Learn About Japanese Culture 7-8 yrs

Updated May 31, 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

Cherry Blossom

  • Heavy white or light blue paper, such as card stock
  • Brown wool
  • Light pink tissue paper
  • Wet glue
  • Scissors


  • Blindfold
  • Large roll of paper
  • Scissors
  • Markers

Preparation Time:

  • Time: Fifteen minutes
  • 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 listed in the Works Cited).


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. (Refer to map). 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.

In Japan Brownies wear a blue uniform, and their motto is “be prepared.” Their law is: “I am cheerful and courageous at all times. I respect all living things.  I am a friend to all, and a sister to every Girl Scout.”
Look up this link online to see what their uniforms and enrollment pin look like: http://www.girlscout.or.jp/contents/wp-content/themes/girlscout/english/documen/uniform.pdf


Folding Hand Fan

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. With the paper still folded in half, cut along the arc to remove the top corner. Unfold the paper to reveal your fan shape.
  2. Paint a colourful image from nature on the paper, such as a flower, a tree branch, leaves or a bird.
  3. Set on a flat surface and allow the paint to dry during the rest of the meeting.
  4. Before your Closing, fold the paper back and forth into a fan shape and staple at the bottom.

3D Cherry Tree

In Japan, April is the season for cherry blossoms. The colour and shape of the flowers symbolize purity and simplicity. There is even a cherry blossom viewing festival for people to enjoy outdoor walks and picnic lunches under the blooms, as has been tradition for thousands of years. Flowering cherry trees have inspired many Japanese poems and folk songs.

  1. Cut or rip pink tissue paper into small squares.
  2. Scrunch the pieces of tissue paper into balls.
  3. Draw the shape of a tree with wet glue on the card stock.
  4. Place strings of brown wool on top of the glue to make the tree trunk and branches.
  5. Glue and stick on the tissue paper balls as cherry tree blossoms.



Printout for the 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 lay it on the floor.
  2. Blindfold one person and hand him or her each face art, in turn. You may tell the blindfolded person what each piece is to be more helpful, if you want. If not, results will be very laughable.
  3. Let the player take the blindfold off and see the funny face.
  4. Repeat for each child.


Serve dry roasted edamamne 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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