Halloween & Fall Origami Resources

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Snowflake Math

Snowflake math naturally includes geometry, symmetry, patterns, angles, basic shapes, and fractals.


Scientific America: Why are snowflakes symmetrical? – This is where science and math come together! Read about the science behind the symmetry of snowflakes. 
Symmetry of Snowflakes offers another explanation of how a snowflake is formed.

Bridges in Mathematics: Snowflake Symmetry – This site offers a video link that helps make learning about symmetry more interesting with Lego bricks, and information about different types of symmetry: rotational symmetry and reflection symmetry. Plus it offers a few links for learning more about symmetry online and how to make snowflakes from paper.

NOTE: For this link to work, choose the option for, “The Way Back Machine” and it will take you to the original activity.

Mudd Math Fun Fact: Koch Snowflake – Features the, ‘Koch Snowflake’ and offers a way to learn about fractals. This pdf can be used to better understand the Koch Snowflake. 
Here is another fractal that is not the Koch Snowflake. There is an option to check the “Way Back Machine”, click on that to get to the original activity.

The Spruce Crafts: Magical Paper Snowflake Craft Projects9 Amazing Snowflake Templates – This site is filled with a wide variety of paper snowflake activities for the beginner and for anyone looking to challenge their paper snowflake making skills. Classic snowflakes, animal snowflakes, 3-D snowflakes and much more can be found on this site.

Related posts on FranW.com:

Snowflake Science – How snowflakes form, why they form the way they do, and science experiment suggestions. 
Snowflake Language, Social Studies, History and Geography Skills – Snowflake stories, word puzzles, interesting phenomenon, symbolic meaning of and other activities.
Snowflake Resources and Activities – All the links to the resources can be found here, plus snowflake snack ideas, printables, and videos.
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3-D Ornaments


When it comes to learning math, we enjoy exploring it in fun and challenging ways and do our best to turn simple items into cool, useful things. Making 3-D ornaments from paper and/or recycled cardboard is a great way to do this.

3-D Geometric Shapes

3-D Geometric shapes make really nice tree ornaments. When I did craft programs for kids and families, the kids really enjoyed the challenge of making these and had a lot of fun decorating them.

Octahedrons have 8 equilateral triangles, they look like two pyramids put together. 
Enchanted learning has a printable octahedron that can be used to make this 3-D shape. Just follow the directions on the page to put it together. Decorate the triangles before or after folding and gluing it. 

Sphericons are an unusual 3-D shape, and a bit of challenge to make, but look really nice once you get them together. Print these sphericon templates to make them.

Print out, make and decorate a cube, dodecahedron and a tetrahedron too.

We made ours by printing out a template, making a pattern out of it by gluing it to a piece of cardboard, cutting that out carefully and tracing it onto construction paper or a piece of festive paper. Once we cut out our pattern, we carefully folded the edges, glued it together, decorated them with stickers, and put ribbons on them.

3-D Basic Shapes

3-D Star by Fran W

Another way to make 3-D ornaments is to take two identical shapes, that are the same size, and put them together by cutting one shape from the bottom to the middle and the other from the top to the middle, then sliding them together. A small amount of tape may be needed to keep them in place. 

We cut our shapes from cardboard, covered them with festive paper, put them together and added ribbon. We used our own stencils to do this project, but if you don’t have any, you can use the suggested templates below, or trace around cookie cutters.

Hang these on the tree, in corners or along the tops of door jams. 
Tip: 3-D ornaments can be made from construction paper, card stock, and recycled cards as well.

Suggested templates…

Tree, star, bell, round ornaments, gingerbread man and snowman

Origami Projects

Some origami projects make really nice tree ornaments as well.

We made our origami ornaments with foil origami paper that we purchased in a craft store, but copy paper can be decorated and used and so can wrapping paper, if it is cut into even squares. 
A sticker or a picture can be put in the middle of the star box and the paper balloon can be wrapped like a present.

Suggests for origami ornaments…

Crane, star box, paper balloon, star and stocking
Click here for more holiday origami projects.

3-D ornaments make great gifts and additions to holiday gift wrap too!

More holiday activities can be found here on FranW.com.

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3-D Ornaments by Fran W

Holiday and Winter Origami


We started having fun folding paper when my oldest child was about 6 years old and we’ve been finding ways to incorporate it into our lives ever since. One year we added origami presents and cranes to a Christmas tree, another we offered a bunch of holiday related folding projects for a craft program to those who wanted something different to do.  

