Why is folding important

Folding and Playing - Intelligent with skilled fingers

The art of paper folding originally comes from Japan and is called: Origami. This centuries-old Japanese paper-folding tradition is very complicated and too difficult for beginners and young children here with us. Independent of Asia, a simpler, independent tradition has also developed in Europe. One of the first supporters was Friedrich Froebel, the "inventor" of the kindergarten. Around 1840 he had recognized that folding paper promotes the coordination of the eye and hand as well as the feeling for geometry and accuracy. In my collection "Folding and Playing - Intelligent with Skilful Fingers" I have to collect folding shapes that suit our children. I chose them based on the aspect: What can our children fold? What is not too difficult for you? The basis for this folding collection comes from my childhood and my training at the Marzili kindergarten seminar in Bern. Over the years, more and more folding shapes have been added. For the first time in a folding book, the aspects of the key competences that children acquire in their development between four and eight years of age are included. This makes the folding instructions enriching and valuable.

Since manual dexterity is also developed and refined through wrinkles, occupational therapists, for example, nowadays use wrinkles in rheumatism patients or after hand surgery. The Freiburg hand surgeon Klaus Lowka says: “Origami is one method - among others - to stimulate fine motor skills and optimize the use of the hands. It is also fun for the patient. " According to the Freiburg brain researcher Josef Bischofberger, wrinkles have the effect of: through concentration and stimulating stimuli, new, more adaptive nerve cells are formed in the brain.

The following sections briefly explain what, in my experience in pedagogical practice and the latest findings in brain research, causes paper folding in children, and what key competencies are particularly addressed and promoted:

  • Mathematical competence: Children cannot learn mathematics abstractly or in a vacuum. Consciously dealing with materials and talking to adults is an important preparation. It is exactly the same with folding. A child can never invent the folding shape of a sailing boat on his own. The child needs an adult or a book to show him the folding shape. The "first fold" is about understanding the principle. Children discover most basic geometric shapes first in their surroundings and only then in paper: What looks like a square, a triangle, a circle or a rectangle? Folding clearly promotes mathematical thinking and the recognition of geometric shapes, patterns, numbers and quantities. Folding supports the understanding of regularities and the three-dimensional, spatial perception. Anyone who experiences the concrete implementation can later understand abstract arithmetic processes much more easily. For example, folding a piece of paper in half means dividing something by two!
  • Linguistic competence: Wrinkles promotes pleasure-oriented speaking, expands vocabulary and shows new terms. Folding paper can be thick, thin, large, or small. Children discover numerals and the counting and counting of objects. When folding, they test terms such as: top, bottom, corners, edge, point, tricorn, turn paper, back and front, tear or cut, put in half, fold a cross or a diagonal. Thinking aloud is required here, because words spoken audibly are easier to memorize! Folded figures encourage speaking, telling stories, reciting verses, role-playing and singing songs. Speech motivation increases with wit, rhythm and rhymes.
  • Design competence: Precise work, endurance and patience are trained when folding. In order for folding shapes to succeed, you need the right paper. If it is too thick or too small, frustration occurs. The first figures look wrinkled and imprecise. But practice makes perfect. The more dexterous the fingers become, the “nicer” and more precise the folding result. The folding forms are sorted in this book according to their level of difficulty. The children are introduced to the art of folding step by step, from the simple to the difficult. Children find it easier to fold if they fold the paper away from their own bodies and not towards them. The fingers then also have more strength. (Children like the expression: "Fold from your own navel to the middle of the table.") Those who know traditional folding figures can also invent new variants themselves. Folding forms are painted, decorated and decorated. Often community pictures and entire paper landscapes emerge.
  • Social competence: Folding motivates because you can play with the finished folding shape alone or in a group. The child must be shown folding processes before they can imitate them on their own. Adults signal: “I will take time for you. You are important to me. ”Working together creates positive interpersonal contact, which is important for healthy development. Ability makes you strong and confident. Children are proud when they have internalized the process of a folding form. Sometimes they then fall into a happy “folding frenzy” and produce large quantities. Since the folding processes are shown with photos in this folding book, children with some folding experience can even "read" them themselves and fold them again. Children like to play “kindergarten” or “school” and naturally pass on folding forms that they know to other children! You love to give small gifts, folding shapes are excellent for this. Let's just think of poinsettias, Easter baskets, stick puppets, hats, letters or purses.
  • Science / Technology: Folding forms give food for thought to experiment, try out, test, invent and play. The little scientists get to the bottom of questions like: Which paper is best to fold? Why does a folding paper have to be exact so that the folding shape works? Which boat swims the longest? Why is the paper plane gliding through the air? What do I have to do to make it fly straight ahead or around a curve? Why do the ball and the devil inflate? How much weight can the newspaper shopping net bear before it rips?

I wish parents and their children, educators in kindergarten and elementary school with their groups and all "folding students" a lot of fun with games and language, skillful fingers when folding, sustainable knowledge in mathematical competence and enriching insights through careful observation, experimentation, discovery and Learn! May "Folding and Playing - Intelligently with Skilful Fingers" as a natural early support program enrich many children and make them happy while they are doing it themselves.

The book on the topic: "Folding and Playing - Intelligent through Skilful Fingers" Kösel, February 2007

Further contributions by the author can be found here in our family handbook


The children's and playbook author Susanne Stöcklin-Meier completed her training as a kindergarten teacher in Bern and worked as a kindergarten teacher in a village in the canton of Baselland. She is active in further training for kindergarten teachers, parenting and adult education. Today she lives with her husband in Diegten and is the mother of two grown daughters.



Created on January 17th, 2007, last changed on March 5th, 2010