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【From the Philippines】5 Popular Children’s Games

Although they have their own language (Tagalog), English is the main language of the Philippines. Today, you can still find children with happy and innocent smiles playing traditional games from the Philippines throughout the country. In this article we will introduce 5 traditional games Philippine children enjoying playing.

【From the Philippines】5 Popular Children’s Games

The playful environment of the Philippines

Philippine children enjoy playing tag, jump rope and origami just like Japanese children. The most popular games require no props or toys or the use of items that are readily available. You can see many Philippine children enjoying themselves on the roadside.

Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines. You can find basketball nets all around the town and children big and small playing with a basketball. Volleyball is popular among girls and you will find basketball and volleyball teams in most cities and games played on weekends.

5 Popular Games in the Philippines

Thunpan Pleso

In this game, which is like the Japanese can kicking game, children through sandals instead of kicking cans. Children place a can where the person who is “it” is standing and then through sandals at the can to knock it over. If the can falls, the person who was “it” returns the can to its original place and the child who threw the sandal goes and picks up his/her sandal. However, if he/she is touched by the person who is “it” then he/she is out.

Luxon Tnic

In this game, two children hook both hands and feet and form a wall. Other children try to jump over the wall and compete as to who jumps the highest. This game does not require any props. However, there is another game that is similar during which children use rubber bands called “Chinese Garter” which is also very popular.

Sack Race

In this game, children use a sack (rice bag). They put both their feet in the bag and jump forward. The child who makes it to the goal line first wins. This game is often part of Sports Day activities in Japan as well.

Palo Parayoc

This game is like the “watermelon smash” game often played in Japan. In this game, children who are blindfolded try to smash a bucket filled with candy instead of a watermelon. Once the bucket is broken children race to get all the candy. The game is often played at birthday parties and Christmas events.

Menco, Damper

We rarely see them anymore in Japan but in the Philippines “menco” are still popular among younger elementary school children. It is a nostalgic sight to see children playing with “menco” on the streets. There is also another popular game that uses “damper” (rubber bands) instead of “menco”. In this game, children place the rubber band on the ground and use both hands to blow the rubber band in front of them. The child who pushes the rubber band the farthest wins.
Many popular games played in the Philippines can be played anywhere without any special props. Since they do not require special props, children can play them in big groups anytime and anywhere. It is important for children to get in the habit of playing in big groups from a young age. In Japan, which has a low birthrate, attending early childhood classes is a great way to meet new people and socialize with one’s peers.
【From the Philippines】5 Popular Children’s Games

Asagaya & Yokohama Schools April 2020 NEW OPEN!

We will be opening two new locations (Asagaya & Yokohama Bashamichi) in April 2020 under the brand name Gymboree International School. Both schools will offer Mommy & Me (0-6yrs), Preschool Prep (1.5-2.5yrs), Preschool (2-6yrs) and After School (3-6yrs) programs. Please check below for the address of each location.

Asagaya School: 2-40-1 Asagaya Minami, Suginami-ku, Tokyo

Yokohama Bashamichi School: 5-57-3 Kitanakadori, Naka-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa

We are holding Open Houses on a monthly basis. Please refer to the following link for details:



Join us for our NEW Preschool Prep Class!

During our original 3 hour Preschool Prep class, children between the age of 1.5-2.5 years will prepare for our 5 hour preschool program in a fun, All English learning environment. The first hour of the program will be with mom or dad so children can slowly practice their separation skills.

Learn more(PDF)


Let’s Enjoy Decorating with Homemade Decorations this Christmas! 3 Sample Decorations to Create with Your Child!

It is almost Christmas time! Many families are beginning to think about how they will decorate their home for the season. It is always fun to decorate with store-bought decorations but why not try making your own decorations with your child this year. In this article, we will introduce some homemade decoration ideas that can be made with materials you can buy at the 100 Yen shop. There are still plenty of days left until Christmas. Please take the time to create a schedule with your child that is convenient for everyone.

Let’s Enjoy Decorating with Homemade Decorations this Christmas! 3 Sample Decorations to Create with Your Child!

3 Easy to Make Christmas Decoration Ideas

Clay Ornaments

Try making Christmas ornaments out of clay that you can buy at the 100 Yen Shop. You can find clay in multiple colors to make the ornaments more colorful. Start by rolling out the clay to 0.5-1cm thickness and using your favorite cookie cutters to make a variety of shapes. Open a hole toward the top of each cut-out from which you can pull some string through to hang them on the tree. Then decorate the ornament with beads or stickers. Using glittery beads will make your ornament sparkle on the tree. When the ornament dries, choose your favorite color ribbon to hang it on the Christmas tree. You can use star and heart cookie cutters or even 2 sizes of circle cookie cutters to make a wreath.

