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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kodomo no Hi, and Haiku FREEBIE

As I mentioned last year at this time, despite having an ever-increasing number of Japanese relatives, we've only just begun incorporating Kodomo no Hi into our cultural observations. In times past, a family with no sons, like our family, would not have observed Kodomo no Hi; it was traditionally a celebration of sons and male children. Girls had, and still do have, a separate holiday, Hina matsuri, in March. Now, however, Kodomo no Hi has become more of a "Childrens Day," with less emphasis on gender. You can read more about the history and tradition of Kodomo no Hi in last year's post, or in this fascinating post by Melibelle in Tokyo.

Since we made koinobori last year, as well as learning the colors in Japanese (check out my multilingual FREEBIE), we wanted to do something new this year.

Two things came to mind right away. (Actually, three things came to mind, but I'll get to the third at the end of today's post.) One: we love books, and Two: we love the outdoors.

So if you're focusing on Japan, and thinking literature and nature, what else can you do but... HAIKU!

 Haiku with Kids

How can you "do Haiku" with a 6-year old? We began with the library, where we found a new favorite book, Guyku, by Bob Raczka. It's actually called Guyku: a Year of Haiku for Boys, but it truly wold appeal to all kids, and to the parents who read to them. Before reading, we talked about the 5-7-5 syllable structure of Haiku, which is definitely something a kindergartener relates to! And we talked about how a Haiku captures one single moment of time in nature. And from there, we read the book, counted some syllables, and tried to make up some funny lines of our own for the silly illustrations. Super fun!

To cement our new awareness of Haiku, we took a trip to an area arboretum. The Morton Arboretum in the Chicago suburbs is phenomenal, and hosts plantae from all around the world. The flowering cherry and pear trees from Japan were in full bloom today, and helped to inspire this Haiku-esque composition by Mag:

The blowing grass and
Branches are waving to me.
Petals loop-the-loop. 

I was impressed by the poem, and even more-so by the enthusiasm of participation. I see more Haiku in our future!

Would your kids enjoy having a go at Haiku, too?

And thus concludes our first foray into Haiku.

But now, remember that 3rd thing that I said came to mind when we were thinking of observing Kodomo no Hi? I bet you guessed it: food! Watch later this week for our on-going Japan adventure and a great FOOD-related FREEBIE!



  1. Love Mag's haiku! I'm really enjoying learning more about Children's day - a celebration I only had vague, generalized idea about until this year. Have a great day, and thanks for the printable!

    1. Yes, isn't it fun to explore the world through its celebrations?! So glad you like the Haiku printable; hope the kids enjoy it, too!