We started studying Japan for the month of February and absolutely LOVING this beautiful country! I have always wanted to visit Japan, but for now I’ll settle for traveling there through our themed activities! 🙂
Japan is an island country in East Asia. It is located in the Pacific Ocean, and lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent. The kanji that make up Japan’s name mean “sun origin”, and it is often called the “Land of the Rising Sun”. Japan actually consists of about 6,852 islands made from stratovolcanic material. The four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area, and often are referred to as home islands.
I love to see what other parents and caregivers do for their little ones; post on Instagram under #travelingthroughlearning and follow my feed, and I will feature my favorite activities at the end of the month. You can also share what you have done on this blog or PM me with Japan-themed activities that you have done/and or blogged about and I’ll include links to them in this post once the unit is complete.
- Placemat & Flag of Japan – This full color printable shows some interesting stats of the country as well as some pictures of major landmarks. I like to put it in a plastic sheet protector and use it as a placemat for meals. It is excellent to promote learning at the dinner table. This also includes a Japanese flag to post as part of your unit.
- Map Outline & Major Cities of Japan – This outline map can be transferred to foam or felt and the city tags can be printed off and attached with map-pins, to help learn about the major cities.
Model of Landmark/Dwelling:
- Built a Torii Bridge out of Toilet Paper Tubes!
- Japanese Counting Cards – Use these adorable cards numbered 1-10 to teach little ones numbers in Japan!
- Life Cycle of a Snow Monkey – This adorable interactive spinner shows four stages in the life of the Japanese Macaque.
Montessori-Themed Indigenous Fauna Cards:
- Montesorri-Inspired 3-Part Matching Cards: Japanese Fauna – These are animals found in Japan, and can be used to match with or without miniature models.
- Hiragana Chart – Hiragana is one basic component of the very complicated Japanese writing system – This is a fun way to start teaching the basics to your little one!
- Kendema – This is a traditional Japanese skill toy. It has three cups and a spike which fits into the hole in the ball, and is a variant of the classic cup and ball game.
- Zen Garden Sensory Tray – A fun relaxing sensory tray made from simple supplies.
- Koinobori – Make beautiful koi fish in this Japanese-inspired craft made from toilet paper tubes.
- Water Painting with Soy Sauce Fish Bottles – A fun process art activity using soy sauce fish bottles to paint over Japanese symbols to create beautiful watercolor-looking art pieces!
- Japanese Paper Lanterns – Make beautiful Japanese inspired lanterns out of paper – great to promote creativity and fine motor skills!
- Fortune Cookie Valentines – Make a beautiful Asian-inspired Valentine from paper!
- Balloon Powered Japanese Bullet Train – Harness wind power in this fun “bullet train” activity, teaching scientific principles of resistance, energy and propulsion.
Practical Life Skills:
- Sushi – Teach your little one how to make tasty sushi and then enjoy eating it! Great way to experience Japanese cuisine.
- Ramen – Indulge in the delicious taste of Japanese ramen and learn cooking skills!
Fine Motor Skills:
- Origami – Make simple origami shapes with this fun tutorial.
- Baby Food Pouch Tops “Sushi” Transfer Activity – Learn to use chopsticks with upcycled baby food pouch tops.
- Japanese Blossom Pinning Tree – I glued faux blossoms to clothes pins and used my wire tree to let my kiddos pin them on.
Gross Motor Skills:
- Ninja Skills – Learn a Basic Kata with a FREE download of the footwork.
- Make your own nunchucks out of toilet paper tubes with this fun activity!
- Haiku – Teach your child how to create a “Haiku”, which is a traditional form of Japanese poetry.
- Japanese Number Symbols Cards – Learn how to count in Japanese as well as work on pen/pencil holding as your little one traces the symbols in sand or salt.
- Learn Japanese Children’s Songs – A great collection of songs for listening and watching.
- This month we dressed our art doll in Kimono that I found on eBay. I added a paper cocktail “Kasa” umbrella to finish the look. Kimono is actually the Japanese word for “garment”. Kimonos as we know them today came into being during the Heian period (794-1192).
- Marie Kondo – Most popular for her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, Marie is now part of the hit Neflix series which bares her name. She promotes the concept of the KonMari method, which consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” and choosing a place for everything from then on.
- The Funny Little Woman by Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent
- One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Davidson Mannis
If you have any fun activities that you have done that you’d like to have added to this, PM me and I’ll consider adding them to this blog post! 🙂