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コんガらガっち Videos!

15 Aug

I love stumbling across awesome new (to me) Japanese videos!! This morning I came across the “コんガらガっち/kongaragacchi” series (from Pitagora Switch/ピタゴラスイッチ… I think… correct me if I’m wrong). The segment takes 12 different animals, and makes a variety of other combination-animals with them. Hard to explain, you’ll just have to watch! (Click HERE to see all the different animals).

Are your creative juices flowing? You could draw your own animals and make your own combinations with your kids. A great way to learn the names of animals in Japanese!

Printable Japanese Worksheets and Books from Brother.co.jp

12 Aug

There seems to be no lack of wonderful websites for learning Japanese geared toward children these days. I love it!! It was just a few years ago when I would scour the internet for resources and could never find anything good. We are blessed in this digital age to have all these resources at our fingertips.

image from brother.co.jp

The website I want to highlight today is brother.co.jp. Their “free downloads” section has wonderful printables, including hiragana and katana worksheets, papercrafts, BOOKS, etc. I want to print off their free books onto cardstock and have them bound for my kids. Their hiragana/katakana worksheets are beautifully done too.  Thank you, brother!

P.S. I have updated my “hiragana practice sheets” and “katakana resources” pages lately. Check them out and share with your friends! :).

Website: Okochama.jp

10 Aug

Today I have another website to share with you: okochama.jp. This website is made for preschoolers and up and has age-appropriate games for learning hiragana, katakana, numbers, etc. Check it out and see if you like it!

image from okochama.jp

image from okochama.jp

image from okochama.jp

Is anyone else totally sleep-deprived because of the Olympics? The athletes are so incredible and inspire me to be the best that I can be!

 

おべんきょう.com

23 Jul

Today I have another great website for you to check out: おべんきょう.com! It has great printable worksheets to practice writing hiragana and katakana, numbers, telling time, etc! It also has printable flashcards and hiragana/katakana charts. I thought it was really clever of them to use hiragana as their web address :)

image from おべんきょう.com

Aiuebu, a Hiragana-Learning Site for Kids

17 Jul

Oh.My.Goodness! This is one of the BEST hiragana-learning websites for children I have ever seen!!!

image from designwork-s.com, from the website あいうえぶ (http://aiweb.s5-style.com/)

This hiragana-learning website, Aiuebu/あいうえぶ (by S5-Style) has been designed for children ages 3 and up. The purpose of the site is to provide children with a fun and cute way to practice reading and writing their hiragana. I have to say… it sure is cute! I think it would only be better if it would pronounce each kana and word for you when you click on it. It looks like they are adding more words daily.

Check it out today!!

Japanese Fingerplays あそびうた

16 Jul

“あそびうた”, Asobi Uta, means songs that you can “play” with, meaning there are actions that go along with the words. Many Japanese children learn these songs at their preschools. My two kids really enjoy these songs and it is a great time-filler activity when they’re waiting for dinner, standing in line, etc.

A company called HiHiRecords has made some wonderful Asobi-uta videos. If you don’t already know these songs, I encourage you to learn them with your children!

Click HERE for more asobi uta/ teasobi (てあそび) videos! I’ve posted about Teasobi in a previous post too, HERE.

Japanese Children’s Songs Karaoke

11 Jul

I just discovered two fun YouTube channels (users takanonGB and takanonDC) full of Japanese children’s songs (どうよう)… perfect for karaoke! Each song has the lyrics in hiragana/katakana. These videos are perfect for my preschooler who is just starting to be able to read words in hiragana. My children and I have been singing along all morning. Here are some of our favorites:

Jungle Pocket ジャングルポッケット:

Bun Bun Bun Hachi Ga Tobu ブンブンブンはちがとぶ:

Do Re Mi no Uta ドレミのうた:

Lots more Japanese videos scheduled to be posted soon, so check back every day this week for something fun and educational to watch with your kids. I also have a lot of other fun things to post about… answering questions from readers, more from our trip to Japan, summer holidays, etc! I just hope I will have time to write about it all :)

Kodomo Challenge Video

9 Jul

Here’s another great Kodomo Challenge video starring Shimajiro :) This episode has Japanese greetings, food, colors, vehicles, songs, and more. Enjoy!

