Archive | July, 2012

Toilet Training

24 Jul

I am going to be MIA from the world for the next few days because I’ll be teaching my son to do this:

Wish us luck!! (We are following the 3-Day potty training method. It worked great for my daughter, hopefully it will work for my son. I’m so ready to be done with diapers!)

You can read about some Japanese methods for toilet training HERE, HERE, and HERE (sorry, all in Japanese).


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, from the website あいうえぶ (

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!!

The Benefits of Siblings for Second-Language Learning

17 Jul

Trying to help one child become bilingual is a lot of work. Trying to teach two kids, I thought, was going to be twice as much work.

I’m starting to believe that I might be wrong. Here are the reasons why:

1) When I was trying to teach my first-born Japanese, I often felt like I was talking to myself (when my daughter was a baby/toddler). I would talk to her, sing to her, etc, but since my husband doesn’t speak Japanese, I felt like my daughter never got to hear Japanese conversations in real situations.

My second-born has the advantage of hearing my daughter and I converse together in Japanese. Since my daughter never stops talking, he gets to listen to a lot of Japanese words every day!

2) Being a mother of 2 kids who don’t attend school yet is busy. I wish I could have more one-on-one time with my kids. When I read to my daughter, my son isn’t interested. When I read books to my son, my daughter isn’t interested, because their levels of knowledge and interests are very different.

BUT we have now reached the magical age when my daughter knows all of her hiragana and thinks reading out-loud is a lot of fun! So when I am busy with housework, I can say, “Please go read this book about trains to your brother.”, and she does! My daughter enjoys reading, my son enjoys listening, and I get to feel less guilty about doing housework instead of spending time with my kids. This situation is working perfectly for us right now because my daughter is only able to read easier books… which is what my son enjoys.

3) My son is currently a “terrible two” :). I love him to pieces, but he loves to say “no!” and run in the opposite direction of where I tell him to go. Thankfully, he thinks his big sister is the coolest and will copy whatever she does, even in the language department. So when my daughter says a word in Japanese, my son will repeat it. When my daughter and I play Shiritori in the car, my son wants to play too.


What about you? Are you raising more than one bilingual child? How do siblings affect the ability to learn and maintain a language?

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.

More Videos for Reviewing Hiragana

14 Jul

Here are some new and old videos for learning & reviewing hiragana. Geared toward young children but really, great for anyone beginning to learn the Japanese language. Enjoy!


More Shimajiro Videos

13 Jul

2 more short Shimajiro videos:

しまうまグルグル Song

12 Jul

One of our favorite Japanese children’s songs is “Shimauma Guruguru/しまうまグルグル”, which is about taking the stripes off a zebra. It has a very catchy tune and is easy for little kids to learn. It’s also fun to make up your own verses to the song… if you were to take the stripes off a zebra, what would YOU put it on? You can even take it a step further and illustrate the song. Here are two videos you can sing along to:

1) From Okaasan to Issho

2)Sing it Karaoke-style (by takanonGB)

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.

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