My 3rd grade classes are studying Japanese art right now. We just finished making cherry blossom trees after looking at some artwork by Hokusai. The students used watercolors to paint their tree, and then cut the flowers out of red and pink tissue paper. We folded the paper in quarters, and then cut a teardrop shape to make flowers. Once the students mastered making flowers, I let them fold and cut 3 or 4 papers at once to make multiple flowers quickly.
Now, the students are learning about origami. I love doing origami with students because it's really fun, and completely mess-free. I think 3rd grade is a really good grade for origami, though it takes two class periods to make a crane. I started with some simpler pieces the first day, but the origami crane is such a symbol of Japanese culture, that I decided to try it. So far, none of my students want to attempt to make 1,000 origami cranes to make a wish! I don't blame them....some of the steps are really complicated for 3rd grade.