Archive | Websites RSS feed for this section

Print Kids (printable Japanese educational worksheets for grades preK-3)

2 Mar

We have had a lot of school cancellations due to the weather lately (our city’s coldest February in 150 years!). On those no-school days, I’ve had to devise a plan to keep my kids busy and learning. We’ve been printing some worksheets from ぷりんと きっず (Japanese study free paper website). It has activities that are PERFECT for my preschooler and first-grader. I plan to use this site to keep my kids learning during their summer break as well!


This is just a small sampling of what’s available on the website. There are learning activities for grades preK-3rd grade, with plans to add more. There’s practice worksheets for hiragana, katakana, kanji, telling time, reading a calendar,counting money, etc. You can see all the subjects covered here on their sitemap. Here are the top 10 worksheet from the site:

printkidsYou can “like” them on facebook to stay up to date:

I encourage you to visit Print Kids and browse around. You are sure to find something for your kids or yourself!

Benesse Challenge Touch (チャレンジタッチ)

9 Feb

With my daughter starting first grade (一年生) at her Japanese Language School soon, I have been looking into how to best prepare her for the more challenging studies ahead. I will be sharing all the great resources I have found for first-graders with you on this blog!

In the meanwhile, I wanted to know if any of you have heard of or are planning to try the brand-new “Challenge Touch/チャレンジタッチ” program by Benesse? They are the company that does the Kodomo Challenge/Shimajiro programs. In the past, they have offered monthly subscriptions for their learning packets which have included books, DVDs, and educational toys. Beginning in April 2014, they are rolling out a new program for elementary aged children where all of those materials are being replaced by a tablet. Each month, new material will be downloaded onto the tablet. Children use the touch pen to learn and practice kokugo (hiragana, katakana, kanji, etc), math, English, etc. Here are some videos to show you what it’s like.

For lower elementary grades:

For upper elementary grades:

See more sample videos here.

I am SUPER interested and hope this will be available to those of us living overseas. I am getting to the point where I feel like I’ve taught my daughter almost all the Japanese words that I know and she is starting to fall behind her native-Japanese friends at school. We can use all the help that we can get. I plan to send Bennesse an email and will let you know what I find out.

UPDATE: Challenge Touch will work outside of Japan if you have a wifi connection. However, it must be ordered by someone who lives in Japan (so if you have a relative that is willing to have this program sent to their home, then forward it on to you, this may work for you).

2014 Year of the Horse Activities

6 Feb
final yearof the horse

illustration by Agata Plank

I realize it’s already February, but あけましておめでとうございます (Happy New Year)!Thank you so much for following my blog. 2014 is the year of the horse. (Read more about the Japanese zodiac animals on this post).

Many thanks to Polish illustrator Agata Plank for creating the beautiful illustration above for Hiragana Mama. See more of her work at:

If you were born in the year of the horse, here are some of your character traits (according to

Horse (uma)

Born 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, 1906. People born in the year of the Horse are skillful in paying compliments and talk too much. They are skillful with money and handle finances well. They are quick thinkers, wise and talented. Horse people anger easily and are very impatient.

Here are some activities you can do with your children to celebrate the year of the horse.


image from

1) Horse Paper Crafts here, here, here, and here.

2) Horse coloring page here.

3) Lean how to draw a horse here.

4) Horse (and other animals) matching game here.

5) A hundred other horse-related crafts on Pinterest, here.

Did you do anything with your children to celebrate the new year?

Mr. Men & Little Miss Japanese Videos by Sanrio

5 Feb


image from

I remember reading Mr. Men & Little Miss books when I was a child. Something about their bright colors, simple shapes, and distinct personalities was appealing to me! It seems they are making a come back these days. Check out their adorable website here.

The reason I share this on my blog is because I stumbled upon Mr. Men & Little Miss videos, that are in JAPANESE! They are made by Sanrio Japan. The videos are about 3 minutes long and perfect for little (and big) kids. These videos would be a great opportunity to teach children Japanese “feelings words(きもちの言葉).” For example, before or after showing the following video (Mr. Happy), you can teach children the following vocabulary:

しあわせ(shiawase) = happy

ふしあわせ(fushiawase) = unhappy

かなしい(kanashii) = sad

えがお(egao) = a happy face

わらう(warau) = to laugh

Here the formula I would use for getting the most out of these videos!

1) Watch the video by yourself and write down any words that you think your children don’t know.

