In our picture book travels series with St. Paul’s Plus Preschool, we’re sharing fun ways to integrate cultural exploration through your preschool reading adventures at home! Each article will include a story to read together, craft idea, fun country facts, and a suggesting for taking your exploration out of the house.

This month, we’re exploring the country of Japan and making a handprint cherry blossom art — a perfect activity to accompany a trip to the National Cherry Blossom Festival in DC!

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

The Book: Tokyo Friends

Tokyo Friends is about Katie, a young American girl living in present-day Tokyo. One day, as she walks her dog, she meets Keiko, a young Japanese girl, and her brother Kenji. Join Katie, Keiko and Kenji as they explore the city and its surroundings as they learn about cultural diversity and the customs of their respective countries

“This book helps the kids I work with identify with the Japanese culture and children that live in Japan,”​ said Susan Aiken, World Cultures Teacher at St. Paul’s Plus.

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

Activity: Handprint Cherry Blossom Tree

Materials

Brown Construction Paper
White Paper or Cardstock
Pink Tissue Paper
Scissors
Pencil
Glue

Instructions

Trace child handprint on brown construction paper.

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

Cut out handprint.

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

Glue handprint on white cardstock paper

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

Crunch pink tissue paper into small balls.

 

St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster St. Paul's Plus - Cherry Blossom Craft - (cool) progeny. Photo by Allie Webster

Glue pink tissue paper balls around handprint

Facts About Japan

1. Japan is made up of over 6,000 islands​.

2. The highest point in Japan is Mount Fuji, which stands at 12,388ft.

3. Japan is a world leader in robotics.

4. Sushi is a common dish eaten in Japan.

5. Tokyo, Japan will host the Summer Olympics in 2020.

Extend the Adventure

On a sunny day in late March of 1912 First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two ornamental cherry trees along the north bank of the Potomac Tidal Basin.  A gift to the city of Washington, D.C., from Tokyo Mayor Yukio Ozaki those two trees would be joined by 2,998 of their arboreal relatives to comprise a stunning work of natural art that renews itself each spring.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival takes place in Washington, D.C. every spring and this year’s festival runs through April 15. Peak bloom is now forecast for April 8-12. The Festival Parade takes place on April 14 and Petalpalooza (formerly Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival) transforms the waterfront into a one-day-only springtime spectacle on April 7. Check out all of the festival events here.

About Our Sponsor

St. Paul’s Plus has been serving infants, toddlers and preschoolers for over 25 years and recognizes that children learn by doing. At the heart of the program is the knowledge that children need to feel safe and loved in order to reach out to the world around them. By providing a positive, loving environment, their teachers have formed foundations for life-long learning since our opening in 1989. St. Paul’s Plus promotes the development of the whole child in the areas of social, emotional, physical and intellectual growth, and the staff strives to create a positive and nurturing environment where children explore and learn. MORE

 

Photos by Allie Webster, Allie Elizabeth Photography