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くれよんのくろくん A Cute Story About a Black Crayon

8 Oct

One of my favorite things about my daughter attending Japanese School is that we have access to their library! I’m actually a library volunteer so I get to see all the new books and DVD’s as they come in. This week, one of the books we borrowed was called “くろくんとふしぎなともだち” (The title translates to “The Black Crayon and the Mysterious Friend”). Both my 2-year old son and 4-year old daughter were completely attentive as I read this book to them.

I think it is so appropriate for the black crayon to be the star of these stories! With the amount of drawing we do around here, we go through the color black very quickly. I think crayon companies should include at least 2 blacks in every box (Crayola, are you listening?)!

This book is actually just one of a few in the くろくん series by なかやみわ (Nakaya Miwa). We’ve read the original くれよんのくろくん and it was wonderful too. I highly recommend these books for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children! Here is a YouTube video of gemstonerecordsjp reading it out loud :

What are you favorite children’s books lately? I would love some recommendations.

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

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

The website I want to highlight today is 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! :).


10 Aug

Today I have another website to share with you: 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!

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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!



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!!

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.

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