Felt Snowmen

Prepare white, red and black felt and cut it into the shape of the snowman’s body, hat, gloves and eyes. Then go ahead and glue them together as you like. You can use removable double-sided tape to stick the snowman to the door or wall or put a hole in the hat and hang it from the tree. Since it is made of felt, it has a warm feeling. You can use the felt to make stockings, Santa Claus as well. The more you make the more you can use to decorate your living room.

Paper Plate Christmas Wreaths

This wreath is made with a paper plate and then decorated with yarn, acorns and other Fall natural items. Start by cutting a circle in the middle of the paper plate to make a donut shape. Then use think yarn to wrap around the paper plate so that you cover the entire plate. You can use any color of yarn (green, white, brown, etc.). Make a bow out of red ribbon and glue it to the top of the wreath. Use acorns on string to stick to wreath. Try using around 5 acorns to make the design balanced. You can also add leaves, flowers and other items to make the wreath more colorful.
It is a good idea to adapt the process to make sure it is age appropriate for your child. (for example, doing the cutting ahead of time) Children should be given the freedom to choose the colors and textures they like. This will make the activity even more fun and enjoyable.
Let’s Enjoy Decorating with Homemade Decorations this Christmas! 3 Sample Decorations to Create with Your Child!

How to handle children in the “terrible twos phase” when they don’t eat

Many mothers get worried when their child doesn’t eat. Many children dislike eating when they enter the “terrible twos phase”. It is hard for parents to eat 3 times a day (morning, noon and night). Although many mothers try to encourage their child to eat calmly at first, they often end up getting frustrated and angry which causes their child to dislike them and avoid eating even more. We will introduce tips for handling children who do not eat below.

How to handle children in the “terrible twos phase” when they don’t eat

How to handle children who do not eat during the “terrible twos phase”

Pay attention to the appearance and how easy the food is to eat

First, try cutting the food into bite size pieces so it is easier for your child to eat. Some children don’t want to eat because they have trouble using the spoon or fork correctly. If this is the case, it is best to cut foods into bite sized pieces and make rice balls so your child can eat with his/her hands. This will make it easier for him/her to grab the food. Also, if the food on the plate is colorful your child will show more interest in eating it. It should compete with the toy your child was playing with before eating. Using a colorful luncheon mat or plate is also effective.

Create a fun eating environment

During meal time, children often observe their parents carefully. It is important that you are enjoying the meal and having fun. Parents should use phrases like “it looks delicious!”, “I want to eat right away!”, “I want to eat a lot!”. It is effective if you talk to your child and say things like “today I made your favorite food”, “I am sure it will be delicious”, he/she will become more interested in eating. Children love to have fun so it is OK to go overboard sometimes.

Pay attention to the order

When your child eats what he/she likes first and then slows down, think about changing the order you give them their food. If you give them their favorite food first, they will be satisfied and will not be interested in eating the other food on their plate or given to them later. They are more likely to eat the foods they do not like when they are still hungry. Let them know that they will get their favorite foods after they finish what is already on their plate.

Give them less at a time

Parents want their children to eat a variety of food and to grow but this doesn’t mean it is OK to give them too much food. It is important to follow the eating guidelines for their age but also remember that all children have different size appetites. As long the doctor doesn’t say your child is eating too little there is no problem. Giving them less food at a time will help them gain confidence and learn that they can eat what is given to them. If they are hungry later you can give them a healthy snack.

Leave the discipline for later

Many parents want their child to have good eating manners and are strict about how their child eats. However, if you are strict with a child that doesn’t eat, they will only hate eating even more and end up eating less. When children are in the “terrible twos phase”, they want to sit on their parent’s lap and have their parent feed them. In this case, it is best to do as they say instead of trying to discipline them. If you praise them when they can eat with good manners, they will try hard to do the same next time.
Parents are worried when their child does not eat. However, it is important for them to keep in mind that skipping one meal is not a problem. It is also a good idea to encourage your child to move around a lot before meals so he/she is hungry when it is time to eat. Attending a preschool will allow your child to experience eating in a group environment and follow their friends. Allowing your child to have at least one meal at home will give mom a break as well.
How to handle children in the “terrible twos phase” when they don’t eat

What do children gain from pretend play?

All children experience pretend play when they are young. It is a popular form of play that has been around for many years in which the characters of “mom”, “dad”, “child” and even “pets” come out. In recent years, we have learned that pretend play has a large impact on children’s development. Children who experience pretend play a lot when they are young are more nurturing than children who do not have this experience. We will introduce the benefits of pretend play below.

What do children gain from pretend play?

