I love the activity magazines you can buy for kids in Japan. I find them great distraction for the kids when we’ve been confined to home for a few days in a row due to weather or, as in present circumstances, due to sickness. This month I bought the Christmas special for preschoolers. It comes with paper crafts, mazes, writing practise, stories, spot the difference among other puzzles, two games you make from the materials they provide and a DVD. The DVD has “lessons” with Doraemon, Anpanman and Pokemon, cartoons such as Robocar Poli, My Little Pony and Mofi, different types of quizzes and “specials” with current popular characters such as kyoryuger, ania animals and mon colle knights. All for 730 yen, around 7 euro.
One of the games in the magazine is a Rocking Christmas Tree. The tree and its paraphernalia come flat in the magazine with perforations to mark where to push the shapes out. The instructions for assembly are also in the book. Upon removing all the pieces, they are numbered to show you where to match two pieces. You don’t need tape to make the tree or the game pieces; they are made in such a way that by pushing one end into the other and opening flaps they stay in place easily. Another page presents the pieces of the game, which also needed to be separated at the perforation marks and shaped into triangles. The Christmas Tree when assembled rocks from side to side. The object of the game is to place pieces on the tree without knocking other pieces off by tipping the tree too much to one side.
It was really fun to make with my 4 year old and 2 year old. 4 year old was able to make the game pieces himself without assistance. He struggled with the shelves of the tree that need to be added as it can be quite tricky to push the edges through and open the flaps at the other side. 2 year old needed a lot of help; she even found pushing out the perforations quite tricky. However, they thoroughly enjoyed playing the game once we had it all assembled. They played the game together for around an hour, longer than I had anticipated. 1 year old was itching to join in the fun, but once she got her hands on the game pieces they went straight in the mouth. What is it with one year olds and paper?!