Thursday, August 4, 2011

Low Energy Entertainment

I was watching a video earlier about the economic collapse. The video details the thirteen steps that all countries which have collasped go through, and states that the US is between steps five and seven right now (import most of our goods, huge debt, getting more difficult to borrow money, etc.). As with most, similar videos and books that talk about the economic collapse, there is advice at the end about ways to prepare, like paying off debt, getting out of the money economy, learning to grow/store food.

We all know that I don't disagree with any of those recommendations. Yes, pay off the house! Yes, learn to be self-sufficient! Yes, know how to get food.

We need to be ready to feed ourselves, and house ourselves, and clothe ourselves, because in our more austere future, there will be less money to buy those things, and less of those things available to buy anyway.

But there's more to life than just those things, a lesson my daughters have been teaching me these last few days.

Like any modern American, suburban kid, my girls spend a fair amount of time enjoying their electronic entertainment (DVDs on the computer, Netflix, GameBoy), but they're also pretty adept at finding some very simple ways to keep themselves occupied when they're not doing "farm" chores.

For the past few days, my kids have been making "cootie-catchers", which are origami toys, first introduced in England in the 1920s. They became popular as a children's game in the 1950s and 60s here in the US. I can remember making them as a kid, and it's a bit of a thrill to see my girls enjoying favored past-times from my own childhood.

So, I enlisted the help of Little Fire Faery, to illustrate the steps for making the origami toys.

Step 1: Fold and cut a piece of paper so that it is square.

Step 2: Fold the square into a triangle (so that the paper is creased with an X shape).

Step 3: Fold each corner into the center of the paper, creating a smaller square.

Step 4: Flip paper over and fold each corner into the center of the paper, creating smaller square.

Step 5: Put each index finger and thumb under the flaps. Using a pincher motion, open and close the cootie-catcher.

Step 6: On the flaps write words or colors. On the front of the inside flaps (visible when the cootie-catcher is held open), write numbers. On the back of the inside flap, write a "fortune." My girls have been using crayons to color each outside flap. I choose a color and she spells the color as she works the toy. Then, I choose a number on the flaps inside, and she counts out the numbers. Then, I choose another number, and she reads my fortune.

According to the most recent divination, I might be "pretty and rich." Que-sera, sera.

Making cootie-catchers is a lot of fun and playing with them is equally amusing. It's a great low-energy, low-impact past-time, and in a future, where watching DVDs may not be an option, it's comforting for me to know that my girls will find plenty of other things to do.


  1. fun! I remember doing those! I think one cootie catcher said I would live in a shack with 4 kids. I've only got 3 and am a step above a shack, so perhaps I should have just opted for Magic 8 ball? It said 'yes' to so many of my promising ideas! ;)

  2. I remember playing with those - we didn't call them cootie catchers though, we called them fortune tellers.