The weather is warming, the days are getting longer, professional yakyu season kicks off soon and chances are, your children are getting pretty excited; it’s almost Spring Break!
A one- to two-week breather during the Japanese school year, Spring Break is scheduled between 25 March and 5 April for many schools. While your children may see this time only as a chance to be free from the classroom and school work, experts agree that breaks actually play a crucial role in keeping brains healthy and ready to learn. With sunny days and no classes, it’s a prime opportunity to take advantage of your children’s free time to explore, experiment and just have fun.
CareFinder has compiled a list of Spring Break activities that will not only keep your kids occupied and entertained, but many have “sneaky," out-of-the-box educational lessons, as well!
We’ve posted before
on this annual Japanese activity, but considering many strawberry farms are located outside of Tokyo, the open schedule of Spring Break presents the perfect time for a day trip.
Sneaky Lesson: From helping young children develop fine motor skills to teaching the older ones about sustainability, gardening is a surprisingly educational task. Studies have even shown that children who participate in agricultural activities score higher in science achievement. Also, strawberries are delicious!
In 2019, the ultimate hanami experience is expected to take place smack-dab in the middle of Spring Break, with many places south of Niigata and Sendai expected to peak between 28 March and 1 April. You can stay close to Tokyo (which should peak by 29 March) or plan a weekend between Nagoya and Kyoto on 30 and 31 March for those cities’ peak.
Sneaky Lesson: Much like with strawberry picking, this is a great time to talk about the environment, seasons and the many unseen scientific processes that are behind those beautiful pink buds.
Tokyo Dome City
Bowling, roller skating, an amusement park, a baseball hall of fame and indoor sports arena - there’s not much you can’t find at Tokyo Dome City.
Sneaky Lesson: This one may just be mostly fun, but there are plenty of opportunities to sneak some education into a fun-filled day with a trip to the TeNQ Space Museum or Gallery Aamo, a creative space showcasing many different kinds of art.
Billed as a “museum without a map,” this massive installation at the Mori Building Digital Art Museum is so popular, you’ll need to purchase tickets in advance. The digital art is interactive, immersive and really, really cool.
Sneaky Lesson: Experts agree that exposing children to the new worlds and new information presented at museums is critical in expanding knowledge and stimulating imagination. While many children may not be thrilled to visit a more traditional art museum, the unique experience of teamLab Borderless involves them in the artwork and distracts them from realizing all the learning they are doing!
Edo Tokyo Museum
A perfect rainy day activity, this museum is also a bargain. At only 600 yen for adults and discounted for students, the Edo-Tokyo Museum is big enough to take all day to explore without costing a mint.
Sneaky Lesson: While a trip to a museum isn’t a very tricky way to incorporate education into your children’s day, the Edo Tokyo Museum’s abundance of small-scale dioramas, samurai suits and life-size recreations of ancient Tokyo are one of the most enjoyable ways to get a history lesson or two.
The Nippon Baseball League kicks off it’s 2019 season with Opening Day on 29 March. Games take place all over Japan, from Tokyo to Hiroshima, so you can catch your hometown team or hit the road to join a cheering section elsewhere. A great opportunity to enjoy a mild Spring evening outdoors, chanting with thousands of other fans and showing off your team jersey, a yakyu game becomes an indelible memory for many children.
Sneaky Lesson: From math (if we want two hot dogs and two Coca Colas, how much money will that be?) to physics (how did the outfielder know where to stand to catch that pop fly?), there are plenty of sneaky educational opportunities in a game of baseball. Especially if your team loses and a lesson in good sportsmanship is needed.
Barbie Loves Tokyo Skytree
Skytree Tokyo is honoring Barbie’s dynamic past and six decades of evolution with a host of activities - from a pop-up shop to a themed dining menu - until early May. If the exhibits aren’t enough to hold the kids’ attention, the famous views from Skytree can also prove a good distraction.
Sneaky Lesson: As the first female astronaut (before the first real one, even!), a paleontologist, a doctor, an engineer and an architect, Barbie can be a great inspiration for children whose future possibilities are wide open. It’s a great opportunity to spark discussion about their dreams and how to achieve them.
While not exactly a “sneaky” way to incorporate education into your children’s Spring Break, language lessons can be fun - and easy! CareFinder is the largest matching site with qualified, vetted bilingual babysitters. From English and Russian to Japanese and Portuguese, with many others in between, there are plenty of languages on offer. Finding a babysitter through CareFinder not only ensures your kids will have trustworthy supervision during Spring Break, it’s also a great opportunity for your children to practice the language they’ve been learning, or try a new one out. If you are not lucky enough to have your own Spring Break from work and responsibilities, CareFinder is a great resource!