Click on the “YouTube Videos” category under “Topics” to see more Japanese children’s videos.

Things To Do in Japan With Kids: Anpanman Museum

16 May

While we were in the Yokohama area, we spent a morning at the Anpanman Children’s Museum. To say that my kids enjoyed this place would be an understatement. They could have spent days here! It is the perfect place to go if you have a toddler/preschooler.

Admission was 1000 yen per person (about $11?), including kids. The admission gets you into the museum. If you just want to shop/eat there, it is free. (Warning: The food and products there are expensive. 5000 yen for a child’s T-shirt? No thanks!)

There were a lot of cute photo-ops everywhere! I’m not including my cutest pictures on this blog though, because I’m not comfortable sharing too many photos of my kids with the world :).

Unlike Disneyland, we didn’t have to wait in line forever to get a picture with a character. We got to give high-5’s to Melon Panna-chan, Anpanman, and Baikinman!  I would give yourself at least 2 hours to explore the Anpanman Children’s Museum. It would be a great place to go on a rainy day (but it’s about a 15 minute walk from the train station).

In addition to the museum in Yokohama, there are also locations in Sendai and Nagoya.

Have you been to the Anpanman Museum? Do your kids love Anpanman as much as my kids do? My son loves it so much I am throwing him an Anpanman-themed birthday party in a few weeks.

“Smile Pretty Cure”… my thoughts

8 May

My sweet 4-year old has graduated from Japanese shows like Inai Inai Baa/いないいないば〜 and Okaasantoissho/おかあさんといっしょ (cry!). She’ll tolerate Anpanman/アンパンマン. Most recently (due to influences from friends at Japanese school), she is really into the Pretty Cure/プリキュア series. Have you heard of the show? If not, check out the info on Wikipedia. (Official websites here and here). It is all the rage among Japanese preschoolers!

My daughter, getting sucked into the Pretty Cure section at a toy store in Japan.

As her mother, I am not sure what to think of this show.  The problems I have with Pretty Cure are:

1) It’s not very educational. Sure, watching the show might help improve my daughter’s Japanese a little bit, but they also often use made-up words and spend a lot of time transforming.

2) The girls don’t dress very modestly (short short skirts, bare midriffs, etc). Plus, I don’t really want my daughter idolizing “14-year old” girls who don’t represent reality at all (huge sparkly eyes, super-skinny, colored hair, etc.). Why are the main characters of a show geared toward really young girls teenagers, anyway? **I noticed that in the most recent season, Smile Precure, all the girls are wearing shorts under their short skirts and there’s no bare midriffs. I wonder if a lot of parents complained about the outfits from the past few seasons (in the very beginning, they wore shorts as well)? It’s a good change!**

3) The show is a huge marketing tool (like the Disney Princesses). It is obvious they are using the show to sell their products.

4) I know people obsessed with anime/Japanese girls watch shows like these and the thought grosses me out.

Those things being said, I don’t think watching the show occasionally is going to ruin my daughter. I think it does teach things like the importance of being a good friend, and to not give up. I read a few manga series as a young girl myself (like Sailor Moon and RayEarth) and I turned out fine (haha). One of my motherhood/life mantras is “all things in moderation”, and I think that may apply in this situation as well. I’m fine with her watching Smile PreCure with friends but I’m not going to give in to her obsession and let her watch it every day.

her favorite preschool magazine features the PreCure characters

The show has actually given me opportunities to teach my young girl about reality vs fantasy. Just the other day, she looked at me with big eyes and said, “Mom, are my eyes sparkly, like the PreCure girls?” and “I wish my hair was a different color.” I told her that she is beautiful the way she is, and that the characters on PreCure are not real. It is impossible to look like them. I need to talk to her about the importance of dressing modestly too, soon.

We need to tell our daughters that they are beautiful, every day (same goes for sons). Even at this young age, the “world”‘s influence on them is so powerful. We need to tell them they are beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and can be happy and successful in this life without superpowers and sparkly eyes :).

Do you have any thoughts? Do you let your kids watch/read anime, like Pokemon or Pretty Cure?

Here’s the “Group Transformation Scene” from Smile PreCure. Can you see why little girls love it? :) It is pretty entertaining.

P.S. One of my blog-friends is having a giveaway at her blog, Little Japan Mama! Hurry over and enter!

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