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2014 Year of the Horse Activities

6 Feb
final yearof the horse

illustration by Agata Plank

I realize it’s already February, but あけましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)!Thank you so much for following my blog. 2014 is the year of the horse. (Read more about the Japanese zodiac animals on this post).

Many thanks to Polish illustrator Agata Plank for creating the beautiful illustration above for Hiragana Mama. See more of her work at: http://agataplank.blogspot.co.uk/

If you were born in the year of the horse, here are some of your character traits (according to Japanese.about.com):

Horse (uma)

Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906. People born in the year of the Horse are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient.

Here are some activities you can do with your children to celebrate the year of the horse.

eto-horse

image from papermodel.jp

1) Horse Paper Crafts here, here, here, and here.

2) Horse coloring page here.

3) Lean how to draw a horse here.

4) Horse (and other animals) matching game here.

5) A hundred other horse-related crafts on Pinterest, here.

Did you do anything with your children to celebrate the new year?

Japanese Kids Websites: Kids Club and Online Books

19 Dec

image from 2kids-club.com

The makers of the popular website Origami-Club have a newish sister site called “Kids Club” that’s worth checking out. It has printable mazes, coloring pages, and instructions for kirigami, ayatori, etc. You can view the site in Japanese or English.

d9

They also have a wonderful site called E-Douwa (Douwa means “children’s stories”) where you can read many children’s books, in Japanese, online! This is a great resource if you are having a hard time finding Japanese books to read. There are Japanese folktales, Aesop’s Tales, stories from the brothers Grimm, etc.

image from e-douwa.com

image from e-douwa.com

 

PS I hope you and your loved ones have a very happy holidays!! Search my blog for  “Christmas“, “New Years“, etc for Japan-related activities ! :)

Kanji Practice Sheets

6 Aug

Here is a list of great printable kanji practice sheets! On all of these sites, the kanji are divided by grade level. Master the First Grade (一年生) kanji, then go to the next level. Please leave a comment if you know of any other great websites or resources for learning kanji.

1. Happy Lilac

Happy Lilac also has other great printables for elementary-aged children HERE.

k1-ichi

2.  子育て、ことば育て (Kotoba.littlestar.jp)

(This website might be by the same people who made the Happy Lilac website… they look very similar)

20101023_1739691

3.  Jakka.jp

1-1r 1_small

4.  Nekopy.com

This website doesn’t have printables, but has great interactive games for reviewing kanji

kanji

5. Kanji1006.com

kanji2

Related Posts:

Hiragana Practice Sheets

Katakana Practice Sheets

“Kids Step” Website (キッズステップ)

7 Jun

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!

kids-step

Screenshot from kids-step.com

Hinamatsuri Activities Roundup!

20 Feb
HinaPoster.jpg

Hinamatsuri poster. Hina dolls illustration from fumira.jp.

Hinamatsuri (ひなまつり), or Girls Day, is just around the corner (it is always on March 3rd!). We can’t afford a nice Hina Ningyou/Dolls set (nor do we have room for one), so I designed and printed up an 8×10″ poster to display in our living room to remind us of this Japanese holiday. I just googled “free Hinamatsuri image”, then added text to  my favorite image using Picmonkey.com to create my poster. You could also do the same thing using Photoshop.

I’ve blogged about Hinamatsuri activities to do with your children many times in the past. Click HERE for all my past posts about Hinamatsuri/Girls Day.

I’ve also been pinning cute Hinamatsuri ideas on Pinterest. Click HERE to view my Hinamatsuri Pinterest page!

hinapin

I hope those links will help get you prepared to celebrate this popular holiday. What will you be doing to celebrate?

じゅうにし: Jyuunishi, the Japanese Zodiac Animals

15 Jan

あけましておめでとうございます!How did you spend your New Years? My children and I ate mochi, played karuta, and watched a little bit of 紅白歌合戦 (Kouhaku Uta Gassen).

