folded up balloon should have a little opening at the very bottom. Blow into it and Voila! You've got yourself a cute little balloon.

It really does get easier the more you make these. It's kind of addictive. Once you have all of the balloons you want, you can play catch, soccer, have an indoor 'snowball' fight, or play a little sorting game like Rowan is doing in this little video. We made balloons out of 5 different patterns, so she sorted them out in different ways. The older the kid, the more challenging you can make the game. Can they balance it on their head or their hand as they bring it to it's basket? Can they throw it into the basket from across the room? Can they do it with their eyes closed? And, best of all, you can string them up after you're all done playing with them and use them as a garland in the kids room!