Despite being relatively small in size (it’s only 1,869 miles long), Japan’s had some big ideas that have changed the world. This makes it the perfect place to visit for our latest theme; even though we’ve bought countless products from ‘the land of the rising sun’, how much do we know about the country itself? This week’s activities will give the children a better look.
One thing you might not associate with Japan is karaoke. Because it originated there in the 1970s, we’ll be running a sing-along session to some well-known tunes this Tuesday. It’s a great way for the children to let their hair down after such a busy term!
They’ll be needing lots of energy to pull that off, of course. Thankfully, our snack is the most traditional of Japanese dishes with a twist – rice animals. Because Japanese parents often create elaborate versions for their children’s lunchbox, we’ll be making the likes of panda bears with vegetables and tofu for eyes.
While we’re on the subject of animals, we’re also putting together Kawaii creations this Thursday. Seeing as that’s literally the Japanese word for ‘cute’, we thought it’d be appropriate to make adorable felt badges the children will design themselves.
If that’s not up their street, we’ll also give a crash-course in writing the language and traditional origami. There’s almost too much choice!
You’ve got three guesses – what do these symbols mean? For those who said ‘Japan’ (or Nihon, if you want to get technical), give yourself a pat on the back. That’s our theme for this week! As such, each activity will shed light on the land of the rising sun’s culture. It’s a fascinating place; did you know that almost three quarters of the area is covered in mountains and woodland, for instance?
One enrichment that’ll need no introduction is origami. A famous Asian pastime that dates back centuries, the art of folding paper has been around in Japan since 1680 AD at the least. Encompassing fans, miniature cranes and other graceful animals, we’ll be trying our hand at them on Tuesday.
Another touchstone of Japanese culture are games, be they electronic or traditional. Because we’d be remiss not to play a few, we’re taking a look at some of the best known over the next few days. On the agenda is table tennis, pick-up sticks and ‘fish flapping’ (no, I don’t know what that is either).
Don’t worry if your child isn’t into sport – we’ve still got them covered. Monday sees us learning how to write our name in Japanese, not to mention recreating the country’s iconic flag. This is followed by something equally famous but a little more modern: Kawaii art. It’s literally the Japanese word for ‘cute’, meaning we’ll be making full-on adorable creations.
This is hungry work, of course. It’s a good thing we’ve got sushi as our snack!
What are four things you can’t do without? Although I was tempted to go with ‘cash’, ‘pizza’, ‘TV’ and ‘my iPad’, there’s actually something even more important that we use every day – probably without realising it. They can be summed up in a word: senses.
These are vital in countless ways; touch, smell, taste and sound are the best tools at our disposal. As a result, we’re exploring each one of them for this week’s theme.
Kicking us off is an obstacle course. But there’s a snag; you’ve got to do it blindfolded. With challenges that are just a little bit Mission Impossible, team-work is of the essence. The children will have to work closely with their partner if they want to make it over the finishing line.
It’s a similar story for ‘noise bingo’. An activity that can only be won by tuning in to a range of different sounds, this will put our ears and listening skills to the test (or maybe it’s because Naomi just didn’t want to talk to anyone that day).
We’ve also testing our snouts with the aptly named smelly boxes. Full of who-knows-what, the children’s job is to work out what secrets lurk inside.
Our snack isn’t so cryptic, luckily – it’s a dip roulette where we’re trying out mystery flavours running the gamut of sweet, spicy, sour and salty.
We couldn’t leave it there, though; we still need to cover ‘touch’! Because of this, Wednesday is all about making our own personalised Play Doh. It can be glittery, it can smell… basically, it can be whatever the children fancy!