Here are some of the other ways we have used the paper folding projects…

  • In a diorama.
  • To make a holiday scene.
  • Hang them on the tree.
  • Decorate a present.
  • Decorate the house.
Tip: Any sized paper can be used to make the projects, but make sure the paper you use is even on all sides, crooked paper will not give good results.
Note: Copy paper can be decorated with markers, stamps and crayons, wrapping paper can be used, as can pages from magazines and newspapers. Origami paper can be found in craft and retail stores and on line in a variety of designs and sizes. Origami Way offers a printable origami paper that can be *downloaded from the site. 
*Please use caution when downloading off the Internet.

I hope you find the following paper folding projects as enjoyable as we do. Unless otherwise noted, all the projects below offer illustrated instructions. Videos are also offered below.

Tree Forest by Fran W

Origami for Winter

Origami for Christmas
Site offer a variety of wreaths and garlands all with illustrated instructions.
Turn a origami balloon into a present by stamping or coloring the paper before folding, and adding a ribbon around it after it has been blown up.


Santa Hat

Santa in his Sleigh

Video instructions offered.
Christmas Tree – Variety
There are a variety of Christmas trees available to choose from.
Illustrated instruction for a dove made from a 8″ round doillie.

Origami for Hanukkah
Origami for Kwanzaa

Sweet Corn

Choose to view instructions as a diagram or as an animation.

Weaved Place Mat

Not origami, but it is a paper craft.

Drinking Cup

Use crayons or markers to color flag as desired.
Origami for All Holidays
Holiday Origami Videos

Holiday Curriculum Connection
Origami has a lot of natural benefits and fits nicely into any holiday curriculum. Origami can be recorded under math and offers people of any age an opportunity to learn how geometric shapes and angles work, while it helps to build self confidence, spacial awareness and hand-eye coordination skills. Origami requires patience and helps the learner to focus while they are creating their pieces. Plus it’s a great way to relax once you get the hang of how to make each project.
Other benefits: Following instructions, creativity, cultural awareness, is therapeutic, decreases anxiety levels, is really fun to do and many more positive things.
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Star – Shape

Stars by Fran W

This star activity can be very simple to make but if you are up to a little challenge there’s a suggestion for one below!

If you would like to get right to the craft, you can print out a templateand go straight to the “what to do”.

If you are up to a math challenge, you can make your own star instead. There are a few suggestions and videos down at the bottom of this post to help you out.

What to do…
Once the template has been printed on cardstock paper or a pattern has been made, cut out stars from construction paper, recycled cardboard cereal/cracker boxes, oak tag, or foam, and pop a hole in the ones you want to hang.

You will need a few craft supplies for the following suggestions.

Glitter or Glowing Stars: Cut stars out of cardboard or oak tag, paint them with a mixture of glue and glitter or glow paint and allow them to dry. Once they dry, hang them up or tape them on the wall.

Painted Stars: Cut stars out of cardboard/oak tag and paint them with acrylic paint. Hang them up.

String of Stars: Cut stars out of construction paper, tape or glue them together at the tips and put them across a door jam.

Star Wreath: Cut the middle out of a paper plate, or make a wreath out of cardboard or oak tag, glue construction paper stars around the wreath and hang on a door or wall.

3-D Star: Cut two stars out of cardboard/oak tag, cut a line in one star from the bottom to the middle point, cut the other star from the tip of the star to the middle and slide the two slits together to form a 3-D object. Hang or display on the table.

Make a New Star: Trace and cut out stars onto construction paper and glue them together to make another kind of star. Use craft supplies to decorate.

Star Challenge…

Make your own stars..

Draw or cut one freehand.

How to draw a star freehand – Simple step by step video (2:09)

Use a drawing compass, a protractor, paper or cardboard, and pencil.

How to draw a star and get it right! Video (5:39)

Make a pattern…

you use plain copy paper, you can make a pattern by cutting your star out of the paper, gluing it to a piece of recycled cereal/cracker box and cutting that out.

Make a star by folding a piece of paper just right.
Enchanted Learning: Star Ideas
If you want more star ideas, check this site out.

Stars and their names

5 pointed star = pentagram

6 pointed star = hexagram

7 pointed star = heptagram or septegram

8 pointed star = octagram

9 pointed star = enneagram or nonagram

10 pointed star = decagram

11 pointed star = hendecagram

12 pointed star = dodecagrams

Learn more about polygons.

Related posts on Fran’s World of Discovery:

Real-World Math
4th of July

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link to back where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!


Roasted marshmallow by Fran W.