2) Teach the children those words.

3) Watch the video together and discuss.

4) Review and practice using the new words throughout the week.

Here are a few more videos. You can find all of Sanrio’s videos here and here, and all the Mr. Men & Little Miss videos here.

Want to watch these videos in English? Click HERE.

Japanese Kids Websites: Kids Club and Online Books

19 Dec

image from

The makers of the popular website Origami-Club have a newish sister site called “Kids Club” that’s worth checking out. It has printable mazes, coloring pages, and instructions for kirigami, ayatori, etc. You can view the site in Japanese or English.


They also have a wonderful site called E-Douwa (Douwa means “children’s stories”) where you can read many children’s books, in Japanese, online! This is a great resource if you are having a hard time finding Japanese books to read. There are Japanese folktales, Aesop’s Tales, stories from the brothers Grimm, etc.

image from

image from


PS I hope you and your loved ones have a very happy holidays!! Search my blog for  “Christmas“, “New Years“, etc for Japan-related activities ! :)

NIHONGO eな, a Portal for Learning Japanese

27 Jun

June always flies by in a blur for me! This June we visited family out-of-state, went camping, and had a big dance recital. It has been hard to keep up the Japanese since we haven’t been at home very much. I need to buckle down and がんばる(try really hard) to help my children hear and speak as much Japanese as possible the rest of our summer! Are you doing a good job speaking Japanese this summer?



Today I want to share with you the website “NIHONGO eな“. According to their site,

“Here on the website NIHONGO eな Portal for Learning Japanese our goal is to introduce – in a plain, straightforward way – various websites and online tools useful for studying Japanese. Also, by presenting ideas on how to make good use of the internet, we aim to provide support for learners from all over the world who are looking for fun ways to study.”

You can search for websites by category, such as “Reading”, “Speaking”, “Kana”, “Culture”, etc.

It is definitely worth a look!



P.S. The Japanese summer holiday, Tanabata/たなばた, is just right around the corner (July 7th)! Tanabata always sneaks up on me. I have blogged about ways to celebrate Tanabata with your children HERE and HERE! You can also see more ideas on my Tanabata Pinterest Board.

“Kids Step” Website (キッズステップ)

7 Jun

Oh how I love the internet! I am always discovering wonderful new resources for teaching my children Japanese.

The website I want to share with you today is called “キッズステップ” (Kids Step). This website is full of free printable worksheets for ages 2-6. The activities are grouped by age or skill level and include things such as mazes, dot-to-dots, numbers, hiragana, katakana, and simple arithmetic to prepare your kids for school. The illustrations are simple and beautiful. The website is very well-designed. I encourage you to visit, print, and start one of these worksheets with your children today!


Screenshot from

Japanese Hand Washing Videos てあらい

7 May

Those of you with kids… you know that hand-washing (てあらい) is a huge part of daily life! Not only are you needing to wash your hands after helping a child use the bathroom, making food multiple times a day, every time you wipe a snotty nose… but constantly reminding your children to wash. We don’t want germs and sickness ruining our fun! I probably wash my hands a few dozen times a day! After all this washing, I know we sometimes get lazy about it and not spend enough time scrubbing. These fun Japanese videos about handwashing will surely inspire us to spend a little more time washing our hands! :)

Video by ACUVUE(R):

Video by UNICEF Japan:

Video by Biore:

Video by LION:

Click on the links to learn more about handwashing (in Japanese).

ゆめがあるなら: Animated Picture Books and Songs

12 Feb


Our current favorite Japanese YouTube Channel is “動く絵本・童話童謡のゆめあるチャンネル“. (Translation: Animated Picture Books/Children’s Songs Full of Dreams Channel). There are dozens of wonderful and classic Japanese songs and stories made into quality animated videos. Check it out! Those of you with young toddlers or preschool-age children will especially love it! :) You may also want to check out their website, and free iPad/iPhone app.


Here are some videos by Yumegaarunara (some videos are in English):

PS Valentine’s Day is in 2 days! You can read my past posts about Japan-inspired Valentine’s Day activities HERE.

PuniPuniJapan Website

8 Feb


I just happened upon this website, Puni Puni Japan, awhile ago. It is not super-useful to me (because I’m pretty fluent) but I thought some of you beginners might enjoy it! There are short videos that teach Japanese phrases, vocabulary, and grammar. There is also a free printable kana workbook you can download.  Here is an example video:

%d bloggers like this: