On New Year's Eve many adults get dressed up, attend a party, drink champagne and toast the New Year. Usually, kids have to stay home and watch the ball drop in Time Square on TV -- if their parents or babysitters let them stay up until midnight. Make their night more fun by doing New Year-related origami projects.
Use origami to teach your children about the Chinese New Year. Chinese culture assigns each year one of twelve zodiac signs: the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. Look through origami books or online for simple origami directions that coincide with each zodiac animal. Teach kids how to make all 12 animals or just the animal attached to the coming year. For example, 2012 will be the year of the Dragon, so show your children how to make an origami dragon.
Japanese culture associates cranes with longevity and happiness. For New Year, families make a number of origami cranes and decorate their home with them in order to bring peace and happiness into the coming year. Practice this Japanese tradition with your kids by making paper cranes and hanging them around the house or classroom. You may also want to tell them the story of Sadako Sasaki, a girl with leukemia after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, who attempted to fold a thousand paper cranes before her death at age 12. Her cranes became recognized worldwide as a symbol for peace.
Instruct the kids how to make origami hats that they can wear on New Year's Eve as they ring in the New Year. Kids can choose between three different types of origami hats. Younger kids who still need to develop dexterity can make a simple paper hat, which has a point and a brim, whereas older kids can made a samurai hat or a crown. To make these hats more festive, construct them out of shiny wrapping paper.
Instead of purchasing noisemakers such as clappers and whistles for your kids, make origami noisemakers. Not only will this project keep the kids entertained as they wait for midnight to strike, but their origami creations will also create a less obnoxious sound than many traditional noisemakers. Once you fold a triangular noisemaker, hold it by the corner that has two points and snap your wrist down. It will make a "bang" sound. Use brightly colored paper to make festive noisemakers.
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