Updated Apr 13, 2023
Goal: Learn about a different culture by creating beautiful art that comes from their country!
Location: A classroom, gym, or community centre room.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes.
Begin with your usual opening. When your group is happy and settled, tell them that they will be using their imaginations and creativity to travel to a distant country…Japan! They will do this by making some beautiful Japanese art and enjoying some yummy Japanese snacks.
Take a regular piece of paper and cut it into an arched “rainbow” shape, about 4 inches high and 7 inches wide. You can decorate your fan using paint or markers. How you decorate your fan is up to you. Below are some Japanese characters that you can draw on your fan. When you finish decorating your fan, it’s time to make your fan’s handle. Take 4 Popsicle sticks and arrange them to that they all connect at the bottom and fan out. Glue the bottoms together, and then glue the tops of the Popsicle sticks to the back of the fan. There you have your beautiful Japanese fan!
You can create a pretty wall hanging by making 3 or 4 fans, arranging them one above the other in a line, and using a ribbon to attach them along the backs.
This recipe tells you how to make 8 maki. Maki is a cylindrical sushi rolled using a bamboo mat. You can buy bamboo mats at any Japanese or Korean grocery store, as well as Whole Foods.
For little ones, it would be best to prepare and portion all the ingredients before you make this snack. Begin by precooking 1 and ½ cups sushi rice ahead of time and chilling it in a refrigerator (the rice will only stick together properly if it is cold). After the rice is nice and cool, mix in about ½ cup of sushi vinegar for flavour. Pre-chop the vegetables you want to use as filling for your sushi. You can use virtually any vegetable you like. Some good vegetables for making sushi are avocado, cucumber, cooked sweet potato, and carrots. The vegetable will roll best if you slice them into long, thin strips.
Roll out your bamboo mat and lay a sheet of nori (seaweed) onto the mat with the shiny side facing down. Wet your hands in some water first, and then take a handful of sushi rice. Lay the sushi rice along the bottom 1/3 of the nori and pat is down so that it stays in place. Be sure to pat the rice gently, so that it is about ¼ thick.
You can now begin laying on your veggie fillings! Try to use only 1-3 vegetable ingredients, as adding more will make the sushi more difficult to roll. Begin by placing the largest cut filling first and then adding one or two pieces of other vegetables. Remember: the fewer ingredients you use, the easier the sushi will be to roll.
Once you have carefully lain on all your ingredients, you can roll your sushi! Lift the edge of the bamboo mat closest to the rice and carefully fold it over the sushi ingredients. Begin rolling. As you roll, make sure to pull the edge of the bamboo mat out so that it does not get rolled in with the sushi. To seal the sushi roll, dip your fingers in water and moisten the furthest edge of the nori. Roll the sushi into the edge of the nori and gentle squeeze the roll so that it stays together.
A grownup has the job of cutting the sushi roll into bite-sized pieces. Use a sharp knife to cut the makiack!
This is a traditional Japanese children’s game.
The group divides into two equal teams. The two teams hold hands in a line and stand facing each other. One player from each team plays jan-ken (meaning rock-paper-scissors) against each other. When one player wins, their group advances on the other group and sings the victory song, “Katte ureshii hanaichimonme,” which means, “We are happy to have won this round!” As they step forward, the losing team steps backwards. Then, the losing team steps forward and sings the losing song, “Makete kuyashii hanaichimonme,” which means, “We hate to lose!” As the losing team steps forward, the winning team steps backwards. The two teams then discuss amongst themselves who they want to steal from the other team. The two chosen players play jan-ken against each other, and the loser must join the other team. The children repeat the game until only one player remains on one of the teams.
To listen to some traditional Japanese children’s songs and read the translated lyrics, go to this website: http://www.mamalisa.com/?p=528&t=ec&c=85
Congratulate the girls on creating such beautiful Japanese art. Enjoy your regular Closing.