Marshmallows were once made from the root of the marshmallow plant and were used to help sore throats!

Activity: S’mores…with a twist

Choose your favorites…

Cookie – graham cracker cookies, Nilla Wafers type cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or another cookie of your choice
Marshmallows – mini, large, flavored, fluff or cream, homemade
Milk chocolate bars – with crispies, nuts, coconut, dark chocolate, or another kind
Other suggestions – peanut butter, Nutella, toasted coconut, chocolate morsels (or another flavor), nuts, fudge, fudge topping, pretzels, melted chocolate

S’mores are typically made by roasting marshmallows over a campfire and placing it, along with a piece of milk chocolate, between two graham cracker cookies…but in our family we like to put a little twist on an old favorite by adding some of our favorite things to this well known treat.

Tip: When we’re unable to roast our marshmallows over a campfire, we have used: a fireplace, a toaster oven, microwave, or our kitchen stove with good results.

Note: When using a kitchen stove (electric or gas), or a fireplace, use a long fork to roast the marshmallows and keep a close eye on it if you do not like burnt food.

Here are some of the things we do:

S’more reinvented…
Using a Nilla Wafers type cookie, smear a little peanut butter on one cookie, roast a marshmallow on the stove until golden brown and push a piece of cool chocolate into the marshmallow before sandwiching it between two cookies.

No cook s’more….
When we want a quick snack that is a little less messy, we take graham cracker cookies, smear a little fluff on one side, and place a small piece of chocolate on the fluff before placing the other cookie on top.

Stuffed s’more….
Cut a hole in the top of the marshmallow – about half way down, press a piece of chocolate in it and place in the toaster oven, chocolate side up. Remove when the marshmallow is lightly golden brown. Place the stuffed marshmallow between two of your favorite cookies and enjoy.

S’more pretzels….
After toasting a marshmallow, place it, and a piece of chocolate, between two mini pretzels. As an alternative, toast a marshmallow and place it between two chocolate covered pretzels.

Have fun being creative!

Research Questions…

What is a marshmallow plant?

Other than helping sore throats, what else is the marshmallow plant good for?

How are marshmallows made?

Can I make my own marshmallows?

What can you do with a marshmallow other than eat them?

Research Resources…
Herbs2000Marshmallow Plant – Offers information about the medicinal qualities and uses for the marshmallow plant.

AboutThe History of Marshmallow – Information about the plant and the history of commercial marshmallow candy, including Peeps, and Fluff.

How Products Are Made: How marshmallow is made – Site offers the following info: History of marshmallows, what’s in them and how they are manufactured.

Wikipedia: Marshmallow – Offers historical information about the plant and the candy.

HowStuffWorks: How do they make marshmallows? – Site offers an very brief explanation and a recipe.

Food Network: Alton Brown: Homemade Marshmallows – Site offers a recipe for making your own marshmallows. Offers a 3:06 video recipe after commercial.

This New Zealand site will have you doing mass, volume, estimations and more with marshmallows!

Steve Spangler Science: Marshmallow Masher – An experiment performed with marshmallows. Site offer a video of this experiment as well.

Exploratorium: Monster Marshmallows – Science experiment done with a microwave with explanation of what’s happening and why.

eHow: Marshmallow Science Projects – Site offers 4 science projects: An air pressure experiment, a microwave experiment, a recipe, and an edible project.



How To Make Marshmallow 5:46
Campfire® Marshmallow Mystery Tour 3:35

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Note: Has this or another activity on Fran’s World of Discovery inspired you or someone else in a positive way? Have you featured this activity in a blog post? I invite you to comment and link back to where your post can be found, or tell me what you or your family enjoyed about the post! Thank you!

