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Japan Activities for Preschoolers: Preschool Around the World

An enchanting journey awaits with these Japan activities. Try some of these fun things to do with your preschooler to bring learning to life.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Things to Teach about Japan

In Japan, being respectful is a BIG DEAL. Kids are taught to take their shoes off before entering a house to show respect. These facts alone are great reasons to teach about Japan 😉

Japan is part of Asia and is part of a ring of volcanos called the “Ring of Fire.” This is just as it sounds—a string of volcanos and earthquakes along the Pacific Ocean’s edges. There are over 100 active volcanos in Japan!

Japan’s food is vastly different from that of the United States. This is an excellent opportunity to let your little ones explore and experience new foods. You may want to have some fan favorites, “safe foods,” available for your little ones to eat with the food from Japan.

Many new technologies and cars come from Japan. They are one of the leaders in science and technology. Companies like Toyota, Nintendo, and Canon all came from Japan.

Martial arts are big in Japan. Karate, Judo, Jujitsu, and Sumo wrestling all started there.

Keep reading to get some ideas for your preschoolers’ must-try Japan activities.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

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Geography Activities

Activity 1: Create an erupting volcano

There are over 100 active volcanos in Japan, so it only seems fitting that some Japan activities involve volcanos.

Grab a baking tray and stand a cardboard tube (toilet paper tube) in the center of the tray. Add baking soda to the inside of the tube.

Let your little one go to town, adding vinegar to the inside of the tube and creating an eruption.

Activity 2: Play Dough Japan

Print out an outline map of Japan. Place the paper inside of a gallon-size bag. Have your preschoolers use play dough to fill in the outlines to make Japan.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Culture Activities

Activity 1: Try Origami

The art of paper folding, origami, was started a thousand years ago in Japan. This is one of the Japan activities you probably were able to predict would make the list. 🙂

Look up some simple origami folds and let your little ones get to work creating beautiful things.

This is excellent fine motor practice 😉

Activity 2: Make Kokeshi Dolls

Grab wooden peg dolls and let your little ones make kokeshi dolls.

Have them paint the body part to look like clothes and add a face using a marker. Hair can be painted on or some yarn glued to look like hair.

You can use air-dried clay to make the wooden doll shapes. After it has dried, they can be painted.

What are Kokeshi dolls?

Kokeshi dolls are tiny wooden dolls that do not have arms or legs. They are used as toys. They are symbols of plentiful harvests and wishes of good luck and are used to show appreciation for craftmanship and culture.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Math Activities

Activity 1: Cherry Blossom Tree Addition

Cherry Blossom trees are an essential part of Japanese culture. They bloom only a few weeks out of the year and symbolize the promise of new life to them.

To play cherry blossom tree addition, cut out a tree trunk with bare branches. Have your little ones crumple up tiny pieces of pink tissue paper. Roll a die and then add that many blossoms (wads of pink tissue paper) to the branches.

Clear the blossoms off and play again and again.

Activity 2: Learn to Count in Japanese

Teach your preschoolers how to count from 1 to 10 in Japanese.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Language Arts Activities

Activity 1: Read books about Japan

Head to your local library and check out (or place on hold) some informational picture books about Japan. Some of the best learning and discovery for kids can happen by looking at and listening to books, which is why this is added to the list of Japan activities.

Activity 2: Show the Japanese letters

Show your little learners how the letters in the Japanese language look different than English letters. You may wish to show common words or your little ones’ names in Japanese.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Music Activities

Activity 1: Learn Kobuta Animal Song

This is a fun animal song that shows how to say different animal names in Japanese, and the sounds the animals make. The sounds are a bit different from the ones we use in English, which is a great talking point for your preschoolers.

Here is an excellent video with pictures and English subtitles.

Activity 2: Try some Bon Odori Dancing

Bon Odori is a Japanese style of dance. Each region has a different dance they do.

You can look up videos on how to do the dances or watch them and try to mirror what the dancers do. Either way, your little ones are getting great exposure to Japanese culture.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Cooking Activities

Activity 1: Make sushi

Japan is the sushi capital of the world! If your little one isn’t comfortable making actual sushi, try making fruit sushi.

Take a banana and cut it into slices. Wrap a piece of fruit leather around the outside of each piece of banana. Add a few sprinkles to the top.

Activity 2: Japanese Christmas Cake

Despite this being a dessert recipe, you need to try it.

Instead of leaving out cookies and milk for Santa, kids in Japan make and leave out this Japanese Christmas cake. It is incredibly light and fluffy, has strawberries, and is bursting with flavor.

It is a bit labor intensive — so you will have plenty of cooking time with your little ones.

Japan Activities for Preschoolers Preschool Around the World

Japan Activities for Preschool

Enjoy learning with your little ones through these Japan activities. Maybe your little ones will continue to take their shoes off after learning about Japan. 😉

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