“Journey to Japan”, Kids Summer Program

Our class

I taught 3rd and 4th graders “arts and crafts” at the Seattle Buddhist Temple’s Kids Summer Program. It was so much fun working with them, hours flew by quickly.

Our project was making paper ornaments to decorate a Tanabata Matsuri tree. This tree is a symbol for the yearly Tanabata festival in Japan which takes place in beginning of July.

It’s said that tanabata’s origin dates back to more than 2,000 years ago. Once there was a weaver princess named Orihime and a cow herder prince named Hikoboshi living in space. After they got together, they were playing all the time and forgot about their jobs. The king was angry at them and separated them on opposite sides of the Amanogawa River (Milky Way). The king allowed them to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month in the lunar calendar.

We made birds, flowers and butterflies of all different colors, using Japanese origami paper and velum.  Kids had a ball stringing flowers and painting butterflies and birds with water color paint. I think I learned more from them than they learned from me.

  • Don’t mind the rules. Push your creativity out to match your wildest imagination.
  • Nothing is a mistake. Turn your mistakes into a unique creation!
  • Excitement and having fun is a must when working on a project.

In this one week program, children learned every aspect of the Japanese culture … songs, man-ju making, calligraphy, paper cutting, language, taiko-drumming and kite-making. Take a look at their wonderful work!