Pretend play helps children enrich their imaginations

Pretend play requires children to use their imagination and create their own image of the world. During play, sand from the sandbox may become rice and leaves may become salad. To encourage your child’ to use his/her imagination, it is best to provide simple objects rather than toys that already replicate food. It is more effective if children use wooden blocks, string and even cut up straws instead of purchased toys. This will make it easier for them to pretend the items are their favorite foods. When experiencing pretend play at the park, children can use acorns, sticks, leaves and even stones. Between the age of 3-4yrs they may only copy what mom is doing but once your child is over 5yrs old he/she will start coming up with his/her own ideas.

Pretend play also helps improve communication skills

At the beginning, your child will use simple words and phrases, such as “here you are”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. Younger children will learn how to use these simple words and phrases and learn how fun communicating with others can be. When children become 4yrs old they will begin playing with others. Playing with peers will help them learn how to share their ideas and listen to what their friends have to say and teach them how to communicate with others in a fun environment.

Learning how others feel through pretend play

Once your child can start playing together with his/her friends, they will need to decide who plays which role and the pretend play will become more complicated. As they play “the mother” and “the father” roles, they will realize what it feels like to “be a mom when her child doesn’t listen” or “to be a father who comes home late and misses being with his family”. This type of play will help them see things from someone else’s standpoint and pick up naturally how to pay attention to other people’s feelings and compromise.
Pretend play can be done without any special props and has an important effect on children’s development. Please encourage your child to do pretend play when they are young. It is hard to do pretend play on one’s own so parents and friends should get involved when possible. Early childhood classes and schools are a great place for children to experience pretend play.
What do children gain from pretend play?

How to choose the right educational puzzles to motivate your child

Educational puzzles are a fun way for children to learn through play. There are many types of puzzles available: some are flat and others are 3 dimensional. Educational puzzles also come in various shapes and sizes. It is important for parents to choose the appropriate puzzle for their child. In this article, we will introduce a variety of puzzles and give some tips to parents on choosing a puzzle for their child.

How to choose the right educational puzzles to motivate your child

What are the benefits of educational puzzles?

Many people think that children who are good at puzzles are smart. It is often true that children who played with puzzles from a young age demonstrate that talent when they are adults. So, what benefits do puzzles have on children?

・Better hand development and dexterity
・Better concentration skills and memory
・Better ability to distinguish colors
・Better spatial recognition ability

Puzzles require the use of your hands which supports hand and finger development. Use of one’s hands and fingers activate the frontal lobe of the brain and nurtures concentration, creativity and cognitive skills. In addition, doing puzzles also helps children gain a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. Being able to stick to something until the end is a useful quality not only for children but for adults as well.

How to choose the appropriate puzzle for your child

It is important that your child enjoys doing the puzzle. If you choose a puzzle that is to difficult for them or is not appropriate for their age or ability, they may end up disliking puzzles.

First Puzzles

It is a good idea to start your child on easy puzzles from when he/she is 1 year old. A puzzle with 10 pieces or less is good to start with. It is important that your child walks away feeling that puzzles are fun. This will encourage him/her to continue to play with puzzles in the future.

Which type of puzzle is the best?

For younger children, let’s choose puzzles with bigger pieces that are easy to carry and cannot be swallowed. Animal and transportation themed puzzles are popular with younger children. Puzzles with animation characters that your child likes are also good choices. Colorful puzzles with letters and numbers will help your child learn while they play.

When they get used to it…….

You can start choosing puzzles with more pieces and smaller pieces as soon as they are used to solving bigger puzzles. It is important that parents don’t force their child to do puzzles if he/she is not interested in them but instead wait for him/her to show interest first.

Recommended puzzles

Here are some recommended puzzles for younger age groups. Please look when shopping either online or at physical stores.

・Ed. Inter [Animal Wood Puzzle] (From 1.5yrs – )
This puzzle has knobs for younger children to grab and includes 9 popular animals. It is a great first puzzle for younger children and can also be used for pretend play.

・Bornelund [First Pick Up Puzzle Ladybugs] (From 2yrs – )
This puzzle has 5 different colored ladybugs for children to play with. In this puzzle, children match the dots on the ladybug to the numbers written on the puzzle so they can learn about math while they play.

・Sendida「Montessori-type Number & Letter Puzzle」(From 3yrs -)
This puzzle is helpful when teaching about shapes, colors, numbers and counting. It is a very colorful puzzle with a variety of shapes as well as the numbers 1-10. Children can add to and take away rings from the stick which helps them learn basic addition and subtraction.
There are many different puzzles available. Please choose the puzzle that your child shows the most interest in. Some puzzles are fun to play in groups and are best to be used at schools and early childhood centers.
How to choose the right educational puzzles to motivate your child
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