If you’re traveling in Japan in February or early March, you’ll see beautiful displays of traditional dolls. These are called “Hina ningyo.” It is a special day for girls, and it’s celebrated on March 3rd in Japan. It’s called “Hina Matsuri”.
There is a traditional Japanese song for Girls’ Day. I wrote this simple song in English for my students. The melody goes up and down, just like the red stairs the dolls are displayed on.
For all of you with sisters, daughters, moms, grandmas, or girlfriends, celebrate Girls’ Day with a complimentary recording of my song, “We Love Hina Matsuri.” You’ll find it at the end of this post.
Here are some suggested notes to dance along with it.
We Love Hina Matsuri
Words by Kathleen Kampa, Music: Kaeru no Uta
We love Hina Matsuri
Students cross hands over heart. Lean side to side (R/L/R/L)
Pretty dolls for us to see
Girls: Bend knees side to side four times. Boys: Pretend to look at the dolls
Girls’ Day! Girls’ Day!
Girls: Curtsy to right, then to left. Boys: Bow two times.
Hina Matsuri is Girls’ Day.
Stand tall clap clap clap
Students sing this song all together twice. Then, divide students into two groups.
The first group starts singing We love Hina Matsuri, and continues to sing to the end of the song. When the first group gets to the second line, Pretty dolls . . . the second group begins singing We love Hina Matsuri. Continue in the same way. This is called a canon. We end by singing the song all together again. Now you can even divide into four groups! Each group begins at a new line.
When I was teaching at Seisen International School, Tokyo, Japan, kindergarten students were able to see this beautiful display of dolls. They were fascinated! There are so many different pieces. Starting at the top, you can see the emperor and empress dressed in the traditional clothing of the Heian period. On the lower steps, you can see the attendants and musicians. Miniature furniture is also displayed. See a video below of the traditional song for Girls’ Day.
Our students enjoyed making origami dolls. We usually make two dolls representing the emperor and the empress. For more ideas, check out this site. www.origami-club.com/hina/ When you click the left oval (おりかた), you can see how to make it the origami. When you click the right oval (あにめ), you can easily understand how to fold. Thanks to Yoko Matsui for sharing this site filled with lots of great ideas.
For something simpler, try these coloring activities.
Click below to download the professional recording of “We Love Hina Matsuri”. These songs “grew” in my classroom. This is one of 15 great songs for kids on Kathy Kampa’s Special Days and Holidays.
There are also 23 engaging songs for kids on Kathy Kampa’s Jump Jump Everyone. This album is filled with movement songs, classroom management/transitional songs, and CLIL/content songs. These activities support English language development while developing global skills. Your young learners will love them!
These two CDs each include a handy attached booklet with lyrics, and are available for teachers in Japan at ETJ Book Service.
For teachers residing outside of Japan, the songs are available for download through iTunes.
If you’d like to hear the traditional song for Girls’ Day, check out this beautiful video.