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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! Printable, Customizable Japanese Drills

18 Sep 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!


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! :).


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!!

し:しりとり Shiritori Game

27 Jun

We are having an awesome summer! Swimming, picking strawberries, playing with friends, soccer, trying new veggies from the CSA… each day seems to FLY by. I am sorry I have not been posting as frequently this month. I also apologize for being slow in replying to comments and emails. Our life is busy, busy, busy!

A game that my daughter and I enjoy playing is Shiritori. It is a very popular Japanese word game. What I love about this game is that almost anyone of any age and skill level can play this game, and it doesn’t require anything but your brain! It is a great way to learn/review vocabulary. We like to play this game while driving in the car.

This is the simple way to play the game:

1) One person begins by saying a Japanese word (usually a noun).

2) The next person has to say a word that begins with the last kana of the previous word.

3) Next person does the same as #2. You keep taking turns thinking of a word that begins with the last kana of the previus word.

4) Words cannot be used more than once.

5) If you say a word that ends with “ん”, you lose!

Here is an example:

たいや–>  やま–>  まくら–>  らいおん(oops, you lose!)

There are other variations to the game to make it harder. You can read more about Shiritori Rules HERE (wikipedia).

And HERE are some printable shiritori games (

You can watch a video of us playing Shiritori at the top of this post. My 4-year old is better at this game than I am! I challenge you to play this game with someone today :).

せ:せつぶん Setsubun 2012

29 Jan

Don’t forget this Friday, February 3rd is a Japanese holiday called Setsubun. I posted about Setsubun last year HERE and HERE (click to see lots of fun activities and printables!).  It is a great way to chase out evil and invite happiness into your home for 2012! (If you are eating eho-maki, the direction to face this year is north-north-west).

New for this year: has cute printable oni masks HERE.  I especially like this disco-oni!

image from

Who usually ends up playing the part of “oni” in your family? In ours, we all take turns. And instead of throwing beans, we throw mini marshmallows… less chance of someone getting hurt!

Website Spotlight: Creative Mamma

24 Jan

A few weeks ago when I was searching for a cute printable chore chart for my 3-year old, I came across an adorable website called “Creative Mamma.” Not only does she have free printable/customizable chore charts like this:

But she also has these super-cute printable kokeshi calendars for 2012.

I thought some of you might like her work as much as I do! Thank you, CreativeMamma!

Travel Pillows for Children

17 Jan

Free Travel/Neck Pillow Pattern


We bought plane tickets to Japan! Yipee! I am EXCITED but mixed in with the excitement is a lot of nervousness. I am especially nervous about how my kids will do on an airplane for 15 hours. We don’t plan to take car seats and I know their little heads will not reach the headrests on the airplane’s seats.

SO… I decided to make them their own travel pillows (they might be called “neck pillows” too). They turned out even better than I had expected, was inexpensive, and they each took less than an hour to make, even for a beginner sewer like me. Want to make some too?

First, download this free travelpillow PDF pattern (my pattern is for 2T and 4T size). Print two copies, cut out, and tape together.Or, on an 8×10 paper, draw a pattern like this:

Cut on the solid line for 4T (and up) and the dotted line for about 2T (my son is 18 months and this size fits him perfectly).

Lay the pattern onto fabric (I recommend fleece). Make sure the fabric is folded in two so you get two identical pieces.

Next, pin the pattern into place.

Then cut around the pattern with fabric scissors, leaving about 1/4″ around the pattern:

When you are finished, it should look like this:

Next, take the pattern off, and turn the fabric so the right sides are facing each other, and pin.

Then sew all around the edges, making sure to leave 1/4″ seam allowance (is that what it’s called?). IMPORTANT: Leave about a 4″ opening UNSEWN so there’s a hole to put fiberfill in! Another tip: Sew slowly and carefully around the corners.

When finished, turn the pillow inside-out.

Then, fill the inside of the pillow with fiberfill (the stuff you put in pillows or stuffed animals). I bought mine at JoAnns… they were located in the pillows section. Stuff it a lot for a firm pillow and less for a soft pillow. I prefer firmer for these travel pillows.

When finished stuffing, sew the opening closed by hand using a blind stitch.

And voila! Custom travel pillows for your kiddies!

Isn’t this football fleece too cute? It was 70% off so I paid less than 2 dollars for it!

For my girly-girl:

Both of my kids LOVE their travel pillows!! I just hope the pillows help them sleep comfortably on the airplane!

How do you help your children fall asleep and sleep comfortably on long flights?

P.S. Even though I sized my daughter’s pillow to “4T”, I can use it comfortably as well. So go ahead and make one for yourself too!

P.S.S. I’ll be doing a separate post on things the kids can do on the plane while they are AWAKE. Email me if you have any great suggestions! (UPDATE: Click HERE and HERE for my blog posts on how to travel by plane with your children)


JULY 2012 UPDATE: I hate to toot  my own horn, but these pillows were a lifesaver on our long flight to Japan. Our flight was full so there wasn’t enough room for the kids to lie down, so when they wanted to sleep, they had to sleep sitting up. We put these pillows around their necks then placed blankets on either side of them to keep them from falling down, and it worked great!! Here’s the proof:

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.

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