Saturday, August 13, 2011

Busy Creating, Giving, and Learning: Paper Cranes

While packing up my stuff at my parent's house, I came across this:
I made it after Maeve was born.  If you keep up with this blog, I had mentioned in a post a while ago, after the earthquake in Northern Japan, that I wanted to make paper cranes with my kids.  I bought the book, Sadako and the 1,000 Paper Cranes, and we read it together each day at lunch.
In the back of the book were instructions how to fold a paper crane.  I sat down one day, and made each step and mounted it to a piece of white poster board to help the kids visualize the steps easier.  There are many tutorials on the web, some better than others, I tried a few unsuccessfully, but the ones in the book were easy to follow.

Here's a close up of the pieces, I just don't have the time right now to do a step by step, but you can get the general idea.  Unfortunately, since I just love colors, my origami paper was a rainbow pack, so each piece could not be the same color, but I tried to go in color family order:

My plan is that once I'm in my new house, I will hang this on the wall and have the kids help me fill a box full of paper cranes to send to Northern Japan.  I plan to attach messages to them too.

This is a great way to teach the kids fine motor skills, creativity, patience, and giving.  This is a skill that all children in japanese schools learn.  When visiting historical places in Japan, or attending festivals, we encountered many groups of school kids wanting to practice their English on us.  In exchange for the conversation, even a simple "Hello", we would be given an origami as a thank you.  Oftentimes, the kids' backpacks were full of origami creations!

The cranes are a symbol of peace and hope.  The first time one of our visitors went to Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic bombing in Japan by the US, he came back with a backpack FULL of paper cranes!  I never made it to Hiroshima, but here are some pictures Dave took on a trip there- there are just cases and cases of them:
Here are some pictures of paper cranes I took in Nagasaki, the site of the second bombing.  It is incredible how many there are.  I don't know how to make the chain, but it is beautiful to see.

Even at the airport on our trip home when moving, the woman at the check in counter saw that it was Addison's birthday and the next thing you know, they had made him all these origami stars and smiley faces for a present, it was amazing.

I am planning on making a mobile of pink, green, and red paper cranes for Maeve's room, I think she will really enjoy looking at them, don't you?  As soon as I find my origami paper, I'm going to start it.  I think it will be nice for her to have in her room a small part of Japan, since she never got to live there.  Pictures to follow when it's done.

We have in our shipment many more books of origami that we purchased while living in Japan.  I hope to put up more pictures of fun things my kids and I make together.  Maybe we will carry on the tradition of giving origami to strangers we meet to brighten their days.

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