The Art of Origami
There are a lot of unique and interesting crafts and art forms for people to do and enjoy. One that I find truly amazing is Origami. Imagine starting with a flat sheet of paper and with a few folds and sculpting, end up with a crane, star, bull or hundreds of other incredible creations. It's amazing! There seems to be a question as to where this art form first originated because paper decomposes so rapidly that it's hard to prove the exact origin. The name is Japanese tho, Ori meaning to fold and gami meaning paper. Japan seems to have an extensive history of this art with even a poem on record from 1680 that describes paper butterflies in a dream, but there is also evidence of Spain, Germany, China and other areas having a long history of this art form as well. I'm not sure why, but my vote goes to Japan, mainly I guess because of the name, but China is also in the running seeing how they supposedly were the first to invent paper. In the early years of paper, it was expensive, so this form of art wasn't really a hobby, but done more for formal functions. Today some artists will cast their creation in bronze for a permanent sculptural rendition of their artwork.
You can use almost any paper, especially when you are first starting. Regular copy paper for some of the easier items, a heavier weight paper that is used when wet folding is involved, foil backed paper for some of the more involved designs or special Origami paper that comes in various sizes and beautiful colors. Even tho you can use almost any type of paper, Origami paper is usually the best because it is thinner than most paper but strong, and holds a crease very well. This is also one of the few crafts or art forms that you really can do without any tools, although paper clips and tweezers can be useful at times and help act as another pair of fingers. I can remember when my mother would do a very rough form of Origami with her handkerchief, by folding it to make it look like a hammock with two babies swinging in it during Church to try and keep me quiet. Mom always liked to tell me how it was easier to do 3 loads of wash (before our modern washing machines were invented) and hang them out on a line to dry than it was to try and keep me quiet during Church for one hour.
If you would like to find an inexpensive craft that you could do with your young children, try Origami. All you have to do is search on the internet for Origami for Kids and you will be able to find a lot of simple designs that you can do together for very little cost, in fact free if you use some used paper you have around the house. What an sense of accomplishment your children will have when they see what they are able to make with a plain piece of paper or have them color one side before they get started to make it even more personal and special to them. Once you have spent some time with the kids, challenge yourself and try a more complicated design. Again, all you have to do is a little research on the internet for some free patterns and watch some how to videos to get yourself started. Spend some time looking at some of the amazing creations that true artist have done using paper to get inspired and then just start folding.