Every time we’d stay with friends or family who have young kids in Japan I was always puzzled by the plastic stick-on posters they have in the bath. Is it really necessary to have a big map of Japan that lists what each prefecture is famous for over your bathtub? Um, eyesore much! Then a friend mentioned in passing that bath time is considered prime teaching time in Japan. Cue lightbulb.
A trip to the nearest Daiso (100yen store) for some stick on alphabet letters and numbers and a hiragana bath poster, and we’re in business. In our house, bath time is every morning, and always leisurely, between 20-40 minutes. Within two weeks of introducing the alphabet letters my two year old was making progress. After a few short months we’ve got all of them down and have moved on to simple sight words– cat, dog, mom, etc. She can spell and read her name too! A few weeks ago I started introducing simple bath math and she’s really into it. Today she turned to me and said, “Mom, 2 plus 2 is five right?” My answer while demonstrating with fingers, “Good, but try again!” With a big smile, she corrected herself. Bath time teaching, genius. A completely relaxed environment for learning = no stress for both teacher and learner. Try it out, if you feel so inclined, or if you’re in Japan check out Daiso for cheap bath learning materials (makes good presents for nieces/nephews back home too).
I found out a few weeks ago that our new apartment in Mumbai doesn’t have a bathtub, though. I wonder if shower time teaching would be as successful?