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Japan Lesson Plan for Younger Children

Updated on November 6, 2015
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Make an origami paper crane, a carp fish kite, a Japanese meal, a Japanese doll, and more! This lesson is geared toward preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st grade level children. I created this to do as a two hour "play date" with a few friends. Even if you're not meeting with friends, you can still use this fun lesson with your family or class!

Image credit: http://www.sparklingsweetorigami.com%2forigamicrane.html/RK=0/RS=FRPcIBc0EjC3MbXgDhtWV_cuK0k-
Image credit: http://www.sparklingsweetorigami.com%2forigamicrane.html/RK=0/RS=FRPcIBc0EjC3MbXgDhtWV_cuK0k-

1) Read "Japan" by David F. Marx.

2) Read "Yoko's Paper Cranes" by Rosemary Wells about origami and paper cranes.

3) Make origami paper crane using PRE-FOLDED paper.

Yoko's Paper Cranes
Yoko's Paper Cranes

This is a cute picture book about Yoko, who makes origami cranes every year with her grandfather. They move to America from Japan. Yoko misses her grandfather. Guess what she makes!

 

4) Read "I live in Tokyo" by Mari Takabayashi about Japanese festivals.

5) Begin making sticky rice.

6) Make a carp fish kite.

I Live in Tokyo
I Live in Tokyo

We loved how this describes what life is like for children living in Tokyo. It was difficult finding books that do not describe many of the religious beliefs that some Japanese people hold to. I wanted to avoid much of that discussion when presenting about Japan to very young children, so this was a good option as it does not focus on the religious aspects of daily life.

 

7) Snack: Make "sushi" by putting sticky rice in ice cube tray, pushing finger through the middle, stuffing deli meat and a slice of carrot in the middle. If your children like vegetables, you can use pieces of broccoli stalk or broccoli slaw. Also serve iced green tea and Japanese snack mix. Use chopsticks to eat "sushi."

Image credit: http://sandrawhiting.ca%2fhs-japanese-paper-doll-template%2f/RK=0/RS=Ql.ioL5xT.SHZUzdMtIKVnjZtjM-
Image credit: http://sandrawhiting.ca%2fhs-japanese-paper-doll-template%2f/RK=0/RS=Ql.ioL5xT.SHZUzdMtIKVnjZtjM-

8) Read some of "Japanese celebrations : cherry blossoms, lanterns and stars!" by Betty Reynolds about Girl's Day and kimono.

9) Make Japanese dolls.

10) Read "Count your way through Japan" by James Haskins and practice counting in Japanese.

Family Field Trip

Go to a Japanese Festival. My children loved seeing the Japanese dancing, crafts, and arts performed here. They also loved tasting the various foods. International festivals are such a wonderful way to bring a culture alive without ever having to hop on an airplane!

Japan on YouTube: Visiting Japan

Japan - National Geographic Traveler

Learn Japanese: Counting in Japanese

Japanese Lesson: Singing and Counting Small Objects

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Looking for all of my lessons written specifically for preschoolers?

Building a bird house during the lesson on home construction
Building a bird house during the lesson on home construction

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  • Japan Lesson Plan for Younger Children - Make an origami paper crane, a carp fish kite, a Japanese meal, a Japanese doll, and more in this fun hands-on activity about Japan.
  • Lighthouse Lesson - Create a model lighthouse, play a lighthouse game, read books about lighthouses, tour lighthouses using YouTube, and even eat a lighthouse in this fun, hands-on lesson or family activity on lighthouses.
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  • Fun, FREE Hands-on Unit Studies - Looking for all of my lessons and unit studies? Over the years I have posted over 30 science and social-studies based unit studies, compromised of more than 140 lessons. For each lesson I have included activities (with photos), our favorite books and YouTube video clips, lapbook links, and other resources. I posted links to all of my unit studies and lessons at the above link.

Konos Volume I
Konos Volume I

Konos Curriculum

Would you like to teach this way every day?

Konos Curriculum

I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children! You can even watch free on-line videos as Jessica, one of the co-authors of Konos, walks you through a unit. (Look for the Explanation Videos tab.)

Konos Home School Mentor

If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 iijuan12

What Is Your Favorite Part of Japanese Culture? - Or just let me know you dropped by! I love getting feedback from you!

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    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      You have so many great lenses! I'm really enjoying reading through them. This lesson could even be used for older children. It's very timely.

    • HeatherTodd1 profile image

      HeatherTodd1 6 years ago

      Thanks for the Great article

    • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

      AbigailsCrafts LM 6 years ago

      Nice plan :) I teach kindergarten/preschool in Japan, maybe you could add a couple of songs in Japanese? Perhaps 'Twinkle Twinkle' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIxxw06YhlE or Kaeru no uta (the frog song) - a very simple song that kids sing all the way through preschool and kindergarten!

      Perhaps some shuuji (calligraphy) - use thick round paintbrushes and black paint to have the kids write their names in hiragana script?

