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Japan Lesson Plan for Younger Children

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I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 9.


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:

Image credit:

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.


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

5) Begin making sticky rice.

6) Make a carp fish kite.


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:

Image credit:

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

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Japanese Lesson: Singing and Counting Small Objects



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Blog filled with Hands-on Activities as one family studies Japan

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Building a bird house during the lesson on home construction

Building a bird house during the lesson on home construction


Explore horse breeds, gaits, diet, and more through games, cooking, and activities in the lesson on horses. 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 on lighthouses. Act like privates while training at boot camp, paint camo-style hats, set up a tent, battle using army men, and more in this exciting lesson the military.

  • Horse Lesson Plan for Younger Children - Do you have a young child who loves horses? Use this fun, hands-on lesson or play date activity to explore horse breeds, gaits, diet, and more!
  • Building & Home Construction for Young Children - Do you have a young child who loves tools and building things? Build and paint a bird house, construct a house out of pretzels, and more in this fun, hands-on lesson exploring the world of home construction!
  • Butterfly Lesson for Children - Do you have a young child who loves butterflies? Create butterfly crafts and snacks, play butterfly games, and more in this fun, hands-on lesson exploring the amazing world of butterflies!
  • Ladybug Crafts for Kids - Do you have a young child like mine who loves ladybugs? Create easy and adorable ladybug crafts and edible ladybugs, read these delightful ladybug books, watch the short ladybug video clips, and assemble ladybug lapbooks and worksheets during this fun hands-on lesson on ladybugs.
  • 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.
  • Sheep, Wool, & Weaving Lesson - Looking for fun preschool and kindergarten ideas on sheep and wool? Make and eat edible sheep, card and dye wool, paint sheep paintings, and more in this fun activity on sheep and wool!
  • Manners Lesson - Are you looking for a fun and interactive way to teach your children manners and etiquette? Use this fun role-playing lesson to practice manners at meals, on the phone, as a host or hostess, and more!
  • Military Party for Children - Act like privates while training at boot camp, paint camo-style hats, set up a tent, battle using army men, and more in this fun 2 hour lesson, party, or family activity on the military.
  • Laws and Obedience Lesson - Looking for a fun way to help preschoolers learn about obedience and laws? Create and eat edible 10 Commandments, play Cops and Robbers after reading about police officers, act of the fall of Adam and Eve, and more!
  • Illusion & Deception Lesson - Use this fun, hands-on lesson or family activity to explore deception and illusions in art, magic tricks, literature, and more!
  • Attributes of God Lesson for Young Children - Are you wondering how to teach your preschooler or young child about God and His character? Use this fun, hands-on lesson, family activity, or play group time to explore who God is and what He is like!
  • Gingerbread Man Lesson for Kindergarten - Ready for a fun kindergarten literature lesson on The Gingerbread Man? Compare and contrast two versions of the story, decorate gingerbread cookies, create character finger puppets to re-tell the story, and more in this fun literature lesson on The Gingerbread Man!
  • 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' program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!

© 2011 Shannon

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on July 10, 2014:

@tazzytamar: Thank you so much!

Anna from chichester on July 01, 2014:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on April 01, 2013:

@BenjaminMBrown: Thank you!

BenjaminMBrown on March 20, 2013:

Love your lense so much!

Shannon (author) from Florida on February 04, 2013:

@john9229: Thank you!

john9229 on February 04, 2013:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on January 20, 2013:

@ESLinsider LM: Thank you for visiting!

ESLinsider LM on January 20, 2013:

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.

Shannon (author) from Florida on January 14, 2013:

@TheFreeLife: Thank you!

TheFreeLife on January 14, 2013:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on January 06, 2013:

@anonymous: Thank you!

anonymous on January 06, 2013:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on October 08, 2012:

@ladyyummy: Thank you for visiting!

ladyyummy on October 08, 2012:

Food & music.

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 31, 2012:

@anonymous: Yes, it is a fascinating art!

anonymous on August 30, 2012:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on July 10, 2012:

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

Heidi Vincent from GRENADA on July 10, 2012:

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

poldepc lm on May 19, 2012:

great lens, thx for sharing it

Shannon (author) from Florida on May 15, 2012:

@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.

Faye Rutledge from Concord VA on May 15, 2012:

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. :)

KimGiancaterino on May 06, 2012:

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.

Erin Hardison from Memphis, TN on May 05, 2012:

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.

marsha32 on April 24, 2012:

My daughter is 9th grade and next we are starting a study of Japan because that is her next interest. I am going to pin this because we can come back to it and she can make a day of it with her nieces and nephews! Thanks :)

JoshK47 on April 24, 2012:

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

Adrijan on February 09, 2012:

Great lens

Edutopia on January 30, 2012:

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

Indigo Janson from UK on January 29, 2012:

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.

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on November 30, 2011:

love this page. especially the fish kite is amazing.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on November 27, 2011:

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.

andreaberrios lm on October 28, 2011:

Very interesting lens about Japanese Culture!

Shannon (author) from Florida on October 19, 2011:

@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.

Evelyn Saenz from Royalton on October 19, 2011:

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?

sushilkin lm on September 12, 2011:

Thanks for Sharing.

lucybrz1 on September 03, 2011:

I like your lens. Great list of activities to do with kids.

SaikoNinja from ???????Fuji Japan on August 22, 2011:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on August 12, 2011:

@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!

Jeremy from Tokyo, Japan on August 11, 2011:

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. :)

anticloud on July 24, 2011:

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

moonlitta on July 05, 2011:

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

Shannon (author) from Florida on May 30, 2011:

@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!

AbigailsCrafts LM on May 30, 2011:

Nice plan :) I teach kindergarten/preschool in Japan, maybe you could add a couple of songs in Japanese? Perhaps 'Twinkle Twinkle' 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?

HeatherTodd1 on May 13, 2011:

Thanks for the Great article

anonymous on March 24, 2011:

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.

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