As I get ready to (finally) return home from a month-long tour, I'm taking stock of the gifts I scored for my daughter Poesy on the road. First up is this Toysmith Blooming Flower an incredibly clever little papercraft toy. It consists of a complex of folded and cut tissue paper, sandwiched between two plastic rods. When you open out these rods, the tissue paper fans out to make a lovely paper flower.
But that's just for starters. If you give the flower a shake, it "blooms," as other paper fans, in contrasting colors, emerge from the insides of the first-order flower. Each shake or sharp tap creates a new structure, each more lovely than the last. It's difficult to explain, but itsmecharlee posted the above YouTube video in which a charming little girl masterfully demonstrates.
This is the second time I've brought these home (I discovered them thanks to a tip from Bettina Neuefeind, who sent me to the amazing Black Ink, near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Mass). The first one lasted for more than a month, which is pretty good for a mess of fragile, glued-together tissue paper in the hands of a then-four-year-old. They're only $4, and the kid is five now, so this time I'm bringing home two. They're really lovely and cool.