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Carp Streamer

Design and decorate a symbolic carp streamer in the Japanese tradition of Kodomonohi (Children's Day).

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Students research information about Children's Day, which is celebrated each year on May 5 in Japan. Large carp streamers are typically displayed outdoors by families with boys to symbolize their strength, determination, and success. Find out what symbols families display indoors, when a festival for girls is held, and how the arts are incorporated into these children's festivals.
    2. To make a carp streamer, sketch a carp on large white construction paper with Crayola® Colored Pencils. Cut out the fish with Crayola Scissors.
    3. Color several coffee filters with Crayola Washable Markers. Spread filters out on recycled newspaper.
    4. Spritz colored coffee filters with a spray bottle filled with water. The colors run to create an effect of shimmery fish scales. Dry.
    5. Cut filters into pie-shaped pieces. Layer the pieces like fish scales on the construction paper carp. Attach the scales with Crayola Glue Sticks.
    6. Draw and color the fish's mouth and eyes with markers. Attach colored ribbon to carp streamer and hang from tree branch or near a window so it can catch the breeze.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text or present an opinion, sequencing ideas logically and using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    LA: Summarize the points a speaker makes and explain how each claim is supported by reasons and evidence.

    SCI: Ask questions about the natural and human-built worlds.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible teacher resources: Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say; A Carp for Kimiko by Virginia L. Kroll; Japanese Boys' Festival by Janet Riehicky; Chopsticks From America by Elaine Hosozawa-Nagano; The Bicycle Man by Allen Say

    Invite a community member who is a native speaker of Japanese to speak with the class. Prior to the visit, have students compose interview questions for the expert. After the visit, students post their new learning to a class blog. Encourage students to focus questions on other Japanese holidays and vocabulary.

    Create a learning center for the classroom that focuses on the Japanese poetry form of Haiku. Possible resources for this center include: Cool Melons - Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Iss by Matthew Gollub; Grass Sandals: The Travels of Bashby Dawnine Spivak; Haiku Picture book For Children edited by Keisuke Nishimoto. As students compose their original haiku poems, encourage them to also illustrate their prose using Crayola Colored Pencils. Provide a bulletin board in the classroom where students can display their work.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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