Easiest DIY Birthday Party for Little Travelers? Japanese Origami!

Origami Party Time
Origami Party Time, by Florence Temko

When our daughter was seven or eight we spent several days in San Francisco.

The city is perfect for a family vacation because there is tons of fun stuff for kids.

We spent a full day at Exploratorium, visited the penguins at the California Academy of Sciences, saw the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill, boarded ships at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Parkand played the games at Musee Mechanique at Fisherman’s Wharf.   

We stayed in a wonderful old hotel in the heart of San Francisco that we got on Priceline for $32 a night.

Our hotel was several blocks from Japantown, and we ventured there a couple of times for sushi and sukiyaki.  Japantown in San Francisco is much less touristy than Chinatown.  

Dinner in Japantown
My Family in Japantown

There is a mall, the Japan Center, with a large bookstore, many restaurants, some boutiques, and a discount store with imported goods.  The surrounding area is several blocks of residences, restaurants, and the Miyako hotel, as well as a Japanese market, a hardware store, and other shops.  

This is the neighborhood to shop for manga and Hello Kitty merchandise!

One of the shops we visited was a stationery store, The Paper Tree,  that had a large selection of origami papers and books.  The Paper Tree is a family business, and the owner’s daughters are origami artists.

Origami Stars
Origami Stars

We must have spent two hours in that shop.

They sell origami books and all manner of origami paper, including the beautiful handmade washi paper.  One of the daughters showed us how to fold tiny origami stars from paper strips, and we picked up some beautiful origami paper and stationery to bring home.

A DIY Japanese Origami Birthday Party

When it came time to plan our daughter’s birthday party, she chose a Japanese theme.

Fishing4Deals is a travel and bargain blog but one of my most popular posts ever was the article I wrote about how to host a DIY birthday party with an airplane theme.

Travel was a common thread in many of the home birthday parties we organized for our daughter — so I thought I would share a party plan for a DIY Japanese Origami party.

Koi windsock
Koi windsock

All of our DIY birthday parties followed the same basic plan, but this birthday party was the easiest ever.  No fuss, no muss, and very little expense — just a few packs of origami paper!

Here is an easy ten-step guide to planning an over-the-top Japanese origami birthday party. You can pick and choose from these ideas and adapt the party depending on the age of your child.

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Just Plane Fun: DIY Airplane Birthday Party in Ten Easy Steps

Airplane Piñata
Airplane Piñata


With the Disney movie Planes showing in cinemas, it’s a great time to think about having an airplane-themed birthday party for your little frequent flyer.

I have a guest post on the Mommy Points blog about airports and airport museums that host children’s birthday parties.  Check it out!

If you prefer to have your child’s party at home, you can have a lot of fun with this great airplane theme!

When our daughter was younger, we had a successful formula for hosting theme birthday parties.  Oriental Trading Company and Dover Publications were our go to resources for inexpensive party favors and decorations.  No matter what the theme, the parties all followed the same basic plan.

Airplane Explorers
Airplane Explorers

Here is an easy ten-step guide to planning an over-the-top airplane birthday party.

Continue reading —>