Tag Archives: か

か:かいぶん Japanese Palindromes

5 Dec

Do you know what a palindrome is? They are words that read the same forwards and backwards. For example, in the English language, palindromes include words like “WOW”, “MADAM”, and “RACECAR”. There are even palindrome sentences, like “A nut for a jar of tuna.”

In Japan, palindromes are called 回文/かいぶん/kaibun. They are so fun for kids to read and create. One of my favorite Japanese kids’ shows, ピタゴラスイッチ/Pitagora Switch, has a segment called こたつたこ/kotatsutako where the entire segment is made up of kaibun. It’s catchy and fun! Click HERE to watch (HERE is another version)! (click here to buy the DVD, from Amazon Japan).

Here are the lyrics:




Wouldn’t it be fun for your kids to think of and illustrate their own Japanese palindromes?

Useful Printables for Learning Japanese

17 May

from the Droplet Project

I’ve already shared one of my favorite websites with you, 幼児の学習素材館 (kotoba.littlestar.jp), but I wanted to highlight a few things on their website again.

The following are great printables for

– Teaching Body Parts(からだ): click here

– Teaching Colors(いろ): click here

– Teaching the Names of School Supplies(文房具): click here

There are a hundred other great learning resources on their website. Be sure to check them out!

てあそび: Japanese Fingerplays

1 Mar

sozai no puchi-chi

Fingerplays (children’s songs with coordinating hand movements) are called Teasobi/てあそび in Japanese. て=hand and あそび=play. One of my favorites is a song called “Hajimaruyo/はじまるよ” which translates to “We’re About to Begin”. It is a great song for getting the children’s attention and getting them settled before giving instruction or reading a book. My Japanese playgroup often uses this song to gather everyone together and it works great! It is also a good song for teaching children their numbers.

You can listen/view the song at Teasobi.com by clicking here. てあそびドットコムis a great, great website full of videos, lyrics, and sheet music of popluar children’s songs and fingerplays. They also have handy diagrams for their songs.

My other favorite teasobi (also on Teasobi.com) are:

1) おべんとうばこのうた (The Bento Box Song)

2) グーチョキパー (Rock Scissors Paper) YouTube video here

3) ひげじいさん (The Bearded Grandpa)

いたずら天使 is another website that has Teasobi lyrics.

Watch Anpanman and Baikinman in this Teasobi episode:

Part 1

Part 2 Part 3

Do you have a favorite teasobi?


25 Feb

Counting in Japanese can be complicated. It is confusing to know when four is supposed to be よん or し and when seven is supposed to be しち or なな. When counting from 1-10, it seems that it doesn’t matter which one you use (strange).  People usually avoid saying “shi” for 4, because it sounds like the word “death.” Superstitions in Japan is a whole ‘nother topic…

ANYWAY. I’m going to keep things simple for my kids for now and teach them how to count to ten in this manner:











In the meanwhile, I’m going to study up on larger numbers by studying this great chart from The Japan Foundation and this chart on how to count various objects/かぞえかた (also from same site) and try to use them correctly whenever I can so my kids can start hearing what correct counting sounds like. I guess it’s similar to how we have different counters like “a head of lettuce” and “a pair of pants” in English. But it seems the Japanese have a whole lot more. I think I read somewhere that there are over 600 different ways to count things!

I really like this video:

Here are more websites about counting in Japanese:

1) 数の数え方 from TAKAO-SP

2) 数え方 from Asako lida’s HomePage

3) An article on counting from ja.wikipedia.org (lots of kanji)

か:かず(数)Counting in Japanese Videos

24 Feb

I’m pretty sure you’ll learn how to count to 10 in Japanese if you watch these cute videos!

These videos are by Jun Egusa of Nekopy.com/怪盗ねこぴー Check out the website- it is full of other educational videos for learning hiragana, kanji, science, Japanese history, etc. AWESOME. It also has a lot of great learning resources… I don’t have time to explore it all right now but maybe I will do a post about it another day.I found the site through TheHimitsu’s Channel on YouTube.

More YouTube vidoes about counting in Japanese here and here.

Another post about counting in Japanese coming soon!

か:Animals That Begin With か

9 Feb


Some animals that begin with the kana か are:

kani/かに (crab)

coloring page here and here

kaba/かば (hippo)

coloring page here and here

kaeru/かえる (frog)

coloring page here and here

karasu/からす (crow)

katatsumuri/かたつむり (snail)

coloring page here and here

kame/かめ (turtle)

coloring page here and here

kaijyu/かいじゅう (monster)

coloring page here

kabutomushi/かぶとむし (Japanese beetle)

coloring page here

If you’ve never seen kabutomushi before, watch this video (in Japanese):

Practice writing the kana か here and here 🙂


2 Feb


かるた (Karuta) is a Japanese card game that’s great for children learning hiragana. You can read about how to play on Wikipedia (cards can range from really easy to super difficult). I think it would be an easy game to modify for preschoolers (make cards with colors, numbers, weather, etc. instead of hiragana). Basically, one person reads a sentence and everyone else tries to be the first person to find the matching card and put their hand on top of it. Apparently there are huge karuta tournaments in Japan.

If you don’t have a set of karuta cards, you can print your own set on card stock ( I would laminate them) or make your own from scratch. I’ve rounded up some free printable karuta cards online for you:

1) Ousama Karuta from tokioheidi.com (click here for the printable PDF)

I thought this was the best freebie. Great quality and even comes with a printable box to store your karuta.

2) 「いきいきキャンペーンかるた」from the Tottori Perfecture Website

This one has cute illustrations and teaches good manners in addition to hiragana.

3) Here is a list of some other ones I found that you may like:

おじゃる丸 karuta from NHK

あそぼうさいカルタ from kochi.lg.jp

Free Karuta Printable from Tokushima Prefectural Senior High School of Science and Technology

Another Free Karuta Printable from ふくいのいろはにほてと

情報モラルかるた」ダウンロード from Kanagawa Prefectural Educational Center

いきいきキャンペーンかるた from Tottori Prefecture Website

4) Don’t feel like going through the work of downloading, printing, and cutting? Here are some online karuta games:

ダジャレ DE カルタ!from NIFTY

ピンチかるた from noutore-matome.com


And HOW CUTE are these Totoro Karuta cards?!?!? I want a set! Too bad they are so expensive.

か:かたち (Shapes)

25 Jan

まる、さんかく、しかく (circle, triangle, square) are the shapes that I have taught my toddler so far. For older children, click here for a more complete list of all the shapes and their names.

I think this is a cute art activity for preschoolers to help them learn the names of shapes. First, cut out various shapes from colored paper. Then get creative and make animals, buildings, etc! I found the idea at マトリョーシカな日々 blog.

Kids-points.com has dot-to-dot worksheets where your toddler/preschooler can practice tracing shapes, here.

Isn’t there a song called ”まる、さんかく、しかく”? I seem to remember learning it when I was little but I can’t find it online. Do you know?

Just found another cute video:

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