Just discovered a new TV series by Kodomo Challenge called “こどもちゃれんじライブ授業“, where children can explore many different things like various occupations, yoga, English, animals, etc. The episodes are shown “live” (children in Japan who own the Kodomo Challenge Tablet can participate in the show as they watch). In Japan, the show is on every Saturday morning. I’m not sure if it’s viewable on any TV stations elsewhere. Here are two YouTube videos I found. The first is an episode exploring a Japanese bakery, and the second is about the mysteries of animals. Enjoy!
BONUS Kodomo Challenge Videos, “ともだちできたよ”, “はじめましてこんにちは”, and “リトミック／ダンス”. Watch them quick :) Sometimes they get taken down after awhile.
One of our current favorite kid’s shows on TV Japan is “ノージーのひらめき工房“, which is listed in TV Japan as: Nosy’s Inspiring Atelier. We didn’t even realize it was a children’s show at first because of the odd name. It is a show that inspires children to be creative with materials they can find at home. It is a great show for preschool through elementary-aged kids. My kids are always inspired to create something after watching the show.
Here is an episode I found on YouTube:
What is your current favorite Japanese children’s show?
P.S. Don’t forget TANABATA is July 7th!! Click here for my posts about this Japanese holiday.
More about tanabata by Kiwi Crate HERE.
by the Japan Society HERE.
A simple & straightforward way to teach hiragana to toddlers! Repetition really is a great teaching tool!
video by babylionmovie on YouTube
Recently, we took the kids to a Japanese restaurant, where they ordered a bowl of ramen. I was delighted when the waitress brought them some training chopsticks. As I studied the chopsticks, I realized it is super easy to make yourself! It took me a few tries to get the tension just right, but it WAS really easy. So the next time you go out to eat at an Asian restaurant, just take along a rubberband (or hair tie) and you are ready to make your own training chopsticks in just a few minutes!
I made you a short video so you can see exactly how it’s done:
After I published my video, I saw that a few others have made similar videos. You can watch them all to see which technique works best for you ;)
Please share with your friends who have children, or adults who have yet to master the art of using chopsticks!
P.S. Eating Japanese food with a fork is silly. Learn to use chopsticks! (past post about training chopsticks here)
Click HERE and scroll down to see how to use real chopsticks.
Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t posted in a month! Blogging has been taking a back seat to other priorities for now. I know I have received a lot of emails that I haven’t replied to… I am so sorry :(. The older I get, the more I am learning it’s ok to say “no” to some things in life so I can be a peaceful, happy mommy and be able to devote quality time to myself and my family. Some things our family has been up to: back-to-school (kindergarten and preschool!) for my kids, new after school activities, apple-picking, costume-making, jury duty, birthdays, Zumba, business trips, and of course, learning Japanese ;).
I am planning to blog about Undoukai (Sports Day at Japanese School), how to make your own training chopsticks, reading-aloud to your kids, good Japanese books we’ve read recently, traditional Japanese games, etc, so keep checking back. In the meanwhile, check out my past posts about Japan-inspired Halloween costume ideas and How Halloween is celebrated in Japan.
I’ll also leave you with these Shimajiro videos I watched with my son this morning. The theme of these videos is greetings/あいさつ… something my kids need to work on. These videos are perfect for toddlers and preschoolers!
When you were a child, did your parents ever ask you to run an errand (おつかい) for them on your own? I vividly remember going to the department store in Tokyo to buy some bread, all by myself… and I was only 4 years old! I felt like such a big girl! I even walked to my piano lessons by myself at that age. If you’ve ever visited Japan, you know that even today, young children take the train to school by themselves.
In this day in age in America, not only would this seem unimaginable, but downright dangerous to send a preschooler out by themselves. I don’t even let my kids play in our yard without me out there with them. (Oh how it would be nice to go back to the “good old days!”).
Anyway, “Hajimete no otsukai”, or “My first time running an errand by myself” is a pretty big milestone to some families in Japan. I recently found out that there is a TV show called “Hajimete No Otsukai/はじめてのおつかい“… the show has been around for over 20 years! TV Japan aired one of their specials recently and my kids were GLUED to the show! My kids must have been thinking, “What? A kid like me going shopping all by themselves? That is crazy!”. It was an adorable show! Here’s one of the older episodes found on YouTube:
You can watch an entire 3-hour long special HERE.
One of my favorite Japanese children’s books is also called “Hajimete No Otsukai“. I think the book might have inspired the TV show.
I’d love to know about your “first otsukai” experience, if the country you live in is safe enough for kids to run errands by themselves, or any other thoughts you may have! :)
Today I want to share with you an adorable Japanese music duo that creates music to get kids and parents moving! They are called Keropon’s (ケロポンズ), and here’s their group’s description from their website:
(My rough translation: “Creating music, play, dance, and everything else that children and parents can enjoy together– it’s so fun it’s out-of-this-world!”).
Here’s one of their music videos, called エブカニクス(Shrimp-Crab-Exercise):
Click HERE to browse more of their fun music videos.
See how a Japanese Preschool in Los Angeles (Suika Preschool) used this song in their classroom:
I’m going to try some of these songs with my kids today!
Oh how I love the internet! I am always discovering wonderful new resources for teaching my children Japanese.
The website I want to share with you today is called “キッズステップ” (Kids Step). This website is full of free printable worksheets for ages 2-6. The activities are grouped by age or skill level and include things such as mazes, dot-to-dots, numbers, hiragana, katakana, and simple arithmetic to prepare your kids for school. The illustrations are simple and beautiful. The website is very well-designed. I encourage you to visit, print, and start one of these worksheets with your children today!
Screenshot from kids-step.com
Is anyone else’s neighborhood full of (pesky) dandelions (たんぽぽ)? Weeding is one of my least favorite things to do– so to be honest, I’m not very fond of dandelions. Many people in Japan, however, think dandelions are “cute”! My daughter loves them too, and always picks me a dandelion bouquet.
Last week, I decided to “make lemonade out of lemons” and turn these weeds into something pretty. My daughter and I collected the biggest dandelions in our yard and made flower crowns. It was a very fun bonding experience, and she LOVED her crown!
I didn’t take step-by-step photos, but these are simple to make. First, make a small slit about an inch below a dandelion head using your fingernails. Then take a second dandelion and pull the stem through the first dandelion’s slit. Then make a slit in the second dandelion’s stem, and repeat until you have the desired length. We trimmed our dandelion stems so they were only about 2-3 inches long (if the stems are too long, the crown will look messy).
Instead of crowns, you could create bracelets, necklaces, or garlands to decorate a tea party. There are so many possibilities!
You can use other types of flowers to make these garlands too. If the stems are not very thick, you can follow the instructions on this Japanese website to tie them a different way. If you scroll down on the website, there are also instructions for making “twirlers” using dandelion stems. Simply take a dandelion stem and make several small slits around the top and bottom. Place the stem in water, and the slits will curl. You can then send it down a stream and watch it twirl away.
Have you been doing anything creative in nature with your children lately? Please share!