Learn About Japanese Culture 5-6 yrs

Updated Apr 13, 2023

Goal:  To learn about Girl Scouts in Japan, Japanese customs and celebrations

Materials Required:

Folding Hand Fan

  • An 8 x 11.5” piece of paper
  • Watercolour paints and brushes
  • Stapler


  • Blindfold
  • Large roll of paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers


  • Time: 20minutes
  • Craft: For each child, fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a fan/arc shape on one side and cut it out. Unfold paper.
  • Game: For the game, draw the outline of a face on a large, blank piece of paper. If it is a big group, you may want to make two faces to speed the game along. Draw and cut out different noses, eyes, mouths, ears and eyebrows (or print the Wikipedia template handout).


Enjoy your unit’s usual opening. Discuss Japan briefly and Girl Scouts in Japan.

Answers: Japan is a country of islands along the Pacific coast of East Asia. Japan has an ancient history (much older than Canada’s, for example) and many time honoured traditions to go along with it.  In Japan there is a holiday, festival or seasonal celebration for almost every month of the year. There are many people of Japanese heritage who now live in Canada.

Sparks in Japan are called “Tenderfoot” Girl Scouts. The Tenderfoot motto is “smile.” Their promise is: “I am a Girl Scout. I look and listen carefully and am friendly to everyone.”

Look up this link online to see what their uniforms and enrollment pin looks like: http://www.girlscout.or.jp/contents/wp-content/themes/girlscout/english/documen/uniform.pdf


Folding Hand Fan

Hand fans are an important symbol in Japan. Historically, they were used by warriors as a type of weapon, actors and dancers use them for artistic performances, children use them as toys, and sometimes they are hung on the wall for decorative purposes. They also serve the basic function of creating a breeze on a hot day.

  1. Instruct each child to paint a colourful image from nature on his or her paper, such as a flower, a tree branch, leaves or a bird.
  2. Set on a flat surface and allow the paint to dry during the rest of the meeting.
  3. Before your Closing, fold the paper back and forth into a fan shape and staple at the bottom.



Printout page for Fukuwarai activity


Japanese New Year is the biggest, most important holiday of the whole year. Whereas Canadians celebrate New Year’s from December 31 to January 1, festivities in Japan begin in the last week of December and continue all the way through to January 3. Fukuwari (meaning “lucky laugh” in English) is one of many traditional Japanese New Year’s games. It is very similar to the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey.

  1. Attach the blank paper face to the wall, or lie it on the floor.
  2. Blindfold one person and hand him or her each face part, in turn. You may tell the blindfolded person what each piece is to be more helpful.
  3. Let the player take the blindfold off and see the funny face.
  4. Repeat for each child.


Serve dry roasted edamame beans and/ or mixed Japanese rice crackers, available anywhere mixed nuts are sold. They have an addicting taste and crunch.


Visit your local library to find a book of traditional Japanese children’s stories to read from, such as Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories by Florence Sakade or All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More byWillamarie Moore and Kazumi Wilds. Alternatively, visit this website: http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/japan.html


Congratulate the group on learning about culture, holiday festivals and Girl Scouts in Japan. Enjoy your regular Closing.


Map of Japan

Map of Japan in relation to Canada

Right click the image and select "Save Image As" to download the picture.

Vanessa Day

This Meeting Plan was researched and written by our intern Vanessa Day.

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