One of my daughter’s first homework assignments from Japanese School this year is to complete a worksheet about the 十二支/じゅうにし(Jyuunishi). This is something that I’ve never thought to teach her and something I don’t know too  much about either. So of course I used the internet to look for the best resources to teach my daughter about the Jyuunishi.

I think I will begin by showing her a video of the story behind the jyuunishi animals. Here are a few of the best ones on YouTube (I love the 日本むかし話/Nihon Mukashi Banashi series!):

I also downloaded the story of the Jyuunishi on my iTouch for 99 cents via the “Koehon” app (for iPhone and iPad). If you don’t already have this app, I highly recommend it! The app itself is free. Once you download the app, you will have access to 250+ picture books, most of them Japanese!! This is a pretty huge deal, if you ask me, since paper copies of Japanese children’s books are not readily available in the U.S. Most of the stories are only 99 cents. You can either read the text yourself or listen to a pre-recording. Visit the official Japanese Koehon website HERE. (BTW, there are LOTS of NEW, great Japanese apps for kids now. I will do a separate post on those later.)

If you don’t have an iPod/iPad, you can visit Xuite’s website to listen to the story of the jyunishi (in Japanese) then print off the provided worksheet to complete.

Here’s another video to help you remember the order of the animals:

Then I will help my kids figure out what animal year they were born in, and read to them their “personality traits”. You can find those HERE and HERE (this website has a fun animal-matching flash game at the bottom).

Then, I will teach them that 2013 is the year of the SNAKE(へび). We might color one of the snake coloring pages by  happylilac.net. My daughter made paper plate snakes (instructions HERE at “Crafts and Art for Children) at Japanese School.

If you have any other ideas, please share!

 

(You can read more about Jyuunishi on Wikipedia, HERE. It is basically the same thing as the Chinese Zodiac Calendar).

Ready Steady NihonGo!

1 Nov

Ready Steady NihonGo!” is another wonderful Japanese-learning/teaching resource by the Japan Society. The website provides ten 45-minute lesson plans for introducing children to the Japanese language and culture. The lessons are fun and interactive… it makes me want to be a Japanese Teacher! Each lesson includes printable flashcards and sample dialogue.

Here’s a description of this program from the Ready Steady NihonGo! website:

*****
Ready Steady NihonGO! has been carefully structured to tie in with
the National Curriculum Objectives for KS2 Modern Foreign
Languages. These aims are all clearly stated in the initial summary
and also at the start of each lesson plan. Curriculum links to other
subject areas are also listed, thus making Ready Steady NihonGO!
a complete and relevant unit of work in any upper primary classroom.

*
Ready Steady NihonGO! also ties in with the latest ‘Oracy’,
‘Intercultural Understanding’ and ‘Knowledge about Language’
learning objectives as stated within the Key Stage Two Framework
for Modern Foreign Languages (autumn 2005). Points of particular
relevance include the following:

*
• providing children with the opportunity to imitate and play with the
sounds and sound patterns of the target language
• asking and answering questions on a range of topics
• learning about the cultural traditions, celebrations and literature of
countries where the target language is spoken and making
comparisons with their own
• recognising the language (Japanese) uses a different writing
system, has different ways of expressing social relationships and
borrows words from other languages

*
Targets discussed within the new ‘Languages Ladder’ can also be
applied to Ready Steady NihonGO! and any child who completes
the ten week course can be expected to show progress up the rungs.
Foundation stones in language awareness will also have been laid
and these will support any future study of Japanese.

*****

If you are a parent teaching your children Japanese or a Japanese Teacher looking for a wonderful resource, please check out Ready Steady NihonGo! You’ll be glad you did!

Dorilu.net: Printable, Customizable Japanese Drills

18 Sep

Dorilu.net is a website where you can customize and print various drills for learning in Japanese (all free!) . There are drills for math, Japanese language (mostly kanji practice), geography, and English. You can even search for drills by grade level (1st~6th grade).

Looking at these drills makes me nervous for my daughter to enter elementary school. Some of these worksheets are very difficult!

from dorilu.net

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! :).

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

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