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We all know that a child’s love of learning starts at home. This is especially true when it comes to Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM). Children are naturally curious engineers, but unfortunately we as parents are left trying to figure out how to support them when it comes to STEM for the long haul. Though the resources below are meant for teachers we believe that parents need to know they exist so that you can help your child stay excited about STEM.
Below you will find quite a few websites, apps and Pinterest boards that are full of really fun activities that you can do right at home to help bridge that gap for you. The resources are for children of all ages. They will also help to help fight off that summer brain drain that children go through during the summer. But more importantly you can get in some serious family quality time with these fun activities.
Updated for 2017… Please share! 🙂


IMG_8528-e1469445552730The culture shock in Japan never ends. This has been confirmed by a good online friend who has lived here for over 20 years. Like me, he is an American and has a family here. There are times when I thought I was losing my mind. Getting hit with a triple dose of life is not easy. I moved to Japan and was still a relatively new wife and mom. My baby was one year old and I had no idea about parenting in Japan. I knew even less about the school system.

Well, in Japan kids go on overnight trips overnight school trips(Otomarihoiku)with their school at 5 years old! I was horrified I tell you. Before I had learned the details of what would be going on, I imagined a not so great situation. Kids running around screaming unsupervised and in potential danger. I imagined the worse basically. My American culture brain was not having it. I said no when my husband presented the permission slip. I said it loudly and swiftly.

My husband is an extremely patient man and he is not very excitable at all. He calmly walked away from my crazy behind and presented me with some facts later on.

Actually, he presented me with a video of previous overnight stay school trips. Oh my goodness, it was a lovely and beautiful experience. It was a chance for the children to fellowship and bond. In small towns friendship is something that is really important as the children grow up and go off to school. Bullying can be a big problem and I think a trip like this might give the children a chance to practice more kindness.

Venturing outside of the daily school environment also gives the children a chance to exercise their judgement and manners. I am not going to pretend like it did not make me nervous as I kissed him goodbye, but I did. As I raise my children I realize there is never going to be a time when I am ready for them to try new things, or be without me.

In Japan the children also walk to school and return home by themselves. I will tell you how horrified I was by that in another post.

Be Well,

Tara Kamiya

Rainy season can be a downer. It rains a good part of the month every June. Clothes that are usually hung to dry in Japan will end up smelling like wet dog if you don’t figure something out.  It’s my fourth time this year and since I know when it’s coming, it seems to be more of a pain. I have developed some activities to keep me busy if I can’t get out. Now that I have three children it can be more challenging to keep them all occupied. Luckily for me, while school is in session there is more time to develop activities that I know they will love once they come home.


  1. Purge. Excellent time to clean out those closets of clothes you don’t wear or can’t wear. Excellent time to throw away garbage that has been sitting in storage or the garage. Excellent time to go through the house and sift out the broken stuff that needs to be thrown out or fixed.
4.Shop. I know this is somewhat contradictory, but let me explain. Often we end up looking for items in the stores as we need them,  as opposed to when they are available. During rainy season and early summer you can find a good assortment of rain gear and summer fun items that you may want to use in the winter months. Pool noodles are a great example. Some people use them as props or preschool items. Just check pinterest and you will be amazed at what you can do with that pool noodle. But you probably should stock up now while they are in the stores.
3.Study. Read, Read, Read. This is a great time to set up the living room like a camp site on the weekends and the whole family just lump around reading, talking, eating snacks and drinking tea. The floor is still the focal point in many Japanese homes and with two little boys looking to fly from the tops of anything that is fine by me.
2.Sleep. Make this a staycation month. Usually there is pressure to do this or that, attend this or that. Take this month to recharge. It is….after all, the half-year mark and rather than bog yourself down with obligations, stay home and sleep. No classes, no parties, no volunteering. Just do you! Rest and recharge, meditate, listen to some good soulful music that will recharge you and get you ready for the countdown to the holidays which seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
And my #1………..
1.Create! This is an awesome time to do your crafting or to start a new hobby that would be perfect indoors. I am going to resolve to crochet up the rest of my yarn this year and not repurchase until it is all gone. This is also where the kids come in big time. When they come home all we do is make stuff. That is their favorite thing to do. Thanks to Pinterest and a strong interest in cooking, we are never at a loss for activities. Last year we made paper pinwheels and banana nut bread. This year we made little books to draw in, origmi and the boys helped to make their own dinner. The youngest is one, and she was content with her toys for the most part.
And when all else fails, just let them play in the mud.Haha!
Looking forward to July, just a few more days and we made it through once again.
Be Well,
Tara Kamiya