Origami is a perennially effective boredom killer for kids, and arguably the most fun kind of origami is that which results in a creation that has some kind of functionality — a frog you can jump, a box you can put things in, a ring you can wear, a ninja star you can use to vanquish foes.
Perhaps the king of this category is the origami balloon. It’s just cool to blow something up that’s made out of paper. Once constructed, you can play hacky sack with it, throw it at your little sister, bat it around like a cat, and even fill it up with water and turn it into a water bomb; drop it off your deck and watch it go splat.
Below, our son Gus McKay will walk you through how to make your own paper balloon:
Get a square piece of origami paper (or cut a piece of printer paper into a square) and place it on the table so it looks like a baseball diamond. Take the left corner and fold it to the right corner.
You should have a triangle, like so.
Now you have a right triangle.
Rotate the triangle so that the long side is facing to the right. Fold the top flap of the top corner towards the bottom corner.
You should have something that looks like this.
Flip your triangle over.
Fold the other flap down.
You should have something that looks like this at this point.
While holding the points of both layers of the top and bottom triangles together with one hand, use the other hand to pull out just the top layer of the middle triangle.
After you pull out the top layer of the middle triangle, it should look like this, with the three triangle points on the top left and one on the bottom right.
Fold down the corner of the top layer to the bottom corner of the triangle.
Flip it over and you should have something that looks like this.
Fold corners up on one side.
Flip it over and do the other side.
It should now look like this.
Fold one layer down, and then unfold it, like so, on both the left and right sides.
Fold the right corner of the top layer towards the center of the diamond. Repeat on the left side.
It should look like this.
Flip over and fold the corners on the other side.
Rotate it left. The top end should have little tabs that you can fold down separately. Fold those down.
Flip it over and do the other side too.
Now take the corners of those little tabs you just folded down and fold them down.
It should look like this. Repeat on both sides. Unfold them.
If you look closely, you’ll notice some pockets. Take those little tabs you just folded and unfolded, and tuck them inside those pockets. Repeat on the other side.
Blow in the hole at one end to inflate.
Tada! You can also fill it up with water and use it as a water bomb. Boomshakalaka!