Learn about Japan with kids: activities and resources

25 Nov 2020

Here are a few very simple ideas, resources and activities to get you going with learning about Japan at home (or in the classroom). Our kids favourite part was the origami making.

This article is part of a series in which we explored different countries of the world. We spent a week going around the world (virtually). Our first stop was Madagascar. Our second stop was Japan. Here are some of the things we learnt about and used. I hope they inspire you in learning with your own children at home or in the classroom.

This post may contain affiliate links for which I may earn a few cents to buy myself a coffee in exchange for the free content I provide. 

Map & flag

Our first task was, of course, to find Japan on a map. We used our beloved atlas Maps for that. Japan fills a double page on it. It is beautifully illustrated and full of talking points for kids. Once we had looked at that, Mr 6 was tasked with reproducing the country's shape with playdough while Miss 10 wrote some important facts (official language(s), capital city, population) in her little printable passport. They also coloured the country in their 'fake' passport's map. Finally, they drew the flag.

Every time we learn about a new country, we do this little routine.


The book we listened to on YouTube about Japan was not really a story. It was more of a factual book explaining life in Japan: I love in Tokyo. I was afraid it would be a little long and boring but my two children, 6 & 10, loved it and watched the whole thing. We even had to stop to talk about some of those the things the reader explained. We also loved that the book as narrated by two people: an English and a Japanese speaker. Highly recommend either watching the video or purchasing the book


This is the point where I should give you a link to a really cool recipe to do with kids for them to taste a little of japan. Real life advice? We ordered sushi! Ahah! No shame!
When they were younger our kids loved playing with these cute fake sushi sets (like these) their dad had brought back from Japan. 


The children were set on making origami for our day about Japan. Simple and cheap activity as you only need paper and a YouTube tutorial. We liked these hummingbirds (see video below). We also did some non-traditional boats and whales too. 


We did a couple of literacy activity and these were, of course, Japan-related. Mr 6 had a lot of fun trying to write some Japanese characters: hiragana. We downloaded some of these characters here

Miss 10 loves poems and poetry and we learnt about a special type of Japanese poems: haiku. She read some we found on the internet and then she had a go for herself. She loved it and I love what she came up with (in English, one of her 4 languages). 


We borrowed this fun family game from friends: Sushi Go Party. We were a little unsure but once we had got the rules worked out, it turned out to be great fun for the whole family. It was a fun way to learn about sushi and play together. Our 6-year-old happily played along. We could have made the game even more challenging but we stuck with the easier levels. Highly recommend it.


I should also mention this amazing book we love and always refer to: This is how we do it. It shows a typical day for several children around the world (Japan is one of the countries represented) and highlights some similarities and differences in their families' days. My children love the images of the real families at the end on which the drawings are based. 

If you have more resources, I would love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments below. 

1 comment

  1. Yes, the Sushi Go Party Rules aren't easy to start with, but once you've played a few games, it's great fun!
    Mouk, my all time favourite cartoon, also goes to Japan for a few episodes. Very lovely.


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