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This local 4-year-old origamist wants to show you how to make paper airplanes
Shahan Naderpour
Shahan Naderpour has developed a big passion for making origami, particularly paper airplanes and is even having a virtual party for his fifth birthday to show people how to make them.

It's not uncommon for kids to turn household items into toys, but Shahan Naderpour is taking that to a new level.

Shahan, just shy of his fifth birthday, has developed a big passion for making origami, particularly paper airplanes.

“Today, he woke up at 7:30 (a.m.). By 8:30 (a.m.), he had made nine,” said his mother, Andrea Rincon. “He goes to bed with a piece of paper every single night, and every single night before he falls asleep, he makes something in his bed.”

When asked why paper planes were his favorite to make, Shahan said, “I want to throw it.”

While paper planes are becoming his specialty, Shahan has several other origami works, including flowers, rainbows, stars and frogs that “jump” when he pushes down on them.

“One day, he tried to show me one type of folding that he does. I couldn't make it. I couldn't do it,” Rincon said. “I practiced, but at the end, I tried like 10 times and wasn't able to do it.”

Once Shahan started showing an interest in making paper planes, Rincon said she bought him the right kind of paper and looked into how old most other kids were who were into origami

'… I started to look at what are the ages of kids that do something like this, and I found out it was 8, 9, 10, most of the origamists, they start at 12 years old,'” she said. “I'm like, 'oh my gosh, he's only 4 and he's doing this.”

Rincon said when she asked Shahan why he made so many paper airplanes, he said 'Because I want to build the fastest airplane in the world.' 

Shahan even got some kind words of encouragement from John Collins, who designed the Guinness World Record holder for farthest flight by a paper aircraft at 226 feet, 10 inches.

Shahan has his own Instagram and YouTube pages where he shows his viewers how to make paper airplanes and other pieces of origami.

“He shows you, and he's happy,” Rincon said. “Teaching is something he enjoys so much.”

Shahan is trilingual – speaking English, Spanish and Farsi – and some of his videos have elements of both English and Spanish.

Spending more time at home due to COVID-19, Shahan has had a lot of time to practice his skills and wants to teach others, including wanting to show residents at local nursing homes how to do origami.

Social distancing has also impacted the plans for Shahan's fifth birthday party.

While he normally has a big party with lots of guests, this year, Shahan is having an online origami birthday party through Zoom from 5-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 and will show how to make a few of his favorite creations. All guests need to do is have four or five pieces of square paper ready to go.