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Japanese Children's Day Carp Kites
Japanese Children’s Day Carp Kites
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Japanese Children's Day Carp Kites

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These colorful carp kites will add a splash of fun to your Children’s Day celebration!

This activity is appropriate for:
kindergarten - 3rd grade / 5 - 8 years

You will need:

Before you begin:

  1. Precut tissue paper sheets into circles (approximately 2" in diameter). Then cut the circles in half to make semicircles and store them in a plastic container or plastic bag. Each student will need about 3035 semicircles of tissue paper.
    (Note: The circles need not be perfectly sized or evenly cut.)
  2. Cut additional tissue paper sheets into 1/2" wide strips that are approximately 56" long. Each student will need about 68 strips of tissue paper in a variety of colors.

Directions

  1. Explain to students that one day during the month of May, the people of Japan celebrate Children’s Day! Children’s Day is a national holiday that gives children the day off from school and allows parents to spend time celebrating their children by participating in a variety of festivities. Tell students that carp kites are flown as a symbol of Children’s Day. Since carp are a type of fish that typically swim upstream against the flow, they are seen as a symbol of strength and determination, which are traits that Japanese parents hope their children will develop.
  2. Now tell students that they are going to create their own carp kites!
  3. Give each student half of a paper towel tube and a glue stick.
  4. Have students glue the semicircles of tissue paper onto their paper towel tubes to be the “scales” of the carp. Instruct them to apply glue around the bottom edge of the tube and then overlap the semicircles in a row all the way around the tube, with the curved edges of the semicircles facing toward the bottom of the tube.
  5. Encourage students to repeat the process by adding another row of tissue paper just above the first row and overlapping the pieces so that no cardboard shows through.
  6. Have students continue adding rows of tissue paper semicircles around the tube from the bottom to the top, until the entire tube is covered in colorful tissue paper.
  7. Invite students to select two wiggly eyes and glue them onto opposite sides of the top of the tube.
  8. Have students dab some glue around the inside edge of the bottom of the tube and add tissue paper strips to make “tail fin” streamers.
  9. Finally, punch a hole in the top of each tube and tie a length of string through the hole.
  10. Hang the completed carp kites from your classroom ceiling in celebration of Japanese Children’s Day!
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