If you think about it, Kubo from Kubo and the Two Strings is just like every other Singaporean kid – when left to his own devices (and a piece of paper), he’ll fold origami shapes. It’s just that he uses magic to fold origami shapes (hence ensuring perfectly creased folds) and he’s lost one eye, but besides that, he’s like the average Singapore child!

But we didn’t have to rely on the crutch of magic to make our origami shapes. With just a piece of paper, we created weapons, objects of love, and countless other shapes that irritated friends and family around them. So here are five objects we all folded as children. Do you still remember how to fold them?

1. Shuriken

Time to be a ninja. Credit: Cosplay Island

Time to be a ninja. Credit: Cosplay Island

Ninja stars are usually the first origami object that young boys learn to fold. And for good reason too – it’s the first practical application of origami, it doubles up as a weapon, and it’s Japanese in nature. It’s like forging your very own sword, except that you’re using seemingly harmless paper to create deadly ranged weapons to throw at your friends. Who hasn’t thrown a paper shuriken or gotten hit by a ninja star?

Real ninjas, that’s who.

2. Cranes

Blue bird. Credit: Instructables

Blue bird. Credit: Instructables

Girls fold cranes because they look pretty, and boys fold cranes because girls think they look pretty. It’s one of the first few ways that boys can impress girls without breaking the bank (and when you’re eight years old, you can’t even access your bank account). Honestly though, they look more like swans or ducks than cranes.

At least they can float on water (or at least until the water seeps through the paper).

3. Paper fortune teller

What does the future hold? Credit: My Kids Time

What does the future hold? Credit: My Kids Time

Who hasn’t manipulated someone’s fortune by giving an unwanted result with these paper fortune tellers? They also double up as giant mouths, and if you manage to paint a face on them then you can make om nom nom sounds whenever your friend is eating. Paper fortune tellers are amazing because they’re our first encounter with 3D geometry, and until today I can’t quite figure out how it all works.

They also double up as quick hand puppets – an effective way to annoy all your friends!

4. Boxes

Boxing it up. Credit: Maggie's Mind Mumbles

Boxing it up. Credit: Maggie’s Mind Mumbles

Don’t be fooled by its deceptively simple shape. It’s horribly difficult to fold and get the proportions right, because a wrong fold or a slight misalignment means your box looks ugly and misshapen. But they make for useful containers, and nowadays even old folk are getting in on the act by transforming old magazines into these origami paper boxes. As a convenient receptacle to hold bones – fish bones, chicken bones – at the dining table.

Origami is truly an art for all ages. And all purposes.

5. Airplanes

Plain planes. Credit: YouTube

Plain planes. Credit: YouTube

Although this isn’t technically an origami shape, it’s still ubiquitous enough that everyone has folded a paper airplane at least once in their life. A paper airplane is incredibly versatile – it can be a toy vehicle or it can be a dart weapon that you toss at your friends. If you think about it, a paper airplane is actually a lazy man’s paper crane and a lazy man’s shuriken. But it takes great skill to fold the wings well enough that the paper airplane travels in a straight line.

Kubo and the Two Strings. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Kubo and the Two Strings. Credit: Golden Village Cinemas

Of course, Kubo uses his origami skills for less frivolous purposes in Kubo and the Two Strings, and ends up embarking on a quest to find the missing pieces of his father’s armour. How does origami help Kubo in this case?

You’ll need to catch Kubo and the Two Strings to find out!