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DIY Paper Yoyo’s for the Holidays!

12 Dec

I volunteered to be in charge of a Christmas craft for a playdate this week. I looked on Pinterest for craft ideas and didn’t see anything that I liked ( I needed something easy enough for 3~5 year olds, inexpensive, quick, and not messy). I looked at the materials I already have and thought and thought. Then I came up with this idea (inspired by something I saw on a Japanese children’s show… I think it was “Shimajiro’s Wow”?). Paper Yo-yo’s!

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I don’t know about you, but I have TONS of wrapping paper. I bought a roll at Costco last year, and I think there’s enough paper to last me my entire lifetime. This craft will make use of some of that paper. I hope you will try this craft with your kids– it is very easy, fun, and only takes 3 materials!

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Materials Needed:

1) Wrapping paper (or any other kind of long paper)

2) Tape (I think double-sided would work great)

3) Disposable chopsticks (or any other sturdy stick)

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Instructions:

1) First, cut your wrapping paper into a long, skinny strip. Mine was about 3 inches by 3 feet (but it does not have to be exact). In the photo, you can see that I cut many strips– one for each child.

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2) Break the disposable chopstick in two (where you’re supposed to break it). Place the chopstick on one edge of the wrapping paper with the top of the stick lining up with the top of the paper.

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3) Tape the chopstick down with tape.

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4) Carefully and tightly begin rolling the paper onto the stick, being sure to keep it lined up straight as you go.

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5) When you have wrapped the entire length of the paper onto the stick, unwrap and re-roll (to ensure that the yo-yo works well).

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6) When you let go, it will look like this:

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7) And you are done! To use, gently flick your wrist as you hold the bottom of the stick, or hang upside-down to “bounce” the yo-yo in the air. If you spin out the yo-yo too powerfully, the paper can unravel and you will need to roll it again. Isn’t it fun?

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Please let me know if you make these paper yoyo’s. I think they would make great birthday party favors and classmate gifts as well.

I also want to rave about the awesomeness of masking tape. It has come in so handy for the holidays! You can use masking tape to secure your yo-yo when not in use, keep your roll of wrapping paper from unraveling, wrapping gifts, taping holiday cards to the wall, etc. The great thing about masking tape is that it will not damage paper or the wall when you peel it off, and can be re-used. Omiyage.ca has the cutest masking tapes ever! (I am not sponsored by them, I am just in love with their store/blog– so pretty!)

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Thanks for reading, please share/pin this post if you enjoyed it!

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Summary in Japanese:

クリスマスの紙ヨーヨーです。子供たちも自分で作れる,簡単なクラフトです。家にある物で作れますので,ぜひちょうせんしてください。

Buying Japanese Children’s Books, DVD’s, etc.

17 May

“Dog Loves Books”, by Louise Yates

Over a year ago, I wrote up a post about “How to Get Japanese Children’s Books.” It has been one of my most popular posts, so there must be many of you out there searching for books for your children! A year ago, it was very difficult to find Japanese books online. I am here to tell you that it is now easier!

I have been browsing eBay recently and have been pleasantly surprised to find that there are now many more people selling Japanese children’s books, DVDs, other educational materials, and toys… and at pretty decent prices. Here are some of my favorite finds today (hurry and snatch them up if you are interested! Dear Sellers, You are welcome.):

1. Nontan DVD, $20

2. Electronic book that plays 6 Japanese children’s songs, $16.99

3. Hiragana magnets set, $11.99

4. Katakana magnets, $10.99 (I am really tempted to get these!)

5. Hantai Kotoba Cards/Game, $12.99 (I really want these too)

6. Set of 2 “Kaiketsu Zorori” books, $9.99 (elementary-aged kids love this series!)

I thought the seller that had the best and most products was kat14kw. This person is shipping from Japan, but the shipping charges are decent, I think. She is selling a lot of hiragana charts, for those of you who are still looking.

To search on your own, just go to eBay.com and search for “Japanese Children’s Books”, “Japanese Children’s DVD’s”, “Kodomo Challenge”, “Anpanman”, “Hiragana Charts”, or whatever it is you are looking for, and you’ll probably find stuff. I should probably go through the stuff I don’t need anymore and sell them on eBay too!

Amazon.com (the American version) still lacks a great selection, and the books are very expensive. One of my readers, Louise, emailed me to let me know that a book she has written called “Dog Loves Books” is now available in Japanese. It looks adorable! Good job Louise!

Joechip.net has written a good post about other online retailers that sell Japanese Children’s Books.

If you and your children enjoy Japanese children’s magazines like ベビーブック and たのしい幼稚園, you can order an issue or subscribe for 6months~year at shop.mitsuwa.com. They also have subscriptions to “Kodomo no Tomo“, a company that sends you children’s books each month. I have a local friend who does this for her daughter and they really enjoy receiving new books each month.

Don’t forget about Benesse’s Kodomo Challenge program too (with Shimajiro). Read my post about it HERE.

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Whew! Did that help anyone out there? Have you made any cool discoveries lately? Where do you buy your Japanese books?

P.S. I am not getting paid by anyone to advertise their stores or products!

Japanese Hiragana Blocks

27 Jul

One of the most popular and favorite toys in our house is a set of wooden blocks we got from Pottery Barn Kids ($49). Babies love to hold and throw them, toddlers love to stack and crash them, and now my preschooler is building more complex structures and recognizing the letters painted on them. I would say they were a great investment!

The only thing that might make them better is if instead of the ABC’s, it had hiragana on them! Well, yesterday I just stumbled upon a set of Japanese Hiragana Blocks ($41)! They are handcrafted in Michigan by Uncle Goose and sold by hazel. They look to be high quality and I love that the hiragana is embossed instead of painted.  What do you think?

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