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      @AbigailsCrafts LM: That's a great idea to add Japanese songs and shuuji! I think with my group at the time, their hiragana script would have looked like black smudges. I think they would definitely enjoy doing that now!

    • profile image

      moonlitta 6 years ago

      I love especially the "cooking" part... angel,blessed too!

    • anticloud profile image

      anticloud 6 years ago

      Great lens. I especially love Japanese culture and this gave me some great ideas for sharing it with my children. Thanks!

    • MisterJeremy profile image

      Jeremy 5 years ago from Tokyo, Japan

      Great ideas. I live in Japan and would love it if kids all over the world learned what you teach about this country. You might like some of Mitsumasa Anno's books. He's a mathematician and Japanese writer of children's books. Most of his books are math related, and many are available in English.

      Teaching about Japanese writing might be another fun addition to this unit. Not to drop a link or anything, but I happen to know there's a lens out there about how Japanese kids learn to read hiragana. :)

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @MisterJeremy: Thank you for the great comments and suggestions! We love Mitsumasa Anno's books! Yes, I think adding hiragana would be a great activity for slightly older children!

    • SaikoNinja profile image

      SaikoNinja 5 years ago from ???????Fuji Japan

      How about a Paper Mache Mt.Fuji! That's my hometown! Thanks for the lens and for spending time teaching kids about Japan.

    • sushilkin lm profile image

      sushilkin lm 5 years ago

      Thanks for Sharing.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 5 years ago from Royalton

      You have a great outline for a unit study on Japanese Culture. I wonder which activities you found in the books that you recommend worked best for your children. Was there something special in each of the recommended picture books that was interesting to your children?

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @evelynsaenz1: Thank you! This was a "lesson" I did as an "educational play date" with friends when my oldest son was 4. The activities were selected because they were easy enough for children ages 3-5 to do, and they still taught something about the Japanese culture. The books about Japan were ones that we enjoyed the most from a stack of about 30 books that we checked out from the library. They were favorites due to both appealing illustrations and content that is both educational and enjoyable to read.

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 5 years ago

      Very interesting lens about Japanese Culture!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I just finished reading two novels on Japan, Gai Jin and Shogun and I just could not believe what I was reading on the modernization of Japan.

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 5 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      love this page. especially the fish kite is amazing.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

      I'm fascinated by everything about Japanese culture, I like the thoughtful creativity that they bring to the crafts, hobbies and rituals of their society.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Really interesting lens, you did a good job on it.

    • profile image

      Adrijan 5 years ago

      Great lens

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Great lesson plan idea! Great to get kids interested in other cultures from a young age!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      This is great! I like all the crafts and hands-on activities. We have some friends who have been missionaries in Japan, and some who are currently there, so this is an area of the world that we'll take a closer look at sometime in the not-too-distant future.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      I like many things about Japanese culture -- the art, the architecture, the food. I've read many books about Japan, and have always wanted to go there.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      I have a cousin who is married a Japanese woman and their children can speak both languages. I love the idea of the "sushi", I think I'd like that better than the real thing. :)

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @Faye Rutledge: Thank you for dropping by my lens on Japan! My brother is married to a woman from Japan. He claims his boys speak better Japanese than he does. As far as sushi goes, I'm more of a California Roll type of gal myself. At least by starting with this version of sushi, my kids might actually try the real stuff some day.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      great lens, thx for sharing it

    • Heidi Vincent profile image

      Heidi Vincent 5 years ago from GRENADA

      I visited Japan in 1996 and it was an all around lovely experience!

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 5 years ago from Florida

      @Heidi Vincent: Japan is a wonderful country to visit!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I love Bonsai which is a traditional art of growing minuscule trees from Japan.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Yes, it is a fascinating art!

    • ladyyummy profile image

      ladyyummy 4 years ago

      Food & music.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @ladyyummy: Thank you for visiting!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Yay love Japanese susi :) and I love the Japanese.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @anonymous: Thank you!

    • TheFreeLife profile image

      TheFreeLife 4 years ago

      After seeing that first picture all I can think of is getting sushi! Very cool lens, thank you!

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @TheFreeLife: Thank you!

    • ESLinsider LM profile image

      ESLinsider LM 4 years ago

      Self control...and the girls are really cute when they say yeah or something. Sounds like "height" or something. There is also a good hip hop scene there. Best in Asia by far.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @ESLinsider LM: Thank you for visiting!

    • profile image

      john9229 4 years ago

      Leave my footprints here. Japan a nice place, I'm going there for business trip next month.

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @john9229: Thank you!

    • BenjaminMBrown profile image

      BenjaminMBrown 4 years ago

      Love your lense so much!

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 4 years ago from Florida

      @BenjaminMBrown: Thank you!

    • tazzytamar profile image

      Anna 3 years ago from chichester

      This is such a great page and I think you've done an amazing job of putting together entertaining, interesting and educational lesson ideas :)

    • iijuan12 profile image
      Author

      iijuan12 3 years ago from Florida

      @tazzytamar: Thank you so much!

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