Hands on Activities for Kids. Paper Folding Unicorns

Paper folding develops some of the critical underlying skills for handwriting.  Handwriting development requires well-established visual-perceptual and motor foundations.  The more you expose your child to hands on activities for kids which develop these foundations, the better prepared they are going to be to embrace and successfully master the handwriting process.  These hands on learning activities will help prepare your child for school.

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Think about what goes into folding a piece of paper:

  1. Bilateral Skills.
  2. Planning on a fine motor level, along with feedforward and feedback skills.
  3. Preferred and supporting hands.
  4. It is a functional task that our children need to master.

1. Paper folding requires two hands
The two hands have to work together.  You cannot fold paper with only one hand.  Handwriting is a bilateral task.  Think about when you sign for something like a delivery.  It is often difficult because you are holding the parcel in one hand and are having to sign with the other.  Not having that assist hand available to hold and orientate the paper for signing, can result in a dreadfully illegible signature.  It leaves you wondering how they would ever prove it was you who signed for it in the event of a query.

2.  Planning, feedback and feedforward
When folding, your child needs to plan and line up the edges of the paper.  And when it doesn’t quite line up, they are going to need to be able to take that feedback, and adjust until they get it right.  The lining up part is as critical as the folding part.  Paper folding activities really tap into the planning and feedforward skills which makes them ideal hands on activities for kids.

3.  Page stabilisation
One hand has to write and one hand has to stabilise the page.  You may get away with not stabilising for a short while.  But when you want to get down to it, when you need to write a whole lot, you need the other hand to hold the page still.  We have talked about what happens when stabilising the page is not well-developed.  It is important to include hands on learning activities in your child’s repertoire to develop these skills.

4.  It is a functional skill
I have watched in so many classroom as the teacher asks the children to fold their page in half.  Some of the children just get it.  They fold and they are done.  While others struggle and end up with a poorly folded page that is not really going to help them line their work up at all.  While we do need to develop the handwriting foundations, our children also need to master the functional skill of folding.

Hands on learning activities: the paper folding fan

If your child can master a folded fan, you can be sure they have challenged those handwriting foundation skills!  Fans have been around forever and there are so many variations out there.  We have designed a fan folding template to fine tune those skills and added some unicorns to finish it off.

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Unicorn roundabout instructions

  1. Place the folding sheet printed side down, in the portrait orientation.
  2. Fold up the edge of the page closest to you until the fold line is visible.
  3. Adjust it until the line is straight and use the fingers to crease the fold along the fold line.
  4. If your child is new to folding, it can be helpful to fold the first few folds for them, and then unfold them.  This will help them to experience what it feels like, after which they can learn to line it up and fold it themselves.
  5. Cut out the square unicorns and put them on the unicorn roundabout.

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Artsy Crafty mom has 20 unicorn hands on activities for kids!

Hands on activities for kids: advanced paper folding unicorn cube

This is an upgrade to challenge our older children.  It is often easier to find less challenging hands on activities for kids, leaving our older kids feeling they have to do baby games.  The folding in this unicorn cube requires precision and dexterity or their cube will end up looking like a squashed ball rather than a cube!  In addition, it requires advanced cutting skills.  Your child will need to manipulate the scissors in and out of internal corners which requires high levels of dexterity and bilateral co-ordination.

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Cube folding instructions

  1. Cut out the cube templates.  This requires high-level cutting skills both around the corners of the squares, and internal corners of the “v” next to the tabs.  If your child is struggling with the “v”, let them cut past them and come back and cut them afterwards.
  2. Place the cube face down and fold up until the line becomes visible.  Fold and crease on the lines.
  3. Glue the tabs.
  4. Fold and assemble the cube.  The last flap is always a bit of a bother and a thin knitting needle inserted in the corner can help to position the last flap.
  5. Arrange your cubes to create the unicorn pictures.

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In closing about hands on learning activities

If you are wanting to prepare your child for school by ensuring the foundations are in place, hands on learning activities are a must.  These good old fashioned paper folding skills with a modern twist are going to challenge the skills your child needs.

©Bunty McDougall
Occupational Therapist

More Hands on Activities for Kids:

fine motor skills development, fine motor skills activities
Handwriting cutting skills
pencil control for handwriting for kids