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What toto Do with your Origami Toys
In two words . . . share them!
Of all origami genres, toys should be shared. Learn a few of your favorites by heart and make them for family and friends, or as icebreakers with strangers at parties, dreary meetings, long flights, and the like. A designer friend once told me how she traveled from remote village to remote village in several Southeast Asian countries on a research project, gaining the friendship and help of the villagers by folding origami toys for everyone!
If you have the confidence, teach origami toys to club groups, young or old. They are great to teach to children, who love to play with them; adults love them too. Some of my most enjoyable workshops have been with groups as diverse as graphic design students at a design college in central London, a group of engineering professionals, a group of elderly ladies, and a small class of children at a rural village deep in the English countryside.
If you are a teacher, teach origami toys in class as a fun end-of-semester treat, or more seriously in math, science, and technology classes (there are some great examples of levers and other mechanisms contained in the toys). Teaching toys to disruptive children gives them status and self-confidence, or they can be given as rewards for good behavior. I know of therapists who gain the trust of children by making origami toys for them and who use mouth toys in role-playing games.
The essence of an origami toy is its innocent delight. But presented in the right way at the right time, a toy may also have a serious educational or therapeutic use. Don’t confuse fun with triviality!