Monday, 5 September 2011

Geography lesson -- Japan

We have just completed our geography lesson for Japan and did lots of exciting things to better understand the Japanese culture. In addition to reading lots of books, watching various videos and working on our notebooking pages to learn about Japan we did some hand on activities.

The Children created a Zen garden in their sand box

First we cleaned out the sand box and smoothed it out as best we could.

Using a children's rake we made the swirling lines to represent the water

Then we added stones and shells in a few places (yes I know shells aren't really part of it but we used what we had on hand)

The children's finished Zen garden. Notice the Pokemon figures in each picture.

Of course each child had to do their very own pattern:)!

Little man enjoyed this so much he did it again and again. Although the concept of less is more got a little lost, I think he added every Pokemon figure he owns in this Zen garden:).

Next we did a little origami, and this is where I learned I am not very good at folding pieces of paper so we stop after these two, cause they were the easiest:).

We made a dog and cat. Kids really wanted to do the crane but after looking on the web and saw it had over 27 different folds, I just showed them the video and called it a day:(!

Next we read about Children's day in Japan (May 5th) and learned that it was a very special day in Japan. Families often made or purchased wind sock carps called koinobori to decorate their homes or parks. I found this pattern on the web and we made our own. Originally this was for a paper carp but I change the directions so we could make it out of fabric and get a little sewing in.

First the kids traced the pattern onto fabric and then cut it out carefully.

Then we sewed the two pieces together on one side. Little Man sat on my lap to help with the sewing.

Next the kids colored their carp using fabric markers that my Mom sent to us, cause I couldn't find any over here. Thanks MOM!!!

Then we sewed the opposite ends together

Next take a wire and make a circle and place inside the mouth of the fish

Sew the wire into place. My daughter choose to do the whip stitch around the wire whereas my son chose to do the running stitch:)

I added a bit of string and we having flying koinobori:)!!

Another activity we choose to do was to write Haiku Poems. We read two books on Haiku poems. I really liked these books so if you are wanting some good books to read and learn more about Haiku look for these at your library. One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Davidson Mannis and Grass Sandals -- The Travels of Basho by Dawnine Spivak.

Here are the Haiku poems my 9 year old wrote completely by herself!!!

Tiny Little Koi
Up a giant waterfall
Becomes a dragon

(this is referring to the legend of the Koi in Japanese mythology)

Next is a what am I Haiku by Princess age 9

A creature looks down
Far below people suffer
The rain starts falling

I am a chinese dragon, again you need to know about mythology to figure it out:)

My 7 year old son did amazing as well with only a teeny tiny bit of help from me wrote the following two Haiku's

Cats are fun to play
Chasing balls of yarn and string
Pouncing on a mouse

What am I Haiku? by Little man age 7

Breaching up so high
Landing with an explosion
Looks around for prey

I am a WHALE! He got this idea because we have been studying whales for the last 2 weeks:)

Rather than making a Japanese meal at home we took the kids to a Japanese restaurant for dinner. It was Yummy! Just look at these dishes. I think we found a new favorite restaurant:)

I was pleased to see the kids tried everything except the sushi:) Princess even tried Wasabi and
liked it:)

Join in the Field trip hop or the NOBH


  1. What fun activities for Japan and those Japanese dishes look so delicious! I'm glad you had so much fun with your Japan unit! :) Clicked a vote for you!

  2. oh and thanks for linking up...

  3. You are so awesome with homeschooling. I love the hands on type of lessons. Your children are so blessed to have you both as their teachers. I learn so much myself just reading what you are doing.
    Blessings to you and keep on sharing these precious moments of learning.

  4. Looks like fun! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm following you back!

  5. What great fun! I love the poems and the carp! You've inspired me to do something next weekend I've been putting wrap up our vikings unit! Loved seeing you at the HHM! - Rebecca

  6. Looks like a great hands on unit study! A lot of fun. Oh, the cranes are worth the effort.. Once you make one.. You don't want to stop, like Pringles. :-)

  7. Hi! I'm your 300th follower!!
    Beautiful blog! Stopping by from the crew blog hop!

  8. What a wonderful unit study on Japan! I end up going to the restaurant for the study of countries, too. It's more authentic tasting that way, and you can enjoy all the decorations that make you feel like you're in that country.

  9. Wonderful activities! Looks like lots of fun!

  10. Great lessons. Love the sandbox idea and, of course, the sushi...YUM!

  11. Wow! Beautiful haiku on both of their parts! One year for girl scouts, both of my girls had to fold 100 cranes. Given that they were only ages 6 & 7 at the time, guess who ended up folding 200 cranes?!??! I've never felt the same about origami since...

  12. I am absolutely in awe of you and your family! What a fabulous way to study this beautiful country and its traditions! And sewing and everything! I think when I was your daughter's age, all I could do with a sewing machine was see if the needle was faster than my finger. (If you are wondering, it is . . .)

  13. WOW!!! Love all the projects! We loved Japan also. But your carp kites are so much better than we did. I wouldn't get my sewing machine out for that...too scared my fingers would end up! That food looks super yummy!

  14. What a wonderful, hands on geography study! I especially love their Zen gardens. :)

  15. That looks like a wonderful study of Japan.

  16. This looks amazing
    Your children now love Japan
    Thanks for sharing this

    I guess this post just begged for a Haiku comment.

    Admiration, Hope and Love,