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Kanji-Learning Videos!

3 May

There’s a lot of hiragana-learning videos for kids, but there’s still very few kanji-learning videos for kids (as of 2017). I hope someone will create some high-quality kanji videos in the near future. In the meantime, here are some kanji videos I’ve found. Mostly geared towards adults but I think kids could benefit as well.

This first video IS geared toward kids but is outdated. It is part of a series called 児童教育 右脳イメージトレーニング (Image Training for Children).

This next video is by Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com, and is very well done.

Learn the Kanji Basics with Williams College:

Learning kanji with animation, by キッズボンボン:

By the Japan Channel:

By 英会話のEnglish Garden:

By Easy KANJI Lesson:

First Grade Kanji by LetsLearnJapanese:

 

If you come across any great kanji-learning resources, please leave a comment!

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Japanese Party Games for Kids and Teens by Get-Club

5 Feb

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If your kids are anything like mine, they love to have FUN!! And what better way to learn a language than by having fun. I recently happened upon a website called “ゲットクラブ” (Get-Club). It is a site that sells party favors and games, but since we don’t live in Japan, the section that interests me the most are the pages containing party game ideas. Don’t let your kids navigate this website alone, as many of the party games are aimed at adults, but they do have two pages dedicated to party games for children and teens. Some of the games include videos of how to play the game, which is very helpful!

For example, here is the game “たたいて、かぶって、ジャンケンポン!” (Hit,Cover,Rock Paper Scissors):

Here is another Rock-Paper-Scissors game where you WANT to lose, in order to win “あとだしジャンケンゲーム“:

These game ideas would be great for birthday parties, play dates, or a rainy day at home.

Click HERE for a list of party game ideas for kids, and HERE for party game ideas for teens.

You may also be interested in this post, Japanese Children’s Games.

NHK for School!

27 Jan

Dear Hiragana Mama Readers, thank you so much for sticking around! We welcomed a new baby girl into our family a few months ago and have been savoring these fleeting newborn days. I have even less free time than before, but I really wanted to share this website with you today: NHK for School.

http://www.nhk.or.jp/school/

I visited this site a few years ago and back then, it was nothing to write home about. But now, it is a fabulous GOLDMINE of educational resources for the school-aged student. The site contains thousands of educational episodes and video clips, along with suggestions for how to use it at school/home. The content can be searched by grade level (first grade through high school) or by subject (Japanese, math, social studies, science, art, physical education, etc). It is pretty awesome.

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Now, I wouldn’t recommend this site for people who are just beginning to learn Japanese, or toddlers. If you don’t know a little bit of Japanese, it might be hard to navigate this site. The website was designed for students in Japan to supplement their learning at school. This site is perfect for those of us living overseas trying to teach our children about the Japanese language and culture. I feel like this is a great mid-week supplement to Japanese School (hoshuuko). If you can’t afford TV Japan, this is a great alternative. You can read more about the purpose of NHK for School in English, here.

Anyway, if you haven’t already checked it , click this link and enjoy!! http://www.nhk.or.jp/school/

Japanese Children’s Books About the Number 100

25 Feb

We are still celebrating the 100th Day of School over here 🙂 My daughter dressed up like a 100-year old grandma at school yesterday… it was so cute!

I found it ironic and perfectly fitting that my daughter came home from Japanese School last Saturday with this book:

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image from kaiseisha.co.jp

The book is titled “100かいだてのいえ(The 100-Story House)” by いわいとしお (Toshio Iwai). This is actually the 3rd time my daughter has borrowed this book from the library. My kids just love it. The illustrations are charming and the story is quite magical. Another book in this series is “ちか100かいだてのいえ(Basement 100-Story House)”. Click the links to preview a few pages! I would recommend it for preschool through elementary school children.

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image from kaikeisha.co.jp

Also at Japanese School last Saturday, there was a special meeting for parents where a Japanese expert on Read-Alouds came to demonstrate how to read children’s books out loud to children. This meeting was very inspirational for me, and I made it a goal to do a better job reading to my kids. I want to use a more animated voice, not be afraid to read more slowly and pause between sentences, and take the time to go back and forth between the pages and discuss the book with my children.

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image from amazon.co.jp

Anyway, one of the books she read out loud to us was “100万回生きたねこ(The Cat Who Lived a Million Times)”by佐野洋子. This book was a longer picture book but it was beautiful. The recommended age for this book is elementary-school through adults. I think the older you are, the better you’ll be able to appreciate the depth of this story. (I don’t think my kids could sit through this book. But I really enjoyed it!). It looks like this book is also being made into a documentary, due out the end of this year.

Here is a video of buffalo.voice reading this book out loud:

Want to work on counting to 100 with your kids? Here is a printable worksheet from Happy Lilac.

Chibi Maruko-chan

26 Feb

Did anyone else grow up watching/reaching Chibi Maruko Chan(ちびまる子ちゃん)? Not only is this popular cartoon series fun to read, but great for learning Japanese words and learning about Japanese culture. (Click HERE to see the original cartoon series by Sakura Momoko on Amazon)

I  recently discovered a new series of educational cartoon books called “満点ゲットシリーズ (Get a Perfect Score Series) featuring Chibi Maruko-chan, and I am in love with them!!! They are meant for elementary-aged and older students, and PERFECT for an adult like me who wants a good review/brush up on their Japanese. If you happen upon these books, I highly recommend them! Click HERE to see all the books in this series.