Paper Airplanes

Today’s Topic: Paper Airplanes
Did you know……
The Guinness World record for the longest time a paper airplane was held aloft is 29.2 seconds! 
Today’s Activity:  Make paper airplanes
Learn about the history of paper planes, view 50 instructional videos for making paper planes.
Tips and suggestions….
If you want your paper airplanes to fly well, the most important things to remember is to keep the folds straight and even and the creases sharp!
Once you get the hang of making paper planes, try to modify the plane by making a few changes to the design. You can do this by:
– Making little cuts in the wings to create flaps or cut a piece of the middle and bring it to the top of the plane.
– Tape a paper clip to the tip of the plane to help it fly better.
– Tape a skewer or a toothpick to the inside of the middle fold.
– Tape the plane together in the middle or the end.
– Cut a notch in the bottom of the plane and shoot it with a rubber band. 
– Change the way the plane is folded in order to make a new paper plane design.
– Learn how to make a stunt paper airplane.
You can find another stunt plane here.
Suggestions for flying the paper airplane…..
– Learn how to throw a paper airplane by watching this video.
– Fly the paper airplane inside or outside.
– Stand on something high, throw it and measure how far it goes, then throw it from a spot on the ground close by and measure again; compare the two distances.
– Throw the plane toward the sky
– Throw the plane from the shoulder or from the hip and see which one flies further.
– Make a variety of planes and compare how well and how far each one flies.
– Keep a flight log.
Have fun!
Questions of the day:
Who currently holds the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane in flight?
Who held the Guinness World record for the longest paper airplane flight before the current record holder? 
Learn More:
Learn more about Ken Blackburn, a 13 year Guinness World Record holder
Read about the gentleman that now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest paper plane flight
Site offers patterns and templates for variety of paper planes

How To Fold and Tweak A Great Paper Plane –  YouTube video 7:03
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The Circle

Bird w/flower Made with circles

Did you know…

The word circle derives from the Greek word kirkos

Activity: Circle scenes

You’ll need:

Round flat objects such as bottle caps, lids, or cups, pencil, colored paper, scissors, and glue 
Optional: Ruler

Set up:

Using a variety of round lids and objects, trace around them with a pencil onto colored paper and cut them out. You will want to cut a bunch of circles in a variety sizes and then cut them in the following ways. 
Use a ruler when needed:

– Leave some of the circles whole
– Take one section out (any size)
– Cut pie shapes (sectors)
– Cut some circles in half
– Cut some circles into: thirds, quarters, eighths, sixteenths, twenty-fourths, etc.
– Cut arcs and cords from your circles
– Cut squiggly lines

Have fun and be creative with this project.

Note: You can turn this into a recycled project by using old magazines, newspaper, old wrapping paper, cards and junk mail. Decorate your own paper and use that too.

What to do:

Use your circles, and parts of circles, to make a variety of objects and scenes. Lay your pieces out in different ways and then glue them down when you like what you see.

Here are some ideas:

Make an underwater scene, fish, people, birds, flowers, butterflies, trees, animals and all kinds of creative designs.

Question of the day:

Objects in nature are rounded.
Can you find something in nature (not made by man), that is not rounded?

Learn more:

Definitions and formulas of a circle

Circle Parts 
Word search

Design with circles
Make designs with a compass

Basketball Geometry Learn how to find the circumference of a circle and then play basketball when you get the answer correct.

How is Geometry Used in Everyday Life?
Article about geometry.

Math Warehouse: Geometry: Circle
Circles, arcs, chords, tangents – Interactive & Exploratory Activities

Find out the benefits of folding circles into 3-D shapes.

Wikipedia: Circle
Explains what a circle is, terminology, history and more

Related posts on FranW.com:

Ways to Celebrate Pi Day

Geometric Designs

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Bird w/flower Made with Circles


Did you know…

There are seven game pieces used for tangram puzzles and over 5,900 patterns that can be made from them!

Activity: Make Tangram Puzzles

You will need:

Tangram puzzle pieces
Tangram puzzle patterns
Card stock paper
Colored pencils or crayons – optional
Index cards that will fit the size of your finished puzzles

Print out or construct your puzzle pieces and color them if you want. Use card stock or thick grade paper so that the pieces can be used multiple times.
After cutting your puzzle pieces out carefully, play around with them for a bit to see what they look like when you put the shapes together in certain ways. When you are ready, print out puzzles to solve, but don’t peek at the solutions until you are ready!

Variation #1: Homemade Puzzles: Using smaller Tangram pieces that you make yourself, design your own puzzle cards. To do this, make your puzzle on an index card and trace around your completed design with a pencil, then go over it with a dark colored crayon or marker. Put solutions on the back in pencil and then give your puzzles to someone else to solve.
Variation #2: Tangram Art Make your own designs from pieces that you make, glue them to a piece of paper, color them in and create a scene around them.

If you would rather play Tangrams online, try this site out:
PBS Kids: Tangrams

Rules: The traditional rules to the game say that you must use all seven pieces, they must lay flat, they must touch one another, and they can not over lap.

Question of the day:

In what year did Tangrams come to America?

Learn more…

abcteach.com: Tangrams
Printable patterns and puzzles

Tangram House
Play an Tangrams online

Tangram Channel
Puzzles, solutions, history, geometry connection and more.

Squidoo: Tangrams Activities
Article about Tangrams filled with links to other sites

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