Tag Archives: う

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: http://agataplank.blogspot.co.uk/

If you were born in the year of the horse, here are some of your character traits (according to Japanese.about.com):

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 papermodel.jp

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?

う:うんどうかい Undoukai

13 Sep

This Saturday my daughter is participating in her Japanese School’s annual Undoukai/ うんどうかい (Sports Day) for the first time. We are so excited! I am almost more excited than my kids… the last time I participated in an undoukai, I looked like this:

me and my mom, 1985-ish

Haha… I look so wanpaku/わんぱく.

An undoukai is like a mini-Olympics for kids. One of the events my daughter will be participating in with her preschool classmates is a bonodori /ぼんおどりdance. They will be dancing to the song “Mottainai Baasan/もったいないばあさん” which is based off of this book (I think it’s about a grandma who warns you to not be wasteful). Anyway, it is a CUTE little dance and easy to learn. You should try it!

They are going to be wearing jinbei’s /じんべい made out of garbage bags and duct tape. Can’t wait to see them! She’s also going to be participating in some races, ball-throwing, etc. I’m not an expert on undoukai so I’ll tell you more about it after this weekend. In the meanwhile, you can learn more about undoukai by following these links:

1. All about Undoukai from allabout.co.jp (in Japanese): Learn how to get the best pictures, making a special bento box for undoukai, see cool pictures of undoukai, etc.

2. Want to know what kind of music is played at a undoukai? This undoukai dance music CD from Amazon.com looks fun. You can listen to a sample of each of the songs.

3. Kotoba.littlestar.jp has some printable machigai-sagashi worksheets (find the mistakes).

And here is a video of what an undoukai looks like:

Have any of you ever participated in an undoukai? What is your favorite event?

う: うーたん

18 Nov

What/Who in the world is うーたん? She is a character on the NHK show いないいないばあ, a popular program for toddlers. My daughter looooved (and still loves) watching this show. The show uses cute characters to teach basic things like colors, simple songs and dances, potty-training, etc.

Go here to read more about the show.

Here is a blog about Uutan. It has a lot of YouTube videos.

う: うし、うさぎ

17 Nov


Cow coloring pages here, here, and here.

Rabbit coloring pages here, here, and here.

う: うらしまたろう

16 Nov

When I was taking a drama class in college, we were all assigned to write a play made for children. I chose to do mine about うらしまたろう(浦島太郎)! Urashimataro is a Japanese folktale about a young boy who rescues a turtle and in return is invited to a palace under the sea. You can read/listen to the story in Japanese here.  I went on to teach second grade, and decided to actually direct the play I had written for our end-of-the-year production! We practiced and practiced and the show turned out to be adorable.

Anyway… just a long intro as to why I love Urashimataro! I think Japanese folk tales are awesome, even though they often have interesting endings (I guess similar to the original Grimm’s fairy tales).

Here is a YouTube video of Urashimataro byまんが日本昔ばなし:

Urashima Taro coloring page here.

Hiragana Spotlight: う

15 Nov

This week we might learn about:

Animals: うさぎ、うま、うに、うし、うなぎ

Story: 浦島太郎(うらしまたろう)

Other: うどん、運動,うち、うた、うきわ

Click here for even more words.

Coloring pages of unagi (eel), usagi (rabbit), uma (horse), etc here. (another option here).

うpractice sheet here. It’s an easy kana to write, even for my 2-year old!

If your toddler is just beginning to learn how to draw/write, here is a good practice sheet for learning how to trace.

%d bloggers like this: