Index Card Origami Frogs that hop: Passover placecards, game, plague

I can't throw them away

several years of old placecards

Have an index card?  You have a frog.  And a placecard, an afikomen clue, a keep-hands-busy-activity, a plague, and a jumping frog game.

Index cards are the perfect size, dimension and heft to make origami frogs that actually hop.  If to hop well is not an essential goal, any paper rectangle can become a stationary frog (even stationery).

hop toward Miriam's Timbrel

game: aim for Miriam’s Timbrel

This easy pattern is lifted straight from a master, Florence Temko, in her book, Jewish Origami I.  It’s a great example of converting an ordinary pattern into something Jewish, such as we did with the cup pattern that became a Mishloach Manot bag.
Kids can make these just fine.  My Kindergartener took a bunch of cards to school and led a folding session for his buddies. See my quick video tutorial.


  • Write a guest’s name on the back and it becomes a placecard for the table.
  • Tuck or write a secret message inside and it becomes a clue to the afikomen treasure hunt (unfolded at the surprise behest of the master of ceremonies).
  • Get little fingers busy folding and decorating frogs.  Better to fold paper than roll around under the table or vault over the sofa. 
  • Make the frogs hop into a target.   Not only does it jump when the folded tushie is pushed down with a finger, it can jump into an upturned tambourine (or bowl or plate) on the table to keep the kids busy. (We use Miriam’s timbrel, which does double duty as a rhythm instrument during songs.)
  • Be a plague. And, at the plagues portion of the Hagaddah, frogs can represent the second plague. Guests may mount a simultaneous frog hop at the right time, or throw them at the designated Pharaoh.  
  • Oversized frogs can be signs, posters and placemats.
my quickie DIY video

my quickie DIY video

Most origami patterns start with squares, but these frogs need a rectangle. Standard 3 x 5 index cards come in multicolor packs, which make for a pretty collection on the table, or packs of green, white, pink and so on. Business cards work too, but they become too thick for small fingers to fold easily.

Super-Size It: I’ve made giant frogs from sheets of construction paper, poster board and wrapping paper. The big ones don’t jump very well, but they make great signs, posters and even placemats. And even if your kid doesn’t actually make a frog independently (or at all), he might enjoy decorating it and playing with it.

INDEX-CARD FROG INSTRUCTIONS ONLINE (other than my extremely low-tech video):

KOSHER: Some folks say that to fold paper during a holiday is okay, some say nay.  If ye be of the latter thinking, just fold (and decorate) frogs before the official start.


If “throw them at the designated Pharaoh” caught your eye, see my post about re-enacting the Plagues and Exodus at the seder.

JEWISH ORIGAMI BOOKS (highly recommended):
Florence Temko wrote many origami books, and three have patterns for Jewish holidays: Jewish Origami 1, Jewish Origami 2, Bible Origami.
See also the fabulous Joel Stern’s Jewish Holiday Origami.

SCIENCE / NATURE: the real frog plague is, of course, on the frogs themselves, and it is due to us: our use of pesticides, herbicides and our habit of habitat destruction.  Frogs and toads (and other amphibians and reptiles) are in serious decline.

7 responses to “Index Card Origami Frogs that hop: Passover placecards, game, plague

  1. So often, I’ll read one of your posts, Joanna, and say “Wow, this is my favorite Bible Belt Balabusta post ever.” And then comes along another awesome idea. Truly, though, *this* one might just be an all-time fave. Thanks so much for the video. And I love the idea, too, of super-sizing them for posters.

  2. Me too!!! Me too!!! I LOVE your writing style, your creativity, your ideas, the topics of your posts, your pictures… everything about your blog! Every post is like a treat I can’t wait to open and read. Thank you, Joanna!

  3. Thanks for making my Hebrew school program so full of amazing crafts.