There are books for learning kanji, keigo (polite Japanese), Japanese idioms, haiku, etc. There’s even books for learning math and social studies too. I want to read them all!

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There are several copies available on Amazon.com and Ebay, and one book in the series at JBox.com. Let me know if you find them anywhere else! My daughter’s Japanese School has most of these books so I’ve been borrowing one every few weeks to read.

AWESOME Japanese-Learning Website: “Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese”

16 Oct

Oh my goodness, I just found the BEST website for learning how to speak Japanese, called ”  エリンが挑戦!にほんごできます。/Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese.” I might as well just stop blogging now, this site is so good. Do you all know about it, or am I the last one to discover it?

Erin’s Challenge is a free Japanese-learning website for beginners and more advanced students (perfect for those who will be visiting Japan as an exchange student!). It is made by the Japan Foundation (their website is worth a look as well). Their goal is to help people living overseas learn the Japanese language and learn about the culture too. The website has very helpful videos where “Erin”, a student from England, moves to Japan and slowly improves her Japanese. In addition to videos, there are manga, quizzes, and games to help you review what you have learned.

Things I love about this website: It is very easy to navigate, you can view the website in Japanese, English, or a bunch of other languages, the videos are high quality and the acting is great, the content is with the times and relevant, and it truly is helpful for both beginners and those who are mostly fluent! I also love  that the actors are Japanese, so you can hear REAL Japanese pronunciation.

Don’t just take my word for it, please go visit エリンが挑戦!にほんごできます。 /Erin’s Challenge! I Can Speak Japanese. I plan to show the videos to my children, and use the site to improve my own Japanese as well. Please come back and let me know what you thought!

Here’s a video that shows some of the features on this site:

There’s also a separate website by the Japan Foundation, “Japanese in Anime & Manga” that teaches you about Japanese words and phrases that are used in manga. Some of you might be interested in that as well!

Kids Wonder Project

13 Sep

Those of you with older children, you are going to be thrilled with today’s website. “キッズワンダープロジェクト/Kids Wonder Project” is a project aimed at helping children explore the exciting and wonderful world through enjoyable, educational games. Children can explore the deep sea, outer space, etc and discover little-known animals. I love that the narration is so clear (makes for great Japanese listening practice).

Here are some scenes from the Deep Sea adventures:

In the Deep Sea adventures, you take a submarine under water and search for sea creatures.

The website is created by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. I think they did a wonderful job!

If you are an older student/adult learning the Japanese Language, I think you will find this site enjoyable and educational as well. Let me know what you think!

PS I know I am very behind replying to emails recently. Please forgive me! Life is very busy for us right now.

Website: KC Lab Hands-On Project

10 Jan

I found a great Japanese website called “KC Lab Hands-On Project“, which is a part of “Kids Creative Lab.” The mission of this site is for children and parents to have fun playing and learning together.

There are printable activities for all age levels from pre-K through high school. These activities include mazes, hiragana practice, math, stories, etc.

Japanese Children’s Games

11 Jul

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Does anyone else feel like this summer is just FLYING by? We are enjoying our summer routine of swimming at the pool, hanging out at the playgrounds, and attending library storytimes, but we could definitely use more variety in our activities 🙂

If you are looking for something new to do with your kids, I have the perfect resource for you.

ミックスジューチュそとあそ is FULL of fun games that children in Japan play (doesn’t require technology or money!)! The games are divided into several sections: outdoor games, games using items from nature, parent-child activities, water games, etc. The original site is all in Japanese but they’ve recently added an ENGLISH SITE as well! There are seriously SO MANY games…36 different versions of the game TAG alone!

Here are some games that I plan to play with my kids asap!

* あしたてんきにな〜れ (using shoes to predict the weather)

* あしじゃんけん (paper-rock-scissors with your feet)

* いろおに (Color Tag)

* だるまさんがころんだ (Japanese version of Red Light Green Light)

I’ll try to do an individual how-to post on these games sometime. What I LOVE about this website is that there are pictures/photos/animations for each game! That makes it so easy to understand how the game is supposed to be played. The site also has a LINKS page that’s definitely worth checking out!!

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あそびのひろば (Asobi no hiroba) is another website full of games. It has many games that include singing songs.

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Now stop reading/blogging and go have fun with your kids! Let me know if you try any of these activities 🙂

Kodomobushido/こども武士道

5 Jul

Older children learning Japanese might be interested in this website: Kodomo-bushido.com. It is a website for children that uses animations, games, and stories to teach the ancient language and culture of the Samurai.

Wikipedia does a better job explaining what “bushido/ぶしどう” is: Bushidō (武士道?), meaning “Way of the Warrior”, is a Japanese code of conduct and a way of the samurai life, loosely analogous to the concept of chivalry. It originates from the samurai moral code and stresses frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death.

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