A Bit of Japan in a Box…

“I no naka no kawazu taikai wo shirazu”  ~Japanese Proverb  (literal translation: A frog in a well does not know the great sea.)

I have been blessed to travel to many different countries in my lifetime. I have seen and learned much. But most of my smalls have not had that privilege yet. So every time I go away, I try to bring something back for them; a little bit of that country so they can start opening their curious minds to the great big world out there. I bring back food to taste, books to read…even if they are in a different language, and objects from every day life in the country I have visited.

This trip to Japan was no different. As I sorted through my photos, the wheels started turning. What if I gathered up favorite photos that show a few key elements and highlights of my trip and then gathered up the real objects and put together a little “mini japan” for them to play in? We could go through the photos together and then build the box to play in. That way, even though they may not be able to travel with me,  they can go there in their imaginations!

And so we did. We went through the following photos and learned a few facts and new words and then incorporated each item into our sensory box.

Most of the inspiration for this box came from my photos from the city of Kyoto. I found it breathtaking. It carried with it so much tradition, history, and beauty…

Looking at these photos of all the girls dressed in traditional Japanese kimonos inspired the use of the kokeshi dolls in our box…

Abigail loved the kokeshi dolls. She put them for rice baths…

She turned the rice bowls over and made a stage for them to perform their dances…

The list continues with hashi…

This is Gage’s favourite element in the box, as he likes to pinch, pinch, pinch, and try to pick everything up! I used spring-loaded hashi purchased at the kitchen store so the smalls would have an easier time of using them…

I apologize for the boy’s dirty fingernails! Eeek! We get into a lot of messes here!

In the markets I saw a lot of beautiful Japanese parasols…

So we had to add some of those too! I just used cocktail umbrellas, but I chopped the pointy end off first with a pair of scissors.

I had a chance to see some beautiful orchids on my trip too…

I managed to find some silk orchids at our dollar store and plucked them from the tacky green stem and added them to the box. They made beautiful beds for our dolls…

And then, the paper crane. My favourite of all the elements…there were thousands of them at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima! But that’s a whole other post you’ll have to wait for! Hehehehe!

Our cranes took the dolls for rides…

I also added 2 rice bowls, and 4 little wooden rice paddles to the box. I found the rice paddles at our dollar store, if you can believe it! I used 2 5lb bags of no name brand rice, which cost about $10 in total. And that was it! So simple.

And my kids played for hours after dinner while it poured rain outside.

I can’t wait to share it with all the smalls tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by!

~Arlee, Small Potatoes


9 thoughts on “A Bit of Japan in a Box…

  1. Oh my, this is great. I’m quite envious of your trip to Japan the photos look amazing.
    The idea of a sensory box based on different countries is fabulous. You’ve got me thinking now about all the different countries we could do this for.

  2. I love your way of sharing your trip with your kids and turning it into a fun sensory play experience. My husband and I went to Tokyo before my son was born. I hope to teach him about my experiences there and one day take him!

  3. Pingback: 30 Sensory Bin Activities for Kids…A Small Potatoes Sensory Round-Up! | Small Potatoes

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